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Something to Think About: Black Lives Matter Explained

Op/Ed By Michael Vaughn

 

new michael vaughnAn organization has emerged recently called “Black Lives Matter.

This organization has been spurred by what appears to have been black men being killed by white police officers, when the black men have not done anything to provoke the shootings.

And, as more of these incidents have been reported, the group Black Lives Matter has become more, and more vocal.

In addition, there have also been alternative narratives regarding these incidents, which is why the phrase “All Lives Matter,” has arisen.

Some folks believe the phrase has been created to minimize the focus on black lives.

However, the problem, in my opinion, is that those who are espousing the phrase “All Lives Matter” have missed the point, at least conceptually, that Black Lives Matter is trying to make.

All sane people would have to agree that “All Lives Matter,” so that should not even be part of the discussion.

Consequently, as I have pondered the back and forth conversation regarding why “Black Lives Matter” is no reflection of the fact that “All Lives Matter,” I have decided to step into the fray, and offer an explanation as to why everyone should consider the idea of “Black Lives Matter.”

Usually, in the context of this discussion, there are folks who bring up the fact that more black lives have been taken by black people than have been killed by white police officers.

That is a true statement which is not, and cannot, be refuted.

However, the main difference between black folks who are killing black folks, and white police officers who are killing black folks, is the fact that one involves a police officer, who is a law enforcement official, and a person whose job it is to ensure our laws are being obeyed.

We must look at this distinction very closely, to understand and recognize why what we are seeing is such a huge issue.

It is heartbreaking when one life is lost, whether it be a young black man, a police officer, a young Asian man, a young white man, or any person; however, there is a huge difference when the one who is doing the killing is an officer of the law.

Our society is governed by laws, and we entrust law enforcement officials to do just that, to enforce the law.

So, when an officer instructs us to do something, we have to, and should, comply with the command.

And, if we do not, we should be subject to the consequences of breaking our societal laws.

However, a problem may arise if we are afraid to call the people who are supposed to enforce the laws, simply because we believe we may inadvertently be considered a threat, and have our lives taken for merely trying to obey an officer’s command.

There is a difference between a police officer, and a regular citizen.

We hold police officers to the highest possible standard, because of whom, and what, they represent.

Without them, and without a populace that trusts them, our society would fall apart.

This is the explanation the “Black Lives Matter” movement should use, in response to questions regarding the reason for its existence.

I don’t believe it should be an emotional movement, or one which promotes violence against officers, but it should be one which exists to ensure our society does not erode into anarchy and violence.

I cannot emphasize enough that, “All Lives Matter,” and that we should obey our laws, and respect the job that police officers have to do every day.

We should realize they have one of the hardest jobs in America, and they deserve our support, and prayers.

As we do this, we also must understand that, while it is horrifying what young black men have done to each other in cities like Chicago, black-on-black crime does not equate to an officer of the law killing a person for what appears to have been actions which are not life-threatening.

One represents a huge and horrible problem in our society which has to be addressed. The other represents a destructive threat to the very existence of our society which has to be addressed.

Ultimately, while both are extremely horrible; they are not equal, and to say otherwise would diminish the attention they both need!

If you would like to contact me, please email me at mvaughn.seniorpastor@newwineskin.org.