By Susan Ashton-Burghley
These are changing times we live in and part of what I see emerging is peoples fear, frustration and rage. The people who act through these emotions are not discriminatory and thereby can affect anyone of us. Crime that appears to be random is perpetuating a cycle of misdirected emotion, for often times there are no witnesses and most of all, no connection between the victims and those that perpetrate. How are we to respond without contributing to this chaos?
A common response to this phenomenon is for victims to focus the blame on the police to relieve themselves of the anger and the frustration they feel. Would it be appropriate and constructive to attack the fireman who is there to extinguish the fire that is burning your house down? Should it depend on who set it for this service to be there for you or not? The questions are absurd and the answer is obvious but the same principle applies to our attitude toward the role of policing. We need to work together and realize that police are not causal in relation to the violence and crime that exists. It is their role to respond and if our needs as a society are changing, it is our responsibility to communicate this. Does this seem to be an overwhelming concept?
If so, it need not be. I feel as individuals, if we can look upon our own actions and responses and see where we can make the best out of our life situations, we are doing our part. The majority of people reflect what I feel is an innate goodness in man and so does this apply to those who choose policing as their profession. If as individuals (police and public) our actions do not serve the interest of ourselves or those around us, let us take responsibility and address the issue in a way that is meaningful to that particular situation, pertaining to those individuals involved. If we don’t take responsibility for our own actions, we then feed a collective unconscious that seeks out indiscriminate means to express itself and thereby affects us all. The question of blame becomes redundant; the question of individual responsibility becomes crucial.
The existing ‘them’ vs. ‘us’ response to resolution only serves to provide those who do not own up to their action/reactions with a vehicle that perpetuates lack of accountability. This vehicle, commonly referred to as the ‘system’ could be likened to an exhaustive maze which by present design supports the non-existence of autonomy in our society.
We, as a people, have allowed ourselves to be led down this garden path. We as individuals, have the ability to change this. We feel like the victims of a system which no longer serves us when in truth, we are the creators of it. We have relinquished our own authority and speak in terms of ‘they say’ as if ‘they’ are greater than ‘I’. Who are ‘they’ except a collective voice that draws its power from the relinquished authority of the individual? It makes little difference whether you are speaking about the relationship between the police and the public or a one to one relationship between two people. In order for it to flourish there needs to be communication which addresses the changing needs of both parties in a manner that is constructive and respectful. You are not the ‘bad’ guy if my needs are not being met; however it is my responsibility to voice my concerns and choose my direction accordingly. It does come down to working together.
Let us begin to learn to listen to what we ourselves truly feel and question that which is being fed to us by a media which, consciously or not, can promote separation in our society as opposed to understanding. There needs to be order, openness and honesty in our approach to our issues. Let us begin to create environments that support these basic values. Optimistic you might say and I do agree. I know I speak for many who would welcome a change of focus from the negative to the positive. Is this possible, you might ask and I say, the question no longer applies. It is absolutely essential to our existence here. We deserve, and should expect nothing less.
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