As I was putting away my son’s toys today I began to think about the movie Spiderman. His Uncle tells Peter Parker (aka Spiderman) that “with great power, comes great responsibility.” The power that Peter Parker has becomes both a blessing that helps him help people and a curse that threatens those he cares about.
I have been trying to read as much as I can before I developed my own response to these current events. Let’s start with my response to the police officers actions. With the “power” of becoming a police officer comes great responsibility. This begs the question was this police officer (Darren Wilson) being irresponsible with the power that he had? Do we think he used his power in a responsible way? In this situation the officer had the responsibility to decide what to do with his power.
I would not want to be the person who has to make this decision. To make the decision that safety is at risk and someone needs to be gunned down. I would like to think that Mr. Wilson made this decision not based on racism but the need for safety. I would like to think that every police officer makes the decision to use force (or ultimately shoot someone) not at as a POWER but a RESPONSIBILITY to others whom they feel are in danger.
I understand the statistics on racial disparity, crime, and use of force. I think this needs to change. Racism still exists, social inequality exists, and people are marginalized every day. They are POWERLESS. Conversely I don’t think riots and violence are the correct response to take the power back. Some might reverse the quote to say “To have responsibility takes great power”. I understand people are angry, hurt, and feel powerless. How can we expect persons to be responsible if they feel like they have no power?
I don’t pretend to have the answer here, I am just attempting to get some clarity and perspective. It came from a strange place but no matter where you stand on this issue, no matter what your race, creed or color; remember that “With great power comes great responsibility.”