Time Is Neutral

Julius Givens
4 min readJan 27, 2022
Memorial in Little Village where Melissa Ortega was shot and killed. Photo by Paul Beaty — Chicago photojournalist

I have for many years been of the strong opinion that writing from a place of anger is foolhardy. The fear is that the anger would cloud how I articulate my thoughts and structure my sentences. The fear is that the reader would liken me to a madman versus an intellectual committed to the forward progress of this country. The fear is that critics will celebrate that they’re right and the bootless man will remain bootless while still being told to pull himself up by his bootstraps.

However, those fears noted I must ignore.

Just a few days ago, Melissa Ortega, an eight-year-old girl was shot in the head and killed. A baby, who with her mother, just moved to our country presumably to ensure a brighter future. This news just after reading a fathers public statement that Caleb Westbrook, his 14-year-old son was gunned down days prior. So I must confess to you — the reader — that I am angry. But I pray that God speaks through me as I write.

A sign on a light pole next to a memorial for Melissa Ortega. Photo by Paul Beaty — Chicago photojournalist

In light of the recent murders of children, a moral man or woman must question the values of the society in which they live. If adults can allow tragic events such as these to happen — what feels like every week — then what does that say about our society? What does that say about my friends and colleagues? What does that say about me?

Direct action on all fronts should be our collective highest priority. No, police shouldn’t go raiding homes house by house, block by block. Police, however, should double down on proactive targeted constitutional policing — not just some of us. All of us. Policing in the 21st century requires making the “right” arrest, but it also must involve a non-enforcement objective too. For example, a child walking to school in freezing temperatures should feel safe when a police officer stops his patrol car and offers him a ride a few more blocks to school. The question isn’t what if this child doesn’t like the police. The question is what will happen if this child never has a positive experience with the police. Moreover, the police cannot walk alone in this fight for the soul of Chicago. Direct action is required now, at every level of government, at every place of business, and by every single…

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Julius Givens

A Chicago Police Officer committed to the three most important aspects of policing: Public Trust, Police Accountability, and Police Effectiveness.