America is coming up on 250 years as a nation. Most Americans can’t feel good, right now, about this anniversary.

I was imprinted by my father (my G.O.A.T.), who was race blind. Of course, I can’t be sure how he came to be that way. He was a  New Hampshire kid but he had spent some time in Florida in the 1940s; my trips to the Sunshine State in the ’60’s gave me a sense of a different society from that of my home in Maine. Dad was a merit-based businessman, he would award work, lend a hand or voice support to the deserving.

With Dad’s outlook as background, at age 8, I was stirred by Martin Luther King Jr.’s impassioned speech in Washington D.C. in 1963. Dr. King’s words resonated with many of my generation. Also, I remember Elvis Presley singing the mournful ballad, “In The Ghetto,” around 1970. Tears still well up when I listen. During my 24 years (1988-2012) as a New York City resident, there was a tragedy involving the death of Amadou Diallo in the Bronx. Mr. Diallo, an unarmed black man, was fired on by four NYC policemen and died in a hail of 41 bullets on Feb. 5, 1999. On Feb. 15, I wrote a letter to Mayor Giuliani and copied numerous jurisdictional authorities at the city, state and national level (a handful of responses were received). In the letter, I acknowledged that I didn’t have an answer to the policing/society issue, but I suggested that a body audio recorder of the scene would provide evidentiary record for the matter of justice.

Twenty-one years later, the society/policing problem remains. I still don’t know that answer but I do believe most Americans are hoping we find one.

Simon A. Snyder