Five police officers dead. Five fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers are gone. If you've experienced losing someone you love, you know the hole it creates. In several states across our nation people are mourning and protesting the suspicious deaths of several young black men by police officers. They have the right to protest and I am impressed with the overall peacefulness of Black Lives Matter and fully support their questioning of the frequent slayings of black youth and the price we all pay. When I saw a young woman record the death of her boyfriend, I wondered how she maintained the presence of mind to do so, but having had my husband the victim of a violent crime, I know you do strange things in the twilight zone of terror.
The price of violence
Many years ago, my husband paid the price. He accidentally walked into the middle of a gang fight at a convenience store. All he wanted was a cup of coffee, instead he was stabbed nine times, thrown across the hood of our blue Ford station wagon and left for dead. He managed to crawl back into our car when he caught the eye of a young man who restarted the assault.
My husband's bloody hand prints wrote the rest of the story as he grasped the ceiling of our car while the kids, children really, pulled him back into the parking lot. They planted a boot heel in his forehead and stabbed him a few more times just in case he wasn't dead. The youngest gang member was 14 the oldest 17. They tried to kill my husband because he was white which left us wondering: why the hate? Raising 3 kids took most of our money. We certainly weren't rich and we drove a powder blue station wagon, certainly not something someone would want to steal. No, this was a hate crime simply because my husband was white.
The price of forgiveness
We asked the police to allow the 14 year-old to stay with us. We wanted to show him the price of his actions, we wanted him to know what a family looked like, but most of all we wanted him to know he was forgiven before he found it impossible to forgive himself. We wanted to stop the spread of violence.
The lawyers shut us down at every turn so we never did discover the answer to his fury.The 17 year-old was sent to the California Youth Authority where he stayed until he turned 18. When he was released he raped a young girl and murdered an older man at the same store my husband was stabbed. He is now serving a life sentence in San Quentin.
The price of life
I have great sympathy for Black Lives Matter. Living with violence and the memory of violence changes a person's perspective. Having it happen on a daily basis in your own neighborhood creates the perfect scene for post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD isn't just for those in war zones. Sometimes the places we live are war zones and we pay the price to live in them. PTSD contributes to violence if it isn't recognized and dealt with and that will only lead to more problems down the line.
Paying the price of a hand-out
Part of the problem is the dissolution of the black family that the War On Poverty created. I remember well the 60s and 70s when welfare took the place of jobs. If there wasn't a man in the house, women could apply for welfare and the government would support them. The more children the more money. One women I knew had 3 children with 3 different fathers and was currently living with a boyfriend who moved out every time a welfare worker phoned to say she was coming for a visit. Of course he moved back as soon as she left. Welfare made a bad situation worse and encouraged unhealthy behavior.
An altruistic government doesn't exist. Dependency brings votes and a secure future to whatever party is in power. It is time for all of us to stand together to stop the divisiveness the government is thrusting upon us. We need to give our children strong traditional and non-traditional families and even stronger values. Our children need us and they need us now.
Before it is too late.
When All Lives Matter