Saturday night in Brooklyn, New York, two on-duty New York City police officers were shot in their car by a man who had left messages on the Internet saying it was time to take revenge for the recent killings of black men across the country.
First and foremost I want to make it abundantly clear that I do not condone such acts of lawlessness and anarchy. No one in their right mind would. The first thing I thought when I saw the story on CNN was of the families who will not be able to celebrate the Holidays with their now-deceased loved ones.
But my next thought was, Is this a case of karma or merely bad luck? When I say karma, I do indeed mean it in the sense it is generally used. The dictionary definition of karma is “action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation.” No, I do not believe these two officers brought about their own deaths merely by being police officers. Rather, I am postulating that when so much negative energy flows in one direction within the universe, eventually, as a way of balancing all force, it eventually flows in the opposite direction. Men are killed needlessly, nothing is done about it, people are outraged. Two men are killed in a police car, much is made of it, people are outraged. But, worst of all, despite all of this death and injustice, nothing changes. Things remain at stasis. Both sides talk, but they talk past one another, not seeking to actually communicate.
Instead of pulling us further apart, we should all dedicate ourselves to making sure that we use all of these tragedies, all of these deaths, to bring about fruitful conversation, constructive dialogue, real understanding between all of us, no matter what our differences may be or how deeply entrenched our positions may seem.
One of the most troubling images I saw today was a group of New York City police officers turning their backs on Mayor Bill DeBlasio when he walked into a hospital where the bodies of the two slain officers had been taken. Was that necessary? You disagree with the Mayor so you turn your back on him? Did we suddenly devolve back into being 7-year-olds? This only puts salt on already fresh wounds. If those officers feel they cannot trust the mayor, or that he “threw (them) under the bus” on the Eric Garner case with his comments, then perhaps they should turn in their badges and seek work elsewhere, because, like it or not, the mayor and the people who elected him are their bosses. Sometimes I think a small minority of cops in this country forget that we are not obligated to accept what they say at face value and obey their instructions as if they were from the mouth of Almighty God Himself.
What is needed now is healing, talking, and, most of all, love. Short of that, all we are left with is the primitive concept of an eye for an eye. And as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us before he too was taken from us in an act of extreme hatred, an eye for an eye only winds up leaving both parties blind.