Why I am Frustrated With The Current State of Our Country

I’ve been told that I should write positive articles, and talk about the good that is happening. I should steer away from politics, social issues and negativity. But it’s 8:44 pm on a Friday (October 9th) and there are peaceful protesters getting tear-gassed and being shot with rubber-bullets three blocks away from my house. It is happening right in front of a library, a school and a nursing home in Wauwatosa, WI. There are sirens, helicopters and a 7 pm curfew. Protests in Wauwatosa are happening for the same reason that protests are occurring because of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake. And through it all, the one question that I have is why? Why the constant use of police violence? Why are police not being held accountable? Why can’t law enforcement let the protests be? Why do people who are NOT affiliated with the protests have to throw rocks through local businesses? Why is this happening? 

Justice for breonna taylor protest sign Photo by David Geitgey Sierralupe distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license Unrest in Wauwatosa began on Wednesday evening, October 7th after the DA announced an officer will not be charged for killing a man. Specifically on February 2nd, Alvin Cole, a 17 year old black male, was outside of Mayfair Mall with a 9mm gun. Police were called when there were sightings of Cole with a weapon. As the police were surrounding Cole, Cole shot the weapon at himself. Officer Joseph Mensah arrived on the scene and in defense shot and killed Cole after Cole aimed the weapon at the officers.

A private investigator did advise that Officer Mensah should be fired because he killed three people in the past five years on the job, and as a result there is a high risk that he could kill another person. The Cole incident differs from Floyd, Taylor and Blake, because Mensah is black. With that it’s not a racial issue, but an issue of police force and violence. It is also difficult to say what really led Mensah to shoot, which leads to the question of if what he did was justified. Therefore, I cannot on my good judgment say that the DA made a correct call. I can say that through this exchange, a life was lost under the hands of an officer.

black lives matter protests Photo by Clay Banks from Unsplash This article is not to say, “F**k the Police.” Rather, it’s simply me sitting in my house, three blocks away from violence visibly upset, continuing to ask questions of why this is happening, something that people have been asking not since May, but for decades. I’m frustrated and confused. And I’m not black, nor a protestor, nor anyone who’s experienced violence (or associated with anyone directly who’s experienced violence). In fact, as I’ve stated before, I am privileged yet I am upset. 

For those of you who support the police, I’m sure your frustration is why looting and riots keep occurring? Why do people put themselves in the position to be shot? For those who are against the police, your frustration lies in a) why is there violence that leads to harm or even death to civilians, b) why is tear-gassing happening, and most importantly, c) when will the systemic racism end? One side of the argument: police are trying to do their job, and keep anything violent from occurring. Another side of the story: people are using their First Amendment rights to protest the injustices that are CONSTANTLY happening. 

police arrive at a Donald Trump protest in Phoenix Photo by AJ Colores from Unsplash I am not anti-police, BUT I am against their actions. I am against the National Guard for tear-gassing and shooting at rubber bullets at PEACEFUL...let me repeat...PEACEFUL protests (disclaimer: it’s not the only reason why law enforcement use tear-gas). I am against the police NOT being held accountable. I don’t care who you are. You are not above the law. If you, whether you are a civilian, in law enforcement, or are a President, use excessive force, you SHOULD be held accountable. Police should not be above the law. Yes, we need police for protection, but they’re not protecting in all cases. I shouldn’t be walking past an officer being on edge. I should be walking past an officer feeling safe. And again. I’m white. So the chances of violence being done against me if I’m not doing anything wrong is slim to none. Now imagine a black person walking past an officer and what’s going on in their minds. I can’t. 

In terms of protests, I watched a video on October 9th of the National Guard pushing protests away from the suburbs, towards the busier streets of Wauwatosa and Milwaukee. I can see maybe why they do that, but again: WHY are they using FORCE if NO ONE is inciting any violence? WHY? For the most part, protestors are NOT going to turn violent if violence is not initiated. Counterargument: But the looters. The people throwing rocks. Yes, that should NOT be happening either. Focus on those people. NOT the people marching peacefully. 

I’m not here to tell you what to think. I’m here to express my frustration and exhaustion. And I as a white, safe person I feel like I don’t even deserve to have these emotions, but I do. I can’t be hopeful. I can’t be positive. I can’t be happy. The world that we live in does not feel like that. So what can be done if you’re frustrated like me? VOTE. PROTEST (safely). PETITION. EDUCATE. DISCUSS. I’m not hopeful about the world right now so there’s no way in hell I can write a light, fluffy article about unicorns. I will express my anger even if it makes people uncomfortable. I will speak up, and I will not remain silent.