I am deeply grieved by the loss of two police officers in the Florida county that I call home. The officers were on the Kissimmee Police Department, the county seat for Osceola County where my hometown is located. I haven’t lived there in two and a half decades, but Central Florida, specifically St. Cloud, will always be home to me. My earliest memories are there and I lived all of my childhood and well into adulthood there. Three more officers elsewhere in the country also lost their lives during the same 48 hours. All succumbed to a madman with a gun. All of them were totally senseless losses.
Although there are different alleged perpetrators in each situation, the underlying common denominator is hate. Hate filled madmen seeking to avenge their oppression, someone else’s death or some other hate inspired reason. Never does this action right the “wrong” they feel they are avenging. In all instances, everybody loses. The officers lost their lives, their families lost a loved one, communities lost brave peace officers, the alleged perpetrators lost (or will lose) their freedom, their families lost their loved one in a sense also, children of both the deceased and the alleged perpetrators lost their innocence and the universe lost a little more love than it had the day before.
Hate is not instinctual as love is. Hate is taught and learned. Somewhere along the line in these men’s lives, they learned to hate other people for some reason. Either because of their skin color, their race, their affluence, their privileges, or some other reason, these alleged perpetrators hated their victims and what they stood for. They didn’t learn this hate on their own, it was taught to them either by a parent or guardian, or some other person of influence in their lives. Now, more than ever, we have to stop the hate. Stop making racial slurs in front of your children, or even to your children. Teach your child that he or she is no better or worse than any other person in this life. Teach them how to love their fellow man in such a way that eventually hate strangles and dies.
It’s always amazed me how close those are who have served in the military. Their fellow enlistees are brothers and sisters for life. They see no color or social standing, they only see the person inside. Perhaps it is because of the way they are trained, all in the same exact uniform, so no one is any different than the others. Maybe it is the close proximity to their comrades for months. They live together, eat together, sleep together and fight together. I think probably it is being in horrid conditions, without the comfort of friends and family, fighting for a freedom that we all enjoy, and knowing that these other people around you are in the same exact position that endears them to each other. They become each other’s family. Whatever the reason, they are fierce in their loyalty to their comrades and will have their back always. They love each other unconditionally.
We should all strive to treat other people the same way soldiers treat each other, like brothers and sisters here on this planet together, fighting the life fight. When someone needs help, help them. Share what you have with others because there’s always someone worse off than you. Teaching your child to be this person is one of the best things you can do for humanity. It will serve them well in their life. If enough parents taught their children to look at someone’s heart and not the color of their skin, their nationality or their material things, all of humanity would be in a better place.
Love your fellow man and teach your child to do the same.