This city feels like a powder keg with someone about to light the fuse.
Over the weekend, there was a shooting at a local nightclub that left one dead, a police shooting of a young man and nationally we saw the terrible domestic terrorism incident in El Paso, Texas.
These traumatic incidents have negative emotions on the rise and people ready to fight. I hate that children are witnessing these things.
Each of these cases is different. They do not rationally lend themselves to comparison. But emotionally, they feel the same in the unhealthiest of ways.
Race connected to shootings is painful. To bring a singular focus, we are going to talk about the recent police-involved shooting in Colorado Springs.
De’Von Malik Bailey, 19, was fatally shot on Saturday. Newly obtained surveillance video shows two Colorado Springs police officers (who were white) chase Bailey (who was black) as he runs, then falls after being shot in the back. Bailey later died.
This case has been turned over to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. It will begin the long and arduous process of investigation. When they finish, all gathered evidence will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for the next long process of indictment or release.
Despite the recent video, we must all wait for the conclusion of this process. Some of us in this community are feeling loss or rage that cannot be alleviated anytime soon. We must face the deeply seated fear that justice will not be done and prepare next steps.
The last thing we can have connected to this painful event is politics as usual. This cannot be about which party is right. This is a matter of how we move forward in our community.
I am writing this column to amplify the voices of the residents of K-Land (the neighborhood by Airport and Circle where the shooting happened) who are grieving the loss of their friend.
Whether he was involved in a crime, De’Von Bailey was a person. Being shot was a tragic end to his life.
Viewing the video will cause trauma to some. When black people watch a video of police violence against another black person, they see themselves or their loved ones in that person’s place. It is not rational, but they feel that the same thing could happen to them.
The resulting fear creates the urge to “fight or flight.” And for the well-being of our city, we need to create an outlet for that grief and stress. For many that outlet is a protest, memorial or vigil for the person who was shot.
This is a call to peace.
Leave people alone to grieve. The person you see at the protest or on social media might be hurting. Be kind.
Those grieving do not need your cerebral recitation of facts, law or statistics. Your opinion is not a help to any who are in pain because of this shooting.
We can have no more interruptions of protest, vigils or memorial activities. Your counterprotest is blatant disrespect. If you are not in support of these activities, stay away from them.
Local law enforcement is going to be on the side of those grieving. Peace in our city depends upon venting of anger and grief in healthy ways by those who have been hurt by this shooting.
“A big part of healing is making meaning of it,” says Monnica Williams, an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences and the director of the University of Louisville’s Center for Mental Health Disparities. “And one way is to become active and helping others get through it.”
This is a call for appropriate action. For those who have a moment — make a call, a visit, send an email or post on the CSPD or EPC Sheriff’s Office page to let them feel the pulse of this community. If you wish to support the black community, attend a memorial, vigil or even a protest.
Do not counterprotest. Leave the grieving alone.
With appropriate action, we can throw away the fuse and disassemble this powder keg to create calm. Do your part.
Rachel Stovall is a longtime community advocate and organizer. Also a fundraising, media and marketing consultant, Stovall is most known for singing with her dance band Phat Daddy and the Phat Horn Doctors.