Correction. Last week I wrote “Today is the last day of Yom Kippur.” I should have said, today is Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is only one day.
As always, I appreciate someone pointing out the need for a correction.
Recommendation. A book was given to me by a good friend of this blog, Scoot Crandall. The book is “Compassion (&) Conviction” by Justin Giboney, Michael Ware and Chris Butler. The subtitle is— “The AND CAMPAIGN’s guide to faithful civic engagement.”
The authors are Christians and the book is written from that point of view. Their approach is a serious, thoughtful, approach to civic matters by Christians. If you have an interest in a reasonable approach to civic affairs by Christians, I recommend the book. They work in Washington D. C. and have formed the AND CAMPAIGN group, dedicated to educating and organizing people of faith for faithful civic and cultural engagement.
And. In a previous blog I tried to show how the very small word “some” has big importance for our thinking. I pointed out the importance of distinguishing some people in a group, rather than characterizing everyone in a group in the same manner. Saying — some Democrats, some Republicans, some Blacks, some whites, some Hispanics, some Evangelicals, some Muslims is a much clearer and more positive way to think than lumping all Democrats or Republicans or Blacks or whites or Hispanics or Evangelicals or Muslims into the same category.
I believe the small word “and” has a similarly powerful positive impact on our thinking. Scoot’s recommended book makes it abundantly clear— thinking AND is a good way to enter civic affairs.
I want to briefly focus that small word.
In graduate school, the first time I remember thinking seriously about the importance of thinking “AND” was when I faced the question— is a behavior caused by our biological make-up or our experiences. Most of you recognize that as a restatement of the philosophical question of Nature vs. Nurture. In most cases, behavior is a product of both. Nature AND nurture are important for understanding human behavior. I am many years away from graduate school but the importance of thinking And remains relevant.
To demonstrate the importance and positive impact of thinking AND in our present society, consider the following tale of tragedy:
A Tragedy. We have a neighborhood “group” email. People share all kinds of information. This week a grandmother wrote asking for prayers. She reported her grandson died because “negligence of Georgia State Patrol and 911 operator.” She gave the grandson’s name so I googled it to see the story.
The headlines all stressed a boy was killed in a high-speed chase. The typical one read “Georgia boy,12, killed following high-speed chase.” The most inflammatory read “Georgia Cops kill 12-year-old Black Boy in Reckless high-speed chase.”
Before I read any articles, I thought maybe the police were chasing someone and crashed into a different car killing the boy. As it turns out the boy was in the car being pursued.
The driver of the car was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. He resisted giving any information to the police and then drove off. The police pursued.
Eventually, the police performed a PIT maneuver by bumping the rear of the fleeing car causing it to crash. The driver and another juvenile in the car lived but the 12-year-old did not have his seat belt on and died. The driver was indeed driving under the influence of alcohol.
The police caused the death of the boy. The PIT maneuver by the police caused the crash.
But, and it is a big, painful but, the driver of the fleeing car also caused the boy’s death. If the driver had not been drinking and driving, if he had not fled the police, if he had insisted the boy have on his seat belt, The boy would still be alive. The driver is being charged with murder.
The police AND the driver are responsible for the death. The nature of this tragedy is a good example of the tremendous difficulty we have thinking AND. Many people want to think “either-or” not AND. They either want to side with the grandmother and hold the police negligent or side with the police and hold the driver responsible.
In my opinion the police and the driver of the car are both responsible for the tragic death of a young boy. I understand it is okay to ask whether or not the PIT technique was “negligence.” I understand we can ask “is one person more responsible than the other.” I understand we can ask “could either person have done something different.” I understand we can question a PIT maneuver and the circumstance under which it is practiced. I understand we can question police pursuits with children in the fleeing vehicle. The point is— we have a better understanding of all factors if we begin with the honest understanding that both parties are responsible for the tragedy.
Broader implications. In my opinion, if some well-known situations were examined from the AND approach, they would be more productively and positively discussed. They should be approached with AND rather than “either-or.”
The Briana Taylor situation in Louisville is an example. The police executed a no-knock warrant on Briana’s boyfriend on a drug charge. In an exchange of gunfire between the boyfriend and the police, she was killed. The either-or thinkers either blamed the police or they blamed the boyfriend. I think understanding the no knock policy AND the boyfriend’s response leads to a better discussion of the situation.
The “great philosopher” and former basketball player Charles Barkley recognized the need to avoid simplistic either-or conclusions. He warned people to be careful about jumping to conclusions in the Briana Taylor case. The situation is more complicated than just blaming one side.
“I don’t think this one was like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery and things like that,” Barkley began. “I feel sad that this young lady lost her life. I think this one was — the no-knock warrant is something we need to get rid of … across the board. But I am worried to lump all these situations in together.”
Charles was joined by his buddy, Shaquille O’Neal.
“I have to agree with Charles, this one is sort of lumped in,” O’Neal said. “You have to get a warrant signed and some states do allow no-knock warrants. And everyone was asking for murder charges. When you talk about murder, you have to show intent. A homicide occurred and we’re sorry a homicide occurred. When you have a warrant signed by the judge, you are doing your job, and I would imagine that you would fire back.”
Many other discussions of social justice situations, cultural differences, political situations, environmental issues, immigration issues, work problems, family issues and more would benefit from thinking AND rather than “either-or.”
Jeny Update. Jeny received her fourth treatment. She is glad for everyone’s support This will be the tough week but only two more treatments. She normally does a great job editing the blog, but we did not have time this week. You may see a few more errors in my writing.
I am still writing my essay. I got comments that are helping me edit the first two sections. I was tied up with Jeny’s treatment, billing issues and spent an entire afternoon with a well-known phone and internet provider that put me way behind this week. I will make progress next week.