Sunday, July 10, 2016

"The Weakness of Violence"

Dear Plainfield Community,

As a nation we are truly stunned and saddened by the tragic events that have unfolded over the past few days.

While the shooting deaths of Philando Castile of Minnesota and Alton Sterling of Louisiana are still under investigation, we can agree that any loss of life is tragic. Seemingly needless tragedy makes the loss even harder to bear.

Compounding these tragedies are the deaths of five police officers and the wounding of seven in Dallas, Texas. An act of violence as a retaliatory tactic achieves nothing but needless loss of life and only begets more violence. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that “If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we will be a blind and toothless nation.”

My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and families of these horrendous events. It is apparent that as a nation something has been broken. Somewhere there is a disconnect that has caused a breakdown in the trust that should exist between Law Enforcement Officers and members of the public.

While there are no fast fixes there has to be a way forward to find accord, and it can only happen if everyone is willing to come together without prejudice and with open minds and hearts.

Plainfield, despite the challenges that we experience here, we can be grateful that there is a great relationship that exists between our law-enforcement forces and our community.

Our officers are our neighbors, our family, our friends and they are a part of the fabric that makes up our diverse city.

Since rolling out our body camera program complaints against our local police force has dropped by 60%. While that overall number was never high to begin with, this still represents a significant drop and demonstrates that there is a high level of trust between our officers and our residents.

Our officers are out on the streets every day interacting with members of the community. They are active in our schools and have created several programs which allows them to interact with and mentor many of our young people. We take great pains to vet all incoming officers and ensure they are residents of Plainfield. They have a vested interest in finding peaceful resolutions as far as possible without endangering the lives of themselves or others.

Plainfield's law enforcement officers even go one step further in sponsoring local cookouts and block parties. They are truly committed to ensuring that the bonds between themselves and the community remain strong and trustworthy and we are fortunate to have these types of officers in our city.

As we go about our business over this weekend let’s take a moment to remember those who have gone from us, let’s try to remove our anger and our resentment and think of the lives lost. Let’s try to think how we can as individuals help to influence and make a difference in this situation.

Today I leave you with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which are as important now as they were when first uttered:

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
                                                                       --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Creating One Plainfield - One Future,

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield

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