Monday, September 26, 2016

Which One Is He? (I Forget...)

Today I came across this headline:

"If you don't understand Black Lives Matter after Terence Crutcher's death, you never will."

And I thought, "Which one is he?"

And then I realized what I had asked - which Black man, which unarmed citizen, which person whose killing by one or more police officers was filmed, which person whom I have watched die, was Terence Crutcher?

And I realized that I had asked because I have lost track. Is Terence Crutcher the one who was walking backward with his hands at his side? Or the one whom the helicopter cop described as "a bad dude?"

He's not the one who bled out while his girlfriend narrated his shooting on Facebook Live - that was Philando Castile. Or the one who died a day or two before that...somebody Sterling, right? I should remember his name more readily, because I have a bunch of nieces and nephews who are Sterlings. I could look him up, I will look him up, but now I want to observe that I only need to look him up because I've forgotten his name, and I think that is because his death was followed so closely by Philado Castile's, and when news of the latter reached my brain, it partially erased the memory of the former, because I started to lose track. Which one died where, under what circumstances? What did the officer say he did? What did the video show? Hands up, hands down, armed with a gun, armed with a knife, armed with a toy, empty-handed? Which is who, and where, and how many times was he shot?

I have not heard of an unarmed victim of a police shooting being my age, so I feel safer than I might feel if I were under 50, and much safer than I would likely feel if I were under 30. When I say safer, I simply feel that I am less likely to be shot dead than my skin-brothers who are in those younger groups.

But hearing myself ask, "Which one is he?" puts me in fear of a different danger - the danger of becoming less human. I have already noticed a numbness setting in. My God, I am watching people die, and neither grieving nor raging.

Do I need to stay offline for a while? Do I need to march with signs? I don't know. But I do know this - I need a more human response than scrolling to the next item on Facebook. And a more effective one than turning to Google to refresh my memory of past killings.

"Which one is he?" is an insane question, and can only make sense in a insane world.
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