Without apology: all lives matter

Posted by art@cushingcitizen.com art@cushingcitizen.com


I would write about the hottest news of the last two weeks were it not for Pokemon Go.
It was late July 7 when I was headed home from Enid. I got a text from my wife — I know: no texting while driving — telling me of the ambush in Dallas. I fumbled with my radio until I found an XM news channel.
The news sickened me.
My son and his wife live in Dallas. Not far from downtown. The thought made me ill.
Thank you, Micah Xavier Johnson.

I have friends black and white on social media who have suggested Johnson acted out of fear. I laugh at them.
Johnson acted out of hate. Pure. Evil.
Brent Thompson, 43. Patrick Zamarripa, 32. Michael Krol, 40. Michael Smith, 55. Lorne Ahrens, 48.
Dead. All of them.
Killed while protecting others. Bravely. Gallantly. Without remorse.
How about you, Micah?
How about the nine other people you injured? They will never forget that night.
Yes. I know. You served our country well in Afghanistan.
Yes. I know. The killings of black men by police officers — black and white — is reaching a tipping point.
But yes. I also know what you did was out of nothing but hate. You expressed you were angry and wanted to kill police officers.
White police officers in particular.
I don’t get you.

I have been told by one of my daughter’s high school friends — I absolutely love her liberal spirit — that saying, “All lives matter,” is a cop-out. I could not disagree more.
Do black lives matter? Not only yes. Hell yes.
But don’t all lives matter?
See above.
I don’t agree much with George W. Bush. But his words during a ceremony in Dallas moved me.
“Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”

I am angry our country, 216 years after its birth, has come no farther than this.
I am angry some white people see black men and immediately think “gangster.”
I am angry some black men see police and immediately think “run and hide.”
I am angry mentally ill people do not get the treatment they need.

This is not what our forefathers wanted.
I so wanted to visit Oklahoma City on Sunday and witness the Black Lives Matter rally. I desperately wanted my dear friend, Terry Brannon, to go with me.
I told him as much midweek. He said, “I would have gone I just didn’t want to go alone.”
I had other duties that got in the way.
Oh yeah: Terry is black.

Black Lives Matter.
White Lives Matter.
Red Lives Matter.
Brown Lives Matter.
Please note I did not use the word “too” after or the word “only” before those sentences.
It’s truly not that difficult to understand.
I have not faced the racism minorities do.
I have not felt that pain and anguish.
But I cannot look into the faces of my brown nieces and nephews and feel anything other than love.
If that is not in your heart, I pray for you.

Understand I do not pray as much as I should. My relationship with my God is not unlike the relationship I had with my birth father.
We agreed to disagree at times. We accepted our differences.
How about you, Micah?
Oh yeah. I forgot. You took the chicken way out, didn’t you?
Death by police, it was.
That’s no better than those who walk into a school or a shopping center or a movie theater and open fire, killing randomly.
They die, most often, at the hands of police.
Or their own hands. Which is even more cowardly.

Micah, I hope you are smiling from above.
Or below.
Time will tell but you may have set back race relationships in the United States.
Then again, maybe your murders will bring us closer together.
Proud of yourself?
Perhaps it’s my upraising in the melting pot of Smallville that taught me so well.
My friends are as diverse as my beliefs. I love them all.
All lives matter.