A wise man wrote recently "We do not have a race, gun, drug, theft, or (insert one) problem in the United States. Our problem is one of character."
That was written by David Oliver, Chief of Police in Brimfield, Ohio. He's absolutely correct.
We don't have a race problem. A person's skin color has never hurt or endangered anyone - except maybe themselves if they have a skin pigmentation problem. I've never seen skin hurt anyone. I've only the person living inside that skin hurt someone. I've never seen a color hurt anyone either; nor any other physical feature. But I've see words and actions hurt people. Hating or vilifying another person for their skin color or ethnicity is wrong no matter what color you, or they, are.
The people I associate with don't have problems with people because of their skin color. They don't dislike someone because of their ethnic background, where they're from or where they live. They don't condemn them for the language they speak. The only real problems they have stem from the character of each. Behavior, attitude, even the way people speak to others is about character. If your character flaws dominate who you are you will have problems with others - even if they have done nothing to you. That's just a simple fact. If you judge a person by the color of their skin, where they're from or what their native language is rather than the individual, it's you who has the character flaw.
Martin Luther King said it best when he said "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
What a day that would be.
We don't have a gun problem in the United States. Guns aren't problems. Guns don't hurt people. I've owned guns on and off for 40 years and have never had one shoot anyone. I've never had one load itself and I've never had one fire that wasn't being handled by someone. People are killed in many ways - firearms, knives, hammers, baseball bats, automobiles. Know what the common denominator is in all of them? People.
We don't have a drug problem. We have a problem with people using drugs because of character flaws. People know drugs are addicting before they begin using them. They do it anyway because one of their character flaws tells them they are different: they can use and not get addicted. Guess what? The percentage of people who use on a regular basis and don't get addicted is minuscule.
Some use because they enjoy it and don't care about the addiction. That's a character flaw as well. If you are using drugs and don't care about yourself or your loved ones it's a problem.
Certainly once one is addicted the reasons for using change. It becomes a physical need. However, getting clean is possible if you are willing to do what it takes. But that's not easy. It takes work and it takes courage. It takes character.
Included in the 12 steps of addiction treatment are taking a fearless moral inventory of oneself, admitting the exact nature of one's wrongs and asking God to remove all defects of character.
There's that word "character" again.
Are you watching the protests being done in the name of "justice" in Ferguson and Saint Louis, Missouri? The people in Missouri have every right to voice their concerns, whether they are real or perceived. But voicing concerns through violence and threats of violence is not in good character. Threatening to kill people to get a point across if you don't get the results you want from the justice system means you have character issues. The mob mentality doesn't solve anything. It nearly always serves only to make things worse. Threatening violence isn't a call for justice. It's a call for revenge whether or not it's due.
Chief Oliver is on to something here. I've never met the man but I read his words of wisdom since the day I stumbled across the Brimfield Police Department Facebook page. And I do get back to Ohio now and then. Hopefully one day I'll be able to pass through Brimfield and shake hands with the Chief. In the meantime I'll read his posts and gain as much wisdom as I can. Thanks, Chief.