Monday, September 7, 2020

Finding a Path to Peace through Conflict Management-From Molotov Cocktails to Toasting Togetherness

Finding a path to peace requires us to keep our calm and use our conflict management skills. What I see in this video might be different than what other see. I see someone throwing a Molotov Cocktail and hitting other protesters. If that would have landed in the intended location that would have hurt a lot of officers. We have to start thinking about how we are going to use conflict management skills to open up the lines of communication and simmer angry sentiments. 

In the video we see the officer jump in to help the person put the fire out (appears that way to me). This is where training on how to protect people comes into play. Most officers have good intentions and a desire to help others. They are trained to help under stressful situations.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't start thinking about those reforms that appear to make the most sense and restores trust in the Justice System. 

People are going to talk and tell everyone their opinion. We can tell the genuineness  of that opinion based on whether it solves problems and draws people closer. Those who want to exploit this conflict will encourage people to engage in more radical behavior. That may be an unintended path to societal split if the right buttons are pushed at the wrong time by exploitative individuals.

We do need some type of policing in some manner so I'm not sure if we should be talking about banning police but maybe more akin to looking toward reform measures. That which pushes the justice department to go universal but at the same time further encourages police departments to be more effective. 

That won't happen unless we have dialogue. What should happen at this point is that we get people talking and reduce some end of the anger and hurt that comes from racial/religious inequality. We must have a path going forward and that can only come through finding commonalities. We need to talk to each other and listen.

We know we need police and we know we can reform aspects of the justice system that aren't as effective or transparent as it should be. I'm not sure what other options we have other than to work together and keep the focus on improvement and development. 

There are different types of models and theories as they relate to conflict management. You can learn a few about them from the Institute of Peace and Conflict. 

I would like to just discuss common sense. Most of the conflict has been over culture/image, resources, modes of thinking and potential fear of injury/loss. Thus, talking more about how police and protesters have similarities in helping and protecting people with inalienable human rights. Recognizing there have been mistakes and moving to correct areas where we can but being frank about things we cannot change (i.e. would make it difficult to protect the public). While most of the anger is directed at police there are four essential issues as I see them:

1. Lack of Accountability: Ensuring that there is some accountability with bad officers who need to be investigated and if necessary removed before they hurt people. Let's not allow the behavior of a few bad apples blemish the records of many. Build in more feedback loops, internal investigations, and connections to the communities. Promote officers with positive, pro social, and effective practices.

2. Systematic Racism: The justice system is made up of humans who unfortunately can be prone to bias and poor decision making that doesn't always reflect the highest standards of justice. Overstuffed courts that don't spend time looking at the facts. High power attorneys allow some to walk and sometimes and hit the poor harder. Small crimes from minorities (ethnic and religious) may be (one would have to look at the data)  may be treated than others. Research and open discussion can help here. 

3. Prison and Incarceration: We want to ensure that our prisons do not continue to be an expensive drain of national resources. We want people who are dangerous to go to prison and those who have done minor things to reform. Science is pushing our outer limits in space and our inner limits to how the brain works. Let us push the Justice system to accept science in reform and the ability to help people with mental health issues that can lead to a safer world without as many people going to incubative prison systems. 

3. Development of Full Capitalism: We have toward high participation within our economic system and government to create a full capitalistic system that is based on democratic principles. This means doing better to remove anything that limits a persons chances for individual and collective success based on merit alone. Other considerations outside of performance mean we are detracting from the ability of the system to grow and function fully. Psuedo-capitalism may be limiting our ability to overcome market challenges through innovative economic engagement base in biased practices. 

Thus, the fights between protesters and counter-protesters are a symptom of other essential issues that are being played out on the protest line. While many people from both sides understand some of the issues there are likely a lot of people that are going there to protest on partial knowledge and partial understanding. They are there for how they feel, their fears, what they value, and what they would like to see in their world. Taking a bigger picture and finding some safe place to discuss these issues for a stronger America is important in drawing them together.

I get it! I been on both sides of the isle. I understand the pain of the protesters and am upset when corruption and bias in policing damage people's lives and there is a lack of accountability. One the other side I know many of these officers are trying to do the right thing and feel that they are a target when this is what they have been trained for and taught how to do things. We must hold criminals accountable while pushing the system forward to its universal justice level. I fight for what I feel is right and I can say this is a tough one. We need a path forward!

A few ideas on how to reduce some of the conflict. 

1. Encourage our leaders to start talking about a path forward.

2. Don't sugar coat or bend around issues. Tackle them straight away.

3. Look for common ground and focus public discussion on that common ground. As we do this we may find our common ground growing.

4. Think about how to reform in a way that is cost effective, safe, and unbiased.

5. Don't de-legitimize...empower people to be better and solve problems

6. Build cognitive models on both sides by sharing information, knowledge, and perspectives that leads to understanding and mutual empathy. 

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