Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 42 - Chris Lawrence - LIFE OF SERVICE - Part 2 of 3

And I consider that while I'm doing it. I don't want to paint their entire existence with this bad brush or this bad decision. That's how they're going to be judged for a long time and what they're gonna have to deal with.
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 42 - Chris Lawrence - LIFE OF SERVICE - Part 2 of 3

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CHRIS: And I consider that while I'm doing it. I don't want to paint their entire existence with this bad brush or this bad decision. That's how they're going to be judged for a long time and what they're gonna have to deal with. And that's how law enforcement is, too. So, it's the reality. It's just how we as people are. We tend to remember negative things a lot easier and a lot better than remember positive things. JESSE: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, the other thing I was thinking about a minute ago, you're talking about basically the exception to the rule and then the entirety of law enforcement being painted with that exception. It's like my business mentor talks about this sometimes in a different context, since we're obviously talking business, but well, we talked about culture too. I remember a conversation with him about mass shootings, which do happen more in this country than in some other countries. But the thing he talks about is that there's however many million people in America. I can’t remember what we're at now, 300 million or something. There's a lot of people in the country. And the way news is set up now is it's not like if you're watching the news, it's not just what's happening in San Diego or Chula Vista. It's what's happening in the nation, all 300 million of us and it's almost a statistical certainty that something bad happened that day. But then it almost becomes an overwhelming thing because we get this bad thing happened on the East Coast today. And then that bad thing happened on the west coast and then the Midwest and then the South. Just, it's just like a perpetual deluge of just horrible things being thrown at you, that don't necessarily have a direct influence on your life at all because they're not part of your community. But then they become a part of your psyche and that part becomes part of your community. And it’s this kind of weird cycle where if we just had-- if we almost had like, I'm not a big fan of isolationism, thinking about like global markets, but if we almost just said, okay, news can only report on news within, I don’t 20 miles of city limits or whatever, whatever arbitrary thing we want to decide on. I think you'd have-- First, news would have to work a lot harder to find news, but I think you'd have to-- you’d be forced to focus on like, almost puff pieces like a bunch of puppies got adopted today, and that was awesome. And like I don't know if there's the national news story about-- So, I’m in Kansas City, so the ?? 02:56> obviously just won the Super Bowl and one of our players paid for all the dogs in a local shelter to be adopted. And that became a big national news piece. I feel like local places-- local news will be forced to figure out how to bring more positive stuff if we weren't allowed to think about the entire US. And sometimes ?? 03:18> even like, we pulled international stuff in too. So, it's like, what are we doing to ourselves basically, that's almost polluting our minds. And in your case, like you said, you have 800,000 some odd law enforcement officers, somebody probably screwed up today, then that becomes national news. Then you get to deal with the fallout from, as you mentioned, a department that doesn't necessarily operate the way you guys do in Chula Vista at all. CHRIS: Yes. And you know, I have this personal theory on, you kind of hit the nail on the head. Maybe one day when I go for a master's in psychology or a PhD in psychology, sociology probably. I believe that the media, social media, mass media is giving us a mass social trauma. If you look at society, it's more or less that we have been traumatized. There was a time if you think about the 50s and 60s, things were terrible back then when people still were able to live happy lives. They were able to live happy lives because they didn't know about all the terrible things. My dad, well the man who raised me, black man grew up in Milwaukee, Milwaukee was-- is still one of the most segregated cities in the United States. And there were police officers who murdered somebody in his neighborhood, and that's what he remembers. But that was not so much as part of life, but it didn't cause this big mass protests, all these things because it was local to that neighborhood. And I guarantee that ?? 05:00> going on 50-60 years ago were a lot worse than things going on today. But the fact of the matter is, is that today if something happens in Milwaukee, people will hear about it over here in San Diego and there will be protests in San Diego for something that happened in Milwaukee. And instead of allowing your community and society to have a proper mourning, grieving, and moving forward, we hear about another terrible thing that happened the next day, if not the same day. So, we as society never get the ability to properly process the traumas that we have going on, because we keep getting bombarded by one more traumatic event on top of another. And then I'm sure that contributes to the depression, they contribute to the anxiety, the overall fear, parents today-- the world is no more dangerous today than it was when I was a kid, 30 years ago. I walked to the store, crossed busy crazy streets. I used to go in and buy cigarettes ?? 