Sunday, July 10, 2016

Two Blacks, Five Cops Dead in Three Days. Why?

Do you have the answer or solution to the madness?  “We have to listen to each other.”  “We need healing.”  “The Black community needs to trust the police.”  “The police need to be retrained.”  Those are just some of the solutions we hear; we’ve heard them before.

I am a seventy-three-year-old Black American male and I’ve been hearing the same crap all of my life.  And the police keep proving to me that I should not, cannot, must not trust a white police officer.  If I do, I am putting my life in danger.  My son will be fifty years’ old this year.  I have prayed every day since the day he was born that he would not be harmed by a white police officer.  Every Black parent has prayed that prayer including Black police officers who are parents.

What happened this time?  On Tuesday, July 5, 2016, two white cops confronted a Black man, Mr. Alton Sterling, who is selling CDs outside of a convenience store.  They had gotten a report that Mr. Sterling was carrying a gun.  They wrestled him to the ground, pulled out their own guns and shot him, killing him.  They then took Mr. Sterling’s gun out of his pocket.  What?  You mean the gun wasn’t in his hand threatening them?  No.  It was in his pocket.  His hands were outside of his pocket.  They did this in front of many witnesses, some of whom videoed the incident.

What else happened?  On Wednesday, June 6, 2016, a white cop pulled over a Black driver, Mr. Philando Castile, and his family for a busted tail light.  Then Mr. Castile informed the cop that he has a permit to carry a fire arm.  He thought it was the right thing to do.  If the cop sees a gun he might shoot.  Mr. Castile also informs the cop that he is reaching for his wallet to get his identification.  The cop shot Mr. Castile killing him.  The cop kept his gun trained on Mr. Castile while he lay dying.  “I feared for my life.”  That is the “go to” statement all cops have to say.  It works every time.

Then what happened?  On Thursday, July 7, 2016, Mr. Micah Xavier Johnson, a Black man said, “I am tired of this crap.”  He shot fourteen people, two civilians and twelve cops, killing five of the cops.  They took Mr. Johnson out with a robot armed with a bomb.  Good.  He had the wrong answer.  We all pray there will not be a copycat.

The conversation from commentators and spokes persons is about healing the communities.  The news media aired special reports on the incidents.  “We have to listen to each other” and “Cops need to go into the communities and get to know the people and the people need to get to know the cops.”  To that I say, “B*%)s#!t.”

If I, a Black man who is not a cop, shoot and kill someone in front of witnesses I will be arrested.  I will be handcuffed and paraded in front of cameras in the “perp walk.”  My picture would be all over television and websites.  It could have been self-defense but I’ll be arrested first and they will try to sort things out later.

When a cop shoots and kills a Black person in front of witnesses he is not arrested.  He is not handcuffed.  He or they are ushered out of sight.  We are told later that they were placed on desk duty.  It will be a day or two before we even see their picture or know their names.

Cops are treated differently when they commit a crime.  That has to change.  It won’t change because the prosecutor will not be vigorous in getting an indictment or conviction.  The prosecutors and the police work together to get convictions.  The prosecutor needs the police.

Even when the prosecutor appears to be sincere, I believe there is something in his or her subconscious mind that prevents a vigorous prosecution.  It’s Justice Tempered with Mercy for the cops and Justice Tempered with Enmity for all others.  Everyone should be treated the same.

What white America doesn’t see are the thousands of incidents when white cops beat the “you know what” out of us in the precincts, in the streets and in the back of squad cars.  If nobody dies, it doesn’t make the news.  Not all cops condone such behavior but because of the Blue Wall of Silence, the so called good cops look the other way.  Looking the other way makes all cops, bad cops.  They may as well participate in the bad behavior alongside the bad cops.

We don’t need to talk to each other.  We need to change the perception of what happens immediately following an incident.  Good cops must speak out against bad cops.

Do you have friends who are cops?  Look them in the eye and ask these two questions,
·      “What side of the Blue Wall of Silence do you stand?”
·      “If you saw something wrong would you say something right?”

I have three questions for you:
1.   How come these situations rarely happens between White cops and other minorities or even other Whites?
2.   How come these situations rarely happens between Black cops and anyone else?
3.  Do you know how much racist crap Black cops must take from white cops for their own safety?

Incidents like what happened to Mr. Sterling and Mr. Philando will happened again.  We will be outraged again.  There are two things that must happen in order for things to change:
·      Good cops need to cross the Blue Wall of Silence and say something.
·      All cops and all civilians must be treated the same when suspected of a crime.

