Let's be honest, shall we?
Humans do some really fucked up shit to each other.
There really isn't another way to put it. We are the smartest animals on the planet, with a conscious and internal moral compass, that we are able to somehow completely ignore and perform some heinous acts on each other. Whether it is a heat of the moment, gripped by passion kinda situation, or something premeditated and played out several times over before the plan is executed, we do harm against each other.
Recently in Chicago a young mother was killed in a drive-by. While she may not have been a saint by societies standards, she wasn't a monster like the 2 individuals were that took her life. If you haven't seen the video it's hard to watch. When I first saw it, along with several other officers, being angry or incensed would be an understatement.
No mother, no matter how big or little of a criminal they might have chosen to be deserves to die holding their baby in the streets.
From the moment the baby in her mother's arms saw the vehicle approach that took her mother's life she waved at it. Then a gun protrudes from a window and you see the mother flinch and attempt to run off. You can see the panic in her faces as she silently screams (there's no audio) to someone for help. You see a man turn around and instead of helping, begin to run away. Another man climbs out of a car and runs off.
This mother then collapses behind a parked car and crawls on top of her little girl. Shielding the child from any more potential harm. Then a moment of nothing other than a few movements from the mother.
Then you see a man emerge holding what looks like a Mac-11 with an extended magazine, who at this point has run past the injured, and now dying mother, twice. He hops in a car and takes off, not to avenge a death he has thusly ignored but perpetuate a cycle of violence that seems to be never ending. He leaves the mother, her child, and goes.
Eventually some passer-bys stop and take the mother. You see the young daughter stand up, appearing confused and opens her arms in expectation her mother would pick her up and resume holding her like she just was.
Except she won't.
She never will.
Except she won't.
She never will.
The young mother was taken to a hospital where she was later pronounced. That young child will have no recollection of her mother outside of a few photographs, some memories from family and friends, and a video that was leaked showing the last moments she was with her mother.
Why does humankind wreak such havoc on each other?
Why does this murder strike a chord with some, and not others?
Why have some become so desensitized to random acts of violence and not random acts of kindness?
Why do some parts of society choose to turn a blind eye to those other parts that need the most help? And also turn a blind eye to the pretty well established fact evil, unspeakable evil, lurks in our civilized society?
I wish this was an isolated incident. I wish this wasn't a story that has never happened before, but the reality is this was one the public got to see. In some nations and countries this isn't even uncommon. In some cities and towns this would cause few to bat an eye. But why does this strike a chord?
Because we see sacrifice and safety in a single incident. We see a mother do everything in her dying power to ensure her daughter is safe. But she isn't the first to get killed in the streets of Chicago, nor will she be the last. I've had the misfortune of being on scene for other young women killed. Whether unintentional targets, lovers quarrels, or intentionally shot and killed and dumped from a car, people perpetuate these acts of violence that would rather be whispered in dark corners then brought into daylight for all to see.
Society, through all of it's connectedness, has been able to strip away the human aspect of violence. A quick blurb on a tweet about a person killed, a short news article online with little info other than a name and age, a text to a friend, a post on a local neighborhood board, another Facebook post. The lives lost become a few words and a fleeting few seconds of rapt attention to reading and we move on.
The other side of it is in areas where the relationship between police and the community have been frayed from previous bad or horrible interactions, we get little solace that justice will be served. No information is garnered. No leads are created. No bad guys go to jail.
We as a society have placed our stamp of approval upon this. Whether as citizens or police. We have give those that carry out these acts a sort of carte blanche check they can cash at will. While the acts themselves have no place in a society that wishes to grow in civility and structure, it will take work.
It will take strength.
It will take understanding and listening on ALL sides.
It will take change.
But it will need to start somewhere.
Until we as a community look at these acts as despicable and refuse to allow them to be common place, society will continue to have these acts perpetrated upon them. While my hope is they do not become common place, we will need to stand together against the unspeakable evil that lurks among us.
How that will take place or the healing required to allow it to, I haven't a clue. All I know is I never want to see a child wave at the killers who are about to rob her of everything she has loved or known.