The thoughts of a writer.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Cause and Effect


1. noting a relationship between actions or events such that one or more is the result of the other or others.

The shooting of Philando Castile is a tragedy. It is also a time for everyone to be careful how they react to it. Governor Mark Dayton has said this would not have happened if Castile had been white; though we still do not have all the facts of what had happened prior to the now widely viewed video taken by Castile’s girlfriend. Because of this, I believe that Mark Dayton has contributed to the public unrest. This is cause and effect.

It might be a good time for all of us to think about the cause and effect of what each one of us does and says. It is possible that the officer who shot Castile was reacting to the fact that a disproportional number of gun related murders are committed by young black men. Because of this, the officer may have been more likely to distrust a young black man with a gun (even if the gun was legal). It might not be right or politically correct, but police officers are human and they need to make quick life-and-death decisions.

As protesters react to the shooting of Philando Castile and another recent incident, the shooting death of five police officers in Dallas is likely to have the effect of causing police to be even more suspicious of young black men.

I remember the 911 attacks in September of 2001. The United States had the sympathy of the entire world as the victim of a tragic attack. That support soon "dried up" once the U.S. military was sent into foreign countries to avenge the many deaths. That is cause and effect. If you are being mistreated, I will walk with you in protest. If you blame your problems on the color of my skin, I will not walk with you. If you commit murder, steal or destroy in the process, I will likewise not walk with you. If you jump to conclusions before the facts are known, I will be waiting for those facts and answers. All of these things are fueled by cause and effect. We need to stop the killing. Whether it is black on black, police on black or whatever divisive combination you care to come up with (to further your own political agenda), you are contributing to the cause and effect. Whether you choose to do it in a beneficial way is up to you; but it will ultimately influence the future and could get someone else killed in the process. If you are angry and/or irresponsible you might not care. But a lot of us do care. A lot of us have friends and even relatives who are of a different race than us. Some of us have children who are. I hope our children can live in a world that we have improved—because racism, distrust and how we deal with tragedy and controversy are learned. What are we teaching our children? Children aren't born prejudice. I know that, because I grew up across the street from a black kid who was a playmate. My son has two races and two cultures and two languages. He loves both of them.

We need police officers. they are the first people we call when we need help or when there is trouble. They have a dangerous and difficult job sometimes. They need to be wary of who they are confronting. Their lives depend on it. How you want police officers to view you, your race and your culture, starts with you as an individual and extends to everyone else around you. Don't turn the legacy of this tragedy into a worsening of our society. Be careful of your words and actions; and let it be a tragic lesson for the betterment of the world. If Philando Castile was the man people say he was, then he would want it that way. —KJC

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