This is the second post of a two-part series looking at fear related to the hot topics of 2020. In the first post, we took a look at fear surrounding COVID-19. In this post, we will dive into fear associated with the tense political climate surrounding the death of George Floyd, the protests, and the riots. Then, we will consider why facts not fear are the solution.
George Floyd and Justice
The death of George Floyd was inexcusable and horrific. It should never happen to any human being. People should be outraged that this specific officer reportedly had many complaints against him. They should also be concerned that this was done with other officers in attendance.
This situation is a reason to be upset. It is a reason to want change. It is not a reason to harass, injure or shoot other police officers.
The recent attacks on police officers could be because people are upset about what happened to George Floyd. However, it is very possible that his death is simply an excuse for opportunists to attack other officers. It is important to ask, “What do these attacker expect to accomplish?” Perhaps they want to incite fear in the police community and the community at large. However, the attacks will not change what happened. Again, we should be asking “Why?” What is their purpose?
The bigger story, however, that has overshadowed calls for equal treatment is the hijacking of the protests by people whose desire is simply to destroy. Those people are not about justice for George Floyd. They are not about bringing people together. They aren’t about any positive motivation. Instead, these groups of people are simply trying to create fear, destroy our cities, and create division in the country. Again, we should be asking the question, “Why?”
Defund The Police
The protests have now created a movement to defund the police. It seems like an extreme act to undertake in order to correct issues related to racism. If the intent is to completely get rid of police departments, you might want to ask, “Why do they want no police?” Most law-abiding citizens do not want to get rid of police departments. They want someone to call when they are in danger or have a crisis.
Now, some say that it is a way to move responsibilities to other groups rather than to put pressure on the police to handle so many vastly different issues. This, in my opinion, is something very different than defunding the police and should come with specific proposals and strategies. For instance, if you want facilities to help with mental health issues, that is great. However, that would be an entirely different hashtag. Again, you must ask, “Why?” Why if you want a restructuring of responsibilities for more specialized handling of an issue, do you chant, “Defund the police?”
What is the real goal? Ryan W. Miller discusses this issue in his article in USA Today: “What does ‘defund the police’ mean and why some say ‘reform’ is not enough?”
Now every large company is stating how they are going to donate money or in some other way address the issue of racism. The “why” for these statements is easy to answer. It is expected and if they do not make such a statement, they would be considered bad corporate citizens.
Still, it is a sign of the political climate. Even individuals are only allowed to publically have “the opinion” that they are supposed to have. It brings us back to the question, “Why?” Why have people become afraid to hear opposing opinions? Are they afraid they might be wrong? What is their motivation? What is it about utilizing fear instead of facts?
Facts Not Fear
It is important to arm yourself with facts despite all the people out there that want to fill you with fear. As Jerre Stead, executive chairman and CEO of Clarivate, was known to say in his AT&T days, “Facts are our friends.” Indeed they are. With facts, we can be concerned without fear. We can also be conscious of the motives behind those who seek to instill fear.
In order to accomplish a fact-based life, it is important to deeply think about what is going on in the world. Ask yourself, “Why?” about almost everything. This means not simply listening to the media or anyone else’s judgments. Instead, research, research, and research some more. Look at all kinds of resources and dig around until you find the facts.
It is through facts, conversation, and working together that we can make rational decisions for ourselves and our country. Make sure you don’t fall victim to unjustified terror which paralyzes.