Well….I decided to finally work on my website thoughts and ruminations, and to make an effort to be “On The Facebook” for a month or so, and see if it makes me feel more welcome in the human story or feed a more misanthropic worldview…I know that usually what we actually “see” is a reflection of our inner selves and often has nothing to do with reality, so I have to constantly remind myself that often things I hold to be true are actually just my perception, and that there is sometimes no “truth” at all.
I watched a man die last night. The police said he was shooting at them and that he came outside carrying a rifle…I never heard any shots except the killing shot, and I never did see a gun…but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have one, or that their narrative is an untruth. It’s like coming into a movie in the middle, watching till the end, then reviewing said movie. Your review will be true to you, and a version of actual truth, but is it the whole truth or even A whole truth? Not at all.
He cried out after being shot and he crawled for a moment before collapsing, and when they yelled at him to crawl further towards the sidewalk he repeated, “I can’t, I can’t”. Then he stopped moving.
The police continued to tell him to put his hands out, even though he had stopped moving. For over 20 minutes he lay unmoving while they yelled at his body. It was 25 minutes before they approached him, with their urban armored assault vehicle and 20+ cops. More time until the ambulance came.
Watching the news this morning I was reminded of the great distance between what we take in on social media or on the news/TV or any/every other outlet…and situational reality. On the news they say he was shooting at them, then came out of his place brandishing a rifle. He was shot, CPR was attempted but it was too late.
All that was said by the newscaster in about two breaths, perhaps 10, 15 seconds.
Taken at face value, this paints a picture in the mind, an incredibly distorted picture. The reality of this singular situation was that I watched 30 or more police walking around with their rifles and dogs, being busy moving cars around and talking while they yelled at a man who lay unconscious and bleeding on the sidewalk for 20+ minutes to put his hands out.
Perhaps he deserved it. Maybe he was a terrible person who deserved even worse. I don’t know. And I have to remind myself of that, because I grew angry and rather disgusted with the police conduct, knowing that to someone, somewhere, this person laying there dying was probably a loved one, a father, son, brother, husband, uncle…something. But if he did something terrible to a loved one of mine, or even a stranger, would I still feel the same way?
I don’t know.
News vans were parked all up and down my street this morning and I talked to them for a minute trying to gather information. As soon as they heard I had been there they all wanted to put me on camera. My knee jerk reaction was to say no, I was just after information, but they asked again at the end of the conversation. I looked away into the distance to think, a moment that lasted for around 4-6 seconds. A myriad of thoughts or blocks of thoughts poured through my mind, ludicrous selfish things like, how do I look, I wish I had I hat on, what should I say, do I present my viewpoint or just the facts, etc…(and it’s strange how complicated thoughts can race through your mind at certain times), but I turned back and said no again, and left. I wasn’t entirely sure why I said no at the time, but in retrospect, I realized that the “thoughts” I had been thinking didn’t matter at all, and that the reason I said no was because of what I FELT. I didn’t want to talk about it then and have my words cut up for a 7 second sound bite that didn’t actually represent anything of what I actually felt or thought. It was a person’s life, and I guess I felt it deserved more? I should know, I’ve been present for literally hundreds of interviews (I often work in the TV/film industry), I know how it works, for good or for ill, that these are the times we live in. I just didn’t want to participate right then. I suppose that’s what this is, by making these words appear I can make a bit more sense of my own thoughts and feelings on this event, and also other recent events in my life.
I used to subscribe to the “Hard times are coming through, but if you’re hard they wont get you” (pardon the Cro-mags lyrics) sentiment. I used to seek out an almost sociopathic outlook in order to mask my insecurities or lack of knowledge of something, and also to insure that I wouldn’t or couldn’t be hurt. But that was long ago, and I’m glad to say that that person is mostly gone. I still see a lot of that all around me in the world, and I try and not feel to disgusted or superior, because that person was me at one time.
I sometimes feel that I have to take some kind of meaning from seemingly random chaotic events, that this may be one of those times I have to grow and open myself up to possibilities. I used to worship chaos as a god, but all I ended up with was a cold embrace. I would never tell anyone what to believe, but my own personal outlook has changed in so many ways. Just these past few months I have had my best friend of almost 20 years die, managed to land an amazing job at a Native American organization that actually utilizes the skills I’ve worked for years on and put myself through school for, take in 2 cats that I’ve known and loved for 14+ years to be mine till the end, 2 small lives that I am now responsible for....and watched a man die on a cold street
What does it all mean? Nothing? Something? I try not and read significance into events, and always be aware of when I or someone else does this…but I have to say that I’m much more open to anyone and everyone’s personal interpretation of the world than I used to be. This time and this place and these people and this nature might possibly mean something, if not to me, then to others, and I guess I’m realizing that it’s not my place to impose my hammer of derision as wildly as I was wont to do in the past.
That can’t be a bad thing can it? Hmmm…