A very good friend of mine is a police officer. She and I recently took a lovely vacation to Scotland and Ireland. Man, did we have a blast. The first day of our trip we were waiting for a connecting flight in New Jersey and we struck up a conversation with a very nice man and his family. He asked what we did and I replied that I was a business consultant and my friend was a police officer. His little boy asked all the typical kid questions: “Do you carry a gun?” “Have you ever shot anyone?” and so on. (And in case you are wondering, yes, she does carry a gun and no, she hasn’t shot anyone.) We all had a lovely chat.
After we got on the plane, Michelle asked me very nicely not to tell people she was a police officer. I was astonished. “Why not?” I asked. I have a great deal of respect for police officers as did the nice family we had just met.
She replied that because of recent bad press, people feel it’s acceptable to be mean to any police officer they meet. She told me that she has to be very careful these days. As an example, she explained, people in restaurants aren’t very nice to them. They will accost them, spit in their food and generally act like the police are some kind of scum. When in uniform, she will only eat in certain restaurants where she knows the servers.
I was heartbroken. Michelle is one of the nicest people I have ever met. As a woman and a very good communicator, she brings calmness to scenes that would otherwise easily get out of hand. She has prevented violence and settled down tempers her entire career. It’s one of her greatest skills. I can guarantee you that there are people who are not sporting bruises (or worse) because of her influence.
Let me tell you a bit more about Michelle. She has experienced the good old boys network in the police force and has had to prove herself over and over against definite gender discrimination in her profession.
It’s almost as if the news media powers-that-be are determined to see that people don’t get along. They encourage us to distrust and become afraid of our fellow man.
Michelle is also a Scientologist. As a Scientologist, she has had to defend her religion. So, on three different fronts—as a police officer, a woman and a Scientologist—she has had to battle prejudice, hate and outright discrimination.
How could this be??? I’ll tell you in five words or less: intolerance and fake media. (Okay, I did it in four.) I saw a very interesting article on Facebook today about this very topic. It is how the false media narrative is putting police officer’s lives at risk.
The purpose of this blog isn’t to defend the police but rather to point out what happens when false information hooks up with intolerance. When the media propagates lies, people suffer and it’s not just because of “bad information.” For malicious fake news to be a real problem, people have to believe it and act upon it on a visceral level. It has to strike at some basic intolerance or hatred in the individual himself to become a true problem. And this is exactly what the news media knows, wants and exploits.
I was looking over the news stories today on the internet and I once again saw something that I have seen over and over. It appears that the whole purpose of every story I read was to upset me in some way or another. Every story was awful. Death, destruction, division, hate, bombs, murder… well, you get the idea. It’s almost as if the news media powers-that-be are determined to see that people don’t get along. They encourage us to distrust and become afraid of our fellow man. They foster anger and hatred in you toward people you don’t even know.
There are two kinds of people in this world—those who try to better things and those who destroy things. If you watch the news long enough you will become someone who has more attention on destroying things than bettering them, because that’s what the news is all about. Oh, I know that sometimes they throw in a “good news” story, usually about a dog rescue or some such. But really, when it’s only one minute out of one hour, their true intentions are pretty clear.
If we want a better world (kind of a theme in my blogs because I really, really do want a better world) we have to turn off the hate tube and go talk to our neighbors. I know mine are pretty awesome. And like my friend Michelle, the world is filled with bunches and bunches of truly nice people. Go find them and talk to them, maybe have them over for dinner.
It’s far more interesting than watching what passes for “news.”