Why not a hug?

Where are those doves carrying olive branches of peace?

We have people being shot followed by protests where more violence occurs, more potential for more people being shot. We have people in the public spotlight protesting by not standing for the National Anthem and we have others saying that is no way to protest. We have talk, talk, talk, talk.

But where are the doves?

Where is the actual action for change? What we have is distractions. What we have is people acting in ways that cause reactions to those actions. What we aren’t seeing a lot of is people working on the solutions. We are acting out and waiting for someone else to act.

It is disheartening to watch each distraction become more news than the actual problem that started the reactions.


Today, I turned on my phone to see someone was shot in the protests in Charlotte. I shook my head. This is almost a daily story with almost predictable results. We have reactions before facts and we have facts sometimes twisted and we have he said/she said.

It’s never ending.

We shake our head and we move on.

I scrolled down and saw my funny friend’s joke of the day, another post from my childhood best friend that is as wacky as he was in the third grade. I saw memes and other news from folks who may or may not be my “friends” that told of their day or thoughts or political views. Countless non-legitimate news source articles about candidates that seek to inflame instead of inform.

Then, I saw a video of a young man I met last month when he visited Venango College, standing between police in riot gear and a group of shouting, angry protesters. I read a few lines to see it was posted only hours before and he was in the middle of it all in Charlotte.


Calling himself a peace activist, Ken E. Nawadike Jr., who has become well-known over the internet as the “Free Hugs Guy,” was doing everything he could to stop the violence during the potential heated moments where violence was seemingly inevitable! He risked his life by putting himself in the middle and pleading with each side to find calm.

To allow each other to be heard, but not escalate  their opinions into unlawfulness where the police have no other choice but to, as he said, “do their job,” in stopping the unlawfulness and violence.

This man was doing something and this isn’t new for him. See his project and videos here www.facebook.com/FreeHugsProject.


The photos I’m showing are from his visit to Venango College where he spoke.

I don’t have the answers and I certainly can’t speak of what is racial injustice from a personal stand point. I’m a privileged white male. I say I’m not a racist or a sexist or have any discriminatory bias toward anyone, but that’s always a lie no matter who says it. At best, we can say we try to control any thoughts of discrimination.

And I think that might be where we need to start thinking. Of course there is a great deal of discrimination all over the world, but thoughts and actions are two different things.

The problems in many of the cases are that one person didn’t control themselves to do what was being asked (or told) and another person didn’t control themselves when they fired their weapon! And those are the things that need to be addressed immediately and the  work to change our attitudes toward one another need to be continued, with all diligence, so that in another 20 years, another 40 years, we aren’t still having the same discussions and discrimination problems.

Let’s first address how to deal with these issues. First, we need people who are protesting and have the megaphone to reach out to everyone to listen to instructions from police (not that that will end the problem, but its a start!) We need civil rights activists and lawyers to help defend those taken into custody falsely when they do what they are told and we need police departments to fairly  handle their affairs. And we need serious education in the public, in the police departments/judicial system and in the media, whether it is internet, newspapers or television.  We also need less divide between police and communities and, perhaps, thinking about re-instituting beat cops and neighborhood cops who get to know and keep an eye on neighborhoods.

We possibly need to stop saying we have a war on drugs and actually commit to it. Stop the illegal and dangerous activities that often lead to distrust between citizens and law enforcement. We need to stop talking and start doing.

We need neighborhood watch programs, more civic programs and more education. We need to stop not funding a lifestyle that makes us safe. We cut and cut and cut and that leads to less people doing the work that needs to be done to keep our neighborhoods peaceful, violence free and safe.

Ask any police chief struggling to keep heroin out of their towns. Heroin and other mass movement of illegal and dangerous drugs often are accompanied with guns and violent individuals of all races and nationalities. Now, add to that the eruptions from riots in the aftermath of a tragedy. And forces are cut, money for equipment and training is cut. We cut often at the expense of our safety. (I’m not saying there aren’t problem law enforcement officers, there isn’t an organization that exists without problem people. But, perhaps, if we weren’t constantly cutting, we could scrutinize more appropriately and put our energy toward being a better force instead of always being in survival mode.)

I would like to see our athletes spend some time talking to the police to see what they can do instead of just taking a knee on the sidelines and I like to see all of us spend less time being distracted by their protest and more time on the reason for the protest. I would like to see people offer solutions, set community meetings and address the problems. Become proactive in addressing the problem community by community.

I would like to see police officials sitting down with community leaders and figuring it out and I would like to see us in the “media” covering those meetings and reporting on what progress is being made toward solving the problems. It’s not going away if we keep allowing ourselves to be distracted by the next viral whatever that comes up.

I would like less tear gas being used, less insurance claims from riots, less shouting, less skirmishes, less shooting, less death and less distraction from solving the real problems that cause the problems we see. I would like to hear less talk about the protesters and the protests.

I would like to see more hugs.