Brother Brent Thompson
From a message circulated by New York's Empire State DeMolay today:
The world has heard and seen the unrest in Dallas, Texas and the loss of life of Police Officers.
NY DeMolay stands with our DeMolay Brothers of Texas in prayer.
Especially Brother William Thompson, a member of Black Gold DeMolay Chapter in Corsicana, Texas.
His Dad, Officer Brent Thompson lost his life in the line of duty during the incident in Dallas last night.
Officer Thompson was a Master Mason and member of Corsicana Lodge No. 174 in Corsicana, Texas.
Officer Thompson has 6 children, the youngest is 17.
Officer Thompson was married 2 weeks ago.
He was 43 years old, and had spent nearly seven years on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police force.
Meanwhile, the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Minnesota on its Facebook page this morning requested that their members change their profile pictures to a common image to show support of their member, Brother Clarence Castile, over the death of his nephew in a traffic stop Wednesday night. The action is claimed to be called for by their Grand Master Kymphus Muhammad. Adrian L. Green, Grand Master of the MWPHGL of Michigan has requested it on the GL's official Facebook page. It has reportedly been asked similarly in New Jersey by the MWPHGL of NJ's Grand Master, Shelton J. Prescott - but I have not found that online anywhere myself. His personal page simply has the image posted, but with no call to action accompanying it.
While this type of thing has been done for numerous other events and causes such as terrorist attacks in France and Belgium by showing their flags in Facebook profiles, in this case these Grand Masters have asked their members to use a stark black and white image of a man's silhouette in the crosshairs of what is presumably a rifle sight. It is intended to call attention to the many shootings of black men by police officers across the country, but it couldn't have been more ill timed. The five law enforcement officers killed last night in Dallas were shot by snipers using rifles that probably were fitted with scopes that yielded a similar image while they aimed.
These Grand Masters couldn't have picked a more inappropriate and incendiary image to suggest to their own members out of their hats.
Yes, I am fully aware that the image is well known to most people under 30. It is the official logo of the hip hop group Public Enemy. I'm sure these Grand Masters' hearts are in the right place and see it as a way to focus attention on an issue that has plagued their members and communities for too long a time. I get that.
But social media is a funny thing, and it can turn on anyone in an instant. That image is going to be seen all over the country and the world connected to Freemasons, and it sends a blatant message that I am fully aware is not intended. It's going to be misconstrued. There's no way it WON'T be. So, does anyone SERIOUSLY want to see endlessly forwarded messages on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and others proclaiming "Prince Hall Masons (or just plain ALL Freemasons) are calling for cop killings!"? Because I promise, that's what's going to happen, and that's the way this will be twisted.
We live in chaotic times, and I totally understand the desire to highlight the issue. But there's a reason why regular, recognized Freemasonry in particular puts such an emphasis on staying out of politics, along with religion. It's divisive and it tears people and societies and cultures apart. In our capacity as Masons, our image matters as much to each other as to the world at large. One of the first things we hear as Apprentices is the admonishment to subdue our passions. That's every day and everywhere. And circulating this image Masonically is not a demonstration of that. I urge you all to reconsider it.
Rest in peace, Brother Thompson. Your column is broken and your Brethren mourn.
A GoFundMe account has been set up by the DART police department to support Brother Thompson's new wife and family. If you wish to donate, CLICK HERE.