A Word of Reason – Sin ID’d as Culpret

I believe the following post by Benjamin Watson, currently a tight end with the New Orleans Saints, is especially insightful because he is a respected man of color.  I know that he absolutely captures my feelings.  While serving a career in law enforcement I witnessed first hand fellow agents who abused their power.  I also observed the fact that stereotypes are alive and well and I’ve certainly formed plenty of my own.  When I watch the evening news on TV and the lead-in is something like “There’s been another shooting in DC,” my mind’s eye tends to picture the perp.  You probably would have a similar mental image.  That is the natural result of expectations based on experience that we all have.  Similarly, because of my background, abuse of power is not my default image when I think of police or law enforcement.  On the contrary I have very positive thoughts.  In addition to the countless acts of self sacrifice I’ve personally observed by law enforcement personnel I also think of my son, Thatcher.  Thatcher serves as a sworn Auxiliary Police Officer for the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) and has devoted thousands of hours of community service in that capacity — and out of dedication — totally voluntary.  The same for Lisa Kennedy, a friend at our church who volunteers for the FCPD.  Still, I know that if I had a different background, lived in a different environment, had a different set of life experiences, I would probably view the police in a far less benign manner.  I would probably think abuse instead of sacrifice for community benefit.  So, what is the deal with Ferguson, MO.  I love this brief Facebook posting by Benjamin Watson because it digs down to the root of the issue. (Here is the link to his Facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/oo9szxv.) And, he doesn’t just stop there.  He provides a solution.  I’m thankful for Benjamin Watson and am officially changing my football loyalty to the New Orleans Saints — at least until the Burgundy and Goal decide to join the active ranks of the NFL.  RMF

New Orleans Saints player Benjamin Watson’s Facebook Post on Ferguson

I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.

I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.

I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.

images I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”

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About ronfurg

Former naval officer, federal investigator, forensic scientist, senior executive service member and pastor. In retirement serves as volunteer and life group leader at New Life Christian Church (www.newlife4me.com). Devoted to beautiful wife, kids and grandkids. Looking forward to the time when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
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