My humble opinion
With all the tragic unrest stemming from interactions between law enforcement and individual citizens, between differing ideologies and political factions, and between protesters (peaceful and violent) over racial conflicts and inequalities, I’m saddened to conclude there is little chance of having meaningful discussion and resolutions in any near future. One obvious impediment is the refusal by many to admit they have their own bigotry feelings and actions. “It’s others who are to blame, not me.”
While members of my family have traced our lineage back over 12 generations to 1575, including the first arrival in the Colonies in 1635, those genealogy searches seldom provide much insight into the personal character of individual ancestors. I cite this because of my curiosity regarding the question of slave ownership by my ancestors. I found no answer, but since they all lived in the New England colonies and states where slavery was little practiced, I can only hope they had no involvement in that activity. On the other hand, despite the tremendous history of the last 400 years, it seems that none of my ancestors achieved any great fame — no explorers, military men, religious leaders, politicians of note. But no notorious criminals, either!
Coming back to the discussion of the unrest that is prevalent today: While some will disagree, I felt there was positive movement to overcome intolerance through peaceful efforts, those of Martin Luther King Jr. as an example. Unfortunately, now the opposite attitude reigns and is gaining far more attention. I am not of a minority group (yet), so I cannot speak for those who are. Like most people, I have met and had to deal with people whom I learn to dislike, but those feelings are based on the one-to-one interactions we have, nothing else. We are both free to go our separate ways without any continuing or lasting confrontation. No doubt there will be those who will question the veracity my stance, and it will be construed as a cop-out. To them, if I am not standing with protesters of one cause or another, they then say I am guilty of indifference. So be it! I truly feel that too many protesters don’t really care about the honesty of the cause; it’s all a big lark and excuse to let loose to the extent of causing destruction and mayhem. And they are easily led by professional anarchists. I ask, where have they lost the capability think logically and consider whether their own actions are more harmful than helpful for solving real grievances? Why do these peaceful protesters not openly protest against those who destroy their good efforts?
While I do not believe that the various press agencies willfully intend to foster violent protest actions, I would argue that their reporting methods, particularly television media, often contribute to the hysteria. Certainly, crimes and acts of violence are newsworthy events that should be reported in a timely manner. Each event has significant, often traumatic impact on those directly involved, whether it be individuals, families, neighbors and often communities. Yet it seems that in today’s reactionary environment, individual local events are increasingly reported over and over and conflated into national class action and class warfare scenarios for the sake of news notoriety, not truly for justice, as often claimed.
I believe annual statistics are being tabulated for the various crime types and rates, and I believe the press has the ability to find and provide this information so as to give the public an in-context, full picture of whatever injustices may prevail. Rather than constantly repeating news of a local event (it doesn’t change from the last airing), we must have repetitive reporting of the following:
How many violent deaths involve people of the same racial group, white on white, Black on Black, Asian on Asian, Hispanic on Hispanic, etc.? Why do these not arouse the same fervor for retribution?
How many violent deaths involve an inter-racial action: white on others, Black on others, Asian on others, Hispanic on others, etc.? Obviously, some combinations generate more hostility and a hysterical blame game ensues. Why? Is it any more unjust when a white person kills a Black man than when a Black person kills a white person? Do not ALL LIVES MATTER? YES, THEY DO!
How many of all the violent deaths involve police officers of all races against criminal individuals of all races? Similarly, how many occur against non-criminal civilians? Again, certain combinations will generate gross reactions and demands for punishment, even if not factually warranted. Why is the civil violence fomented by those who care nothing about the individual event tolerated by the peaceful protesters, thereby tainting the rationale for the peaceful protest.
How many violent deaths are inflicted on police officers of all races by persons of all races? Why are these not given the same notoriety? Police officers are people, their lives matter equally as any other.
I well understand that the family of a victim would not care much about the statistics, only that someone else has got to be guilty of a wrongdoing and punished, again even if not factually warranted.
I call upon the press to REPEATEDLY emphasize the whole frame of reference in order to not inflame those who thrive on news snippets of one ugly event.
Gene Hibbard lives in Lake Placid.