Cottle: On discrimination and violence, we are all responsible
I watched in horror as an officer kneeled upon the neck of a man handcuffed on the ground. What a tragedy! But equally tragic is the others "dedicated to serve" stood ideally by. Is it because they were so used to placing a knee on the neck of the detained or that the "blue line" isn't crossed, or some other self, blue-culture, absorbed reason?
At what point does the kindergarten lesson we teach, "When you see someone doing wrong to your brother or sister, stop them," apply to our police? They are supposed to be the ones we turn to for protection. How can we, when it is they that violate the principle of being a protector, "When you see someone doing wrong, stop them, even if they are blue."
So, I want to join the protestors. How can I, when so many of them have become aligned with those officers in their ethos? They join a peaceful crowd and stand around watching their compatriots do wrong. Certainly, there have been heroic moments, when some of the peace protestors stop others from looting and harming others. But the fine line of doing right has been crossed, with others watching and doing nothing as women, businesses and men's necks are figuratively kneeled upon and so many just stand around and do nothing — they have become that what they despise.
But doing nothing is the same as watching my brother or sister being harmed. So, I turn to the experts, the ones that have transcended.
"Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love."
"War ends only when people love each other."
"It is a time-honored adage that love begets love. Let us pour forth love — show forth our kindness unto all mankind, and the Lord will reward us with everlasting increase; cast our bread upon the waters and we shall receive it after many days, increased to a hundredfold."
"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."
But what can I do? Prepare now for the battle ahead, the battle isn't with others, it is with ourselves, look inward, root out from within the bigotry you nurture. Praying/mediation isn't the answer, it's the beginning. We have to engage in self-realization of our own faults and attitudes towards others, be it for their poverty or wealth, skin color or ethnicity, their politics, religion, or otherwise.
You are the problem, we are the problem, not just the cops, or the mayors that sit ideally upon their hands in times of peace, only to shout out "who what have thought" when the storm is upon them.
They should have, we should have, been preparing now, to train ourselves to show forth kindness in times of peace so in times of war, the love within, frees us from the hate that abounds.
I know that the police need to use a measure of violence to protect us, but the violence should not cannot be a manifestation of who they are, but a manifestation of the need to protect and serve.
To George Floyd, who I never met, may your senseless death lead me to be a better person, lead us to be a better people and be a stepping stone to a greater love of our human family.
Mark Cottle lives and practices law in Sherwood.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.