It Was A Friggin’ Miracle…

I wrote a small piece about a t-shirt I saw in the days after the Ferguson riots. In a response from a close friend, I was given links to the Cato Institue , on the likelihood of being killed by Law enforcement, rather than by radical jihadis. It’s true, statistically speaking, one is more likely to die at the hands of the law enforcement officers (LEO) in Southeast Missouri-or anywhere in America, than at the hands of The Islamic State (IS). Ignoring the grammatical errors on the shirt, it still seems as preposterous now, as it ever did. Although, my friend still gave some validity to the content conveyed on the shirt. A debate ensued…

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(Photo via Red Flag News)

Something arose form this exchange of ideas, something I didn’t expect–something not seen for quite some time–a cogent and thoughtful dialogue between two individuals who disagreed on something, but both had the same fundamental moral compass. The basics: don’t kill, don’t rape, don’t steal, don’t sell human beings, and a mutual acknowledgement of our governing federal document, the antiquated, but functional, Constitution. This dialogue occurred with an old friend. Which was weird, because post-Ferguson and the ugliness it exposed in people, caused the social media lines of communication to all but cease to buzz. No one wanted to talk, life-long friends were at odds over opinions on Ferguson. Mr. Hizer, as he’s known to those of us who love him. Made some great points and was diligent to stay on the larger topic of militarization of law enforcement, and acknowledged my concerns with misinformation having dangerous social ramifications down the road. The topic was a ridiculous message on the afore mentioned t-shirt. I still firmly believe you do not want to be stopped by ISIS. They won’t just violate your constitutional rights–which sharia legalist don’t recognize at all–they could very well violate your right to have your head remain attached to your body. Sad, but true.

I wrote this after reading the Cato Institute piece:

I am aware of that–if you live in the country with those maniacs(IS)–you’re far more likely to die period.
It is preposterous to say American LEO shoots people of color in the street for sport–in the back–which I saw a multitude of our close, educated friends, post as “info”, in the early days of the Brown story. Which, is understandable given the emotions evoked by the event.
I’m of the nuanced view that LEO is scared and that’s truly dangerous–we can’t have a fearful police force. You get overreactions and thinly held together justifications of militarization of police forces.
That has to be checked by our larger legislative body–they control the allocations. The one thing LEO responds too, is having their funding cut.
[In the past] they’ve reacted with calculated apathy–that is to say they don’t police and crime rises, but I don’t see it playing out that way this time. I see the [US] senate hearings as a changing point in how LEO operates.
At the same time, once LEO makes those concessions–they’ll [feel] more justified in their policing. Especially, given that a trend to put body cameras on all police, has gained traction. Business is booming in the tech industry, but I cynically digress.
This street goes two-ways: why was LEO so afraid going down to control Ferguson? Because they were seeing literally, hundreds of thousands of strangers talking about killing cops on site. I showed you a few. I have many screen shots. That is harder to “control”. You can’t start arresting people based on a Facebook post, but when the person is holding an automatic weapon saying “come get this shit pigs”. How does LEO react? I mean–fear in this case is rational.

I also asked him what kind of message was that shirt sending? How would a ten year-old see that shirt? Having no way to comprehend the horrors perpetrated by ISIS, what ten year-old could the make the comparison? It probably wouldn’t be an issue, if Americans hadn’t started to join ISIS and fighting for jihad. There is a dangerous trend and that poorly written t-shirt doesn’t help matters. It should be pointing out to any would be jihadis out there, you won’t be killing Americans in Syria and Iraq, you’ll be killing other Muslims. Don’t do it.

To Mr. Hizer’s credit he answered with this quote below.

On the shirt guy:
I understand and even agree, but… If you live in southeast Missouri, you are much, much, much more likely to have an altercation with law enforcement than with a terrorist.
You do that 10 year old no service to fill his head with a fear of a monster from far away while we ignore the monster in your pocket.
I’m just saying that he should be aware of the threats he will face, and ISIS is a threat he is not likely to face.
I don’t agree with the way he’s made his point, but he does indeed have one.

Indeed, the man wearing the shirt does have a point. No–you have about a zero percent chance of meeting ISIS in Southeast Missouri, at this point. Poor people–of all colors–have a much higher statistical likelihood of being harmed or killed by US LEO.

I can’t stop ISIS, I can only report on what I read in the media and from first hand accounts about their activities. I have a much better chance of reversing trends in LEO and helping build community relations in my state. I think that’s brought about through more personal community engagements and connections and less armored cars and, to quote Matt Welch of Reason Magazine, less “fucking flash bangs grenades”. Those have a time and place. A babies crib, is undisputedly neither the time, nor the place for that incendiary device. Unfortunately another case like Michael Brown’s is bound to happen. I still believe police should be armed and I believe in our flawed due process. We all agree this needs to be addressed and honestly, I think each different approaches to this are necessary, in their own right. They all also have flaws–my own approach included–that’s where collaboration and cooperation are key.

Collaborating with people you may not agree with will help both sides address the flaws in their messaging and thinking. However, collaborating on something’s is impossible without a base set of agreed upon ideas, something usually found between most Americans, if people choose to look hard enough.

Mr. Hizer has legendary skills of compassion, cooperation, and collaboration with the right kind of people. He’s a great example of those choosing to move forward past the night of August 9th, 2014.

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