July 8, 2016

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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Author: Kate Rudd

Image: Twitter

Editor: Toby Israel


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