Another Unsettling Albany Night Had Me Wondering, “What If?”
Honestly, my whole thought process has been screwed up for about a week now. It started with the deplorable murder of George Floyd and it has continued every night since. I can't wrap my head around anything I've been watching on the national news or witnessing here in Albany, my hometown.
I'm seeing things I've never seen before on such an escalated level, I'm actually beginning to wonder if we can fix it. I respect our law enforcement to the fullest and appreciate what their tasked with, but I'm not foolish enough to think there doesn't needs to be change. People have a right to be angry, and any good cop will tell you that.
But these are tough times, and depending on who you talk to, they're either mad as hell at the police, the protestors, the looters, the rioters, the conservative news, the liberal news, the president, the governor, the mayor, the laws, racism, the moon, the sky, the blacks, the whites, the browns, the greens, the purples and the yellows. I'm not trying to minimize what's happening in our country now, I'm just really....lost. I do know that with any conflict, there needs to be some type of resolution or the cycle will just keep on keepin' on. We all know that can't happen. After watching the Albany protests turn pretty ugly and scary for the second time in three days, I thought, "What If?"
What if in the midst of the chaos; the fireworks, shouting, confusion, yelling and anger, someone decided to do something radically different?
What if the police officers stepped off the armored vehicles and out from behind the protective shields?
What if one of them gently put down his or her rubber bullet gun and more officers followed?
What if they took off their helmets so they were less intimidating and more human?
What if the protesters didn’t feel the need to retreat?
What if, halted in their tracks, nobody said “Hands up don’t shoot?”, or “F*ck the Police”?
What if officers were greeted with outstretched arms and they heard, “Come be one of us for the night”?
What if the angry, frustrated protestors protected the officers from the shouting, the bottle throwing, and the aggression?
What if they walked together and had a conversation?
What if no one said a single word?
What if the silence became so deafening that it was louder than a thousand pellet pops, firecrackers and bottle rockets?
What if both sides trusted and believed in this moment so much, it built a foundation for dialogue, understanding, compassion, respect, humanity and equality?
What if we all stepped off of our armored vehicles and out from behind our own protective shields for a change?
What if the Albany Police made the first move?
And what if as a result, something radically different occurred?
What if, this was all it took.