I’m having the worst time focusing today. I’m trying to sort through my thoughts as I attempt to write about my own son’s death from medical neglect and at the same time, wrap my head around the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner.
Before he died, my son insisted that I forgive the people who were responsible for his death and move on to something positive, so I began to advocate for universal access to health care.
But what are the mothers and other family members of these folks supposed to do? How do you get over the death of a 12-year-old who was playing with a toy gun at a playground?
How do you get over the brutal murder of an 18-year-old who was days away from starting college and actually had some hope of escaping a life of poverty?
How do you move beyond the choking death of a 43-year-old father of six?
Immediately, the media try to criminalize the victim. The 12-year-old should have known better than to play with a toy gun.
The 18-year-old was a “thug” who may have stolen some cigars.
The father of six was selling loose cigarettes.
It’s as though these offenses — real or imagined — warranted the death penalty.
That’s why no one is being tried, even for involuntary manslaughter, in any of these deaths.
And we the people are supposed to shrug and move on. Or perhaps we’re supposed to join hands and sing “Kumbaya.”
I believe in peaceful protest, although even that too often is met with violent militarized action by police.
Someone throws a bottle and the tanks and tear gas come out, which just makes the crowd angrier and things keep escalating.
These three and many, many more, mostly black people, die because cops can get away with acting as judge, jury and executioner.
These atrocities don’t happen in my white neighborhood, and I could “mind my own business,” I suppose.
But I can’t stand by and do nothing in the face of such injustice. I have to speak out. I will be at a protest tonight, and I will continue to protest until things begin to change.
I’ve gotten into a few discussions on Facebook about these deaths. Someone called me a racist for saying it happens too often to black men and boys.
People who want to remain comfortable in their middle-class neighborhoods don;t realize that they’re not safe from the abuses of power.
First they came for …
Go ahead and make excuses for the cops if you want. You can feel safe — for now.