Is Tyre Nichols’s Murder By Police The Tipping Point? Not Likely.

With Tyre Nichols’s recent murder by the police in Memphis, I think it’s painfully clear that policing in America is yet another public health crisis. Once again, we’re sadly missing the point of its root cause and that’s why it continues. Too often, police brutality is considered a race issue but when 5 black police officers beat a black man to death, it’s not about race. It’s about power.

Why do people seek power? I believe it’s a compensatory behavior attempting to ease the deep emotional pain of not feeling valued. Digging in further,

Value = Love

and love is a basic human need just like food and water.

How many public health issues can be improved or solved if the Power Differential is addressed? Marginalized communities don’t have the power. We can provide resources and support (e.g., urban markets in food deserts) but without a fundamental change in beliefs and values, the differential won’t change long term. Those in power also need their absent emotional needs addressed and help in changing their belief systems and worldviews. When they feel valued [emotionally], they’ll be more willing to relinquish power. This is how Daryl Davis has gotten so many KKK members to quit.

We know people in power will do anything and everything to keep it. It’s how they manage their emotional pain. This is clearly evident with the latest gerrymandering and other voter suppression actions so many states have implemented since 2020. Yet another public health crisis.

Obviously, there are countless other public health issues that most often focus on physical health such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and homelessness not to mention major issues such as loneliness, isolation, depression, addiction, etc.

But given Tyre’s murder last week by public servants, and the current “corrective” actions discussed focusing on training and behaviors (a.k.a. symptoms), I don’t expect anything to change going forward. (Just like how the War on Drugs has failed for 100 years.)

If the root problem is not addressed, the symptoms (e.g., murders by police) will continue. The root problem is poor emotional health and emotional pain and this is very different than mental health and emotional intelligence. A person’s behaviors are the symptoms of their pain.

Note: I define Emotional Health as a person’s ability to give and receive love, connection, and belonging.


Kevin Strauss
Kevin Strauss
Kevin believes people yearn to feel closer to others. Not to everyone but to the people who matter most to them. He believes we long to be heard and valued because then we know we matter and that makes us happy. Happy people do good things and are less destructive to themselves and others. The closer and happier we are the better our world will be. Kevin is the Founder and CEO of Uchi, an app dedicated to helping people connect authentically with those who matter most to them by making conversations easier. Kevin’s career began as an "industry disruptive" Biomedical Engineer with a gift for identifying a problem’s root cause. His efforts have resulted in 75+ US patents and many peer-reviewed publications spanning several industries including spinal implants, psychology and behavior modification. It was nearly 20 years ago when Kevin wandered down a rabbit-hole, sparked by “human conflict”, that transformed him into an emotional health, connection, and human behavior expert. Now, Kevin and his team are bringing the Uchi app to the world’s stage to help people experience deeper and more meaningful relationships; something that matters to us all but often falls through the cracks. In addition, he continues to enjoy sharing this knowledge through workshops and speaking engagements. Kevin enjoys balancing his human connection work with expedition backpacking, ballroom dancing and as an 18-year, injury-free, Ironman Triathlete, and Coach.

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    • Thank you Eva. I appreciate you commenting on this article. For me, I distinguish and consider Mental Health and Emotional Health to be two very different elements of our health and well-being; albeit interrelated. I believe the pursuits and abuses of power, money, and status are behaviors attempting to ease or manage our poor Emotional Health and the resulting pain. Just like the pain we experience when we cut our finger; an assualt on our physical health. My other writings describe the differences in more detail and may provide insight as to why these officers are “disturbed”. I don’t consider them as “disturbed” but rather their behaviors as attempts to ease their own emotional pain of not feeling valued (which translates in our brain to feeling loved, a basic human need).

  1. Thank you Kevin for this. Being a first generation immigrant in US I am still trying to understand the racial issues here and when horrible things happen I watch media and see what you are sharing here. It is never going into the roots and never trying to solve the cause. I was watching the school of that 6 year old who killed his teacher. They brought officers, they gave children clear backpacks that will search every day; that’s it. Nothing about guns how a 6 year old gets possession or how to make sure this never happens again. There must be a reason behind what you are saying here too. Why do we CHOOSE or media/politicians etc choose to only look at the surface you think?

    • Thanks for making the time and putting forth the energy to read and comment on this article. Is your question rhetorical? I’ll assume not. I could probably write a book to answer but for now, from my perspective and understanding, 1) it is not a conscious choice but rather a subconscious behavior and 2) when we address the “surface level” we are only managing the immediate symptoms which are causing our own emotional (not mental) pain. Meanwhile, the deeper issue and root cause requires working through the deeper emotional pains (which may not be “horrific” traumas or ACEs) and are rooted in a person’s subconscious mind which most people are not even aware of. They simply continue to just try and manage the symptomatic pain with an infinite array of behaviors. I’d be happy to continue this conversation, in real time, if ever you were interested.