The incidents over the past few days have shocked a populace that is becoming used to reports of violent police encounters.
Yesterday CNN reported on the sad case of a Falcon Heights, MN man who was shot after being stopped for a broken taillight. He was reaching to get his wallet. His female companion in the front seat streamed video images to Facebook as he slumped over and died from his wound.
This followed quickly on the heels of the shooting July 5 in Baton Rouge, LA of a man named Alton Sterling. Vigils and memorials are being held to this man who was shot at close range after he had already been subdued. As in the other case, witnesses with smartphones recorded the incident.
Today, we are told that five Dallas police officers were killed by snipers, and more injured, apparently in retaliation for the previous shootings. Today is the the deadliest day for law enforcement since 9-11:
The ambush began with gunshots that killed five officers and sent screaming crowds scrambling for cover. It ended when a Dallas police bomb squad robot killed a gunman after negotiations failed. (CNN)
As in other recent tragedies we pray for the souls of the departed, and for God’s comfort to be given those who have to cope with the loss of their loved ones. We pray for the power of God’s Holy Spirit to restrain men from the violence that can so easily erupt in these confrontations.
We call our nation’s guardians to exercise restraint and discretion in their interactions with us.
And of course, we call all humanity to repent of wickedness and turn to the Lord. We point out that a wider embrace of the gospel of Jesus Christ would engender peaceful behavior and respect for law, that would make incidents such as these much rarer.
Another entry in our Reflections of the Fall series:
A 19 year old girl named Hannah Cohen was returning home from Memphis after receiving cancer treatment at St. Jude’s Medical Center. She was approached by a TSA agent after she set off the metal detector.
“They wanted to do further scanning, she was reluctant, she didn’t understand what they were about to do,” said her mother Shirley Cohen.
Cohen told us she tried to tell TSA agents her daughter is partially deaf, blind in one eye, paralyzed, and easily confused, but said she was kept at a distance by police.
“She’s trying to get away from them but in the next instant, one of them had her down on the ground and hit her head on the floor. There was blood everywhere,” said Cohen.
You can read more here: http://wreg.com/2016/06/30/disabled-st-jude-patient-sues-airport-and-tsa-after-bloody-scuffle-with-airport-police/
This is sad on many levels. Of course it is unfortunate that Islamic terrorism has been on the rise. Events like the tragedy of 9-11 have necessitated enhanced security at airports. To some extent, scuffles like this are the price we have to pay for security.
Also, there has been a lot of violence, perhaps one could even say an epidemic of violence, on the part of law enforcement in our country. This is but one of a sickening number of cases where we have seen misunderstandings escalate into brutality. A few that pop to mind are the killing of a beloved family pet as the police raided the wrong house, the killing of an autistic child who had threatened his grandmother, and the paralysis inflicted on a foreigner who didn’t understand when police asked him to stop.
As Christians we must try to reflect Christ’s light into the world. We pray for God’s aid to those who need it in these situations. We should be in solidarity with those who are victims, and do whatever we can to raise awareness and call our leaders to account. We should try to do our part to change things for the better.
While reading about the baltimore riots, we came across this interesting story:
“A federal court case has been launched after a SWAT team in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area busted into the wrong house, shot the family’s dog, handcuffed the children and forced them to “sit next to the carcass of their dead and bloody pet for more than an hour.”
Read more at http://mobile.wnd.com/2012/08/cops-kill-dog-handcuff-kids-in-wrong-house-raid/#Ojjdd4IDy7t9GDOd.99
It appears that the case was dismissed in 2013, due to the plaintiffs and their lawyer not following through with a response to the motion to dismiss. You can read the court proceeding here:
There seems to be a growing tide of stories about police excesses, followed by ugly destructive riots. Baltimore has followed quickly on the heels of Ferguson, MO. The mysterious death of Freddie Gray while in police custody has caused an explosion of violence that took the city by surprise.
The rioters can and should be held culpable for seizing on an excuse to indulge in an orgy of burning and pillaging. Attempts by those analyzing the violence to recast it as a racial struggle or a freedom fight or a revolution must be resisted. A recent CNN commentator went a bit over the edge when he said that the rioters are engaged in “righteous rage” against “police terrorism” and that the city is “not burning because of these protesters. The city is burning because the police killed Freddie Gray and that’s a distinction we have to make.” (Marc Lamont Hill on Breitbart.com)
Unfortunately it is in the moments when those we trust the most let us down, that the opportunity arises for such opinions. The police should not be completely let off the hook here. As a component of the public service, they should not brutalize those they are charged with protecting. Of course, as long as the uniforms are filled by humans, there will be corruption within the ranks, but as an entity the police force should be vigilant in fighting against it. They should avoid arrogance, remembering that their role is to be public servants, not public lords and masters.
Is this a sign that our civilization is decaying? Of course, the answer is “yes”, but it is no more than the same primordial decay that has afflicted humanity from the beginning.
We call this series “Reflections of the Fall.”