Before I focus on America and the recent demonstrations that mostly have turned violent, please know America is not the only country in the world that has had their share of violent protests. Other countries have had protests including Belgium, France, Hungary, Germany, Nigeria, Taiwan, India, Brazil and the list goes on. Now, back to America. Does racial inequality in America exist? According to what you see played out on national television and social media on a daily basis, a small amount of people want to say so for the rest of the country. How is that so? By comparison, the vast number of whites, blacks, latinos and other races who are not protesting choose to stay home and watch a small portion of the population act as criminals, anarchists, agitators and gang members who have destroyed the sole purpose of the protest and the memory of the victim.  

When did racial inequality begin? Prior to the Civil War, Americans were determined to grow and grow as more people from other countries came to America for a chance at a new life and to dream of being able to own land and a home where they could raise their families. Some came to America to cause deceit, crimes and any other despicable things against humanity. There was only one problem. Indians or to put it politically correct, Native Americans, stood in the way of Americans settling into a new frontier. Year after year, as more settlers came West, everyone demanded the U.S. Military come in and take control of the land they wanted to own, develop and get rich on. Many battles of death and destruction took place and eventually the Native Americans were displaced at the hands of the government. Everyone was happy, even the criminals. 

Take a step back into history to the year 1620 when slaves were brought to America for the use of fulfilling all 13 colonies of the New Country with laborers for land and as a work force for business owners. It was not until 1865 that slavery ended and slaves were free to leave from the plantations where they had lived and raised families. Many freed slaves moved to the industrious Northern states to look for jobs, while others remained in the lower portion of the United States to make a living. Segregation was the normal social structure between whites and blacks until 1964 when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.  

America has continued to face racial inequalities not only with blacks, but also with other racial groups, which includes racism against whites. Currently taking place in our country is a movement to defund or disband law enforcement agencies across America. This movement not only has shamed the memories of all who have faced racism to include death, but is destroying the future of any attempts to curb racism by peaceful means. 

Cities are in ruins and business owners are left to decide whether it is worth the agony to reopen a business again only to see their livelihoods go up in smoke the next time demonstrations get out of hand.  Violence, crime and looting does not solve the issue of racism. It only fuels the fires of separation. I’m sorry if this sounds crazy, but people all across America are taking sides as they watch the mayhem on TV. Before our leaders think about defunding or doing away with law enforcement, think about what will happen if there is no one to come when you are assaulted, robbed, raped, tortured or your business is broken into. There will be no one to even respond to vehicle accidents and let us not forget about heinous crimes like child abuse and murder. In 2018, 7,120 incidents of hate crimes occurred. Out of those incidents 8,819 were victims and 6,266 offenders were apprehended. The largest number of victims were 762 whites, 1495 were blacks, and 485 were latinos. Other hate crimes included religions and ethnic backgrounds, including where you lived. In 2017, there were 17,284 murders, 135,000 rapes, 319,356 robberies, 810,825 aggravated assaults 7,694,086 property crimes and the list of offenses continue. These crimes are investigated and reported by law enforcement agencies across America. It would be the most asinine, and stupendous approach for government leaders to even think about dismantling law enforcement agencies. 

Small groups of people nationwide are against any type of authority and social enforcement of laws and it is beginning to show on a daily occurrence. Does this mean citizens will be fending for themselves if attacked? What if people are raped, their family members killed, and children are abused or murdered because America has no law enforcement agencies? 

Handgun sales are going up again, but think about the comment made several years ago, “if they take away your guns then only criminals will have guns”. 

Which way would you have it? Do you want a law enforcement officer on the job to help protect or are you going at it by yourself? The same goes for all the rich and famous individuals and the powerful businesses who have joined the movement to defund or dismantle law enforcement agencies. Who is going to protect you? 

The deaths of all citizens at the hands of law enforcement is unspeakable, but you do not shut down a nation of agencies who protect you because of isolated incidents. Agencies must retrain officers. Agencies must get rid of bad officers. We must have a society where future generations desire to be an officer who chooses to serve and protect his or her community with dignity and pride. You bring criminals to justice not by bringing your city or country to its knees but through law and order and the Courts. 

The approach to end racism does not start in the streets. It starts at home. This is where racism is alive and well.

•Thomas Ammons lives in Blackshear and is a retired warden with the Georgia Department of Corrections.