I am writing this as a prisoner serving 32 years for robbery and unlawful wounding. Also as a man who was living in a drug-fueled insanity 18 years ago, sure to be dead or to have hurt more people had I not been arrested.
George Floyd’s death was disgusting. It was depraved indifference, therefore murder. It was perpetrated by an officer with a track record of violence toward suspects. It was supported by a system that treats suspects differently depending on their color, income and zip code.
The system is broken. There is something wrong with the idea that any suspected criminal act, no less something non-violent, should be met with violence.
The system must change. Stricter standards for hiring and evaluation must be put in place. A paradigm shift is needed.
That will not happen by espousing hatred and violence toward the police. Police officers rightly arrested me when I was a danger to myself and others. That day and many others they did their job to keep the community safe. The services they provide are essential.
I have seen a great many people scream hatred. I have committed violence and seen many men do the same. Never once have hatred and violence resulted in the other realizing the error of his ways. Instead they only deepen the prejudices and broken ways of thinking that caused the problem in the first place.
If there is a way forward, it cannot be a war. Wars divide. They destroy. They kill. We need to find a way that builds. That unites. That gives life rather than taking it.
I don’t know what to do with the rage. I don’t know what to do with the tears. I just can’t stand to see hatred and indifference beget more hatred and pain.