05:59> with a, give my mom cigarettes. Five years old and I go back with them. It was fine. You can't do that today because society paints the world as a more dangerous place even though it's not. The reason why we paint it as a more dangerous place is because we are showing more dangerous stories. We're showing that this terrible thing happened to this child no where near here. So, I’m not saying it should not be put on notice, but we are not allowing ourselves to heal. JESSE: Right. I think there's two sides of this I was thinking about. And my father's similar. Dad, if you're listening to this, I'm sorry, I'm gonna throw you under the bus. But I often tell him to turn off the news, stop watching the news because it's poisoning your mind. And he has this, so he grew up as an only child on a farm. So, live on a farm you're relatively isolated, but he had, you know, he knew his distant family like he knows his cousins, he knows his second cousins, he knows all this extended family because that's just how the community was structured. And from what I can tell, at least the way he tells it, people left their doors unlocked, they didn't worry about this and that. And then now he almost gives me these stories or perceptions where like, he sees all this stuff on Facebook on the news, where he feels like I'm growing up in such a terrible time because all these things are happening. And I just say, dad just look like I'm a mathematician. So, one of my majors in college is math so I rely on the numbers. I say look at the statistics, like crime rates, generally speaking, are going down over time. You know, we're seeing more of it because now we're more connected than ever, but the actual occurrences are declining. So, it is, I think by most measures, it's safer now than when he grew up, he just grew up blissfully aware. Or blissfully unaware, sorry. So, it's like, I think about almost devil's advocate against my own suggestion of this isolationism idea of only saying we can only live within our own communities because we do in some ways live in our own bubbles. And please tell me if I'm speaking out of turn because I don't mean to do that. But it seems like especially the narrative now, or like black communities will say the police don't treat us the same way they treat white communities, whatever that means whether it's police brutality or murdering black kids or whatever it is. And it seems like, again, this is all my perception since I clearly did not grow up as a black child in a black community. As I'm saying please correct me if I'm wrong, or I have this wrong. It seems like they're living in a totally different environment or culture than what I would have grown up in. So, if we continue to stay isolated, then it's like, I don't get any idea about what's happening to them versus what's happening in my community, you know, that segregation leaves us to believe that reality is two very different things, when in fact, both of them are happening. CHRIS: You're absolutely right. So, I go back to Milwaukee probably four or five times a year, and it's another world back there. I live out here in San Diego. It's easy to forget I'm black out here. It's easy. I mean, you know, but black people are the minority, minority in San Diego. It's different. It's just such a different world. I go back to Milwaukee, I can't forget that. There's a whole different cultural, a whole different climate. I know when I go into certain stores people behave differently. Like oh, yep, that hasn't changed. But to disconnect would be to deny that part of reality because we have, our country is so large. It is so diverse, it is so eclectic, and it is so divided. We, to have that connection, I guess what the media is doing by showing all these terrible things that law enforcement does, it’s trying to bring awareness to the differences and the services and injustices. But the problem is, is that when they do that, they make it seem like everybody is like that. My police department has a very diverse department. It's crazy diverse like there's like white people are the minority in the department for a city that's vast majority white and Hispanic, but nobody notices that. I interact with black people in the community, like “Oh, I didn’t know there were black people in the department.” I'm like, “That's because you haven't had much interaction with the police department.” I mean, that's a good thing, I guess. But it's, we still need to be connected. We just have to, I guess, if we become aware of the reality that the media is kind of traumatizing us and these over-reporting, it's hard. I dropped my daughter off at school and when she was like three or four, some little kid told her that her daddy shoots people, her daddy kills people. And she came home and she was like, “Does that happen, Daddy?” I’m like, “Not when I’m a police officer, no. I haven't had to.” And she was talking about how the other kids were making fun of her and saying bad things about her daddy because he's a police officer. And they're three, four years old. How do they know this? They're picking this up in the media, they're picking this up from their parents. I worked at a toy thing in my uniform passing out toys to kids in the lower income part of the community. And another little four year old came up and said, “Don't shoot me.” I'm like, “Where is this coming from? We're passing out toys. And he's-- Sorry. JESSE: No, you're all right. CHRIS: And so it's just-- I understand that that's the world that they're being presented with. And that's something they have to consider and accept. But it's doing a disservice for them because when I was a kid, even in my not so great neighborhood, I knew that police were people we could rely