A story published on Friday by The Daily Mail is adding yet another wrinkle to the already tumultuous controversy surrounding this country’s police and its black citizens.
Steven Hilderth Jr. was stopped in Tucson, Arizona for a broken taillight. Hildreth was also carrying a concealed weapon and wearing a hoodie. Oh yeah, and he was black.
Based off of similar stories this could have been a recipe for disaster. And there are plenty of stories where incidents such as this become the stuff of nightmares.
However, Hildreth simply told the officer he was licensed to carry a concealed weapon (he is in the National Guard), and the officer respectfully told him that he would need to be disarmed for the rest of the traffic stop.
The officer carefully disarmed Hildreth, complimented his gun and even let him off with a verbal warning for the taillight.
This is all well and good, but then Hildreth made the following post on his Facebook account.
In the post, Hildreth says the following,
“'I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities. Maybe…just maybe…that notion is bunk. Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.”
Hildreth ends his post with #bluelivesmatter and #ALLlives matter. The post has received hundreds of thousands of likes but has also attracted opponents who believe Hildreth is trivializing those who have been slain by amoral police officers in the past few years.
This is the major problem of the #blacklivesmatter controversy. Both sides are attempting to work in absolutes.
It is wonderful that Hildreth had such a good experience, but there are many out there who have not been so fortunate. It is terrible that there are bad cops out there, but many cops are perfectly pleasant.
Both arguments have devolved into “Police kill everyone” or “It’s the victims fault every time.” The reality, however, is not so black and white.
Yes, there are good cops and they should be celebrated. But there are also very real problems happening with police especially in the black community.
However, an effective movement to solve this problem cannot be a crusade against all police officers everywhere. It needs to be a rational attempt to look at the systemic problems in the justice system and treat each of them in turn.
Real change happens at the micro-level. These arguments are so macro-focused that all they do is create unfair generalizations on both sides.
That kind of thinking won’t help anyone.
Banner Image Credit: Steven Hildreth's Facebook account.