In July 1969 John Lennon released a song titled “Give Peace a Chance” that quickly became an anthem for the anti-war and counterculture movements. “And on Nov. 15, ,” The Nation reported, “half a million people gathered on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Pete Seeger led them in singing John Lennon’s new song, ‘Give Peace a Chance.’”
There are many similarities between 1969 and today, with racial tension and a seemingly endless military conflict. Though unlike 1969, protests are primarily in opposition to what appears to be systemic racism within the so-called criminal justice system. Since May 1, 2013 police have killed over 3700 people with some of those deaths gaining more notoriety than others, most notably: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling & Philando Castile. While the circumstances surrounding each of these deaths are different, there is one unifying factor: all of them were black and have been the catalyst for protests by the group Black Lives Matter. Note: just because someone says “Black Lives Matter” does not mean they believe other lives don’t matter, any more than someone at a rally against cancer could be construed as believing there shouldn’t also be a cure for hepatitis.
Some have decided instead of peacefully protesting, they would become a vigilante. Micah Xavier Johnson, a US Army veteran, was among those who in recent days decided to take matters into his own hands and opened fire at police in Dallas. After shooting 12 police officers and 2 bystanders – and a lengthy negotiation – Johnson was killed by a police robot.
Micah Xavier Johnson wanted to send a message to police, and he did. However, he – and others who have decided to shoot police – have sent the wrong message. Matt Agorist of The Free Thought Project writes, “Those who initiate and support such violence will be complicit in creating the hellish police state that will inevitably ensue as a consequence of their actions.” Adding, “If a group of people rise up and claim to be freedom fighters and they do not have the support of the citizens, well, that ‘revolution’ was over before it started.
If anyone thinks that killing cops and/or praising the death of innocent people will amass public opinion in their favor… they are seriously delusional.”
I for one do not celebrate when anyone is killed, and believe all loss of life is tragic. There’s an old saying, “if you live by the sword, you die by the sword.” If we are to achieve a a more peaceful society, it will not be achieved by violence, for violence is antithetical to peace. I ask you to look back at the words of John Lennon from 47 years ago as more than words in a song, and if you – like me – want a more peaceful society: give peace a chance!