A few days ago a video was being circulated on the internet of police in Halifax, VA, USA stopping drivers to give them ice-cream.
The initial response tended to be positive with people commenting on how nice it was to see a positive image of the police being portrayed.
However, there were the negative comments as well. The ones that posted about the woman laughing because she was relieved that she didn’t get shot, rather than that she was amused at being given an ice-cream rather than a ticket.
Today, a colleague posted a link to a web page that takes this argument still further and basically states that this video and similar ‘feel-good’ police videos, as they call them, are abuse.
That they’re demonstrating the power that the police have over the general public, in this case specifically a black woman, and terrorising her.
I really couldn’t believe what I was reading.
I’m so sick and tired of people seeing the bad in everything.
Nobody actually asked the woman concerned how she felt.
Did she feel victimised?
Did she find it amusing?
Did she like the ice-cream?
Nobody asked the police concerned about their intentions.
But do people really think that their intent was to demonstrate their authority over the general public, to terrorise and intimidate?
Abraham Lincoln (1805-1865) said it best two hundred years ago – if we look for the bad in people, we will truly find it.
However, the reverse is also true. If we look for the good, we will find that too.
The choice is ours.
Of course, we have to hold ourselves, and others accountable. However, I believe that the world would be a much nicer place if everybody started looking for the good in people and giving them the benefit of the doubt.
I truly don’t think that people are as intentionally bad as so many are assuming. Yet in almost every circumstance people seem to assume the worst of others.
What I find most difficult to understand is that often those that jump to such extreme conclusions have the least reason to do so.
For example, in this example, those who have been abused and terrorised may well be startled by being stopped by the police, they may even have PTSD symptoms triggered by the event, but they are extremely unlikely to equate being stopped for ice-cream as equivalent to that abuse and terrorism.
The difference is in the intent and that, any abuse survivor, can tell you is something that you know on an intrinsic, deep in your soul level.
You know, you just know, when somebody is abusing you. You may not recognise it intellectially at the time, especially in the case of emotional and psychological abuse, but somewhere deep inside we know that it’s wrong. You know that the other person intends to cause you harm and/or gains themselves from their abuse of power over you.
You can feel it. You know it.
So, please don’t look at a short video of a young woman being stopped by police to be given ice-cream and make assumptions about the hidden agenda that I believe is so far hidden, it’s actually non-existent.
If you are truly concerned – ask those concerned!
Otherwise, let’s start giving the benefit of the doubt.
It was a hot day.
The police stopped people, and gave them ice-cream.
It was a nice, kind gesture.
End of story.