Sunday, May 31, 2020
Good morning my friends. It should have been a happy final day of May 2020. The circumstances and occurrences over the last several months make this less than a stellar day. The tragic loss of life from the coronavirus continues, but is often beyond our control. The sad and unnecessary deaths of two African American men is tragic and senseless. These incidents leave me heartbroken for their families.
Ahmaud Arbery was killed while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood on February 23, 2020. George Floyd died after being detained by police on a street in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. I’m sure you’re familiar, or heard about, both of these shocking deaths. The circumstances in each case is different, but neither of these men deserved to die. The killing of these men is both despicable and cowardly. I grieve with their families and all people.
When I began writing this blog I told myself to stay away from political, religious or controversial issues. I wanted to write about health and wellness. Now I see that our nation and people are falling ill for more reasons than a virus. There are times in life I must speak up and let my voice be heard. This is one of those times. I believe it’s my duty, as a former officer and as a human living on this planet, to address both cases.
My career in law enforcement spanned nearly 34 years. During my life time, I’ve witnessed injustice of varying degrees, from many sources. The cases were not limited to one group, culture, race or nationality. It isn’t always about race, as much as it’s a socio-economic issue. I know many officers who worked long and hard hours forging unblemished careers. They did the honest and right thing daily, even during stressful and confrontational situations. Unfortunately, there are a few people, in all walks of life, races and nationalities, that are less than honest, respectful or good. These people cause trauma and heartbreak for us all.
My career, training and experience in law enforcement taught me many things. What it Never taught was kneeling on the neck of anyone. My academy training, plus specialized crowd control training while in Metropolitan Division and SWAT, provided many skills to handle people and arrests. I spent two years as the sergeant, assistant officer in charge of the tactics training unit for the LAPD. Our tactics, training and policies were cutting edge. Ongoing training and review occurred regularly to ensure officers knew how to handle nearly any field situation. I fear these Minneapolis officers may have lacked sufficient tactical training, but also a severe lack of common sense and decency. The video I viewed, taken during the restraint of George Floyd, is appalling and disgraceful. No one dislikes bad cops more than the good cops, no one! Unfortunately, like all professions and people, there are a few who do not belong and need to be weeded out. That effort is an ongoing endeavor.
I sympathize and grieve with the families of both George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. I agree a serious injustice has occurred and action needs to be taken. I pray our judicial system will take the appropriate action in both cases. All involved individuals should be brought to justice in a court of law and verdicts rendered. I do not agree with the lawless actions of some people and groups as a result of these deaths. I share your distain for the actions of a few, but destruction of property, looting businesses, burning our cities and causing injury to others is not an answer, solution or lawful. Our country isn’t perfect, but freedom is an amazing thing. Think about it.
Violence isn’t an answer. It’s an excuse. There have been great men of wisdom and vision since the beginning of mankind. Socrates, Confucius, Siddhartha, Ben Franklin, Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr are a few of these individuals. Take time to read about them. They were men of peace, honor and professed nonviolence. The “protests” I’m seeing, as a result, is a disgrace and dishonor to these men, the memories of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and our culture. Nothing good or positive ever came out of attempting to correct violence with more violence. Some will say, “it’s the only way our message will be heard.” I do not agree with that statement. When has violence ever provided a worthy solution for something good to result? This is just an opportunistic excuse to inflict harm and loot. This should be about justice. It is not about burning businesses and stealing what you feel you’re entitled too. I do not condone criminal behavior as an expression of sorrow or protest. I do not condone the flagrant unlawful actions of any person, especially a law enforcement officer. Racism in any form, from any person, directed at any individual, shall not be tolerated.
These are truly sad, uncertain and gut wrenching days. What kind of a society are we living in? Yes, we need to weed out and expel police officers who commit crimes. We also need to do the same to anyone in our nation who breaks the law. Whatever your social status or wealth, no one is exempt. This includes doctors, lawyers, actors, athletes, workers, teachers, billionaires and politicians. Everyone shall be treated equally and fairly by the same laws. Money and power have no place or status when it comes to breaking the law or committing crimes.
Racism and violence is a decades old problem. It wasn’t caused or created by our president. It has been allowed to thrive in our nation since its inception. I grew up in Los Angeles. I lived through the 1965 Watts riots. I was an officer and experienced the LA Riots up close and personal in 1992. Neither of these events, or others that have occurred around our country, have solved issues. It appears nothing has changed. Politicians, from many years past, failed to do their job as our elected officials. Where are the changes or laws they promised?
America is a great country. Our political system is less than great by any means and flawed in other respects. I’m not placing blame on our government. I believe some elected officials do far more to harm and divide us, while doing far less to stimulate growth, harmony and peace. The division and animosity between our political parties creates adversity, stimulates the rich and very little to help those in need. Our government should be building our people up instead of placating them with handouts. Education, skill building and jobs should be attainable for all people. Welfare, food stamps and meaningless words only serve to further suppress people. Knowledge and jobs are needed, especially now during this time of economic crisis. Our political system party is in need of repair. Helping people who truly require assistance goes unnoticed. Our veterans, elderly and disabled are pushed to the side, while they deserve our thanks and gratitude. We are in dire need of reform and action. The continual rhetoric between parties is exhausting and getting US nowhere.
There are those who will make this an “us against them” or “police are racist” issue. I hope you will see beyond words of discontent and hate. We, people of all races, creeds, colors and nationalities, inhabit this planet. We have been waging war on hatred for decades, yet still propagate the spread. It’s time to wake up people. We need elected leaders not there to collect large pay checks and the spoils of office, but who will actually serve us. Our leadership should be making sweeping changes that enable the rights of all to prevail. Our law enforcement needs effective tactical training to resolve critic situations, while protecting all people, as well as themselves. There are still criminals among us. They prey on everyone. These individuals belong in jail, not wandering our streets searching for more victims.
Support, drive and motivation needs to begin at home. Families have to come together. Discipline must be instilled in order to set the course for kids to grow, learn and develop into adults. When there is no set direction or order within the family or home, how do we expect our children to succeed. Parents need to set the vision for their family and future. Anything is possible and attainable. Hard work and perseverance reap the goals of those who dream. We need our elected officials to take action. Stop arguing and speaking meaningless words. How many mass shootings have we seen where there is talk and never any action? How many more people must be killed before political BS is put aside and laws enacted. Don’t become a victim of the media hype or agenda of a few who only seek to divide us more. Be your own person. Make the critical decisions that will create a better life for yourself and our world.
Wisdom and peace are not sought from violence. Honor George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery with respect. Together we can make our world a better place for all to live in peace and harmony.
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation. Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!