It takes a lot to get me blogging nowadays, but this did it. Last weekend, in the wake of the horrific and terrifying deaths of two Hattiesburg Police Department officers, Gov. Phil Bryant decided to weigh in on how society should view law enforcement officers. The entire op-ed is an embarrassment to our state for many reasons, but a major failing is in Gov. Bryant's overly-simplistic view of the world. To him, it's all Saturday morning spaghetti westerns, where the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad. Life simply doesn't afford anyone who's lived it the possibility to maintain such an illusion, unfortunately. And to be clear, Gov. Bryant doesn't believe that either. How could he in the wake of his appointees repeatedly heading off to the federal penitentiary? He's just writing that way because he thinks you think like that.
But in keeping with his entreaties to blindly stand by our law enforcement officers as they go after the bad guys, I'm sure that Gov. Bryant would ask you to keep Mr. Andre' Kennedy in your thoughts and prayers. Mr. Kennedy is currently being charged with capital murder (which is a whole other issue altogether), kidnapping, and armed robbery after he allegedly joined another man in robbing and terrorizing a Jackson doctor at his home this past weekend. Prior to his arrest, Mr. Kennedy had been working hard to keep us safe under the most extreme conditions as a prison guard for the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
*Personal note - I'm sure some of you will react to this post by saying that I'm not supportive of law enforcement. Incorrect. Pointing out that our governor's composition wouldn't garner a C+ in a junior high social studies class is being disrespectful and unsupportive of our governor, not of our law enforcement officers. I personally know and deeply care for a good number of our law enforcement officers. I care for them so much, in fact, that I find it important enough to set my law practice and family life aside for 45 minutes to write about the way we should not view interactions between police and society. I hope that you'll honestly join me in pondering the ways in which we foster an atmosphere of violence and distrust between law enforcement officers and citizens, especially nonwhite and poorer citizens, and how we can unravel it.