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My ex son-in-law was shot by police officers this past Friday and died as a result of the wounds.

It is not clear what happened at this point.

A friend fearing that Chase was suicidal called 911 on Friday evening. When the EMT’s and law enforcement arrived they could not get Chase to answer the door.  The officer forcibly entered his apartment and at this point two different narratives are presented.
The official account which is under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reads as follows

Police officers, firefighters, and medics from Fairview arrived to the scene and the officers attempted to make contact with the man. After he would not open his door, authorities gained entry into the apartment and encountered an individual, identified as Chase Sullivan (DOB 9-22-81), who was approaching the officers with a knife. The officers gave several commands for Sullivan to drop the weapon, which Sullivan ignored. The situation escalated further and resulted in two officers firing their service weapons several times, striking Sullivan. Though first responders administered CPR immediately, Sullivan died on the scene.”

The other account which is unsubstantiated states,”Chase was asleep in his bedroom and upon hearing someone breaking into his apartment walked out with a knife and tending to defend himself confused and possibly disoriented did not understand the commands and the police officers fired their weapons striking Chase.”
It would be easy to assume that the second account is what really happened. And as many often do blame law enforcement for shooting an innocent person who intended no harm to them.


On Monday Nike released a new ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick who began the highly controversial practice of kneeling during the National anthem because in his words ““I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”


Most who read of the death of my son-in-law (who was white) agreed with the second version of Chases death. And that in my opinion is what they, Black Lives Matter, and Colin Kaepernick have in common. We’ll get to that in a moment. One would have to be willing to dismiss hard data and substantiated facts to dismiss the reality that a disproportionate number of black men are either on probation, parole or incarcerated when compared to white men.

And depending on which source you use black men are more likely to be killed by police, or white men are more likely, you could make a case that based on percentage black men are more likely to die at the hands of police. Hidden in the statistics however is in my opinion a much more important factor.

A victim mentality.

It is OK to state the facts. It is OK to protest.  But if we stop there and prepare someone white or black to live life as a victim most likely they will become one.

The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church,   who eulogized Aretha Franklin has come under fire by her family and others for stating what can be statistically proved to be the truth. Statistically black on black crime does take far more lives than lives taken by law enforcement.

“If you choose to ask me today ‘do Black Lives Matter?’ let me answer like this: No, black lives do not matter. Black lives will not matter. Black lives ought not matter. Black lives should not matter, black lives must not matter until black people start respecting black lives and stop killing ourselves, black lives can never matter,”.

Young men white or black who are raised to be disrespectful, distrustful, of law enforcement and authority in general are much more likely to find themselves in a situation that will not end in a good way.The Colin Kaepernick’s of this world have to offer more than protest.

We have to offer more than our expressing opinions and placing blame where it may not belong.

But together we can offer encouragement, a helping hand and opportunities to those who are suffering from mental disability, addiction, disadvantage.

Chase suffered from depression, issues with alcohol and drugs for a long time. But even in all of his problems (I have read letters he wrote to loved ones) Chase did not want to be a victim. He struggled to understand why he suffered as he did, and he was looking for a way out, to fix them.

I will not be a part of making him something I believe he did not want to be. Eventually the truth will come as to what happened that day. It will not change what happened to Chase. I hope he now has the peace he was never able to find in this life.

So by all means speak up about what is wrong. Protest for worthy causes. We have the opportunity to help others, black, white, across all ethnicities but we cannot as long as we point fingers and make them victims.




“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!

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