Six years ago, back in my political blogging days, I wrote about Swinging Pendulums, specifically as they related to politics.
I began by describing the science of pendulums, and I shall copy that description here:
When you swing a pendulum one way, it will go a certain distance before stopping, reversing, and swinging an equal distance the other way. If energy is added on the return swing, it will actually go further on that swing, before once again reversing and swinging an equal distance the original direction. This will continue ad infinitum, until eventually the pendulum makes a complete revolution on its axis. Even then, if more energy is continually added, the swinging will continue to get faster and faster, and the revolutions will thus happen more and more frequently.
While discussing my post about Paul and his position on women teaching men in the Church yesterday, I began noticing that the pendulum post applied. I’ll not go into any specifics on that particular case, but instead use my work with Cop Block as my example of the pendulum amongst individuals and groups.
The pendulum regarding cops swings from one side who has absolute faith in cops to the other side of those who have absolutely no faith in cops or anything remotely connected to cops.
I’ve known people on both extremes, and admittedly I may be more on the “no faith” side than at the zero point on this particular pendulum. But that is exactly what I want to talk about.
You see, I openly acknowledge that I was abused by cops as a kid. Fortunately, my abuse didn’t involve beatings, rapes, or murder, but it was still cops abusing their power rather than trying to understand an Autistic teenager. In my particular case, the first instance was when cops tried to question me over something that I learned existed when they began questioning me. They first questioned me in a school conference room with no lawyer, parent, or even school counselor present. They then subjected me to a lie detector test, where they asked about the girl I had a massive crush on at the time. At the time, I was firmly in the “absolute faith” camp, so I “consented” to all of this. I later got a letter from one of the girls involved apologizing for causing all the drama, a letter I have to this day. The second instance of my abuse was a few months later, at the Egelston Christmas Parade in Atlanta. I had found a large rock at school, and because this was the first Saturday in December, my mom required me to take a coat to the parade. I put the coat in my backpack, but the pack was too light. So I put the rock in it as well. At the parade, I stood where I had stood for years, in the parking deck above the then Planet Hollywood across from the Hard Rock Atlanta. At some point, I took the rock out and placed it on the ledge for a moment. Within moments, I had units from Atlanta Police Department’s Red Dogs – a unit later known for such brutality that it was disbanded, including the raid on the Atlanta Eagle – questioning me and walking me back to my mother, who was on street level at the McDonald’s about half a block away. But it really wasn’t until years later, when I saw friends and even strangers being abused and murdered by cops that these events took hold as being a scourge. I knew the cops were wrong to harass me even at the time, but then, I’m used to people not understanding me and not trying. Peril of being Autistic. It was only much later, after the murder of Kathryn Johnston and Jonathan Ayers -as well as the Eagle raid and police detaining two guys who were doing nothing more than driving around America in a motor home, looking for liberty – that I began to see these events in a truly different light.
So because of that, I don’t trust cops. With only one exception, because he is a member of the church I grew up in. But even my trust in him is tenuous, knowing that when it comes down to it, he will treat me as any cop would rather than the person he knows I am.
But here is where the pendulum comes in: Even I acknowledge that from time to time, I lash out in my hurt and anger. I’ve screamed people down on Facebook, I openly flip off cops as they pass me by, etc etc etc. I have friends of friends that have been hurt even more than I by cops, and they openly advocate the murder of cops. I see my actions flipping cops off as moving the pendulum back to zero – but openly advocating the murder of cops as moving the pendulum back to the other side, and adding force to it. This is not a good thing, and I’ve become at least somewhat known in the Cop Block community for standing against these people, at least as it relates to the outright murder of cops. (My caveat here being that if *anyone* is actively attacking you, you have the right to defend yourself with whatever force necessary to stop the attack – no matter the clothing they are wearing at the time.)
But then I see the people, even inside my own family, that advocate cops becoming ever more powerful. They say that cops’ jobs are dangerous and that cops “don’t know who will be taking their uniform off when they put it on in the morning”. Despite the fact that by their own numbers, cops in 2014 were literally 10,000x more likely to shoot and kill a civilian than a civilian was to shoot and kill a cop. But these people are simply being hurt and reacting to even my flipping cops off – much less the friends of friends openly calling for murder of cops. At least I choose to believe so. Particularly since these people know well my own history with cops, I really hope they are not so crass as to simply want cops to have more power, period.
So both sides get hurt, and both sides actively seek to harm the other. This just keeps the cycle of pain ever spinning, and the pendulum ever swinging.
Instead, we need people more in the middle. We need people to acknowledge the pain of both sides, and work to get back to the point we had in the days of Sheriff Taylor, when people were distrustful yet respecting of cops – and cops didn’t actively lie about people in order to steal from them or murder them. We need to reset the pendulum here to zero.
But the pendulum doesn’t just apply to cops. It applies to *all* individuals and groups. Whenever there is conflict, there is a pendulum. And there are people getting hurt and reacting to that pain – not always in people-centered manners. And if someone doesn’t actively step in to slow the pendulum in these conflicts, the pendulum will continue to swing and eventually it will go full cycle – a situation no one wants, as people *will* get hurt in the revolution. Life isn’t an amusement park pirate ship ride, where people are safely strapped in so that when the revolution happens, it is part of the fun. When the revolution happens in real life conflict, real people are going to get hurt even more.
So we *have* to have peacemakers, or at least people at least somewhat reasonable enough to acknowledge the concerns of both their camp and the opposite camp, and work for genuine reconciliation of both. Not that we will ever completely agree on anything, but enough to keep the pain of both sides to a minimum.
And I know I’m rambling, I’ve written this post in the 3a hour where even I am usually zoned out playing video games rather than doing the hard thinking of this post. But hopefully it makes some degree of sense.