Transparency! A word we keep hearing. When it is used by angry mobs, and civil rights organizations protesting police actions, it means; we don’t trust you. When used by chiefs and sheriffs, it translates differently; Trust us. We’ll discern the truth and will brief you as soon as possible.
It’s the same word, yet competing interests collide. There are so many frustrated and angry voices from the black community that are fed up with the headlines: “Black Man Killed by White Officer.” Conversely, peace officers can’t figure out why one black suspect killed by police, garners ALL the headlines on the same day five white suspects were also killed.
Lost in the justifiable demand for accountability by cops, is the requirement for social responsibility by people challenging armed enforcers of the law. Have we lost our collective mind? Nearly every conversation dissects the thoughts and actions of each officer involved in these incidents. Yet far too few words are uttered regarding causation. I.e. Proximate cause and ultimate cause.
Proximate cause is the immediate reason for something that happens. A person runs a red light thus causing an accident. That is the proximate, or most immediate reason for the collision. But it is later found that the driver had been carjacked by a bank robber and was being forced to drive at an excessive rate of speed to effect a getaway for the bad guy. So, the bank robber was the ultimate cause of the accident.
It is highly likely that everyone operating an automobile has at some point in his or her driving career, run a red light! Everyone! Good people, bad people, and in-between people! We are not robots. People err. Though how many of us have robbed a bank, kidnapped and carjacked someone, forcing them to run a red light and cause a collision? Voila! Not too many! The numbers just decreased by hundreds of millions.
The police are not randomly shooting African-Americans. Especially when a politically charged investigative colonoscopy is a certainty. Quite the opposite is true. Cops across the fruited plains hope they are not the next one in a potential life or death encounter with a black criminal suspect. It is a false narrative that peace officers are hunting colored prey.
If anything, today’s officers are more restrained than ever. But people engage in ultimate cause activity (any form of resistance and non-compliance) at far greater rates than ever. In many rebellious circles it is strongly encouraged. This leads to proximate cause injuries, and yes, death. The overwhelming majority of time, cops get it right. But on rare occasion, they do not, even though the decadent was the ultimate cause of their demise.
As the public continues to dissect the actions of law enforcement, I simply encourage people with influence to teach and train others to obey the police. On the rare occasion a cop is issuing an unlawful order, there is a remedy. Physically resisting the lawful authority of a man or woman in uniform is a bad idea. Through the process of transparency—after all the facts have been compiled, investigated, and evaluated by professionals—the truth will be revealed and civic minded people will understand. The rest will continue to scream and shout. Truth cannot be molded in fiction, it has to be cast in facts!