Move on, but how?

Two nights ago, I wrote this about the insanity in Ferguson:

I have no idea what to do with the news of a shooting and civil unrest and police insanity in Ferguson. I just don’t. I have no idea what it’s like to live in fear that my boys will be shot, unarmed, just because of who they are. And I have no idea what to do with people who assume that grotesque uses of police force are ever justified. I simply don’t know what to do with police wearing camo who refuse to hear peaceful protesters, and instead aim assault rifles at them from tanks. (What are they camouflaged for? They’re in a town. On streets. There are no fatigues for that. Stop hiding as though you’re in the freaking jungle. Put on your blues and walk your beat like a proper, compassionate, protect-and-serve cop.)

So I’ve compartmentalized my “I don’t know” into a tight, painful pit in my chest, and carried it around for several days. And it’s nothing compared with what millions carry, including people in communities who know their town, state, and country don’t care about them. So I swallow hard and move on.

But I couldn’t bear to post those unfinished thoughts, especially when they then led, in my draft, to a long list of the things causing me serious existential pain right now.

It’s obscene, I think, to ramble on about the joys and the pain in my life while the very foundation on which our society is based falls apart. I have no right to blog when people are being brutalized.

So tonight’s shift, wherein social media regales the world with the monumental difference between fear and communication, between criminalizing speech versus hearing protestors, between waging war within cities and showing compassion within communities, has begun the process of healing.

Not healing entirely. But cleaning off the wounds enough that we can start looking, and really seeing, what is going on in our country.

Changing the leadership from assault to engagement has made Ferguson feel safer tonight.

What are we going to do to make the rest of the country safer? More engaged? More honest about tensions? More open to solutions?

We need to talk about assumptions. We need to talk about law, rights, and enforcement. We need to talk about race, poverty, representation, and listening.

Where do we go from here?

2 thoughts on “Move on, but how?

  1. Thank you for your post. I’m surprised there aren’t more comments, but maybe everyone is sort of holding their breath too. Where do we go? What do we do? One of the frightening things I’ve noticed lately is the gradually escalating militarism of the police officers and law enforcement. I agree with you about the fatigues. And the tanks. These are police officers, and they aren’t fighting a war! The public isn’t the enemy! Yes, we need the police for protection against the law breakers, but the police also need to be accountable to the public when they cross the line into brutality. Armed with high-powered, sophisticated equipment often makes these police officers think (and act) like they are invincable. We need to start talking about ways to remedy this situation. Law enforcement is a difficult and thankless job; when done well, it isn’t noticed (and is often taken for granted). When done poorly, it is criminal.

  2. Well, what in the holy hell happened? I came back from a trip with no wifi and came back to…unfettered police power, peaceful protests bringing tear gas and arrests, first amendment rights trashed, civil rights trashed. That one night of harmony was just an aberration? So now we’re going to hear from Amnesty International that our domestic, institutionalized racism is severely hampering our ability to achieve law or order in our states?

    I just can’t even.


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