There has been a lot happening around the world…. Reports from the media have not made it better.

I graduated in 2010 from Lynchburg College with a degree in Journalism and Public Relations. We were challenged to hold ourselves to a higher standard as journalists. To make sure we wrote and reported objectively. It was NOT our job to put any opinion or personal emotion into our stories. Report on the facts, and present them in an easily understandable way for the masses.

I find it difficult to find a report or story that still exercises these standards. And while as much as I don’t want to comment my opinion, I fear more not to share it.

As much as we like to turn a blind eye, overlook it, and try to sweep it under the rug… There ARE different standards based on our perception of the classes of the masses. But if you get right down to the basics, education and upbringing play the biggest role of all. It causes a pattern.

My parents were taught to respect everyone…. their elders, service members and especially uniformed authorities. They were expected to excel in school, advance their education through some sort of college or technical training, acquire a decently paying job that contributes back to society, and be a positive reflection of the peopole raising them. Because of this, we (their 3 kids) were raised along the same principles. I expect my sister is raising my nephew & niece to these standards, as I will one day raise my children. If you do not accept certain behaviors, they do not become habits.

However, not all families are like mine. Some do not have that solid role model, some have allowed different behaviors that have led them down a different reoccuring path for their family.

It has NOTHING to do with the color of their skin. This is where we need to get over the racism excuse. There is nobody more “colored” than a Caucasian person. They are white when sheltered inside, turn green when sick, red & brown when exposed to sunlight…. the list goes on.

People are People. Living, breathing, loving, unique individuals. If you perform an autopsy on me after I die side by side with ANY other human… you know what you’ll find? THE SAME EXACT ORGANS. Hell, doctors can REPLACE those organs from one person to another. The only thing that matters is the life in their hands.

We need to break the cycle. It starts with each one of us. Do NOT accept those morally and ethically questionable actions. Hold yourself to a higher standard. Money is not an excuse either. You could have someone from the poorest of ghettos in jail for theft right next to a millionaire who thought they could get away with embezelment. THEFT is THEFT. Just like love is love, right is right and wrong is WRONG.

I┬áhave been pulled over once in my lifetime. I was 17, thinking I was invincible. Driving 82mph in a 55 zone without realizing it while listening to my loud music on the way to a baseball game. I was breaking the law, and I was reprimanded for it. Was I upset about it? Of Course!!! It was the first time I had EVER been pulled over! Couldn’t the cop have given me a break? Let me off with at least a WARNING for my first time? Wearing a low-cut shirt and blubbering like a baby was no saving grace for me that day. You know who was? That State Trooper. I could have lost control of the vehicle and struck somebody else, putting their life in jeapordy. I could have looked down for a milisecond to change the radio and ended up flipped in a ditch. He saved me that day by making me obey the law. He had more than my life in mind. He was protecting me, himself and everyone else on the road that day.

My uncle is a police officer, one of my early softball coaches was a police officer, I worry about our uniformed soldiers every day. They leave their loved ones day in and day out, never fully confident they will return home. I can’t imagine a world anymore where I don’t think anything will go wrong. Hell, I strapped my GoPro to my chest for my bike ride downtown on 4th of July in case I was struck by a vehicle, even though I had a head lamp, glow sticks all over my bike, and a blinking red light on my backpack. I grew up in the world with Columbine, 9/11, school bomb threat drills, the DC Sniper lockdowns…. It needs to end now. What kind of world are we leaving for future generations?

If I am doing something wrong I expect to be in trouble for it. If I am stopped, questioned or requested to leave by an officer in or out of uniform, I was taught to respect it. If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to prove, no reason to run. While yes, there will always be one or two bad apples in a bushel, you can only control YOUR reaction. If we each are held accountable for our own actions, how much better could the world be?

Until we step out of our own way, we will never see the light ahead. Expect more from yourself, hold yourself to a higher standard and let your good deeds be the shining light for others. Start a new generation, be the role model. It is a Choice.

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