I’m trying to make sense of the recent shootings in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Dallas and St.Paul. At first I was in disbelief. Then I started to wonder if could afford to buy some land in an undisclosed place and go live off the grid away from all the madness. And, then I began to wonder if that would make me a coward. Many thoughts have been racing through my mind. Why? Wait, no way. More people killed and more families left to grieve and mourn the lost of their loved ones. Honestly, there’s not way to rationalize any of of this violence. If you’re hoping to find an explanation of it, there will not be one in this post. This is not a rant about the the protection of the 2nd Amendment or the gun carrying culture (though, I might right about that later in the year). Instead, this is my space to express my disappointment, frustration and anger as a black American woman living in the United States of America (and yeah, I’m salty that I have to specify that I’m a black American because I only get recognition as American when I leave the county).
I remember exactly where I was each time I learned of the horrific news. For the Miami shooting, I was on the way back from an Environmental Leadership Fellowship retreat. In regards to Baton Rouge and St. Paul, I was returning from a 4th of July weekend in New Hampshire with friends. And, I heard about the Dallas shooting en route to work on Friday morning. It was not a good week. I trudged through Thursday and Friday in a weird mix of post vacation haze and emotional fog. I was upset and disillusioned. Another shooting. Another black man killed by the bullets of police officer’s gun. And, again it was caught on camera. It wasn’t the figment of someone’s imagination. This time, it was not a clip from from a Boondocks re-run. This happened in real life!
So, I’ve been logging in and out of all my social media outlets hoping to find some explanation for all the violence happening here and abroad. But, none can be found save for the usual rhetoric. I tried to log off, but kept scrolling and reading all the posts. Some were insightful, a few were complete nonsense and some offered self-care resources. It’s Sunday evening and I’ve returned from a full weekend of self-care exercises. I ate and drank with friends, spent time in nature with my sister, checked in own my friends and I hugged my parents. But, why do I still feel just meh?
If I sit still long enough, lots of feelings come to surface. I can even recall the former case of Amadou Diallo or memories of the police presence outside my middle school. Sadly, this violence isn’t a new occurrence. It’s tiring and exhausting. I’m tired and weary. I’m tired of avoiding the news in fear of being triggered by the imaged a slain person plastered across my screen. See, I have not gone numb so the sight of a dead person still gives me nightmares and makes me nauseous. I think about the friends and family left behind to make funeral arrangements. I wonder what the person had for breakfast or what was the last text message he or she sent. I hope the families of those who have lost someone will ever feel safe and get justice. But, then I remember how our justice system hasn’t been working too well as of late and then I weep.