The violence in Ferguson, Missouri, has raised questions about whether or not law enforcement and the public are on the same side. So what do you say to your kids when police violence makes you question the very people you tell your kids to go to if in need of help? Despite the mantra, “No justice, no peace, who can you trust? Not the police,” I’m raising my kids to have a healthy view about police officers.
As Mike Brown and a friend walked down the streets of their St. Louis suburb on Aug. 9, 2014, the 18-year-old was shot by a police officer during a struggle between the officer and Brown. The investigation shows that Brown was unarmed at the time of the shooting, but also states that the victim reached for the officer’s gun which ultimately resulted in his death. And, no surprise, the community is ticked off.
By the next day, Brown’s parents retained Benjamin Crump, the same attorney who represented Trayvon Martin’s family. And by that evening, a candlelight vigil turned violent with vandalism and looting, affecting more than a dozen of businesses within the community. So how can I look my kids in the eyes and tell them to feel bad for the people who are justifying violence in their own neighborhood as a solution to a tragic situation?
In circumstances like in Ferguson that incite cries of racism and pit local law enforcement against the community, no one wins. But, when violent protests demanding justice for Michael Brown and death threats to police officers keep kids from attending the first day of school, I say that the fools crying, “no justice, no peace” have no one to blame but themselves for the police violence.
Now, I’m not saying I know any more about the case than the media has released — there are still a lot of unknowns to be investigated when it comes to the Mike Brown case. And being a police officer doesn’t give anyone justification to use unnecessary violence, either. The sad truth is that the world is full of violence, mistakes, bad judgment and tragedy. And kids shouldn’t be taught, especially by bad example, to label all law enforcement as bad and the people breaking the law — regardless of why — as the victims. In this case the Ferguson protesters are out of line.
I hope that the accurate facts are revealed in the Mike Brown case — his family deserves to have that information. But regardless of the facts, when my kids turn to me and ask who the good guys really are? I’m going to make sure they know that the police officers, the people who put their lives at risk every day to keep our city safe, are always the heroes to turn to if my kids are ever in need of help. With positive guidance and a hellofa effort to help my kids learn to keep their noses clean they may never have to experience what the community of Ferguson is going through.