Not all protests are created equal

Thankfully, she left work early and was able to get in this time.

She wasn’t so lucky Tuesday evening and had to weave her way back to the front of her apartment building.

Our 22-year-old daughter Emma is working at an internship in Kansas City. The apartment complex she is staying in is near ground zero for the ongoing protests in Kansas City.

The back of Emma’s apartment building faces the park where most of the protesters have been gathering the past few nights.

Tuesday night Emma worked later than normal so it was after 4:30 p.m. when she attempted to turn onto Broadway Avenue and make her way south to the entrance of her parking garage which is directly across the street from the park.

When Emma got to a police barricade, she told one of the police officers she lived on Wornall Road and needed to get to her parking garage and she said the officer yelled “YOU DON’T LIVE THERE TONIGHT”.

So Emma turned around and when she ran into another roadblock, she again explained she was just trying to get to her parking garage and, again, she was turned away and sent to another roadblock.

After 30 minutes of being passed from one roadblock to another Emma called me. Emma is pretty levelheaded and tries to keep her emotions in check but when she started talking it was clear she was upset and frightened.

I stayed on the phone with Emma until she was finally able to make her way around to the front of her apartment building. While she drove, Emma told me the police officers were rude to her and didn’t seem to care how or if she got to her apartment building.

I told Emma the police officers may have justifiably been a bit on edge. But part of me wanted to say “Really? They couldn’t have bothered to at least show a little empathy for an obviously upset and frightened young woman?”

But then another part of me wondered how those police officers would have treated Emma if she were black.

Look, Emma knows she’s fortunate. She knows, by accident of birth, she has been given advantages many others haven’t.

She knows, for example, she can afford to look at an encounter with a police officer differently than can a black or brown person. So, Tuesday evening Emma had her first taste of what many other people deal with on a daily basis and I think it rattled her a bit.

I don’t mean this to be an attack on police officers. As I said, many of those officers, understandably, may have been a bit tense after dealing with nights and nights of protests. And some of those protests, I should point out, weren’t always peaceful.

In fact, some of those protests weren’t protests at all. They were just excuses for morons to go on looting sprees.

But by most accounts, the protestors in and around the park in Kansas City, by and large, have been peaceful.

But not all of them have been.

And, by most accounts, the police officers, by and large, have been conducting themselves in a calm and professional manner.

But not all of them have been.

It seems to me some people are willing to overlook a few “bad apples” on a police force but are less willing to overlook a few “bad apples” in a crowd of protestors.

It also seems to me some people tend to look at protests differently depending on who is doing the protesting.

A few weeks ago, when those heavily armed idiots stormed the Michigan State Capitol, threating the governor and state lawmakers because they couldn’t get a haircut or go to a bar, they suffered little if any consequences.

Fast forward a few weeks, when people gathered in Minneapolis to peacefully protest the brutal killing of an unarmed black man and got tear gassed.

Look, people much smarter than I am have debated and suggested how we can get past all of this. How we restore some sense of trust and justice in our country.

I’m smart enough to admit that I don’t know how we can do that.

But I guess we can start by listening to and respecting the peaceful protestors and the professional and honorable police officers.

And then deal with the bad apples.

Oh, and vote in November.