Do you think we enjoy this? Being here, in this place at this time? Don’t you think we’d rather be elsewhere? We have lives too. We have jobs and school and friends and TV shows to watch. We have concerts to go to and kids to raise. We would much rather tweet about relationships and sports and inconsequential things.
And yet. Here we are. Once again. Up in arms. Like a sick parody of DJ Khaled’s trademark refrain, there’s ‘another one’. Another body, another hashtag, another video. As with all those who came before – too numerous to list; too painful to name – another of our own is gunned down in the streets by those sworn to protect him. And then another one. This time in the passenger seat of a car with his partner and child looking on in despair and disbelief. Two days. Two deaths. The social contract violated back to back. They had lives too. Selling CDs or in a car ride with family; neither of those men wanted to be there at that time for the last time.
We aren’t making unreasonable demands. In fact we would much rather not have to make any demands at all. The fact that we must demand something so fundamental is a testament to the depth of the problems plaguing the system. We have lives too and we have things to do but what choice do we have? When our families and friends are routinely brutalized, criminalized, demonized and murdered. What choice do we have? When a cop car looks, to us, like a modern day incarnation of the Grim Reaper: A harbinger of our pending mortality. What choice do we have but to demand, as loudly and emphatically as we can: STOP. KILLING. US.
That’s all we want. We don’t care about investigations, motivations or recriminations. Just stop killing us. That can’t be too much to ask, right? This cycle is getting really old really fast and we are getting really tired. Tired of burying our brothers and sisters, best friends and lovers, parents and children. Tired of crying and marching and tweeting; of hearing(and giving) speeches that ring hollow. Tired of the ultimate inaction that follows the implicit and explicit spin game that tries to lay the ultimate blame for our own demise at our feet. We have lives too that we would really like to get back to living but we can’t. Instead, here we are. Pondering. Wondering. You have a life and we have lives too but why don’t our lives matter to you?