LIVES MATTER

I’ve been chewing on this topic for weeks now and every time I get close to writing an article, I spit it out and move on.  Frankly, I’m a little apprehensive, fearing that I’ll be branded as a bigot.  The reality is that, as a doctor for 40 years, every life that came into my office or hospital mattered!  Every life was as important as the next regardless of race, religion, political affiliation, etc.  Every life was treated with dignity.

One particular patient tested my oath and resolve to give care wherever care was needed and taught me a valuable lesson.  The gentleman I am referring to had a large swastika on his shoulder.  I had known him since birth but had not seen him in years. I’ve never been one to mince words, so I asked him if he knew I was Jewish and how offensive his swastika was to me.

He did the worse thing he could have.  He started crying.  When he regained his composure, he apologized.  He explained that he was in the federal penitentiary for 5 years and the swastika “saved” his life. He explained that, to survive incarceration, he needed to a join a group and being pale, white, and blond, he joined the skin heads.  In his case, the swastika was the equivalent of the Greek letters that marked me as a member of Sigma Alpha Mu only, in his case, it warned inmates that his “brotherhood” would protect him.

Lives matter.  All lives matter!  They say you can’t tell a book by the cover.  My patient is the living proof.  One of the reasons he came in that day was to get a referral to a dermatologist in order to remove the swastika.  The other was to get a referral to a psychologist.  Prison had left other marks on him that couldn’t easily be removed.

I’ve gotten off track.  I don’t understand.  All lives should matter! Black Lives Matter seems to be a very exclusive fraternity.  It seems that BLM pertains to white on black issues only.  It doesn’t appear to matter when it has to do with black on black issues.  It doesn’t seem to matter when businesses are burned down and looted.  Why?  

The outrageous numbers of deaths every weekend in Chicago certainly doesn’t seem to matter as much as the sensationalized deaths that are broadcast over and over again on national TV.  Why aren’t there riots every weekend in the Chicago neighborhoods where people have been dying for years?  Where is the outrage?  Sure, the grieving families cry out for justice, but the massive outpouring of the BLM community appears to be absent.

It’s time to declare that ALL LIVES MATTER ALL THE TIME.  IF THE MASSIVE OUTPOURING OF OUTRAGE SHOWED UP ON INNER CITY CHICAGO STREETS THAT WE’VE SEEN IN OUR LARGER CITIES FOR THE LAST MONTH, WOULDN’T THE NUMBER OF DEATHS FROM GUNS DIMINISH?  I THINK SO.

What do you think?

Here’s your music.  There is no joke today.

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