Don’t Say #AllLivesMatter Today.

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Philando Castile.

Don’t tell me that there are two sides to every story today.

He was in a car stopped for a broken taillight.

Don’t tell me it was tragic but avoidable, “if only he’d complied.”

He followed instructions to retrieve his license and registration. He informed the officer that he had a legal firearm and a concealed carry permit. Where is the NRA this morning?

Don’t tell me that it had to end this way.

After being shot, Philando spent precious minutes bleeding out while the officer repeatedly yelled profanity, keeping a gun trained on him. The officer did not administer life-saving aid. The officer did not allow his girlfriend to help him.

It breaks my heart that the last sounds this man may have heard were the agitated screams of “F***” from the officer who still held a gun in shaking hands, the shock-filled but deliberately calm voice of his girlfriend trying to talk through the live stream (see, she didn’t want to get shot too. She was in survival mode. She was using the only power she had—to make a living record), and a four-year-old little kid saying, “It’s okay mommy. I’m right here with you.”

Am I making you uncomfortable? Do you want me to be quiet?

Philando Castile followed all the steps he was supposed to follow, and he still died. As of early yesterday morning, his mother was not yet allowed to identify his body.

Where are all the gun rights folks now? Definitely defending this man’s right to carry? Demanding a full outside investigation? Better training for our law enforcement?

I think police have one of the hardest, most noble jobs on earth, and that most of them carry out their duties conscientiously.

I want every officer to have a long, safe, meaningful career serving the community. I know that they take risks and make tough choices every day. I thank them for their sacrifice and I demand major reform of our criminal justice system.

Don’t tell me I have to choose between believing police do vital work and believing black lives matter. I claim both. That false dichotomy is weak and serves nobody.

Today, don’t say “all lives matter,” don’t say “thug,” don’t say “mugshot.” I don’t want those words in my ears.

I’m too busy mourning with that mama who doesn’t get to see her son ever again. And that mama who had to sit next to him while he slipped away. And those kids at the elementary school who won’t see his smile in the lunchroom this fall, and that little sweet child who watched the whole thing happen and tried to offer comfort.

“It’s okay, mommy. I’m right here with you.”

Philando Castile, I’m so sorry we all know your name today.

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Want to help the world? Here’s how:

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Author: Kate Rudd

Image: Twitter

Editor: Toby Israel

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Kate Rudd

Kate Rudd, winner of the 2013 Audie and Odyssey Awards for her narration of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, is a multiple Audie Award finalist and recipient of several Audiofile Magazine Earphones awards. Kate has narrated over 250 titles across a variety of genres. Recent updates can be found on Twitter.

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Rick Mckenna Jul 14, 2016 1:43pm

Roski Love thankfully god gave her the strength to endure that tragedy. INSTEAD of God giving the cop the bravery to not pull his gun and shoot him.

Debbie Mckillop Jul 10, 2016 1:17pm

Ignorance at its best

Melissa Hill Jul 10, 2016 7:23am

Are you kidding me? Have you done any research on the actual happenings? They were stopped because they matched and the vehicle matched an armed robbery done a couole blocks from that location. If all you need is one story...the sky will turn purple and tje giant will drop a beanstalk on Monday...pass it around! Obviously you need no actual proof or evidence to make your false claims. Glad I dont pay for this page!!!

Rick Mckenna Jul 10, 2016 5:20am

His gf didn't even try to help him. Her first action was to record it. On Facebook live. I've watched that video several times and the more I watch it the more it seems staged. Anyone who watched it watch it again and ask yourselves questions about it. None of it made sense to me.

Chris Scheibel Jul 9, 2016 2:36am

I think cops simply need to stop murdering people.

Rachel Slate Jul 8, 2016 6:26pm

Perfect. Thank you. <3

Sergio Amador Jul 8, 2016 4:44pm

There is a segment in our community that continues to be murdered unnecessarily. This segment is not police. Far outnumbered is black people in poor communities. The organization #blacklives matter formed in response to this overwhelming threat that has been this way for decades. #blacklivesmatter because no group or culture should have to deal with such horrible acts. And that WE WILL STAND UP TO SUCH INJUSTICE. BECAUSE IT UNACCEPTABLE TO ALL OF US.

Ann Cecelia Jul 8, 2016 12:29pm

but wait, let me record this for Facebook first...

Cecilia Ximena Jul 8, 2016 12:10pm

After 5 policemen were assessinated last night and many more wounded. "ALL LIVES MATTER!!! BLM screams that the Police is racist because a few bad apples but arent they forgetting that police is reacting in response to many bad apples in their communities? (if not look at the statistics), the truth is that both parties matter and not until that is understood, there will be more deaths on both sides