I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the unrest and demonstrating and rioting and general misguided behavior that has accompanied the turmoil surrounding the death of the young man shot by a police officer. I don’t watch or listen to a lot of news but it’s been difficult to not be aware of the situation. A few thoughts come to mind.

The officer and the police and the media have a hard time dealing with one simple fact. That officer reacted out of pure fear and lost his composure and control and did indeed feel that he was in grave danger and had only one solution at hand. A gun. Often a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Ask the survivors of attempted suicide by gun if they would do it again? Obviously not, or they wouldn’t remain survivors. No one wants to talk about acting out of fear. We have a warped image of police. We have a warped image of courage. We have a warped image of how our police and soldiers should act. We forget, they are human and therefore inconsistent, and when they make a mistake it can be fatal. Acting out of fear is not a mistake. It is human.

Can we find room for mistakes in a culture that insists there are bad  people and there are good people? My experience is that we all have good doses of both bad and good in us and a huge portion of ambivalence and just plain old not-knowing.

How about those media-fed marches? The coverage of the mindless violence generated by groups of aimless people; black, white and brown just venting a huge array of justified, and in some cases manufactured, grievances.

Whenever people; singly, in groups, in mobs or in armies, set out to right wrongs, bad shit follows.

If not right away, pretty soon. Righteousness is the root of more mistakes than ignorance because it is ignorance compounded by insistence. A bad combination for sure. How many times have I indulged in that myself? A few too many, and I’ve probably got some more in me. We all do.

A tragedy is, when a righteous or sincere wish to do something good, either for oneself, or family, or country, turns on the instigator of the process and demolishes them. Who started all this discontent?

We did.

We are human and our intentions are good,

“Oh lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood!”

as the old blues song goes…

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