People all the time ask me what is going on in the world? Why are there shootings everyday of our young people? Why are people so quick to kill one another?
You would think that being in law enforcement for almost 23 years I would have some sort of clear answer. To be honest, I really don’t. I have my opinions, of course. I would imagine that the breakdown in the family structure plays a huge role. I was very lucky. I had a mother and father who loved me. They knew exactly where I was as a child. The rules were very clear in my home. The consequences were, too. Poverty and hopelessness in our communities also play a role. Many of the young people I came into contact with over the years told me that they didn’t expect to live past 30. I always found that very sad. I was always very intrigued by their stories. I would try to explain to them that there was a better life out here. Some would listen and others would walk away. I think like most things it comes down to perception. Their perception was clouded by their environment and lifestyle.
I remember I chased a young kid that had just taken some Air Jordan’s. I caught up with him and was ready to arrest him. After he told me that he has never had anything nice in his life, I decided not to arrest him. He wasn’t a bad kid. He was a kid. A kid that wanted some cool shoes. I had him return the shoes and apologize. I don’t know what the answer is. We live in a fast-paced world where people want things now. Unfortunately, when conflict arises they are often dealt with quickly. Without even thinking, guns are drawn and shots are fired and within seconds another life is lost. My mother used to tell me when I would get stressed or upset to just breathe. Maybe if we all took a step back and just breathe we could come up with some solutions. It is not an overnight fix. I have tried to fix it for a long time. Some were quick fixes, some took time, and many times I was unable to fix anything.
The only thing that has worked for me more than it hasn’t, is to treat people with respect. Our young people need to be heard. They need to know there are other options out there than a life of crime. If we come together as a community, maybe, we can change a perception. Young people need options. They need hope. They need a helping hand. I challenge all of us to take a step back, breathe, and maybe change a life.