Some time ago I wrote a post about my experience with my city’s Citizen Police Academy (CPA). As events have unfolded in various cities across the nation, the media has rushed in to create a story based on “eye witnesses accounts” and various experts. There is no doubt in my mind that there are race issues in our country. I have traveled by road across a good part of America. I have eaten in restaurants where I was the only “white” customer. I have seen first hand the bigotry of people from all races. As a Californian of mixed European decent, I have experienced abuse from people of other cultural and/or racial decent. I have worked with and have friends from just about every culture and nationality. To me they are just that, friends and co-workers. California has just become the most populated state in the USA. To put this in perspective, California’s population is larger than all of Canada. It is also the most culturally diverse state in the country. Historically people of European decent and those of Hispanic decent were combined in the census data. When this ethnic group is divided, people of European decent make up 39% and those of Hispanic decent make up 38.4% of the population in California. When one considers the margin of error, there is no real majority in California (we do happen to have the majority of
liberal extreme interesting politicians in Congress).
The job of a Police Officer from my observations is that at one moment all is quiet and the next you are backing up a fellow officer with a suspect at gun point. It is dealing with the third DUI of a single shift. The constant revolving door of people with mental health issues who have been abandoned by their families and are now homeless. Then there are the truly evil people who are cycling in and out of the prison system. Most of the people Police Officers come into contact with on a daily basis are well-known to the officers, as well as the Deputy Sheriff’s who work in the jail, and are on the wrong side of the law. Each officer has to make split second decisions that can mean the difference between life and death. I know from what I learned in the CPA is that the last thing a Police Officer wants to do is draw his weapon and have to fire it in self-defense, to protect the public from harm, or to deal with someone who is a danger to themselves (suicide by COP).
Having been through a training scenario of a typical contact during a family crisis, I lost my life because I did not respond quick enough to shots being fired. A very sobering experience and a realization of the risk Police Officer’s experience on a daily basis. Fortunately it was just a training scenario and I was able to go home at the end of the day. As we have seen recently in New York City, two Police Officers were not so fortunate when they were assassinated while sitting in their Police Cruiser. Two officers in France lost their lives yesterday. In the past week four officers have been wounded in the U.S. and fortunately survived.
There have been several high profile cases of Police Officer involved shootings in the past several years. Unfortunately for the officers involved, they were tried in the media and deemed guilty before the investigation was complete. Presumption of innocence is the bed rock of the U.S. legal system (U.S. Constitution 5th, 6th, 14th). From my perspective the news media, as well as many journalists, have lost their integrity in the rush to create a story. Reporting only the facts of a story and waiting for all the evidence to be examined has been lost in America. Until we as individuals un-glue ourselves from our 24 hours news, and stop watching the false information that is being presented, will the news media outlets change their ways.