Tag Archives: burden

Burden Behind the Badge

Imagine being awakened by the body’s internal alarm clock and prior to putting together a group of collective thoughts, your heart plummets to the depths of its soul. Peering at the reflection in the mirror while firmly gripping your toothbrush unhappy and emotionally ill-prepared for the challenges you were forced to undertake on a daily basis. After clothing yourself, eating or drinking some semblance of nutrition and enduring traffic to reach your destination, you arrive at your location only to feel the pit in your stomach grow deeper with each advancing step toward the building’s entrance. For many of us, that’s a feeling we’ve grown accustomed to on a daily basis. Instead of satisfying our appetite for independence and entrepreneurship, we jump onto life’s conveyor belt and run at a frenetic pace in an attempt to keep up with the world’s constant changes. Realizing if we were to ever teeter off balance, slow our speed or stop completely without an alternative, we stand to lose everything we’ve worked so hard to build. So try envisioning the battle one must undergo when they’ve sworn an oath to “serve and protect” in the interest of public safety when they’ve reached a point where that desire no longer drives them. Where underneath the tactical gear, Hi-Tech boots and agency issued uniform dwells a person uninterested in being trapped in the confines of what the “shield” symbolizes. This was the case for former police officer Amos Mac, Jr. A crusader on the side of “right” and what’s just; a martyr for having those same principles and wanting to exhibit them to the public at large. In an occupation where secrecy and upholding the “code” is paramount and having upstanding moral values is often times frowned upon.

As an African-American in today’s society, the desire to be a police officer is far down on the list of occupations one wants to join in the workforce. Aside from being labeled a “snitch”, “5-0” or the “police” when around your peers, there are many other pursuits that appear more lucrative and pleasing to eye. The images of police officers abusing their authority are visible on every television set and social media site around the country. So as early as adolescence, many children’s aspirations are endeavors that require little to no education and don’t come with the stigma of being labeled a “Narc”. Why become a doctor, dentist, scientist, police officer or engineer, when those professions aren’t seen as any sort of accomplishment or aren’t visible in the mainstream. It’s much easier to become a model, video vixen, athlete, or drug dealer. In that world, you get exposure, flash and the opportunity to make what appears to be easy money. However, what isn’t discussed are the consequences of making those career choices and how not having a formal education will hinder one from progressing; leaving the pursuer underemployed if those endeavors fail. Mac, a Black male, was no different. He never thought that during his formative years he’d be a police officer. It wasn’t until his interaction with a Community Resource Officer at a local middle school changed his perception of the field. In Amos’ own words he explained that the “brother” (an African-American officer) was cool and encouraged him to join the force. He saw similarities with the officer and felt that if he joined an agency, he’d be able to make a difference. In his mind he’d utilize the resources available to him, and through his actions and diligence cultivate a relationship that had long been severed between the force and community. After careful thought, he decided to join and submitted an application. Upon being accepted, completing the rigors of the academy and officially being sworn in, he entered an arena where he could now see the disparities taking place in the neighborhoods he policed. Individuals became numbers; quotas had to be met; the community he had hoped to protect and uplift often times shunned him. With every traffic stop came fear of the unknown; the arrival to every call, be it a domestic disturbance or burglary, came a sense of insecurity. These inhibitions weren’t because he was frightened of the circumstances; they came from a state of how he’d react if he was threatened or if imminent dangers were to arise.


