There are times when you are left speechless, and then there are times like this. As you read the Hunger Games, you learn that Katniss does not want to bring children into such a terrible world. It seems reasonable. Selfless. You forfeit something that would bring you joy because you love it too much to watch it suffer. In a story, it’s logical. But you never imagine you could one day feel that way about reality.
I’m not a social justice expert, so I’ll keep this post short and express my point as simply as possible. I’ll start with the definition of justice, according to Merriam Webster’s dictionary: “the administration of law; the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity.” Roughly paraphrased: follow the rules of law and you will be treated equally. It doesn’t seem odd that we expect police officers to make others obey the law. If you break the law, you should be given the punishment fit for the law broken. Plain and simple. My question is, why don’t we expect police officers to be held to that same standard? According to the Washington Post, 509 people have been killed by police officers in 2016, not all of those 509 were innocent, but a large number for less than 7 months nonetheless. While many of these deaths were in defense of our safety, the issues, heartbreak, and fear arise out of all the other circumstances under which officers did not need to use their guns to gain the “upper hand,” like with Alton Sterling, or just do their job- in the case of Philando Castile. With officers over-reacting to the point of fatality..how can we feel safe?
At one point or another, we’ve all read a book where the “good guys” couldn’t trust the police. For a time I suppose this was hard for me to imagine, but it’s not anymore. Are all cops bad? No. Are all people of color holding weapons killers? No. They account only for a small percentage of each group. I’m grateful for the good cops who risk their lives to protect and serve; and I’m grateful for the love, friendship and culture that has been extended to me, to all of America, from the people of color in this nation. As an English major I must point out the loss our literature would take if we did not know Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, or Toni Morrison, just to name a few. But we need to focus on that small percentage, the one that’s in the media, the one that’s causing destruction, because they’re not going away, and until they do, we’ll never stand united, one nation under God, indivisible.