As I watch the news and read the stories of the protests happening around the country last night, I can’t help but feel desperate and sad. Our country is divided on many things, but right now, we are united in feeling concern about this one thing. When the labels of black and white, thug and cop, right and wrong are stripped away, it boils down to this:
A human killed another human.
It is complicated by race and class. It is complicated further by bureaucracy and power. It is complicated further by looting and riots.The protests, the media, and the arguing are all just trying to make sense of an unnatural act. The problem is it doesn’t make sense.
So while we argue about what may or may not have happened that day, and what should and should not have happened in the days after, don’t forget:
What happened was devastatingly sad. What followed was devastatingly sad. What happened last night was devastatingly sad. Someone died, and someone killed. It is against our nature to murder each other, and yet we do it every day. There is no right, only wrong. Our society failed both the victim and the shooter.
What does it say about our culture that such a thing can happen? What does it say about our nature that we are appalled by it? What does it say about our future?
The only wrong answer is nothing.
This should mean something. The national outcry should be heard and answered. This should say something about who we were, who we are now and who we are going to be.
I fear that in all the arguing, all the rioting, and all the media, only one thing will prevail: nothing. The noises will cancel each other out, we will go about our holidays, and one day, none of this will mean anything at all, and it will all just happen again. And then, too, it will only mean nothing.
Rioting and looting isn’t the answer, that is obvious. But how do we focus all this energy into something positive? How do we make it mean anything? How do we stop failing each other?