It's getting harder by the day to tell young people that we live in a nation that values freedom and which is governed by the rule of law without feeling like a teller of tall tales.
Tech is being used to highlight disturbing police behavior, but can it be used preventatively?
The bottom line for me as a teacher, a teacher educator, as a social justice activist, as a white man, and as a human being is this. Is it possible to get whites, especially white teachers to understand or empathize with conditions faced by inner city blacks and Latinos, and if it is, how do we do it?
In the middle of this, Burlington Police Chief Mike Schirling asked a critical question: What if we built this ourselves, based on our own needs and experience?
What's going on when some police officers escalate violence instead of calming it? Why would a professionally trained cop panic and kill when he could disable the person he sees as threatening? How are law-enforcement officers recruited?
If local police are going to receive military weapons at all, the federal government has an obligation to put some reasonable constraints on how they are able to use them.
Would putting a body camera on every police officer in America end police abuse? Of course not. But there is evidence to suggest that it would have an impact.
Even if you wanted to ignore the fact that Michael Brown was African American, there remains an issue to be discerned; a glaring sore at the rotting core of our foundation; an idea woven into the fabric of our society.
As the police profession and our greater society deal with ways to rebuild (and in many cases build) relationships between the police and its citizenry, I fear that if outsider reformers call for police to ignore disorderly offenses the chasm between the police and the community will only widen.
The United States is under the effects of a big storm: Ferguson. The city has been struggling to return to normal since an unarmed 18-year-old African American, Michael Brown, was killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, last summer.
It is becoming evident that police agencies are implicitly prioritizing their own safety over that of the public. This reorganization of priorities is implied by a passive but evident willingness to increase their protection and firepower at the cost of civil liberty and comfort.
What has happened in Ferguson can either move us forward or push us back. Most of its residents are reasonable, peaceful people who want change. But right now, the fact is whatever happens in Ferguson affects black people everywhere as it relates to this singular issue of deadly police force.
If police are supposed to protect us, who is supposed to protect us from the police? Despite all this conundrum, we CAN have a better life and make a better future if we aim our resources, voices and votes in the the right direction.
As protests continue across the nation, it is worth asking what, if anything, can be done to address the perception that citizens cannot expect help from the courts when police officers are accused of unjustifiably depriving them of their liberty, property or even their lives.
Not even minimal justice was in the cards for the loved ones of Michael Brown or the occupied community in which he lived -- because that's not how it works. Officer Wilson, whatever he did inside or outside the state's rules on the use of lethal force when he confronted Brown on the afternoon of Aug. 9, was on the front line of a racist and exploitative system.
My husband always has the option of changing careers. My son can never change who he is. But my son and other black boys need allies in uniform to protect him. Allies like his father.