As citizens, we become apprehensive the moment we hear the sirens blare and see the illumination of red and blue lights flashing behind a vehicle we occupy. Many officers relish in the fact that they can make your palms sweat by their mere presence in your rearview mirror. We grip the steering wheel tighter, nervously adjust our seat belts and assume the correct posture until our fears are placed at ease once the civil servant bolts in another direction. Our heartbeat steadies and our angst subsides once the perceived danger has passed. How can individuals who are thought to provide safety and comfort leave many of the populous shaken and uneasy with each encounter? Mac wanted to be the officer seen on the cover of brochures distributed at Job Fairs and Career Days displaying community activism as the photographer captured the moment under a manufactured title of “Public Outreach.” The bond he had desired to forge never materialized and became lost in a vacuum of politics and misgivings. And after almost four (4) years of service with a law enforcement agency in the State of North Carolina, Mac decided that his passions were best suited elsewhere and composed a literary piece entitled “Imprisoned In Blue”. Using his experiences in the field as a backdrop, within the manuscript is a collection of creative expressions uniquely assembled to describe his time on the force. From the onset, Mac admits you onto a rollercoaster of emotions; where with each ebb and flow the reader is engulfed into a magnitude of sensational highs and heart wrenching lows. At its apex you have a piece called “Impact”, where he describes his interaction with a seventeen (17) year old, their conversation, and how impactful his words were several years later after a chance reunion revealed that the young man had matured and righted his situation. It plummets at times and reveals the depths of Mac’s ambiance in a poem titled “The Price”, where he explains that subliminally he believed his honor and integrity were frequently questioned despite swearing his allegiance to principles that often had him feeling as if at any moment he could be handcuffed and placed into the rear of a squad car. The momentum quickens to a high speed and the reader experiences jerking turns with verses named “Thug” and “Suspect’s Cry”, where in the former, the word, both identified in the media and embedded in popular culture, is depicted in the same vein as the derogatory term which has been used to identify Blacks since the days of slavery and is the new code phrase uttered to identify the actions of a person of color; the latter an introspection from a suspect providing an account from his standpoint about the hardships he’s faced and being ensnared within the boundaries of civilization. At times, mid flow, it comes to a screeching halt with pieces like “Traitor” where Mac questions himself and the thoughts of being used as an instrument to further the agenda to disenfranchise Blacks in the role of an overseer; a Benedict Arnold to the people of his race. The work is a composition of all his thoughts and feelings, narrated piece by piece; a visual transcript of his experiences summarized for the reader’s enjoyment.

Though given a manual with countless rules, regulations, laws and statutes, Mac insists that being a police officer is an occupation that can only be learned by performing the tasks that come with wearing the armor associated with it. Experience is the best teacher, something that is lost when watching your favorite crime drama or reality television show. In a matter of fifty-two (52) minutes, a crime is committed, investigation conducted, suspect apprehended and verdict rendered all in a fashion that will have you believe policing is easy. Mac illustrates that it’s often a thankless job. One in which “discretion is the better part of valor” and the sole objective is to make it home safely after the shift is completed. Once the shift sergeant dismisses the officers from roll call, every interaction can have far reaching ramifications for the decision maker and the individual encountered. The difference between a physical altercation, a trip to the county jail, the receipt of a traffic citation or a friendly discussion is based on maturity, intelligence and officer’s prudence. The manner in which everyone involved conducts themselves determines any escalation of action on the part of the officer. Nowadays, Mac is secure in his new position with Parks & Recreation within the area he resides. No longer obligated to decipher coded jargon broadcasted over a police frequency, he now focuses his enthusiasm on mentoring the youth and establishing programs that would prove to enhance their abilities as they prepare for the perils of adulthood. His work, Imprisoned In Blue, lends voice to those that both carry the burden of wearing the badge and those whose voices yearn to be heard while enforcing a system, that at its core, appears to be broken. When one is willing to trade in their livelihood for the sanity of doing what’s virtuous, armchair activism isn’t acceptable. “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

To purchase your copy of Imprisoned In Blue by Amos Mac, Jr, please visit www.MacVisionz.com or follow Amos Mac, Jr’s social media outlets; Facebook: AmosMacJr, Twitter: @amosmacjr, @Instagram: @amosmacjr.

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The Burden Of Greatness

On the onset of each day we awaken with a new sense of purpose.  All of the events which have transpired in the previous twenty-four (24) hours no longer quantify the person we aspire to be in the present.  Despite our classifications, be it financial, race, gender or religion, we gather ourselves, lace-up our bootstraps, and walk out the door with the intensive purpose of creating a more comfortable today and a better tomorrow.  Sacrifices are made, relationships are sometimes severed to reach the pinnacle of success.  And upon reaching that summit, we believe that we’ll be absolved of all of our problems and the problems that come from achieving satisfaction will be remedied.  However, this is only the beginning.  Regardless of your accomplishments, the applause you seek will never come in the form of a standing ovation; the people will clap with you, not for you.  They chastise you saying you can’t swim because you walk on water; crucify you for wanting to soar to new heights as opposed to the cumbersome tasks of walking hand to hand, side by side with them as they drag their burdens like an overweight suitcase.  Damn… Unpack!



