I have a long time acquaintance, an old friend I haven’t seen in a few years… Recently I found out that he works for a large company, in engineering, and is involved in Root Cause Analysis, or RCA. Basically, I think, RCA helps us to address a problem; its purpose is to help us find contributing factors, to discover the source of the problem, and to address it in such a way as to prevent re-occurrence and future harm.
I took some time over my morning coffee, to think about issues facing us all over the murder of Mr. Floyd… and examine root cause, symptoms, and perhaps, solution(s), but first, a short story dealing with my personal life experience. Please, stick with me, and I’ll try to leave us with something to ‘consider over coffee’.
I was a high school senior in one of the first schools to be integrated, and I can tell you it was an interesting experience for me. I’m… pretty sure… I could have described myself as being, mildly, racially biased. I used the word, ‘n*****’ a lot, but, as an indicator of racism, that didn’t count…or did it??
I never struck out at the ‘interlopers’ in my school, either, but I did frequently use that word… What did it mean? I mean after all they used it to describe some of their own!… What did it all mean? After a while I noted that for most of my classmates, having blacks in our school wasn’t a bother… I did indeed see, however; it was a problem for many adults!
My father, a retired Navy Corpsman/Flight Surgeon, never spoke about it… Many of his customers in our small business were black, and we lived and worked just outside a good sized black community. I never thought I was really racially biased, until, that is… I faced reality! In one of my classes, there was a new black student. He sat just behind me: also in that class were several of our schools toughs, one was a real bully, and I absolutely hated bullies! Two things were happening in that class that I will never forget!
ONE – the teacher was ignoring what was going on… and…
TWO – The bullies were at work… picking mercilessly on the black student, he was getting increasingly frustrated, and angry, and the …teacher was ignoring what was occurring.
When the black student jumped up with a guttural growl and yelled, “ Come on! I’ll take you all!”, The four bullies stood, and…so did I.
I was angry…angry because I knew then that the teacher could’ve intervened, but didn’t. I was Angry, because what was happening was…unfair.
I said very clearly to all, “If you guys jump on him I’m helping…him!” The black student (I never knew His name) responded to me, “I don’t need your help”, but I indicated that it didn’t matter, because I was helping anyway.
Somehow, a fight was avoided, and I learned something about myself, too. – when I got home from school. My father was…waiting… What he said and did to me left an indelible mark on my heart. Someone, a school official, had called him and told him, I’d defended a “n*****”, and he asked me about it.
He confronted me and said, “Son, I’ve been told you took up for a ‘n*****’. What do you have to say…?”
I fearfully responded, “Dad, if that man was white I would have helped, then I… realized something; his heart pumps the same color blood as me, he has feelings the same as me, and, really, that makes him like me.” (I was learning to look at the problem -bullying- and learning to look around… color)
Dad really surprised me… Instead of smacking me, he reached out, put his hand on my shoulder, and said, “I’m glad to see that you’re learning to reason…”
My older brother, of blessed memory, in some ‘writings he gave me, observed the following:
That life is my toughest teacher
And if I keep getting the same lesson
Over and over, I’m not learning from experience”
Was I free of biased thinking? No, but , from that day, have worked, to improve – For me, struggling with bias became the never-ending fight to “find a better way of thinkin-believing-living! Most of us, like me, learn from experience, but …. Not always the first time around!
So… let’s do a short, loose ‘RCA’ about our weeks headlines… We have several issues on hand: A Murder, Nation-wide Protests, and Nation-wide Looting and Rioting –
Because Four Minneapolis law enforcement officers participated in the murder of a black man?
- Was this a result of racism?
- Was it racially motivated?
- Was there some other reason?
- What was the root cause?
- What’s the Fix?
Better Stated: FOUR officers were directly involved in the murder of a blackman; One was White, ONE was Black, ONE was Oriental, ONE appears Hispanic. Was this murder racially motivated, or are other, hidden, factors involved? If so, What were they?
Or, perhaps because this is one of many men, white, Black, and ‘other’ who were killed by the police?
Nation-wide protests indicate that too many unjust killings have finally caused a breach in a dam of silence. Without ‘showing’ you the stats, ( Justice dept.), remember this is an “over coffee rant”, and I want YOU to go look…
The stats are frightening, even though the majority of police are good law abiding enforcement personnel.
(More white men are killed by police which indicates that racism, while it may be a contributing factor, isn’t a root cause of “murder by police”)
Now we can see that there is rioting, looting and property being destroyed. Is that because a black man was murdered by a police officer or Is it because a man was murdered? Is the rioting, lawless looting and burning a reason, or an excuse?
I submit to the reader, that the Unlawful Rioters and Lawless Looters are taking advantage of Lawful Protests – The Lawless actors are adding to the problem, and are actually separate and parallel issues – plain Outlaw actions + racially activists and Anarchist activists together.
