Don't stereotype. Ever.

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Don't stereotype. Ever.

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COVID-19, BLM Notes June 11, 2020

It's hard to put my thoughts in words. The news and social media are swirling in a constant maelstrom of things that seem like they should be false. Yet they're not. In the middle of the BLM and COVID-19 crisis, President Trump announced that he would be holding his first rally since Covid-19 in Tulsa Oklahoma. It will be on the anniversary of the massacre of the black community in Tulsa by the KKK. It also is a holiday marking the end of slavery in the US.

This can go so wrong. 1968 Democratic Convention wrong. With semi-automatic weapons wrong. I'm sure supporters can make the argument that Trump is planning to make a speech that will help heal wounds. I hope that is the case. I sincerely doubt it. Even if it is, his administration has to understand the tinderbox they are laying fuel for. I simply don't understand.

Additionally, COVID-19 cases are on the rise as states begin to reopen. So many people gathering for rallies and protests will up the ante even more. 😔😔

I'm angry about seeing my former law enforcement community painted with the same hostile brush that should be pointed at the bad cops and unions that protect them. It's damn tough to be a cop, even in a small community like mine. I still bear some scars.

Cops are underpaid for the shit they have deal with. Mental health services may be offered if a department is large enough, but it would go on ones permanent record. Mental health is still stigmatized, so why would a cop want treatment for depression on their records?

When Ron and I were dating, I had to undergo, on separate occasions, a herpes test and two AIDS tests. Imagine the fun that it is to tell my new boyfriend that kissing isn't allowed because I may have gotten herpes after giving mouth to mouth to someone I just cut down. (His response : If you have it, I already have it, so it doesn't matter. You marry a guy like that. I did).

Then we had a another suicide. We didn't wear gloves back then. I'm sure we had them in the trunk but it would be wimpy to wear them. I got blood on my hands. Then the coroner found the suicide note. AIDS. I'm a nail biter. I had hang nails down to my knuckles. I went to Springfield for my tests because I didn't dare have it done in my community. AIDS was a very dirty word back then.

I'm a chatterbox. The phlebotomist and I would be joking and laughing until they saw what the draw was for. A cold chill over took the room as they loudly triple gloved. Snap, snap, snap...... glaring at me. I was a junkie or a prostitute. Once I explained, they were so kind and emphatic. That's when I decided to try and treat everybody with kindness and respect. I don't know their back story and what led them to be in the position they are in. Be an asshole to me and I can be one right back but you get more peas with honey.

Turns out, it wasn't AIDS. False positives were common back in the early days. Strangely enough, these aren't calls that bug me. That's what cop do. There's only one that eats at me and I'll unpack that some other time. I'm still processing the ghosts of that one.

I bring them up because this is the kind of emotional crap cops deal with. Every single god damn day we clean up humanities mess. Yet there are people who want to vilify the entire law enforcement community, a community that includes people like me. I remember comforting a two year old toddler at another suicide. Mom thought the sitter would show up before the child woke up. She didn't. I'm holding this little girl who spent the morning putting popsicles on her dead diabetic mother's chest to get her to wake up. 36 years later I remember exactly where I standing, trying to comfort that poor child as I tried to process what was going on.

So, as you shout to defund the police and tear down every single police agency that has ever represented you, think of me as a young adult from the age of 22 to 24, holding that child, wondering if I was going to die from AIDS, almost getting herpes from a corpse. I still had almost five years to go. I'm the people you are denigrating. I'm proud of the work I did. If you're looking for the bad, that's all you're going to see.

Be cautious in the wording of any negative comments you might leave. I'm not much in the mood to keep my peas on my knife.

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This item was submitted on June 17, 2020 by Joan B. Rhoades using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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