This One Tweet About The Baton Rouge Police Officer Shooting Is A Scary View Of Our Nation
The other day, one of my friends linked to a satirical article called "We Regret To Inform You That The Remainder of 2016 Has Been Cancelled." The article, written by Kimberly Harrington and posted on Medium, mentions such tragedies as the shooting of Philando Castile, the terrorism in Orlando, and the deaths in Dallas. But this article was published on July 9, before more than 80 people died in Nice. Before 265 died in the Turkish attempted coup. Before three police officers were killed in Baton Rouge on July 17, after the highly publicized police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on July 5.
When I first read that article, I was frustrated, of course, but not as frustrated and helpless as I feel now, reading about death after death after death.
The latest attack in Baton Rouge began Sunday morning on July 17, around 10 a.m. EST. A suspect in black fatigues reportedly opened fire on police officers who were responding to a call indicating that shots had been fired. Three of the officers died in what was apparently an ambush. "This is an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing," Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said in a statement posted on Twitter.
But as heartbreaking as the governor's words are, it's a tweet posted by Payman Benz (a comedy director and writer who's been involved with Key & Peele, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and The Last Man on Earth) that struck me the hardest. In fact, if you read just one tweet about the Baton Rouge tragedy that took place today, let it be this one:
There have been so many tragedies lately that we're running out of hashtags. There's no time to recover from each shooting or massacre, and little opportunity to reflect. The headlines announcing death and unrest keep coming. How can any of us focus on making the world a better place when we're doing the mental equivalent of ducking and covering to weather the grief of each shooting? When the threat of literally ducking and covering every time we go out in public becomes more and more likely?
Benz's tweet taps into that blend of anger and helplessness. It's a sentiment that resonates with me, and it no doubt resonates with millions of other people who have seen their countries try to rebound from the events of this spring and summer. Lowering a flag is, at this point, like putting a bandage on a bullet wound.
Tonight, I'll hope not to wake up to another headline like this. But these days, it seems more likely than not that I'll read about something just as horrific in the next morning news.