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This past Friday I gave a recommendation for client social media profiles and it went like this: we recommend a social media post of your thoughts and condolences to the family of the officers slain.

I made a mistake, was short-sighted, but I was lucky to have a few people help me see the other points to consider.

Orlando is still fresh in mind from June. Then last week the Castile and Sterling incidents, and then the retaliation and killing of five Dallas police officers.

Our country is struggling.

A Timely Hero

Last weekend, Elie Wiesel passed. A Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, he wrote the book Night.  A haunting story only made more real by my visit to Auschwitz in 2007. A terrible place with rooms in the museum which display human hair, buttons, combs, and shoes. Shoes so tiny you know the owner of those shoes had yet to walk.

I just remember thinking to myself: this happened only about 65 years ago; how can we do this to each other?

At our Monday All Hands meeting we spoke about Mr. Wiesel. This week, prior to the Dallas shootings, I was reminded of my favorite quote:

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. -Elie Wiesel

It became clear I didn’t see the full picture when an attorney called me and said they were sending everyone home early because a large Black Lives Matter movement was going to start that afternoon. Ok, I understand the counterpoint for not publicly showing support of the families of the officers murdered by a sniper.

Then that night I realized there is more than these two sides, there is the positive side going forward.

I don’t know if this is the right answer professionally, but this feels closer: Condemn both actions, then look forward.  Focus on love, family, and even prayer if that’s where you feel people may find peace. Everyone can use and share hope.

There will forever be stereotypes and bad apples, and this will not be the last tragedy. Being silent is OK and people will understand, however, realize there is an opportunity in alternative as well.

Everyone Wants the Violence to Stop. How Can We Contribute?

1. Perhaps interview a police officer to learn and understand what creates anxiety or heightens their sense of being in danger. Each year on average 40-50 officers die from gunshots or violent attacks, so they are faced with concern daily.

2. In that same thought process, you could create a video of how to properly act as a driver or passenger during a traffic stop.

3. Lawyers make great listeners and negotiators, and the most successful are especially effective at listening to their adversaries.

Care to share a few tips on how to listen to someone whose views may oppose yours? Perhaps respect, listen, find common ground, get to the root of the issue, and then build a resolution.

So What Do You Say After a Tragedy?

“I don’t know” is my answer. It’s your call. But if history has taught us anything, remaining silent isn’t the solution. Aim for the positive. It’s easier than you think.

If there was ever a post here to comment on, I’d love to here you feedback, especially if you disagree. Let’s use our collective thought to do better. Help me out?


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