Over the weekend, we all awoke to news of yet another police-involved shooting.
In most of the cases in the news recently, those involved have been men, so allow me to tell a story from a mother’s perspective, looking at the loss of lives from the male population.
We love our sons. Our brothers. Our fathers, grandfathers, cousins. Our neighbors. It would be devastating for any man that we love to be cut down in the prime of life.
Watching the press conference held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the mayor, the sheriff and the governor spoke of the horrific events of the day. Behind them, police officers stood in silent solidarity.
I watched, riveted, as these normally stoic officers showed the world their obvious pain. Some even wiped away tears. On the way out of the press conference, two of the officials hugged.
It was such an unusual thing to see, since, as a society, we expect men to keep a stiff upper lip.
One of the officers killed, Montrell Jackson, had posted on Facebook the prior week, “In uniform, I get some nasty, hateful looks, and out of uniform, some consider me a threat.” As an African-American police officer, he felt the pain from both directions.
To me, it summed up everything about the volatile situation in America regarding police and communities of color.
All any of us are looking for is respect, and it’s the one thing missing from all of the encounters we hear of in the news lately.
We can’t afford to keep losing our men in this way. The three officers involved will be mourned by wives, mothers, daughters, sons, colleagues and the community. I have to believe that the shooter himself will be mourned by his own family as well.
The Sheriff of Baton Rouge was moved, and spoke from the heart. He said, “This is about what’s in men’s hearts. Until we come together as a nation, to heal as a people, this madness will continue, and we will surely perish as a people. I ask for your prayers for this parish, this state and this nation.”
Or, put another way, we really just want our sons to come home to us.