Every day on the the news we see violence. We see poverty. We see others around the world committing atrocities. I turn it off much of the time and focus on my tiny world of existence. But this doesn’t mean it will really go away. As we take our kids to school or shop in the mall or even hang out with friends. Evil is waiting in the wings. Waiting for us to slip up. Waiting for our country to stop watching what they are doing to try to undermine our country and our freedoms from the inside. Voting is over but we must remain vigilant to protect our fragile freedoms.
How do we do this? Pay attention to what is happening around you. No matter where you are focus on your gut instincts. Your safety begins with you. Daily.
Vote in every election. Get involved in projects you believe in. Try to make a difference in your community. Remember the village of our world starts with you.
“Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”.
These words still resonate 50 years later. I wasn’t even born when President John F. Kennedy spoke them but they cut right to the heart of the life we have created that is unique around the globe. Our country, the US of A, is based on many of the things we value. However, let us not forget that everything we love is based on this: a strong military and weapons presence guarding our perimeter. A strong police and fire public service community working day and night to seek out those who would hurt us or save us from ourselves. And when we let our guard down. When we fight amongst ourselves instead of working for our common protection. When we don’t protect our borders. When we blink, they will come. They will come to our neighborhoods. They will come through our doors and they will come on our streets and take what they can if we let them. Our pocket of freedom is just a whisper in time that can be wisked away in an instant if we fail to pay attention to subtle changes swinging the pendulum. The strongest weapon each one of us has is our informed vote.
In the latest election the difference was made by those among us who normally don’t vote. The swing vote was cast by the thousands of Republican voters who decided to step up and make a difference. The ones who stepped off the bench and made a small commitment to our future safety. Thank You. It mattered.
Several years ago I was offered an opportunity to work with young children both as a nanny and a teacher. Since I have always been told I was the fun babysitter I decided to go for it. I felt it was time to take a break from the daily coverage of death by car crash and shooting violence. I decided I needed to see more of the happy side of life. So I gathered up my toys and got started. I learned that with a little love, math, music, reading and playground time children of all walks of life were able to accomplish amazing things. I also learned that even a tricycle without limits can cause injuries worse than a car crash. I saw many great parents and also many who let’s say needed more than a little guidance. And I learned that color-coding and visual images are as essential as the main language of communication in keeping children safe.
I discovered that in the ages even before kindergarten a group of children in a classroom will reflect many of the norms of society. Including the violence. I can’t even remember the number of times I had to wear hats that I didn’t choose. I had to transform from Teacher to Parent to Police Officer and back in those classrooms to keep the children safe sometimes from each other. Every day was different although structured around the same activities. The part that enlightened me the most was that even at two years old I could see the effect of different upbringing and environment on those children. The ones that required the most extra attention also became some of my most rewarding successes. But there were also some that seemed even I couldn’t reach. And those are the ones I fear will not make it successfully in society.
So as I look at this city that I have come to love I see the same dynamics I saw in the classroom but with grownups. I know that with a little love, math, music, reading and play time many of us can accomplish great things too. And with a little more color-coding and visual images maybe we will all live to be safer too. I still worry about those I couldn’t teach. And those we as a society don’t reach.
Criminals want to keep on committing crime while so many excuses are made for their behavior. “They didn’t have role models. They don’t know better.” and more. While they hide in low income neighborhoods and live in government supported housing. While many have baby mama’s getting government welfare while they hide their income obtained from illegal activities. Now they want body cameras on the police officers who are in their high risk neighborhoods trying to keep them from killing each other.
The Village is getting tired. Tired of paying for everything while waiting for police officers who are removed from their neighborhoods because the ones who pay the least need them the most. Tired of politicians hiding money that could be used for police and fire pensions while they cut police officer jobs. Tired of the whining of those who pay nothing and take the most in resources. Tired of entitlement behavior. What ever happened to gratitude? Thank You goes a long way. What if those police officers just stopped answering your calls? I think we see how you the criminal conduct yourself when the police officers are not stopping you. Throwing bricks and rocks and beating each other. Looting your own neighborhood stores. Standing up for your drug dealers. Why are there such low expectations for the citizens of those communities who when asked to help police turn a blind eye to crime in their own backyards?
The code of silence is enabling criminals to continue their dominance of those neighborhoods. When gang members outnumber police presence it puts officers lives in danger. Officers who are putting their lives on the line every day who now want to be in better communities who will appreciate their promise: to serve and protect at the personal high risk of death or injury. Wake up Jacksonville. No more excuses. Vote. Speak out. Conduct yourself with pride and integrity. But most of all stop cheating your society by taking more than you give.
In America we have all kinds of people who claim to be leaders. We also have the choice to try to pick the right ones. Many times it is difficult to even see the difference. But we only have Our Time and Our City to boldly select Our Future. Let’s not waste our footprints on Earth. Be the difference. Choose wisely.
I have worked on many campaigns starting when I was 5 years old in Ohio next to my dad. And as a journalist for 23 years I got to see many more of them. But I just have to say working on Mike Williams for Sheriff campaign has inspired me to want to be a better person. I see the other side of Mike when he is among family and friends. And I see Mike just being Mike.
So if you want a city Leader who will be committed to hope instead of fear. Who will ask all of us to step up and help Jacksonville be the Shining Star of the South. Who will work with all communities to lift up all neighborhoods to a better Quality of Life. There is only one candidate worthy of your vote. We all need your vote to build the bricks to a safer Jacksonville. Please Vote. It Matters. Mike Williams for Sheriff.
The other day I stopped into a local grocery story in a neighborhood where I don’t usually shop. My friend was with me with her 4-month-old baby. While we were waiting at the register my friend left to get an item she forgot and let an elderly woman go ahead of her. I waited with her baby since with an air cast on my foot it would have taken me longer to get her item. As she added her item to be rung up another lady behind her in line started screaming at her. “You think your entitled.”
Apparently this lady thought my friend had looked at her wrong and had picked this moment to get in my friend’s face. It seemed she felt disrespected for some unknown reason. The elderly lady who was still getting her bags moved away quickly and the cashier said absolutely nothing.
I looked outside and saw a JSO police car parked outside the store in the fire lane. As my friend got her bags together I wondered if it would be necessary to alert him as we got her baby to safety. Since her car was close my friend suggested we hurry in case the lady, who was still with the cashier, came after us. As we were driving out the lady pulled out her cel phone to video my friend’s car as it left the parking lot.
The next day I was driving on I295 when a man in a Ram truck decided I was driving too slow. Instead of going around me he decided to tail gate me in the right lane. I moved over to the left lane and got out of the way as he sped off in the right lane and flipped me off. I was just glad he was gone. Burt here is my concern: as police departments are being cutback and scrutinized around the country are aggressive members of our society getting bolder? And will criminal elements of our society now get bolder too? In other words if they can get away with hitting armed police officers with bricks what will they do to regular citizens who are not highly trained and armed with a license to kill if necessary? If our leaders don’t protect us who will?
There is a reason police are called the thin blue line. It is because they are the only thing keeping the criminal element from doing anything they want.