Saturday, June 27, 2015

Equality - What Does the TV News Have to Say About It? (Nope - Not About the Supreme Court)

I'm a "newshound!" There, I've said it. I have watched both local and national news ever since I was a little kid. And for the majority of this time, in all the places I've lived in the U.S., it has almost always been NBC News. Why? I'm not quite sure. I believe it's because that's how my parents raised my two brothers and me. After dinner each night, we would sit down to watch the local (Boston) news (when it was still just 30 minutes!) followed by NBC Nightly News anchored by Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. NO!! This post is not about Brian Williams/Lester Holt, etc. This paragraph is just to set my background. 

This week, I did something with the news that I've never been interested in doing before, for a stories based in our country. I consciously watched the news to see nothing. To see the absence of the news that should have been aired.

Earlier this week, we lost two, brave LEO's (Law Enforcement Officers). We didn't lose them, rather both were murdered. Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim was shot and killed upon arrival to a call. Just a few days later, New Orleans Police Officer Holloway was shot and killed by a captive, who had been handcuffed behind his back and secured in the back seat.Now, in the several weeks prior to these two deaths, there were several deaths of citizens by police officers in several different situations. 

So, this week, I monitored the newscasts to see the difference in how they are covered and reported to the public. This post is not to judge the police officers who fired their weapons and whether or not they were justified. This post is to judge the disparity in how these two, very-closely related stories are reported by network news.

Each time in the last few months that a citizen died at the hands of the police, a hue and a cry erupted. Most, if not all of the dead were African-Americans. Most, but not all of the police officers involved were Caucasian. Immediately, a gigantic wedge of racial strife split communities and the country. Demonstrations, some peaceful, some not, occurred. As both the network anchors and the on-location reporters presented their stories, instead of remaining local stories, they were suddenly blown up into national and international events.

Yet, this past week, the deaths of Officers Kim and Holloway barely earned a mention on the national news. Let's not forget that Officer Kim was an Asian-American and Office Holloway was an African-American. And they didn't lose their lives in traffic accidents or in an attempt to save someone from a dangerous situation. They died doing what they had sworn and loved to do. Nevertheless, they barely earned a mention on the news. 

Should not the very same African-American citizens of New Orleans and the rest of our country have stood up and shouted for justice for Holloway's death? Should not the vocal and famous leaders of this section of the populace have flown immediately to New Orleans to be with Officer Holloway's family and colleagues and lend them emotional support? Where were the rest of America's non-law enforcement, non-firefighting,non-EMS leaders, to speak about how man officers are losing their lives almost every week in this country?

And what of Officer Kim?  Where was the outrage and his murder? Where was the national attention and support for his family and the Cincinnati Police Department, and the City of Cincinnati, which had just lost a firefighter in a Line of Duty Death a couple of months ago? A quick perusal online shows that there are even a smaller percentage of Asian-American police officers than African-American. Yet, isn't each man and woman, Asian-American, African-American, Caucasian, Native-American or whatever, worth the same as any other human being?

We were all terribly hurt by this week's hateful and racist shooting and murders in Charleston SC. Nine innocent people, doing nothing more than studying the Bible, were shot down and murdered, not because of something they did, but because of who they were! And there is no doubt that this incident is a national tragedy. But so is the death of anyone who willingly puts their life on the line to protect the rest of us. Look at the honor and respect we give our men and women in the armed forces. Even though it has increased since the post-Vietnam days, it still does not measure up to be on a par with what they do for us!

There is an old adage that says that, "One bad apple can spoil thew whole barrel!" Really? Still today? If you read or watch any news whatsoever, we know that every occupation has people that make mistakes (to be polite). In this week's firefighting news, a volunteer firefighter was sentenced for arson! Yes, for starting an incident that normally, he would respond to mitigate. And yes, there are police officers who make poor choices, who are racist, who are burnt-out. There are unprofessional doctors, business people, bank officials, elected officials and many, many more. We know that. We don't like it, but we know it happens. And we do try to hold a great many of these people to a higher standard because of the very positions they hold. Yet, whether we like it or not, we are all human and thus, subject to error. Did not the Lord in Heaven believe He had erred and regretted creating humanity, which led to the Noah story?

Look around your home, your office and somewhere, either tucked away in a drawer or lying out on the counter or desk, you'll see a pencil. Take a good long look at that pencil. Besides its probably yellow color and its graphite (no, not lead) tip, look what else it has the very, very few other writing instruments do. It has an eraser. Now I ask you, "Why?" Why do most pencils have an eraser? 

That's a question each of you must answer for yourself.

Till next time, Stay Safe!

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