The looting and rioting indeed, needs a strong hands-on treatment!! Protesters, Law supervision, and Political Leadership MUST address it hastily and apart from the Excessive Force issue.
We also see there are protests occurring. Are these protests racially motivated? Or are they because a black man was murdered?
Are protests a good sign? Well, Yes, AND No! Yes, because they are lawful, Fearsome, and direct, By the People, order to take care of a problem For the People!
And…NO! They are Not a good sign, because the brotherhood of Bullying and Intimidation, the Brutality of Excessive-Force problem that is being inexcusably IGNORED, and Dangerous-to-All has been allowed to become a Nation-wide issue!
Police Departments nation-wide have allowed a terrible Ego-based Immoral and dangerous disease to grow, apparently unchecked within their departments
Will allowing rioting, looting, burning, and mob-driven killing of others work as a solution? … NO! Why? Because the real root of the problem is not singular! Lawlessness of Looting & rioting are driven by a different sect of players altogether – they could care less WHO was killed, and are more driven by greed and the philosophy of Anarchy, and the wholesale tearing apart of this nation than for ANY other reason! They are a hi-priority problem and should be strongly (heavy hands) handled.
I submit to you the reader, that elements of Racism, Bullying, and Intimidation
Will disbanding the police help? Well, I submit to the reader; ONLY if you desire Lawless reign… ONLY if you want wholesale Vigilantism to co-reign… and only if you want to see a War-Lord driven City!
Question: What came first, Looting & Rioting & Lawful Protests, or the Murder-by-Officer Chauvin?
The Murder occurred, then Protests, Then the unlawful Rioting & Looting. The Murder occurred First, so the root cause is almost certainly close to or related to something else; Something happened to these officers that allowed Law Abiding Behavior to Morph into something very ugly!
The Brotherhood of Brutality, Intimidation, Bullying, and Excessive Force, should never exist within the ranks of Law Enforcement! Excessive force was the cause of death, by asphyxiation, of George Floyd. As a cause, it’s not at the root of the Issue. Nationwide, Police are constantly observed, and recorded using Bullying, Intimidation, and Brutal tactics; those are also NOT at the root of the issue. They ALL, however, are at the CORE and are directly related to what I think are the Root Causes!
The Root of the issue is, like the separate issues of Rioting and Lawless Looting, TWO-FOLD.
First, Poor Training and Disciplinary Failures : Lack of Knowledge of Citizens Rights, By Police agencies is aptly demonstrated nation-wide by hundreds, and hundreds of recordings of our Law Enforcement Personnel! Want Proof? … Go on Line. When they are humiliated, they are apt to respond even if unjustly so… (Ya… Poke the Friendly Bear who was supposedly trained to not ‘bite’…. And find out that sometimes training isn’t enuff)
When, at least 50%+ of the time, Senior Law Enforcement Supervision IGNORES repeated complaints referencing Behavior ‘Deficiencies’ of certain personnel, and 50% or more, of fellow officers mistakenly ‘protect’ their brothers by ignoring poor behavioral patterns, THEY ARE PROTECTING NO ONE!
Instead brother officers are aiding and abetting, and as such cause the whole force to become culpable and subject to the consequences, that should have been applied to the offending party. Simply put; IF an officer abuses, call HIM to account for his actions! Save a citizen! And save a decent law abiding Officers Life!
Second, Failure to protect Our Nations Law Enforcement from abuses Originating Outside of the Forces! There are Groups of Citizens who, for whatever reasons, have taken it upon themselves to “Audit” Behavior of ALL Law Agencies. They do this by deliberately antagonizing and provoking! They photograph, and Record, and challenge BULLY members of those Agencies; that Humiliation of those agencies, again, is… apt end up with an, even IF unlawful ‘aversive’ event… (Ya… Poke the Friendly Bear who was supposedly trained to not ‘bite’…. And find out that sometimes training isn’t enuff) Also, too often we only see a part of the recorded interaction – that is something important to be aware of.
We The People must work together (w/Law Enforcement) to bring the rioting and Looting to a halt! We, together with The Most Senior Enforcement Personnel can do a lot to resolve the Issues at the Core of the problem:
- Absolutely DEMAND accountability, at a Federal Level (YES, it’s that serious) for excessive force acts for Law Agencies Nationwide! That type of behavior , I always thought was a Federal Crime , but I’m not a Lawyer so… There are a pretty good number of Townships where Some Officers work hard to gain that ‘Bad’ reputation, and whose actions MUST be stopped, too. Attention at the Federal Level would go a long way…
- Introduce into law, a simple effective Regulation, Ordinance that allows Any agency personnel to Lawfully Stop and ID those whom record their premises, allowing for some common sense parameters; Couldn’t Federal Level set the ‘Standards’ for this? Just askin’
Okay, that was my two-coffee Breakfast Rant … God Bless!