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Do we really remember their names?

Another black man killed by police…..this time in Philadelphia. Protests erupted. 30 officers were injured. Looting ensued. It just goes on and on. The man’s name was Walter Wallace. He struggled with mental illness. He was waving a knife, and his mother was attempting to diffuse the situation. She tried to shield him from police, screaming to them that he was her son before he broke away from her. Neighbors watched in horror, screaming “don’t shoot…we know him…..don’t shoot”, and one captured it all on video. Shots were fired. I don’t know how many. Five? Ten? Police marked the scene with 13 yellow evidence flags. They loaded him into the back of a cruiser, and he died. Walter Wallace was 27 years old.

I don’t know where we go from here. Nothing changes. Sides are being drawn as I type this…..the same for and against. The knuckle-dragging racists are already spewing bile, and the opportunistic knuckleheads are using this as an excuse to break some windows and steal some shoes. Too many of the folks in the middle are silent. They grieve internally. They cry alone. They’re embarrassed. Humiliated. But perhaps too intimidated to stand up. Or just numb. It’s pretty clear that if All Lives Matter, we’d reach some type of consensus on the mentally ill being gunned down in broad daylight like rabid dogs in front of their Mothers. Of course all lives don’t matter, because “all” would automatically encompass Walter Wallace. Unless your problem with the BLM movement is precisely what we think it is.

We’re brazen hypocrites. We’re still racist. The ones who matter are the ones who have, and the ones that don’t matter are the ones who have not. Our nation is leaderless, and our moral compass cracked like a dropped Iphone.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a cop in a dangerous city anymore than I know what it’s like to be a young black man. In any city. All I can do is see what you see. A man is suffering from a “mental health crisis”. The police were called, and presumably this information was passed along to them. This wasn’t some violent thug. This was somebody sick. Somebody who needed help. He was menacing. terrifying even, but the cops maintained a respectful distance, backing up. He never got closer than perhaps 10 feet. Danger? Yes. Imminent danger? Didn’t look like it to me. Do tasers work? Did they have one? If not, why? Are they trained to shoot to kill, or to shoot to wound? Are they trained to handle mental illness? The mayor. The police commissioner. Both said the shooting raises “questions”. It’s getting harder and harder to defend this type of thing. It’s the definition of insanity.

If this had been a white guy wearing a suit and tie in Conshohocken, would he be dead now? If you say yes I know you’re lying, and you know you’re lying too. Cops might have talked the guy into the back of the car and brought him to McDonalds.

America appears to be irretrievably broken. Stained with our original sin. We don’t know our own history, so there’s no way for us to learn from it. We forget things as fresh and raw as Sandy Hook and Stoneman Douglas and George Floyd and Breona Taylor because there is always a fresh outrage to take their place. Soon, Walter Wallace will be yet another Wikipedia entry. The cameras will move on to the next city. It’s like being lost in the woods, and walking all night to find the road, only to recognize you’re back in the same place you started. How many nights can we survive out there? As it’s quite possible we’re about to re-elect a white supremacist, the question is taking on extra importance lately.

All of this deflects attention away from our Supreme Court having been hijacked by ideologues. A crazed Taliban-esque woman just received a lifetime appointment to fuck with you with zero oversight, rammed through the confirmation process in a partisan blood-bath so brazenly hypocritical Mitch McConnell has since broken out into some sort of freakish full body rash. All of this was celebrated sans-masks at an unseemly pep-rally last night at the White House, more mockery piled onto the court’s supposed independence.

This Sunday the clocks get turned back, which is entirely appropriate. How about 100 years?

The world breathlessly awaits President Trump’s tweet about Walter Wallace, sure it will inspire calm and empathy for all involved.

Just kidding. They just hope he doesn’t get all Adderalled-up and use the N-word.

The “very fine people” are always white. Ever notice that?

Where do we go from here?

Well….the truth is marching on. Inexorably slow. But it still marches. Eventually we will become more enlightened. Or die trying. That’s the race right now in 2020.

In a bit..

–tf

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