I would be incredibly remiss after my post yesterday about the brutal and tragic murder of Philando Castile if I did not also take time to express my horror and outrage about the slaying of five Dallas police officers out of supposed “revenge” for the murders earlier this week.
There is no revenge for murder, let alone revenge that is aimed not at an individual, but at a group that an individual belongs to, whether it is his profession or the color of his skin. There is no revenge for murder. There is only more hate and more murder.
Policemen are, on the whole, extraordinary. They offer us their service, their protection, and in terrible cases like this, their lives. My heart goes out to the victims of this senseless violence, and to their families. I thank and honor them for their service and protection, and pray that by some miracle such acts of hate will demand that we all look at each other very closely, beneath race and sex and religion and politics and every other trait, and see our own selves in each other’s eyes.
Today I forced myself to watch the most terrible thing I have ever seen: the brutal aftermath of the murder of Philando Castile at the hands of Minnesota police. The screams of his girlfriend, her four-year-old daughter softly saying, “It’s okay, Mommy. I’m right here with you.” That will haunt me forever. As it should haunt all of us.
Why did I watch this? Because in a country where black men and women are gunned down daily, where people I love are posting in multitudes about their fear for their own lives, the only thing that is in my power is to not close my eyes.
My eyes are open. And my heart is open, even though I know it will provide little if any solace. I am so sorry that this keeps happening. May we all rally together with the balance of love and anger to create a better world. We can do better. We must.
I know you’re not supposed to “politicize” a tragedy, but I also don’t know how to live in this world if we don’t learn from mistakes, especially when they have such deadly consequences. Just last week, President Obama talked about how because of the NRA (and the politicians they fund), the government can’t even prevent people on terrorist watch lists and known ISIS sympathizers from buying guns. Well, this gunman was both of those things, and the subject of two FBI investigations. The government KNEW he was dangerous, and because of the NRA, was powerless to stop him. He bought this gun legally. And now 49 people are dead, 53 injured, thousands upon thousands of family and friends in mourning. How many more will there be?
This “assault-style” rifle is the type of weapon al-Qaeda encourages followers to buy in the US to inflict mass casualties. It was illegal until 2004, but then Congress let that ban expire. This gun’s job is mass murder, and it does that job well. An “assault-style” rifle was the San Bernadino gun, the Aurora gun, the Sandy Hook gun. Now it’s the Orlando Pulse gun, too. And if you want to go buy one right now – you can. Even if you’re on a terror watch list and a public ISIS supporter. Even if you are mentally ill or a convicted felon. This gun is yours, if you want it.
I refuse to believe that there isn’t a way to protect people’s right to hunt and/or protect themselves, and still get weapons like this off the market and out of the hands of terrorists. 91% of people want it done, including most NRA members. But it doesn’t happen because of the demagoguery of NRA leadership and the cowardice of the overwhelmingly Republican politicians they pay off.
I don’t ever want to hear again that Republicans are the ones who are “tough on terror.” Because THIS is terror. And they let it happen. And they will let the next time happen, and the next, and the next. Make your own decision of what to do with that information.
In a city of light, two narrow white beams pierce the night sky above the southern skyline – just as thirteen years ago, two columns of black smoke darkened the most beautiful blue sky I have ever seen.
There is no other day in my life that I remember so vividly as September 11th, 2001. Not just images, but videos play over in my mind. It was my second week of high school when the world as I knew it changed.
In the weeks that followed, I saw things that I had never seen before. My father took me to the World Trade Center, where a pile of dirt and rubble had replaced the iconic towers that had always marked our trips to New York. I saw grief, anger, and confusion. But I saw something else as well.
I saw a truly united nation. As my friends and I held a car wash to help raise money for the United Way, I proudly waved an American flag along Lancaster Avenue in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. The cars that passed rolled down their windows and cheered, and honked in triumph, in mourning, and in solidarity.
There were no Democrats. There were no Republicans. There were only Americans – and I was, and remain, so proud to be one of them.