How Will Society React

Justine

Justine Ruszczyk

 

In Minneapolis, a white, blonde woman, of means was gunned down by a Somali police officer. Let me say this a different way. A woman in a dark alley was recently shot dead by a cop on patrol in south Minneapolis. Or I could say, after making a call to 911, a woman in certain distress approached a responding squad car, and the officer in the passenger side, fired his weapon across his partner through a window, and she died in the alley of a fatal wound. How do the three descriptions differ from each other? One might wonder which context of this absolute tragedy will matter in the outcome.

Here is the truth. We live in a society that places priority on means. In other words, money does play a role in how situations of tragedy are handled. However, there are many other variables in play here. This isn’t about a white police officer gunning down a person of color, without explanation or cause. This is actually about an officer of color ending the life of an attractive blonde woman. Take the blonde out of the story, this is the story of a woman being gunned down for no apparent reason. Either way it is described, there will be no pleasant outcome. We don’t know there wasn’t a reason because both officers in the patrol had their body cams turned off, another variable.

We don’t know the motivation for the gunshot because it was dark, the woman approached the vehicle, there was no dash cam, and apparently no witnesses beyond the officers and the woman. We are as a society asked to appreciate the reasoning and risk, and thereby respect the duress of our police departments when responding to any call, in any circumstance. I was gently reminded of this weeks ago, when writing about the Philando Castile verdict, how an officer is clearly always walking into danger, whether it be a routine traffic stop, or an already identified point of threat. So this commentary is not about our police force and their right or wrong doings.

This commentary is about how our society is going to handle this current crisis. How is social media going to react? What will be the chain of priority when handling this investigation? Does it take more precedent than the string of killings that have occurred on our streets in the last month, not including the twin cities but across the country? How do we decide that one case matters more than countless others? God help us, that we live in a world that the color of our skin creates a definition of what we determine to be important.

The clear fact is that a woman died at the hands of our police force. The truth is no one knows why except for the officers involved and in circumstances of such terrible outcome, in the moment of haste, worry, concern, personal threat, even their hearts were certainly adrenaline driven in the moment. On the surface we can be quite sure there was a lot of tension and panic involved. In the end though, a woman is dead, and another police force is under scrutiny, and the twin cities has become national news.

So, how do we go forward? Some people might pray to help themselves find calm and balance and heal. Some are pragmatic and will return to their lives and this will be a sad afterthought. Some will move out of the neighborhood, change the locks, buy home security systems, take self defense. Some will remain quietly nervous for the rest of their lives.

We as a society need somehow to respond to one another, and recognize this isn’t a race issue, not a gender based issue, not an easily explainable issue. What is true is that a young woman has lost her life and the treasures of her future and her fiance, family and friends are forever altered. We can try to move forward. We can try to find understanding, empathy, and peace throughout the confusion. There is no easy solution, there is only reality, and the acknowledgment of horrific human error.

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To Know The Right Way

Oh, to go beyond the grasp,

the tangles that keep reminders alive,

there is the mystery of the mind,

what to turn off, what to feed, what to settle in,

so that moving forward seems a reliable

resolve to the repudiating repulsion of time.

 

Yes, without speaking in tangible terms,

leave it to the eyes to interpret,

disclose, determine in words,

what shall be thought to reserve judgment.

 

When standing on the street,

look into a man’s eyes,

is he relaxed, skeptical, terrible

in this seeming expression on a hot summer day.

 

While sitting in a local cafe,

she buried her face in paperwork,

a bomb goes off nearby and she doesn’t twitch,

for in our world we don’t feel explosions,

we only create war inside our brain,

that is the place we store the fuse, the powder keg,

the nuclear option to saving grace.

 

Oh, the notions of moving forward,

to know the right words,

to recognize complete action,

beyond simple presumptuous fiction.

How can a world determine,

peace,

when locked into the tenets of this

seemingly societal scrutiny,

makes allowances,

to suggest the human condition,

is flawed.

My Reflection; Your Perception

Ever do this.

~

Finish the conversation

Walk away

Having left a cordial departure

Smiles and a handshake

~

And look back

~

Out of the corner of your eye

And that telling moment

When you both connect

Your eyes looking right at each other

~

We wonder now

~

As methodical as your moves

Can be perceived by another

Person watching you

How careful do I need to be

~

In this moment

~

Everything we just shared

Is being scrutinized

Did we say too much?

Was that smile real or cover?

~

Are they thinking

~

About my mistakes then

Or about their victory

Or is it about that at all

Or do they just like my tie?

~

Maybe the tie

~

Has no connection to

The glance; the reassurance

Both humans need

At a given moment

~

Like those shoes

~

Wondering what is more important

The conversation that takes place

Or the moment afterward

~

Ever do this?