Once more we are confronted with the undue use of police force against a human being, this time the alleged murder of a young black man in Chicago, Laquan McDonald. Of course, we are all appalled by the evidence of the disproportionate use of force, and of course we all need to speak up.
But we need to do more than that. We need to simultaneously change the conversation. We need to ask why Jason Van Dyke had at least 20 complaints against him. We need to ask if Jason Van Dyke was showing signs of being incapable of regulating his use of force. We need to ask if Jason Van Dyke was showing signs of racism, which some have alleged. And then we need to ask why he wasn't helped.
We call the police when we need them -- to find our lost car or track down a thief, a rapist or a dog who wandered off. But as a whole, we don't support our police to deal with the stressors of their job. We don't, as a society, look at who is attracted to become a police person, how they are trained and how they are coping with their own fear and power.
Let's face one terrifying fact: Few of us are completely masters of ourselves. We get angry, in fact we get rageful at times. Parents hit their kids in a fit of anger. We lash out emotionally at one another. In addition, we live in a world that still glorifies "shoot 'em up" images of "real" men doing manly things and often expect men to be real-life heroes, defending us like Batman. And beyond that, violence is still national policy, and we are quick to justify war and bombing those we don't like.
Who among us should be police people? How many of us should be trusted with weapons? How many of us are in command of our emotions? How many of us are free of racism and fear of other races and religions? How many of us are not puffed up by the feeling of power?
While we are throwing stones at racist police, let us look at ourselves. Let's examine our attitudes toward one another, and let's ask ourselves if we are doing enough to support the people to whom we entrust the power to kill.
Beth Green is the founder of TheInnerRevolution.Org, host of Inner Revolutionary Radio on VoiceAmerica.com, host of Beth Green TV and co-sponsor of the Campaign to Unite All Movements (also co-sponsored by TheInnerRevolution.Org). The Campaign to Unite All Movements is a newly formed group dedicated to bringing together movements whose focus is fighting for themselves and uniting their efforts to fight for one another and the good of all. Please join the campaign!