It's amazing that no federal, state or municipal political leader; no police administrator; and certainly no media talking head has come forward to ask why only ONE side of the police-community relationship should change.
The clear theme that is evident in ALL of these police-involved citizen deaths is that a history of bad life choices made by citizens creates a confluence of circumstances resulting in unintended consequences that unfortunately have led to the deaths of those portrayed in the media and by uninformed activists as "innocents."
Bad parenting, no parenting, the irresponsibility of young males to impregnate young naive females and then abandon their parental responsibilities; failing to embrace the benefits of education; failure to develop meaningful job skills; drug abuse; gang involvement; embracing and glorifying gangsta rappers who forward a destructive narrative of drugs, crime, and disrespect/violence against police are all factors in these incidents.
Nearly every so-called "victim" of these recent police-involved deaths had a history of criminal arrests; was fleeing from detention and arrest on foot and/or in vehicles; had verbally and physically resisted detention or arrest; had assaulted police with weapons; was in possession of weapons; and/or was under the influence of drugs during the encounter and altercations.
Where is the public's ownership of these poor life decisions? Why aren't the parents, the political leaders, the community activists, the media talking heads, celebrities, nationally prominent athletes and the jet-setting, race-bating civil rights "activists" such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton extolling our children and citizens NOT to make these very obvious and poor life choices?
Why do some communities seem to have an overwhelming number of violent crimes, high levels of gang violence and drug abuse and interactions with police - and others either very low or almost no such instances? And why aren't the obvious differences in these communities discussed?
Why are the false narratives such as "Hands up. Don't shoot" perpetuated by the media, street activists, and our political leaders? Why are some segments of American society more intent upon assigning blame to the police; rather than accepting responsibility for their poor life choices?
The police are not psychologists, sociologists, criminologists and mental health practitioners. They are "first responders." Police respond to society's problems; they can't fix them. Police officers come from our communities; not from distant planets. They are us and we are them. Police get the training that YOU provide them. Can they be better trained? Of course. Do they want and ask for better training and equipment? All the time, but YOU don't want to pay for it. Do police need to be smart and better educated? Of course, but the problem is that agencies can't find qualified officers because many who apply lack even the most basic education and personal skills to pass the tests to become a police officer. How are these issues the fault of police? Yet the public, politicians and the media consistently heap criticism on them.
If you want a dramatic national change in police-community relations, begin by first looking into the mirror as citizens and as a society and ask yourselves what are YOU willing to do to bring about this needed change? When will YOU begin accepting responsibility for YOUR actions? When you take this first step, you begin the journey upon the road toward positive change between yourselves and your police.
Dr. Ron Martinelli is a nationally renowned forensic criminologist and police expert with a national presence who investigates and independently reviews high-profile police-involved death cases at: martinelliandassociates.com