MOB Mentality

For less than one year, I attended the University of South Florida in Tampa.  What ended my enrollment with that center of learning was an outbreak of German Measles which resulted in a mandate that everyone on campus receive a vaccination by January 10th.  I had been suffering with the flu that year and convinced myself that taking a vaccine while already so sick would flatten me completely.  I refused requesting a delay.  The school adamantly opposed an extension and I was released.  It was not until 5 years later after being tested for various anomalies during a pregnancy that I was informed I had a natural immunity to German Measles and could not possibly catch it.  Imagine that!

Many years later, the opportunity presented itself where I could avail myself of tuition reimbursement through my employer and attend school.  I was now a working mother of 6 and could not see myself pulling away from a job, benefits, etc. (much less the source of my tuition payments) to attend school, so I opted for on-line enrollment.  This was daunting in my mid 40’s but I forged ahead.  I told myself that the years would pass regardless, so I may as well have something to show for it.

The classes lasted five weeks/7 days per week.  Each class began with an introduction of sorts to the members of the class via a bio submitted by each student at the prompting of the instructor who would submit theirs first.  Seldom were the same people in two classes I had.  What would amaze me almost more than the instruction itself was the assumptions people made of me because of my bio.  In it, I mentioned that I was employed by BP.  That was all that had to be told.  It seemed many had opinions about BP either because of a positive or negative experience that they had at a gas pump.  In fact, one student asked me what could be done about the price of oil.  I remember replying to them stating, “Do you actually think they have a clerk (a first-year student) setting the oil prices for a corporation this size?”

It was mind-boggling to me: one person after another assumed “I” was BP.  Not that I was an employee – but that I was that person that angered them at the gas station, or the person who was setting stock price, or the person that was speaking for the corporation in the news.  I was just a clerk, mother of six trying to work my way through school.  That was it.  I controlled nothing.  But it was at that point in time that I realized how, in the minds of others, we each represent what we are connected to – right or wrong. 

I think of this every time I read a post about “Democrats” or “Republicans”.  They say this but they do that.  I think to myself – maybe?  Or maybe one person who happens to be a Democrat says this and another says that.

Most recently we have a man being arrested by four police officers who was clearly apprehended and in handcuffs and did not require an officer’s knee on his neck; not for a moment.  There were four officers present at the scene.  Any one of them could have stepped up and put a stop to that action which is believed to have caused Mr. Floyd’s death moments later.  None did.  Those four men failed to protect and serve. 

If we calmly (which I realize is difficult) examine each incident for what it is, we must conclude that people are individuals.  What they have in common, be it careers, race, religion, does not indicate behavior.  Those four officers are responsible.  All of them!  I understand that Mr. Floyd was a black man.  But I prefer to think of him as a man who fell victim to some overzealous police officers.  The powers that be need to hold these men accountable; not only dismiss them from their employment but prosecute them as murders and accessories to murder. 

Mr. Floyd did not deserve the treatment he received.  What he was subjected to does not meet any acceptable standard.  His color has nothing to do with that.  What we saw were four police officers overstepping their authority – four men who went rogue.  Not all men go rogue.  Not all police officers go rogue.  They are individuals.  We are creating our own mob mentality categorizing people and lumping them into groups and then allowing our emotions to build hate based on those groupings.  It’s wrong.  It’s all wrong!!!

It is my opinion that the reason the entire city goes into an uproar after events such as this one occurs is because there is clearly no justice to be had.  Laws apply to some, not all.  So why then should laws be obeyed.  Thus, the looting and burning ensues.  Is it right?  No – but what is right about any of this?

If we are to expect equality for all in what was established to be a great nation, then we must treat every person equally (and individually) under the law.  We each have to individually get on the right side of this.

So how did I begin this post with an incident that happened to me at a university 40 years ago and wind up with Democrats, Republicans, Mr. Floyd and the Minneapolis police?  Simple.  The more we are separated the less likely we are to be able to identify individuals in our minds and hearts.  When you know someone personally (and like them) you go out of your way to try to understand their behavior.  When you don’t, you can in a split-second lump them in with whatever group they may be affiliated with and thus mold opinions about them.  If the school had bothered to talk to “me”, maybe they would have seen that I was sick and given me an extension OR explained to me that it was going to be ok.  Neither occurred.  Maybe, if we know enough Democrats personally or Republicans personally we realize that they identify with a certain group but that does not in any way make them personally responsible for every utterance that is spoken or printed in the name of that group.  And maybe, just maybe, Mr. Floyd would have been given the appropriate due process he so rightly deserved and every police officer in the nation would not have a target on his/her back now because of the illegal behavior of a few. 

We are people, we are individuals and we each deserve the right to be known for who we are, good or bad.  STOP yourself from referring to “groups” and start referring to individual people.  We just might, as a nation, be able to break this down and work together to fix it – that is, before it’s too late for all of us.

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  1. Michael Mitchell on May 29, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Roar Ellen.

  2. Dave Grossbard on May 29, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks Ellen. Very well said

  3. Mary on May 30, 2020 at 11:17 pm