We know those two things will never happen.  Therefore, things will NEVER change.  Black people will continue to die at the hands of white cops until Jesus comes.

Realizing that times change, I believe Jesus would advocate for self-defense.  That’s probably why Jesus said the following in Luke 22:35-38, Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.  It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.

Get your exegetical juices flowing on that.  God be with us all.  <><

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My Summer Money Tip for Young People

Chances are you have a “summer job” during the break from college or high school.  If you live with your parents, you have no rent to pay and mom is going to feed you.  So, the money you earn is yours to use as you wish.
Listen to this.  Never, ever spend 100% of any money you receive.  And that goes for everyone; not just young people.
With the paycheck you use for living expenses:
  • Give or Tithe 10%
  • Save or Invest 10%
  • Live on 80%.

With other money you receive as a windfall, gift, summer job where you don’t really need the money to live on:
  • Give or Tithe 25%
  • Save or Invest 25%
  • Enjoy 50%.

Or you can prayerfully develop your own formula.  But DON’T SPEND 100%.
If you are not a member of a church, mosque, synagogue, temple or you don't have place of worship where you might tithe, find a charity in your community to cheerfully give the 10% ... or more.
Why am I telling you this?  Those who spend 100% of their money will eventually need to borrow from those who save.  Proverbs chapter 22 verse 7 says, “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.”
Savers become financially secure without trying.  They put themselves in position to be generous.  God bless you.  <><

Lloyd R. Johnson is the creator of Wisdom & God’s Money – a financial planning system for churches, their members and the community.

Monday, May 16, 2016

When Friends are of the Opposite Gender

A little over twenty years ago I heard the following question asked on a Christian radio station, “What do you do when friends are of the opposite sex.”  Because I was riding in my car I couldn’t write anything down so I listened attentively.  I was interested because I had a friend of the opposite gender and we wanted a friendship free of controversy.  Since we are both married we definitely didn’t want anything to interfere with our marriages.  I especially wanted a Christian perspective.

The radio announcer listed several things people could do to keep the friendship from moving in the wrong direction.  I jotted down what I could remember as soon as I could.  Some of those things were:
  •       There are no individual ambitions
  •       You enrich each other’s life
  •       Motives are kept pure (no temptations by being alone together)
  •       You value the friendship more than anything else
  •       You don’t send sexual messages

I showed the list to my friend and we talked about it and added to it.  For example:
  •     If either of us knew of someone in our circle of friends and acquaintances who was “fooling around” we would not mention it at all.
  •       There would be no off color jokes or conversation and no flirting.
  •      If just the two of us are alone in a room or office the door would be wide open and we would be at an appropriate distance from each other.  Appearance is important.
  •      When we meet for breakfast or lunch we pray together.  We never meet for dinner.  That’s too intimate a setting.
  •       We always let our spouses know when we have any type of meeting or even just a phone call.

We were both in the financial services (insurance & investments) industry working for different companies, then the same company, then different companies again.  Our friendship began when we were with different companies but active members of the Bronx branch of the NYC Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors.  Eight of us, members of the Bronx AIFA, formed a study group that met for the purpose of encouraging and motivating each other.  We represented different insurance and investment companies.  We met regularly at a diner for lunch and discussion.  Over time the group of eight dwindled until there was just two of us.

Once while we worked for the same company, there was a sales representative meeting on Long Island (NY).  Four of us, co-workers, were going to car pool using my car.  Two of the co-workers decided to drive their own cars because of their schedules.  So, only my friend and I rode together.  There was no car pool for the next monthly meeting.  At that meeting a co-worker remarked to me that it was unusual to see my friend and I arrive in separate cars.  Actually, only once did we ever arrive in the same car.  But, people create stuff in their own minds for their small minded reasons.  All he had to do was mention that untruth to one other person and the rumors would begin to fly.

Now my friend and I talk on the phone occasionally but rarely meet anymore since I am now retired and she is busy running her own insurance agency.  Before she opened her agency she sought my advice and we talked about it on the phone and exchanged email on the subject.  I had opened my own agency a few years before I retired.  Our conversations on the phone and in person have always revolved around business.

Having a friend of the opposite gender really shouldn’t matter unless you have impure motives.  It can be complicated if one or both are married.  If a spouse objects or is uncomfortable with the friendship, then the type of relationship has to change.

Here is my idea.  The word sex has several meanings and connotations.  Your wife is of the opposite sex.  All other women are of the opposite gender.  In the final analysis your spouse is your best friend and cannot be replaced.  <><