When There’s a Moment of Silence, Please Shut Up

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On the final night of the Democratic National Convention, there was a brief moment that was meant to honor police officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Dallas County’s Sheriff Lupe Valdez was chosen to deliver the address, and she spoke about the importance of law enforcement and the selfless sacrifice that many have made.

You can watch her speech in its entirety, but it’s safe to say that there was nothing controversial about it. Sheriff Valdez spoke with pride about being a police officer, and put an emphasis on what it means to serve our communities. She also addressed the recent tragedies that have occurred, and the intense divisions that have emerged as a result.

Partisan politics aside, I thought that Sheriff Valdez’s speech was well-spoken. She touched on concepts that most rational individuals can agree upon. She didn’t seek to assign blame, but instead sought to bring about an environment in which we “start listening to each other”. She focused on the idea that it takes efforts, on both ends, to change the narrative and to improve relationships within a community.

Towards the end of her speech, Sheriff Valdez called for a moment of silence to honor officers that have been killed in the line of duty, as well as, their families.

That’s when the rabble-rousers seized the opportunity.

It should come as no surprise that, in the midst of a moment that was intended to show respect to the fallen officers, shouts of “Black Lives Matter” began to break to silence. Instead of heeding the advice that was offered just minutes earlier by Sheriff Valdez, the individuals responsible chose to further contribute to the divisive narrative.

I am all for protests, as long as the actions of the protestors don’t infringe upon the rights of others. I may disagree with your cause, but I will still support your right to protest, as long you do so with dignity and respect. However, please realize that, if you choose to act like a jerk, you are going to be treated like one.

I was taught at a young age that interrupting a moment of silence is not a courageous act. In fact, it is extremely rude and it speaks volumes about your character. If you’re mad that the DNC dedicated a moment to honor fallen police officers who had nothing to do with the recent shootings, fine. Just realize that you can rip yourself away from your agenda, for just a few minutes, and still be a decent human being.

When you interrupt a moment of silence that was reserved for those who were killed in the line of duty, you deserve absolutely no respect. You are discrediting your movement, and are providing a perfect example of why many choose to distance themselves from it. If you want your movement to grow, change your attitude and alter your approach.

Acknowledge opinions that challenge your worldview, even it you don’t agree with them. Instead of dwelling on the differences, focus on the common ground and use it to build a foundation. Yes, black lives matter, but so does every other life. If you show disrespect towards the loss of innocent lives (regardless of their status), you are no better than those you claim to stand against.

So, the next time you are present for a moment of silence, please keep your mouth shut. Put aside your ego, and extend the same respect towards others than you would like extended towards you. There is a pretty clear distinction between fighting for justice, and being an inconsiderate jerk. Don’t treat others how you are treated. Treat others BETTER than you are treated.

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