Personal Note

My most valued possession is my family. Even if you are living in a box somewhere, and you have the love and support of your family, you will always be wealthy. Love really is all you need. From love, great things will emerge. From your thoughts, you can create greatness.

This is what I need to remind myself of everyday to be the best person that I can be. Live your life with gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have everyday, even if it is your eyes to see or your ears to hear or your feet to walk or your hands to create. Understand your place in this Universe; how infinitesimally small you are, but how huge a contribution your Spirit is. Don't wear blinders to the world around you, you're not the only one here. Be kind, considerate, don't be judgemental, love others, and yourself. Know that you are perfect inside; that you are love.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri: Right Around The Corner To Home

What can I say?

This is right around the corner to home. I work in North County, St. Louis. Many of my Facebook (and now, true) friends work at the same place. I don't think I can mention where exactly I work, just to be conscious of the policy, but it is a hospital, and we serve the people of North County, St. Louis. This very much includes the city of Ferguson. I work over night; I have for over 12 years.

A few years ago my son and I ran our first race with other employees from my job on a team in the Ferguson Twilight Run. It was a 5K race through the historic downtown streets of Ferguson. A diverse, cute and quaint community with a Farmers market, a slew of shops and stores, restaurants, a brewery, lovely homes and a sense of community. It was an experience I was so impressed with, I planned to make it a practice as long as they held it.

These are the people we care for as medical professionals. People in this community work with me. We care for the sick, the injured and in many cases, the officers that get injured on the job, as well. I've seen many things in my time as an overnight employee. I've been treated unfairly by patients, I witnessed unfair treatment of people that have come through our doors. I've watched nurses treated terribly, as well as doctors. And I've learned to never judge a book by it's cover because I've had many more heartwarming experiences than negative ones. Most of the time it really didn't have any color; sometimes it did. That always made me sad, this discord among people.



The race is secondary. But no less a part of our make-up or our beliefs, our thoughts, our prejudices.

Our differences.

There are so many ideas, thoughts, opinions, caring words, hateful words surrounding this's all too much. There are things being said by folks who don't even know anything about the community of Ferguson. I, myself, don't know anything by comparison as some. I discuss things at work with my team mates who live there or around there, shop there, send their kids to school there. It is my understanding that the violence and discord that is tearing the streets apart are not the actions of the community of Ferguson, but people from outside the area. It is evident to see that the people of the community are saddened and even embarrassed by these actions. They are not tearing up their own community, they are trying to clean it up, rebuild it, even in the midst of the tragedy that befalls them. Families, young men and women and mom's and dad's are even bringing their kids out and are getting out there and trying to sustain some semblance of order.

Each night that goes by, with each new piece of evidence, the streets in, and now around, Ferguson, are becoming more and more violent. The National Guard has been called in to protect the peaceful protesters from the rioters.

A huge bone of contention in all of this is the disagreement between everyone about who is more wrong and who is more right. Both sides are being villainized. No matter which side you are on, there is pain. There is also a lot of misunderstanding. Misunderstandings that often stem from preconceived notions. And there may be a lot of truth to some of these notions. Listening to the people speak about their concerns and why they distrust the police, it becomes evident as to why there is discord. But you have to listen without prejudice. And don't just listen...hear. Hear them without your own opinion shadowing your thoughts. Digest what you hear. Be objective. Be smart and put your emotions aside. Do this for both sides of the story. You would want everyone to do it for you. At least your opinions will then not be tainted. It is one sure way of getting the truth.

Social media, something we are all somewhat addicted to, is becoming a catalyst for both spreading the word of truth and sharing and spreading misinformed ideals and hate. I'm as guilty as the next person for watching and sharing the opinions of others, as well as those I hold myself. I have watched several videos from the point of view of police wives, officers, and emergency personnel. I've read the comments from Mike Brown supporters suspicious of the reasons as to why a video of Mike Brown allegedly robbing the Ferguson Market was released at the same time the name of the officer who shot him was released. Was it to take the interest off of the officer and place it upon this kid by defaming his character? It's a valid question. And it is being asked. As is the question "why can we not wait until all the evidence is in before we crucify this officer? He has a family and a home and the media plastered his home address and photo of his house all over the news. Police officers get the shaft all of the time. Their job is hard and they put their lives on the line to keep us safe..."