In an age of twenty-four (24) hour news cycles, people’s successes and failures are chronicled instantly on the internet and social media for all to view.  This is no more evident than the scrutiny that fell at the pristine feet of LeBron James Thursday night during Game One of the NBA Finals.  Ironically, a person who slogan throughout the season has been “Strive for Greatness” couldn’t summon the energy necessary to “will” himself to the finish of his last game played.  Throughout the course of the fourth (4th) quarter, at the time was a “hotly” contested game, James began experiencing cramps which eventually lead to his removal from the game and could have possibly contributed to the outcome of a 110-95 defeat of the Miami Heat by the San Antonio Spurs.  The pain must’ve have been overwhelming; the grimaces on his face spoke volumes of an individual’s body who had failed him at the most inopportune time.  And as he was carried off the floor to the bench by staffers and teammates, the cyberverse burst into outrage.  There were talks that LeBron wasn’t tough enough; he’s soft.  During the television broadcast ESPN analyst Mark Jackson uttered the following, “If you’re LeBron James, the great ones find a way to tell their body, ‘Not now … I’ll talk to you tomorrow.’”  There were individuals trying to create an internet sensation, dubbing it #lebroning, where photos were being taken of people mimicking James being carried off the court.  Then of course, there were the pundits, lead by ESPN’s First Take host Skip Bayless leading the chorus as to why the self-proclaimed “King” wasn’t properly hydrated like the other competitors who also endured the almost 90 degree heat felt in the arena.  The comparison of other greats poured in; Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) making two (2) free throws after tearing his Achilles tendon in 2013, then walking off the court on his own power; Michael Jordan had the “Flu Game” in 1997 where imagines of “23” collapsing in Scottie Pippen’s arms being lead off the court in a Chicago Bulls’ victory over the Utah Jazz.  Asked about the criticism, James simply stated “I’m the easiest target in sports.”





And such is the burden of being dubbed “King” and the best player in the NBA; ruler of all you survey in the basketball universe. You have people you couldn’t walk two (2) flights of stairs without becoming winded, sitting at home behind their keyboards or on their telecommunications devices eating hot dogs, loaded baked potatoes, drinking beer questioning an individual’s toughness.  Knowing damn well if they were to receive that same criticism by their peers or superiors for poor job performance, they too would be equally upset and want to file a grievance with their union representative. Or better yet, what if their significant other chastised them for underperformance in the bedroom and an inability to satisfy their sexual desires, boy the rage, alcohol induced tirades and arguments would skyrocket; if that already isn’t the case. We place Michael Jordan on the Mount Olympus of sports icons; convincing ourselves that he would’ve played under the same circumstances as LeBron, and with the current rules, would’ve dropped 60 on Kawhi Leonard.  And as the years pass, we make Jordan an indestructible force; comparable to the Juggernaut from the X-Men movie and comic book series. However, we forget that in March of 1995, upon making his return to the Bulls from spending time away playing minor league baseball for the Birmingham Barons, in his first game back, Jordan scored 19 points against the Indiana Pacers, but shot just 7-of-28 from the floor in a 103-96 overtime loss for the Bulls in Indianapolis.  Sports Illustrated’s Phil Taylor wrote at the time: “But on Sunday, before the first quarter had ended, the 32-year-old Jordan was bending over and tugging on his shorts, the universal symbol for fatigue, and in the overtime he developed leg cramps. Asked if he was disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to dunk, Jordan replied, “I was cramping so bad I didn’t really want to.”  Ah… so MJ too was merely human; subject to all the ills of ordinary men.  We expect greatness from those we have adulation for.  If Dave Chappelle isn’t funny during his comedy routine, Brittany Spears is discovered to have lip-synced during her music performance or LeBron James fails to deliver in the “clutch”, our dissatisfaction leads us to voice our displeasure by “Boos” or a keyboard tongue lashing on any social media outlet that’ll assist us in championing our cause; and when the venom dissipates, and the event is no longer a story, we aren’t held responsible for our comments; whether the sentiments were justified or in error.  We go back about our lives waiting on the next success story for which we can find just cause to tear it down from its pedestal. So for James, the backlash that comes from being a child prodigy, the savior of a city (Cleveland) that hasn’t won a championship in any of the four (4) major sports since 1964 (Cleveland Browns – NFL Championship), and the remnants of “The Decision”, for which he has yet to return to the level of White fans which he had prior to joining the Heat is all encompassing.  He’s currently the most polarizing athlete in sports.  So as Game 2 approaches and the storylines from the previous game are rehashed, be mindful that you too have a story you’re living on a daily basis; and you’re equally liable for any unfortunate outcomes that take place on your journey.  Because we all know, any missteps taken will be compared to past spouses, employees, parents and situations; and how does that make you feel? “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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