A friend just passed an article to me for my opinion. The article was voicing a lot of anger toward the Commissioner of the National Football League for allowing the demonstrations taking place on the sidelines during the playing of the National Anthem. Particularly noteworthy, the article was penned by fellow Marine and friend.
I am receiving a surprising number of requests for my opinion. Here it is.
Without a doubt, there are tremendous amounts of emotion on all sides of the issue being demonstrated against by the professional football players. The issue is police brutality against African American Men.
As difficult it is for me to see this demonstration, I support the right to do so. It is the very reason most, if not all, of us who have worn the cloth of the nation in the first place—“…to defend the Constitution…” It is also difficult for me to see the Flag, representative of that Constitution, burned by protestors. Protestors have been U.S. citizens as well as foreign nationals who don’t seem to like the U.S. and what we stand for and it is what we stand for that makes all the difference between us and those that hate.
We are for freedom of expression. We are for freedom of religion. We are for freedom to bear arms. We are for free speech. We are for equal rights under the law. I could go on, but you get the point. What makes us, citizens of this great Nation unique is what we are for not what we are against. Those of us who have worn the cloth of the nation, and those that do, have written checks to the citizens of the country payable with their lives.
I would like to see those trying to make a difference by demonstrating their anger make a difference by helping Police Departments. They need help. Most Law Enforcement Officials are doing their utmost best at all times. They will be the first to tell you they could use more training and education. Would it surprise you to know that many departments have in the area of $2,000 for an annual training budget! If you are not shocked, you have sand for blood.
City managers are doing their best to husband the taxpayer’s money. Police Departments are doing what little training they can with the money they have. Just getting Officers to the pistol and rifle range can take up the budget for a department. Most departments are not utilizing situational shooting, but standing still shooting at stationary targets.
There are some training and educational programs that emphasize cultural competency, managing stressful situations and community policing but is not affordable to a vast majority of departments.
I am all for supporting those who exercise their right to express themselves through demonstration. I am all for those with the means, to make a difference by being for a well trained Law Enforcement Official. Care enough to look at the causes of the events flooding the news; there are many and complex reasons for things going horrifically wrong. One of the most glaring, and fixable, is the dearth of training and education.
Make the statement on the sideline and take action in the community. It sells newspapers and gets boosted TV ratings protesting against police brutality. It is a mark of greatness to be FOR something. Be for improved law enforcement; make a donation to assist in getting the needed training and education for your local department.
Be the difference you want to make—go ahead and kneel, then write that check.
Of course, this is just my opinion.