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    Letter: Protest peacefully, stop fighting each other and respect all lives

    Protesting has been a foundation on which our nation was built on. The Constitution guarantees us the right to peacefully assemble. From the beginning people have voiced their concerns, gathered, rallied against and in support of the things that mattered most.

    I’ve rallied, I’ve protested and I have let my opinion be known. I insisted on two common objectives: Regardless of the reason, my purpose was clearly stated and my events were non-violent. Fighting, obscenities and screaming were not permitted, although, at times we’ve certainly been engaged. Standing strong on principle was more important than letting our emotions control our behavior.

    Clearly I am writing regarding the chaos in Baltimore. I have a problem with what is happening because of the mixed messages. The looters and rioters are claiming every excuse, between low income due to outsourcing of jobs, and of course the tragic and untimely death of another man in police custody.

    I will try and present some logical points and offer my take on some common-sense solutions to the problems we’re facing. The subject of police brutality has been around for decades. It is hard to offer any clear-cut solution to end police brutality. Police officers are men and women just like the rest of us. They are hired; it’s their job. Just like politicians, clergy members, teachers, and business people, some people are flawed. Some people can handle stressful situations; some cannot.

    I would never go as far as to say to be outright disrespectful to police, but I firmly believe that respect is earned. A badge doesn’t grant them extra rights to take away your liberties and act inappropriately. The best that we can realistically hope for is that police brutality doesn’t start becoming the norm in police forces. Those who crossed the line should be dealt with quickly and harshly. We need to start sending a clear message that this is not accepted. In my opinion this incident is being blown out of proportion for political gain. Incidents like this are commonly used to create distractions, which somehow further infringe on your rights.

    Nearly 1,100 people were killed in police related deaths in 2014. Why did the media only focus on a select few? To ignite racial tensions? To spark a new debate? The media reports what it wants to report, its up to the citizens to do research and use multiple sources in order to find the truth.

    No person should have to die, no rights should be violated. It doesn’t matter the color, ethnicity, or religion. #ALLLIVESMATTER. For the people of Baltimore, it’s OK to be sick and tired of these tragic deaths and the mistreatment of individuals. It’s OK to be upset and mad and call for change. Organize, march, peacefully demonstrate. Stop destroying your city, stop making excuses, stop looking for an answer, and be the change.

    It’s time we stop relying on other people and start doing things for ourselves. Record all interactions with police. Stop trusting that the police and government are always going to do the right thing. Start paying attention to the world, do research. People are hurt every day. And value every life lost. Be weary of all situations. Stop allowing the media to distract you from the other things happening in the world — the U.S. ship captured by Iran, the 4,000-plus people killed in Nepal.

    It’s time to respect all life. A tragic death hits home no matter the age, race, ethnicity or religion. Stop fighting with each other, and start making a difference.

    Jackie Piotrowski lives in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

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