But, then, there are a ton of videos surfacing of police overreach happening. You all know which ones I'm talking about. The lady on the side of the highway with the officer straddling her and beating her, the man outside being taken down for no apparent reason and telling the police "I can't breath" and subsequently dying after laying there face down and handcuffed, a video surfaced of two police officers grinning and waving at the camera filming from inside a house while they wanted to enter and one officer tried to slap the phone out of the mans hand but hit his mother in the face instead, police using a Tazer on dogs (as a matter of fact, I had to look up the proper use of the word "Tazer, tazed, tasering..." and the site I went to was Daily Writing Tips, and the paragraph to open the article was "It wasn’t until I wanted to write about an incident in which a policeman applied a Taser to a ten-year-old girl that I needed to know if I should write tazedtased,tazered, or tasered...." I don't believe this bodes well...

But, then there was the 8 second video of the three detectives apprehending a man and ordering him to put down his weapon, then it appears he was shot anyway. But, the officer behind him saw him pulling a handgun out of his back waist band and then he was shot, falling to the ground, gun still in his right hand. 

There are always two sides of the story. We don't help with our undue opinions, the media doesn't help when all they want to do is raise their ratings, and social media only helps half of the time because people love to latch onto sensationalism. I know everyone wants to show support to their respective sides. Peaceful protests continue for Michael Brown, who may not have been an angel, who may have pictures circulating on the web of him aiming a gun with a wad of bills in his mouth and a bottle of liquor on the table while his friend sits in the background surrounded in a cloud of smoke-or maybe that's actually a picture of 17 year old murder suspect Jodah Cain who led police on a high speed chase in Oregon (here's a hint: it is). That may be him in the video stealing and pushing the clerk, and he may have even had a scuffle with that officer prior to being shot. But he was unarmed. At least that's what we know so far. We don't know everything, but I am watching the news conference right now of the release of the preliminary autopsy results. He was shot multiple times, at least six according to the forensic results we have at this time, in the head twice. They are still working on collaborating with the other offices to put all the evidence together to clarify the trajectory of the bullets to prove if he was on his knees, facing the officer or not, arms up or not. Witness testimony is one thing, collaborated evidence is another.

I know that if it were my son, nothing else would matter to me about his behavior in that store. I'm sorry, but it wouldn't. If I knew my son was unarmed, and surrendering, if I truly as a mother believed that, my heart would be broken. In my eyes, my child would be gone, and I would want answers; justice, and peace to follow. Think about that. What if it had been your child? Leave race out of it for a second, because I know you all know that is playing a huge part in this, and your opinions. We all have them, no matter which side you are on.

What on earth made this officer do what he did? We just don't know yet, we can only speculate. And that is unnecessary and dangerous. Everyone is entitled to fair and just action. But is that happening? This is what seems to be the problem. Is the investigation going forth transparently? Is the distrust that the people of Ferguson, and much of the St. Louis region, of the police warranted? Is this officer being handled correctly, as any other non uniformed citizen would be after an incident like this? Can you at least understand the concern? Can you at least put yourself in the shoes of each side? It's necessary if we are to have peace until this is concluded.

I do believe this incident is the catalyst for the beginning of a much needed change for the problem that needs fixed in this nation, and beyond, concerning race and differences. And, now, between citizens and law enforcement. We need to finally decipher why there is such elevated distrust between citizens and law enforcement and take the proper routes to healing that. There are multiple reasons, on both sides. No one side is fully innocent, and no one side is fully guilty. This is why it is so important  to get over our judgments and prejudices and preconceived notions.

It's time to end this. It's time to come together and heal. This is not an unrealistic notion. The calm exchange of ideas and thoughts can make a wondrous difference. Getting to know and taking the time to understand one another can heal nations. Removing the chip from our shoulders and setting aside our overly prideful egos and the need to be "right" all the time can go a long way.

Open your eyes and try to view the world through someone else's heart.

If you assume someone else has watered the plants, they're going to die. You have to stick your fingers in the dirt and check yourself.

"Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future."
                                                                                     --Deepak Chopra

Thanks for reading, and my prayers go out to everyone involved and affected by this tragic case. Especially the mother who lost her son, because after everything is said and done, her boy is still dead.


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