Tears are falling

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With Aisha Jallow

There are many reasons for shedding tears; sorrow or joy might be the first we come to think of. Sorrow is an emotion all of us are familiar with from early childhood. The loss of a loved soft toy that has given you comfort is sad enough for a small child. As an adult you might shrub that off as nonsense, but for the child it is just as serious as the loss of a loved one. The soft toy gave the child a sense of comfort when it went to bed or had stumbled and fallen. The soft toy had a certain smell which perhaps was unpleasant for an adult, but it was the smell of comfort for the child.

I remember the soft toy dog my daughter always carried with her as a small child. With time the dog became so worn out and I had to mend it several times, but that didn’t matter for my daughter. When the dog was lost for some months it was a small disaster for my daughter. I searched everywhere and when I finally found it, hidden inside an old bag, my daughter became so happy. She never left her toy dog out of sight after that. The sorrow when we have lost a loved one, as adults, is different but the emotion is just as strong as for the small child. We must remember that the children haven’t as many experiences of life as us adults. We are able to see things in a context and know that later on we are perfectly able to manage without a lost toy, no matter how loved it once was.

When we lose a loved one, as adults, we see the wide consequences of that loss. The loss of a family provider is fatal, there are no social networks strong enough to care for the family. The loss of a mother is the loss of the heart of the home. How to live on without a heart? How to live on without her prayers for you? The only comfort is to know that God has listened to every prayer and heard every sigh. Her prayers for you will remain in your heart, even if you can’t hear the words. Her tears are watering the words of her prayers as the rain is giving life to the thirsty soil. They give life and a hope of better days to come.

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Church bells have rung all over the world, celebrating the new year and sang about the hope of a better year than the one we have left behind. Our faith can often help us to remain grounded, even if we feel that someone has pulled away the rug under our feet. Many times our faith is the only thing that helps us remain grounded when nothing else is helping. We try to stand on our two feet, following the path of our lives, even though we sometimes stumble and fall. Cowboys and other so-called ”horse people” use the expression : getting back up in the saddle again. Those of you who have been up on the horse back know that it can be a bit scary. The horse is high and you know that if you fall down you will definitely hurt yourself.

Nowadays not many people in the world are dependent on horses to be able to get anywhere. Nowadays it is mostly a hobby for those who can afford it, nevertheless it is not a hobby for the faint-hearted. Horses are big and strong animals, the trick to be in control with them is to never allow the horses to be dominating. The rider must always be in control or the horse will sense that person’s fear. Life is not a game for faint-hearted either. Many times we have to climb higher than we are prepared for, and we fear the eventual fall from that height. What options do we have if we fall ? Stay down and pity ourselves for the rest of our lives, or get back up in the saddle again? It can be tempting to stay down, or not even try to get up in the first place, but we need to try to stay strong and to stay in control.

One way of staying in control is to use force. It can be the force of one’s mind, but it can also be more brutal than that. When we face something unknown, we are often filled with fear. This fear turns to anger and anger turns to violence. Are there ways to control that? Yes, there are, if we are aware that this is how the human mind is functioning. The more you know about the human nature, the more you understand yourself and your fellow human beings. We are not only characters in a play, walking around and performing random acts. We are able to choose how to act and react if we set our minds on it. The power of our thoughts is a strong power, and we can control our thoughts if we are determined to not let them mislead us.

For someone working as a police officer it is crucial to be aware of how the human psyche is functioning. Being a police officer is one of the most demanding professions we can think of, the risks are many times high and the wages are low. Police officers are humans, just like everyone else, and even though they are trained to face the challenges of their profession they are not more than humans. We have the right to ask more from a police officer than the common person we meet, and the thing we must ask for is professionalism. That comes with training of the human psyche of each and every police officer.

The fight or flight response, kicked in by the oldest part of the human brain, has been helping humans to survive since we were created. To in an instant being able to determine who is friend or foe can save your life, but can you always trust that first instictive notion? No, you can’t , because your mind can be playing tricks and you must be able to see beyond these tricks. As a police officer, called out to a demonstration or a large gathering, you have a lot on your mind. You don’t know what to expect, so many times you expect the worst and therefore your reactions can be more forceful or even brutal than necessary. A calm and analyzing mind is needed in these situations. The officer in command must be in control of both his/her mind and the fellow police officers. Fear should never be allowed to take over the minds of police officers.

Using tear gas is unfortunately common when it comes to splitting up a crowd, consisting of demonstrators or not. This is an easy way for the police force to make the crowd to split up, but it comes with disadvantages. It is not only a matter of people losing their respect for the police force. With this respect I don’t speak about fearing the police, I speak about respecting them as a security for our nation. I also look at the health issues that come with using tear gas. A gas spread in a crowd can not be controlled, it is affecting people and animals in a long distance from where it started. Panicked people can run out in the traffic and be hit by a car. They are in pain and unable to see clearly. People with asthma can get an attack which can lead to their death. The fear in a panicked crowd can lead to people getting trampled down and injured. The tear gas can cause a heart attack or a miscarriage. Don’t allow the fear of your fellow human being to control your mind. Be the one who is in control, we have shed too many tears in this country already.