Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

Do cop killers really exist?

He is a cop killer.

The trial prosecutor wants him dead: “He’s a really bad guy”. And so it is.

We execute Licho Escamilla Wednesday October 14.

Cop killers never get a stay.

But is he a cop killer?

Well, yeah!!!

He shot an officer in the back of his head, three times. That pretty much makes him a cop killer, doesn’t it?

Nonviolent Communication teaches to value observations, as if you are a fly on the wall recording what’s happening, without emotional attachment about what is recorded. NVC distinguishes observations from interpretations, judgments, or evaluations. These judgments include our thoughts about what someone is doing, instead of an objective description of the specific action in this moment, in this place. They often confuse the part for the whole, generalizing the specific action as to the way of being of a person. He is a “thief” versus “someone who took the $50 that I thought was mine off the table this last Saturday”. And when we label people, we divide them into two categories: good and bad. Licho Escamilla is a bad guy, and doesn’t deserve our consideration. Thich Nhat Hanh is a good guy and deserves our care.

Yes. Licho Escamilla killed someone who earned a living as a cop.

All that is true. And it is not complete. No truth is true, as long as it is not complete. Yes, Licho Escamilla shot Christopher K. James to death. And he is also someone wanting to be held, loved and cared for. He is a human being with feelings and needs. He is more than the killing. He shot a cop in a specific place and time. Once. He is not a cop killer. He is someone who had no clue how to support his needs and ours at the same time. Someone who was so stuck in the habit of expressing his unmet needs in tragic ways, that he ended up killing another human being.

As soon as we see Licho Escamilla as more than this action, we see the human being who needs our help. That doesn’t only humanize him, it humanizes us. We get to stop playing God and carry the burden of deciding who is right and who is wrong, who deserves our love and who doesn’t. We return to our human state.

We acknowledge that we are more than our judgments, interpretations, and evaluations.

You want to practice observations? Contact me 512-589-0482 for a free discovery session to see how I can help.

This is the fourth blog around “us-versus-them”. Contact me if you have a topic or issue you would like me to write about.