The Need for Healing in America
Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, died in July after a white officer, Daniel Pantaleo, put him in a choke-hold. Garner’s death was later ruled a homicide. The Grand Jury failed to indict the officer. Shortly before that a St. Louis County grand jury failed to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown. Brown was an unarmed African-American teenager.
I was born in Alabama and grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in Alabama and Florida. As it was then so it is now that we must respond to one another with love and understanding as we seek to allow peace to reign in our lives. The recent non-indictments of police officers responsible for the deaths of 2 individuals and the message that sends to the black community is troublesome for us all. The value of any person’s life must be highly regarded and the killing of anyone must be looked at by us all with compassion and concern for the person and their loved ones. Individuals who are killed by police should be seen as clearly demonstrating a threat to the lives of the officer or officers that killed them. Taking a life in the midst of an arrest or as a result of the ‘stopping and questioning’ of a potential criminal suspect should never be an acceptable result of police policy. I hope my friends in law enforcement will try to understand the anxiety and confusion the recent decisions to not indict have brought to our land. We must temper authority to arrest and kill with mercy and understanding so as not to become the ‘criminal element’ and enemy of the people that should be left only to murderers and those who commit horrendous crimes.