The good, the bad and the ugly in America - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

The good, the bad and the ugly in America

President Obama was criticized for his remarks at the memorial service for the fallen Dallas police officers the other day. His critics say he had no right to mention Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile or the Black Lives Matter group at the memorial service because it was about the fallen officers and nothing more.

Let’s face it, fact is, with some in America, Obama could never be right on anything even if he said the sun was shining on a sunny day.

I’m not a big fan of the President, he has made statements in the past that I believe would have been better off if they were unsaid or said differently, but he still is the President of the United States and that fact has been unnerving for some white people ever since he was elected President.

There are those in this country who would rather have not seen a black family in the White House and that says a lot about where we are at as a country today.

Shortly after Barack Obama was elected, and I will interject by a majority of white voters in this country, there were some white people who were furious.

How this could be, a black man in the White House, some would say.

I was at a store after the President was elected and one of the salesman was talking to another person and said, “He [Obama] will be dead before the inauguration, because some white guy will kill him.”

Thank God that never happened but that sentiment is still in the hearts and minds of many in this country.

How do I know that?

Just read the comments section of stories posted online by the news media.

It just proves that racism is still festering in this country like an open wound.

And it’s not just racism by whites, it’s also by blacks.

No race it appears has the monopoly on racism.

Getting back to the memorial service, I thought that the speech given by the President was one of the best I ever heard him recite.

I wish he could have said what he said eight years ago.

No one can deny that the massacre in Dallas was a hate crime, this time perpetrated by a black racist.

The motivation for the killings was the shooting of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile, so said the shooter.

The peaceful protest by Black Lives Matter was also in the mix.

That protest was so peaceful in fact that we saw photos of protesters and police posing together.

That was the example of how all protests should be. That’s how you gain the support of others for your cause, peaceably.

So I saw nothing wrong with what President Obama said.

Peaceful dissent is what keeps a nation free.

I didn’t say that, John F. Kennedy did. He was right on the mark with that, with the emphasis being on peaceful.

As for what happened to Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile.

They were as different as two sides of the same coin.

We have now learned that Sterling was a convicted felon, a registered sex offender with a long criminal history. He should not have been in spitting distance of a firearm yet he reportedly was in possession of one. And this wasn’t the first time.

That being said, that doesn’t excuse wrongful conduct by the police if that indeed is what happened. We will have to wait and see as to what the investigation determines.

One would have to ponder though, would the situation have turned out differently had Alton Sterling not fought with the police officers.

Philandro Castile was the total opposite of Sterling.

He was a law abiding citizen. He had no criminal record and was a concealed carry holder of a firearm, which was reportedly still in his holster when he was shot. He knew the protocol through the training he received before he was granted the permit as to how to interact when dealing with the police when you are armed.

He did not fight with the police officer, so this case is very disturbing.

The attorney for the police officer who shot Castile has told the media that the officer stated Castile fit the description of a suspect in an armed robbery.

That in and of itself doesn’t justify the shooting of Philandro Castile.

Again, let’s wait and see what the investigation determines.

As for the families of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile, I have to give them plenty of credit for their demeanor and remarks to the press.

And Alton Sterling’s son, what he told the media about non-violence was just awe inspiring, good for him.

In the end what we are left with because of these two incidents is the death of five police officers, and that can never be justified.

To make things worse we had the disgraceful and disgusting conduct by Cleveland Browns running back, Isaiah Crowell, who posted an artist conception of a masked individual cutting the throat of a police officer, on his Instagram account.

Crowell removed the post and apologized publicly.

As a former police officer he can go to hell, I don’t accept his apology at least not right now.   I would like to ask him though, what radical group’s website were you viewing to get that horrible depiction and why were you even on that sight?

Would the outrage have been worse if it was a white sports figure posting a depiction of a white man cutting the throat of a black man?

My mother use to say when I was growing up, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

We all have the right to free speech and expression in this country.

So many have died for all of us to have those rights.

But having the legal right to say something doesn’t always make it the morally right thing to do.

What happened to black people in this country over the past two centuries was morally incomprehensible.

So if it going to help make things better between the races I will publicly give my apology to all black people in this country for what your race has endured because of hate and racism at the hands of whites throughout history.

I am a former police officer. The police have to acknowledge and step up to the plate and admit that racism, implicit or explicit exists in their ranks.

And yes, admit that blacks in this country have been the recipient of biased treatment by police.

In return all I ask that next time if you happen to be a protester in any group and some idiots start chanting, “What do we want, dead cops, when do we want it, now,” or anything else that is insightful to violence, show that you are a better person than they, take a stand and throw them the hell out of your group.

Until we fix this problem, let’s make a new slogan.

Replace “Hands up don’t shoot,” with “Comply now, complain later.”

Instead of screaming in each other’s face, let’s sit down and have some meaningful dialogue.

And not with politicians or so called leaders; with each other, the man and woman on the street.

Haven’t our leaders showed us that they can’t get along or agree on anything?

Democrats against republicans, liberals against conservatives, the right against the left.

What does that leave us with?

Nothing, because nobody can get along that’s why nothing gets done in this country.

And all this other nonsense as to whose lives matter.

Black lives, white lives, blue lives.

It sounds like a bunch of children asking, “My mom is better than your mom or my house is better than your house.”

Here is my answer: All lives matter. When we can agree on that we have just started to move forward.

When we agree that all lives matter, we can stand up together as a people and as a nation when good things turn bad and ugly, when any injustice happens to any person.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated he had a dream.

We have progressed so far since he said that but we still have work that needs to be done.

Let’s make his dream a reality for good, once and for all.

I may not be alive to see it in my time, but you will know when it happens.

When we stop hyphenating and self-segregating ourselves and just all call ourselves just plain Americans.

When there will be no need for an NAACP.

When we replace it with an NAAHR. National Association for the Advancement of the Human Race.

Let us make this country even better for our children.

Maybe what we need to do is get back to God first. I don’t know if that is the answer, but it can’t hurt.



About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 40 years of experience. In 1986 Mr. Poppa was awarded “Criminal Investigator of the Year” by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. He was also re-assigned to the Northern Virginia Regional Narcotics Enforcement Task Force for 18 months. In 1991 and again in 1992 Mr. Poppa’s testimony under oath in court led to the discovery that exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defense by the prosecutor and sheriff’s office officials during the 1988 trial of a man accused of attempted murder of his wife that led to his conviction. As a result of his testimony the man was ordered released from prison, given a new trial in 1992 and found not guilty. Mr. Poppa became the subject of local and national news media attention as a result of his testimony which led to the demise of his 12-year police career. After losing his job, at the request of the FBI, Mr. Poppa infiltrated in an undercover capacity a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont Chemical fortune heir and his wife in 1992. His stories have been featured on Inside Edition, A Current Affair, and CBS News’ Street Stories with Ed Bradley. Contact the author.