on to help us. Now kids today are questioning us. I get called to a crime, and the victim is as scared of me as she is of the person who did what happened to her, you know. Why? It's a sad state. But again, it's understandable when you look at the bigger picture. And as you were saying, how things going on in one part of the country, even though they may not be reflected here, they're still going on in the country. So, we can't deny that that's happening. But we have to acknowledge that it's not happening here. So, it's a complicated situation. I don't even know how to deal with it. JESSE: Well, yeah. Well, I mean, that's the trouble right is that like I said, I always refer to it as layers, but just there are so many pieces, there's so many moving pieces. And it's like how do you begin to deal with it let alone like, solve it. You know, where do you even start? You know, is it a matter of like, we need to rebrand police officers and like, take away the uniform and give you like a T-shirt with a happy face or like-- That's absurd but you know, I'm saying like, is it an image problem is it-- And it's like that's clearly not going to be the whole thing because you could still take, think about-- I wish I had a good example but think about in your imagination say we rebranded police officers and we got rid of the uniforms and give everybody a bright yellow shirt and happy face on it. Well, you could imagine like a dystopian movie where like militaristic enforcers are wearing these happy faces like you have to be happy or like, we're gonna kill you. So, it's like the T-shirt doesn't solve anything. That's not the issue. So, it's like, okay, we think about rebranding, that doesn't work. Community Relations, which you work on but then you have at times the media working against you. So, then you get this perception where you have that little kid that's like please don't shoot me. And then you're like how do I overcome that because I only have ?? 15:24> I'm speaking for you. So, I don't mean to put words in your mouth but just in that moment, you've got five seconds, 10 seconds to interact with this kid and be like, no, like it's okay or be able to have a short conversation. Like you have just a small window of time to try to give this positive impact and be like you have the totally wrong idea about who I am and what I do. CHRIS: And that's something that being a police officer today, especially a young police officer, a junior police officer, we have to be aware of our actions beyond any time in policing history, in the United States history. Because in our department, and I'm very happy to say that it's okay to walk away for us. We don't have to do the terrible things if we're like, this isn't gonna end well for anybody, it's okay. Hey, save face walk away. We don't have to get him today. So, we've avoided some terrible incidents because you know what? We're not going to put ourselves in that situation. And for the young officers, we think, two, three steps ahead, years ahead. You know, when I first came on, I arrested a guy and I called his mom so she could come and pick up his car. I saw him actually on the day of that interview that I sent you. I saw him that day. He was like, “Hey. Thank you, Officer Lawrence.” It was like, I arrested you for a whole lot of dope and you're thanking me because I didn't take your car. And it's the things we do try and-- it's, we can't please everybody. You know, and I just accept that. There's gonna be people who hate us for no reason. I mean, even the crooks, they know that there's people who come to our city, and they're like, I'd rather come to your city and do stupid stuff because you're nicer than the cops in the other city. It's terrible. It's like, I don’t know...the transgends come here, and they're like, “Hey, we like to stay in your city because you don't beat us up like the other cities.” Like what? ?? 17:31> not saying that the other cities have beat them up, but it's the way that for our department and our way of policing, not to say kinder and gentler, but we are more aware of our secondary and tertiary action. We know you know, when we have to arrest mom for beating up dad. The kids aren't gonna like us anymore. So, in order to save face for mom and for us, we ask mom to come outside. We tell dad what's gonna happen, close the door, keep the kids inside, tell mom to say goodbye and she comes with us. Doesn't traumatize the children. There are kind of ways of doing things, and we have that luxury in our town. I know some cities, you can't do it because things are just going to go from bad to worse. So, I have to acknowledge that what I'm dealing with in my town, and my beat is unique to that town that beat and I can't suggest that everybody else does that. Just like what the police officers in Milwaukee are dealing with is unique to Milwaukee. And I can't imagine what they're dealing with. You know, it's a reality that we have to acknowledge. We can't paint everybody with that broad brush. There's just too much going on. There's too many facets just like how the way the government goes is we try and say, hey, we're gonna do this for everybody. Like, Oh, well, that kind of screws these people over here who that doesn't benefit. So, it's a hard situation, just have to accept that we're not going to make everybody happy. But we could at least consider our secondary and tertiary actions when we do things. JESSE: Yeah. It makes me think about, I’ve forgotten the author. I should know who the author is. It’s a book called Tribes. And-- CHRIS: ?? 19:22> there's-- I’m sorry. I was trying to think there's a general that made a book ?? 19:26>. Go to Part 3 Go to Part 1

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