So I’m driving on the freeway and this lady calls in to the radio talk show. The guy on the radio’s talking about police shooting black sons but she wants to talk about her daughter—sweet girl, her only daughter. She goes on and on: how the shooter was a black guy, three-time felon and they let him out, all hopped up on meth, he shot her in the chest right next to her St. Christopher medal, took her wallet and there was only five dollars and thirty four cents. Five dollars and thirty four cents. And I’m driving 85 miles an hour yelling “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” at the radio. “I don’t wanna hear about your dead daughter!” Nobody’s gonna murder my daughter no way no how you assholes.
In a culture of fear compassion gets squeezed out to the periphery. We hear of someone else’s tragedy, (which could just as easily have happened to us) and we scramble around building defenses; trying to delude ourselves into feeling safe, into knowing that it won’t be us next time. But it will be us. It was us last time too. Rage is powerful medicine. Let’s be careful where we point it.