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I opened this article referencing the tragic events in North Caroline not because I want to engage the debate about what happened, or become one of those armchair quarterbacks who “woulda, coulda, shoulda” the actions and decisions of Officer Kerrick that night, but to expose one of the uglier facets of that debate, especially since so many cops who weren’t there willingly piled on.
Being able to say, “I don’t know…” is very liberating. It leads to asking more and deeper questions, and the mind to alternatives we wouldn’t otherwise consider. Embracing uncertainty slows us down and, if we’re wise, encourages reflection and even greater certainty after we take the time to settle doubts. Striving for humility lends itself to the power of curiosity and openness to the possibility that we don’t know everything, and should seek the help and knowledge that will make us better at what we do than we ever thought we might be.
And maybe most importantly, humility and deference to the knowledge of how much we don’t know opens our minds to those who view the world through a lens of their own design, and based on a set of convictions and beliefs very different from our own. This leads to compassion and empathy. And aren’t those two of the most important weapons in any cops arsenal?