Police Lives Matter Also!!

I am absolutely stunned by the violence directed towards police in Philadelphia this year.  I empathize along with the rest of the country over the innocent people killed by police officers.  Eric Garner, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice and Philando Castile all suffered terrible fates at the hands of officers of the law.  The circumstances of the shootings led many neutral observers to wonder what kind of training these officers received before receiving a shield to protect and to serve.  The Black Lives Matter movement was spawned because of the rising rate of innocent civilians of color losing their lives in encounters with men and women in blue.

On January 7th, 2016 a gunman shot police officer Jesse Hartnett while he was sitting in his police cruiser in West Philly.  He was severely wounded but was able to get out of his car and shoot the fleeing suspect.  The suspect was unemployed and supposedly committed the crime in the name of Allah.  On Friday, a police officer was targeted in the same way in another West Philly neighborhood.  52nd and Sansom is a major intersection and numerous people were shot and killed after the initial attempt on the officer's life.  The suspect was shot and killed by pursuing officers.  This was not done until he shot four other people killing one.  God Bless you Sarah Salih.  You lost your life for sitting in a car speaking with your boyfriend while a man with a death wish ran past you.

The police officers that were assassinated in Dallas and Baton Rouge all had families and wanted to spend more time with them before their lives ended.   Almost 1000 people were shot and killed by police officers in 2015.  One-hundred thirty-six African Americans have lost their lives at the hands of police in 2016.  We still have three months to go in this year.  There is a lot of pent up frustration and rage in minority communities because of what they see as a lack of justice as a result of these killings.  Freddie Gray died in the back of a police van in Baltimore and no one was prosecuted for his death.  Unsolved shootings and homicides in Baltimore soared when the police felt like they were targeted unfairly as a result of his death.  No one is winning in this war of attrition.

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I know police officers that live and work in Philadelphia.  Some are my former students.  Some are former co-workers.  All are friends.  I pray that God covers them with a shield of safety.  A young man decided to shoot at police officers last night on South Street when officers asked him to extinguish a joint.  What kind of rage triggers this kind of reaction to something so trivial?   Nicholas Glenn was a foster child according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He also had a lengthy arrest record.  I love to see children succeed in spite of being involved in the DHS system.  If it weren't for foster parents our society would be much worse than it is now.  Why did this young man have so much hatred towards police that he would attempt to murder one on a busy city street?  It is not to be blamed on racism or police brutality or stop and frisk.

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So many people have to heal after encounters with police this year.  There are families of police officers that have been buried this year that are trying to figure out why a career choice sometimes causes death.  I am a person who would like to receive assistance if I call 911.  I am thankful for the peaceful night that I experience because police officers are doing their jobs.  The United States and Russia just negotiated a fragile truce in Syria.  Can anyone call a timeout on the war against police officers that is being waged by vigilantes and anyone else with a chip on their soldier.  The way to true healing in our society can only be achieved if the forces or evil are overcome by patience and the reluctance to pull the trigger.  Goodspeed to all of the people shot in Philly in a horrible week of violence that began last week.

P.S. Terrance Crutcher was fatally shot by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He had his hands up and was targeted by at least four police officers.  There was civil unrest in Charlotte, NC last night as another African American male was gunned down while carrying a book.  I don't condone police violence against unarmed African Americans.  Assassination attempts are not warranted in any situation.  It is a sad situation in America right now.

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