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A strange thing happened at my daughter’s softball game the other day…

Well, strange? Maybe. A bit terrible too.

Softball game. Awesome metal bleachers. A neon yellow ball flying through the air. Families and friends cheering, laughing, at times groaning. Fun at the ball field.

Two county officers approached our side of the diamond and asked a man to stand up please. The woman beside him put her arm around him and told them he didn’t do anything. I tried to focus on the game…this show was none of my business. Words continued to flow from the bottom seat of the bleachers, getting more and more impossible to ignore. But finally the guy stood and the officers cuffed him and escorted him across the park.

And the woman who was with him wasn’t happy.

Another man (a friend of theirs, I learned later) asked if they really had to do that in the middle of a ball game.

To which the woman replied that the cops don’t care and they are pieces of s*%&. The cops should have better things to do like catch drug dealers. That this man hadn’t done anything.

And I began to shake with anger. My own thoughts and opinions of this screaming in my head. If you don’t know, my husband is a police officer, has been for 20 years. So this whole episode hit close to home.

I bit my tongue. I set my gaze on the game and worked on breathing calmly. Because nothing I could have said to this woman would have been good. Nothing would have helped the situation. My opinions were left better unsaid…just as hers would have been better unsaid.

For the scariest part of the evening, when my anger turned to sadness, was when a kid, maybe 11, repeated what the woman had said. He believed what she had said to be the truth. It was her truth, I suppose.

But when it comes to truth, we need to be careful. Truth isn’t fact.

I wanted to share a different truth with the boy, one that would help him see both sides. One that wouldn’t blind him to all the other truths out there.

The facts? Who knows. Had this guy done something? Probably. The police don’t put someone in handcuffs and take them away because they feel like it. They have reasons. Usually pretty good reasons.

Did the officers have something better to do, like rid the county of drug dealers and murders? At that moment…no. They were doing their job to the best of their ability. They handled themselves professionally.

Unlike the woman, who spewed hateful words, out of anger…maybe out of fear.

The person who screams loudest is heard. The person who yells over all the other voices must be right.

Nope.

All the nope.

So much NOPE!

I can’t help but think about how this kid might grow up hating the police. Just what the world needs.

What else do we…adults, society…teach kids? Kids aren’t born with thoughts of hate, with thoughts of violence, with ideas of prejudice. Those are learned.

Though some would argue with me that there are people born evil…and maybe that’s so.

To me, it’s our lives that mold us into who we are. It’s our experiences that shape our opinions and values. It’s the way we can climb out of the darkness to find the light with help from others, with a kind word, with acceptance that makes humans truly special.

Be careful what you say, you never know who’s listening. In the heat of the moment, many of us have said things we shouldn’t have…that’s human.

Yet in quieter moments, so many have been a ray of hope, a light in the dark…that’s human.

 

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