Op/Ed By Wallace Mabry
In the ongoing rash of police killings of unarmed black men throughout the nation, the killings of police officers, and the rising toll of black-on-black homicides, the president of the Rochester police officers’ union, Mike Mazzeo, stated an ominous warning in the Wednesday, Sept. 9 edition of the Democrat and Chronicle. He said he and his team plan “to come out with some strategies that are going to protect our membership.”
Mayor Lovely Warren’s spokeswoman, Jessica Alaimo, speaking on behalf of the mayor, and the police chief, Michael Ciminelli, also stated, “The men and women of the Rochester Police Department are the heroes of our community, and they have the city’s unwavering support and gratitude. The city invests heavily to make sure officers have the tools they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.”
In these perilous times, black people can ill-afford not to take heed to the crusade which seems to have become a regular feature in the Democrat and Chronicle, this depiction of police officers as heroes; lest we find ourselves overwhelmed in the vagaries of deception and manipulation, and allow the hypnotic effect of persuasion to overcome our senses of vigilance.
Let me set forth some definitions. A hero, according to the foremost authority on definitions, the Webster dictionary, is someone who is admired for his or her achievements and qualities. Those are not the attributes of the cops cruising black neighborhoods. And, anyway, according to Webster, hero worship is decidedly foolish.
Conventional experiences, bolstered by critical thinking, ought to be our guiding light, which would clearly reveal that the only changes in the mannerisms of police have been the polite way in which they sometimes now approach and engage with us prior to throwing us (black men, black women, and black children) to the ground; setting a weighted knee on our necks, shooting us in the act of carrying out their lawful duties, or taking us downtown where, out of the scrutiny of other prisoners and video cameras, they surround us, smack us around, and, if we defend ourselves, seriously beat us up, and claim we initiated an assault against an officer.
This is truly a time when black people must think, and consciously sift through the myriad of false presentations, and the illusions of positivism they encourage. We must be consciously aware of the wiliness of politicians, and of their use of semantics to mislead us. We need to KNOW what is (the reality) as opposed to what is said to be (the reality).
The police are not our heroes. They are men and women who have the same levels of, and potential for, frustrations, animosities, immoral character, criminal tendencies, and family conflicts that every other man and woman may have. Their criminal exploits have been the subject of no few news accounts, and counting. The only difference between us and them, is that they are armed, and they are charged, by virtue of their employment, with the maintenance of law and order.