Just a day after I posted about police brutality and the death of Alton Sterling, another black man, Philando Castile, was killed by an officer, while he was sitting in his car with his girlfriend and her daughter. Then, the next day, an angry black man opened fire on police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas. Eleven officers were shot and last I heard, four of them died—the death toll may be up to five by now—it’s hard to keep up. And naturally, social media exploded. Everyone is angry and scared and I spent most of yesterday and all of last night moderating heated debates over the validity of everyone’s points of view. A couple of my Facebook friends really got into it with each other and finally, I felt it best to contact each of them privately to discuss respect and patience in regard to sharing their views. One of those friends, who also happens to be my sister, had a LOT to say and tried to draw me in to an argument about something else. (She openly admits she likes to debate for the sake of debate.) Ultimately, we were able to move on, but the contention was electric, and I’m not eager to experience that again.
In talking to my kids about the state of affairs in the world, I commented that Satan is working really, really hard right now—but I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that Satan isn’t really working that hard—he just has to throw us a reason to be angry and we take over being ugly and horrible for him.
My heart is heavy for all the loss, for all the misunderstanding, and for the apparent lack of desire to put down our guard and our weapons (whether words or guns or whatever) and see each other as human beings—to acknowledge each other as children of God and to put our own interests and prejudices aside to understand other views, experiences, fears, hopes, and dreams.
Since the Dallas shooting, there have been several more incidences of black men being killed by police, and angry black citizens shooting at officers and at white people. I am ashamed of what our country has become. A few weeks ago, I was on Facebook, reading a travel thread from a friend in Australia. Many of her friends (also Australian) commented that they have no desire to visit the United States because it is such a violent country. One person said “it’s like the Wild West over there. Lawless!” I was embarrassed when I read that, and sad. I wanted to explain that the US isn’t as bad as the media makes us out to be, but then there were all these shootings over the course of one week!
I am sad. I am angry. I am afraid—even though I live relatively removed from where the violence is occurring. There is trickle down from the violence that bleeds into the attitudes of those around me, and I’m afraid of what the angry fearful attitudes will produce in my own community. I am fighting fear and anger by advocating for calm, kindness, and understanding, as we collectively sort ourselves out.