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Being honest is hard, and by that I mean being open about one’s personal struggles, feelings, and desires. That kind of honesty takes courage.
I am convinced that openness is extremely important. It is how we truly relate to each other. It is how we seek help and comfort. It is how we grow. Ironically, life has taught me an interesting lesson about honesty:
It can bring about some very undesirable consequences.
In theory, people appreciate honesty, but the reality is that the core issues that affect us all such as sexuality, religion, money, relationships, etc., are difficult to discuss because, among other things, they can be unsettling.
Revealing private matters leaves people vulnerable to ridicule as well as other contemptuous responses. The problem with that is it can discourage people who have serious, deeply rooted issues from seeking help.
The truth is, there are some ugly and dark aspects of the human experience, and we should not confuse the avoidance of discussing them with politeness. It is unfortunate when people feel as if they cannot admit their struggles, hurts, and wants for fear of being reviled or looked down upon by those around them.
Men enjoy sex. I imagine that few people would disagree with that statement. There is nothing wrong with men enjoying sex. It is fun. Nevertheless, an unexpected pregnancy that occurs as a result of a causal sexual encounter can have very serious consequences.
Namely, a child growing up in a fatherless home.
There is a discernible correlation between social problems and fatherless homes in America. The National Center for Fathering describes it this way:
“…children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens.”
Could there also be a broader connection between fatherless homes and men’s sexual attitudes and behavior? Probably. I suspect that many men do not take sex seriously, and a few moments of thoughtless pleasure can profoundly alter the course of a person’s life.
Men are at a greater risk of having multiple children outside of their households because they can potentially impregnate a large number of women, whereas women can only become pregnant once within a nine month period. Men must begin thinking deeply about the personal and societal costs of promiscuity, and stop perpetuating the idea that sex is just a leisurely, insignificant activity because it is far from one.
Last week, I viewed a video from a South Carolina state trooper’s dashboard camera that I found deeply troubling (watch it here).
In the video Sean Groubert, a 31-year-old trooper, shot 35-year-old Levar Jones during a traffic stop for a seatbelt offense. One of the most disturbing aspects of the video was that the last of four rounds fired at Levar Jones was while his hands were visibly raised.
Levar Jones was unarmed.
Admittedly, Mr. Jones did reach into his vehicle after being instructed to produce his license. One might argue that was Mr. Jones’ mistake, but does a person reaching into their vehicle after being asked to present their license undoubtedly mean that they are preparing for a gunfight?
I often leave my wallet in the cup holder of my car after purchasing food at a drive thru. Faced with the same situation, I would have made the same motion as Mr. Jones.
That is what scares me.
While I recognize that many police officers have lost their lives during traffic stops, to what degree are individual citizens held accountable for a police officer’s past experiences? Is it fair, or rational, for a citizen to be treated with hostility because of the behavior of others? South Carolina Department of Public Safety Director, Leroy Smith, arrived at the following conclusion:
“…Mr. Groubert reacted to a perceived threat where there was none.”
Certainly it is worth exploring exactly what law enforcement officers perceive as threatening.