In this era of protests of one kind or another against whatever, have you given much thought to those whose job it is to protect the public from harm in the midst of these events?

No matter the reason(s) for any protests, there will always be a plethora of reactions and feelings coming from the general public, and this year, 2020 could be labeled the year of protests.

The hope is that all these public displays will be peaceful demonstrations of an American right, an American guarantee as stipulated in the Constitution. The beginnings of our nation were built on protests against the 'parent' country, England, and King George III, whom the colonists called a tyrant.

Now, back to the current reality at ground level.

We are witnessing protests develop into potentially hostile and dangerous situations from all parts of the country, the most visible and vocal coming from major metropolitan areas.

Be it local police, sheriff departments, state police, or national guardsmen - the individuals who make up such groups come from a mixed bag of humanity.

Understand now, that these people come with their own particular biases, sentiments, and beliefs. Side-by-side, shoulder to shoulder, males and females of every ethnic description line up together to face, in many instances, hostile and ugly crowds.

All of what I've just stated brings about another story to be told, something else to think about.

Certain elements within even legitimate, peaceful marches and protests sometimes ignite violence. Point in case, closer to home, we heard of gunshot injuries to two Louisville Metro police personnel involved in crowd control centered around Breonna Taylor's death. Other extreme violence against law enforcement was witnessed in Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd's death.

Think about the families of those two injured officers and how they must feel.

What's their mindsets?

Will they become bitter and hardened, and if so, against whom?

This is human interest stuff, sidebars and footnotes to the events of our times.

As crowds throw water bottles, rocks and missiles of every description, and even get in the faces of law enforcement personnel, emotions run high within the ranks because these individuals are human, also!

When foot chases and hand-to-hand confrontations occur, what goes through the mind of a black cop or guardsman as he or she witnesses a fellow white officer 'roughing up' an African-American crowd participant?

Or, turn it around, when a white guardsman sees an obviously angry, black comrade in arms wailing on a defenseless white protestor.

This summer, indeed, this year of discontent, is testing all aspects of human behavior. We, as Americans, even with our problems, for as long as I can remember, have watched the rest of the world go through humongous strife.

My generation grew up reading about malnutrition and death in the Sudan, which is still going on, the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident in Beijing when mostly Chinese students protested the death of social reformer Hu Yoabang's death, and Russia's crusade against novelist Aleksandra Solzhenitsyn and his book, "Gulag Archipelago," describing Russia's vicious penal system which caused world-wide concern, just to mention a few.

We're now participants and not just spectators of horrific events engulfing the world, and it doesn't feel good to us at all.

Now, here we are, against the backdrop of a world- wide killer virus, dysfunctional national leadership, an uncertain economic situation, massive unemployment, social unrest, and, oh yes, our entertainment routines have been disrupted.

Have I missed anything?

We're all coming around to accept the fact systemic racism is at the root cause of racial inequality in our country. And, given that so much consternation surrounds the relationship between minorities and law enforcement that hill would appear to be the first one to climb.

So, as we tackle law enforcement/minority issues let's keep in mind that the vast majority of law enforcement personnel is made up of decent, hard-working women and men who want to be fair and do a good job!

And, as talk swirls about calling for defunding police departments and to even dismantle some of them, let's be sensible and rational as we move forward and let's be mindful that we're dealing with human beings at ground level where the action is, where reality is.

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