Thursday, April 30, 2015

The tears are still flowing

I trust you read yesterday;s post.  If not, take a couple of minutes to read my explanation of my feeling as I watch another of the streets of our great nation being torn asunder.  And now, my feelings about tomorrow's carnage.

I first sensed the feelings erupt while I was living in the Los Angeles area and had friends and business associates, either living nearby, or having businesses in the "watts" area when those riots took place. The first picture I saw of the carnage happened to include a building, a store front in particular, where I had worked with friends to get established a few years earlier.  Our concept was to take in used clothing for re-sale and offer it to nearby neighbors.  I did some door-to-door soliciting before we were open and in doing so, became friends with a number of the folks living in the area. And when they came to the store to look around, I offered them real discounts as sort of a "primer" to increase our sales.  It worked.

Next door was a Chinese restaurant and that became my lunch place where my "friends" knew me as soon as I walked through the front door and always had a "new"" dish for me to taste.  Four months in the area and I thought I had discovered a new, home away from home.  And now, my "home" was in ashes.  Why?  I had no idea, but I was about to learn, the folks in that area had grown tired of the police harassment, merely because of the color of their skin.

How could I know?  I had friends on the police force, good friends with one man on the State police who had previously served that area as a city policeman.  I talked with him and learned, the claims were typically found to be half truths.  Half of the arrests were for legitimate causes and the rest, questionable.  A car would be stopped for a minor infraction and then, the race "issue" helped to escalate the incident.

Years would pass by until I was asked to join in with a church group, interested in prison ministry, and we visited a State prison nearby and then, a few local jails.  Our primary interest involved Bible lessons, but as I noticed the disinterest, especially among the younger inmates, I started to question those I could and was immediately reminded of the stories I had hear in "my" old neighborhood.  I did some research and discovered, there were real issues involved and my attempts to locate people who might be interested in a legitimate analysis of the situation were typically ignored,  I learned that - for the most part, my church friends had little or no interest and even the Bishop of the denomination to which I belonged offered no encouragement.  I moved on with my life.

Then, there was the death of a young black man living near to community where I had once lived, shot by a white man who was carrying a gun, issued by his employer whose responsibility it was to protect the apartment area where the shooting occurred.  You probably read of the trial that ensued and the jury that found the shooter to be "not guilty" of the crime for which he had been charged.  My thoughts immediately went back to the impressions of my neighbor friends living in the Watts area.

And then there was Ferguson, MO, another incident of police killing a man in New York City, and now, Baltimore, MD, a city I had visited often when assigned to the USAF Armament Command when their headquarters were located in Baltimore.   What a great place to live, I used to think as I traveled about in the city and its surrounding.  One of my friends from that era lived close to the area where the current crisis is still being examined.

If our history continues in its long established path, nothing will come of this event, the young man whose funeral was held yesterday will soon be forgotten by our media and the perceived injustice will be buried deep into the psyche of the areas's current residents.  Sociologists will hurry to get their analyses of the problems into print  and what ought to be apparent to all of us, will soon be lost to the vast majority of our citizens.  There will be more deaths, more analyses and as usual, more brooms to sweep the real problems that will continue to exist into the waste cans.

Today, Hillary Clinton spoke of her concerns and her established GOP opponents hurried to inform their potential  electorate of the more accurate assessment of the situation.

So, here comes my handkerchief again.  My only solace will be the tears that I sense from on high.

It is my country that will eventually be destroyed if we continue to ignore the opportunities we have to heal the troublesome problem that we ought to be concerned with; the inherent rights of all of those our forefathers referred to as - "We, the people..."

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