The (In)Evitable Questions

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A friend tells me she is bracing for the inevitable ‘well why was she holding her child?’

Why did Sandra talk back. Why did Tanisha have a heart condition. Why did Yvette step out of her house. What was Miriam doing in Washington, DC. Why was Korryn holding her 5yo son, sitting with him on the living room couch in her own home.

Traffic tickets. This began with traffic tickets.

If a response to that (yes, of course, inevitable) question is “so they wouldn’t shoot her,” said in a tone of (yes, of course) scorn—my reply, simply: “yes, of course so they wouldn’t shoot her.”

So they wouldn’t kill her.

And still they did.
And still they did.
And still they did.

Traffic tickets and her baby in her own young arms. How small the humanity that looks at that scene and thinks he must (of course, yes) destroy it first.


Featured image: Instagram photo of Korryn Gaines, via The Root

32 thoughts on “The (In)Evitable Questions

  1. Why did she hold the baby in her arms? Because it’s what you do. Especially when all hell’s breaking loose and you want to protect it. [Translation: What the hell kind of question is that anyway?]

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hand to heaven, I came across someone yesterday arguing in a comment thread that this young woman practically “violated the Geneva convention” by using her child as a “human shield.”

      [He was able — just barely! — to concede that there since the Baltimore PD is not *literally* at war with US citizens, the Convention likely did not apply.]

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for the post. I had missed the story too. I want to start reaching out to my reps and people who are doing work to stop the epidemic of unjust police killings. Been too much for too long. I believe most of the solution lies in police diversity & de-escalation training, hiring the right cops, and holding police accountable for wrongful deaths. I don’t feel safe. Still, I am going to add my voice to the many voices shouting…praying…STOP

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Forget sharpshooters: it appears the fatal gunfire was started by some cop sending a “warning shot”–perhaps in bad judgment, or perhaps the result of just losing his cool. Either way, there does seem to be consensus that an officer fired first.

      Given that the police had entered her home, guns drawn, many hours before–that they had already taken her one year-old baby into custody, many hours before–I am exceedingly unclear what “warning” could reasonably have been needed. Let alone a warning delivered by firing a bullet into a room where a young woman was holding a small (and surely terrified) preschooler.


    2. Also–don’t know if you caught this detail?–the police apparently shut off her Facebook access before going in. She had a history of filming cops when they pulled her over and posting the videos to Instagram. Apparently they wanted to be sure she didn’t livestream their armed assault via Facebook, the way Lavish Reynolds (Philando Castile’s girlfriend) did last month in Minnesota.

      The child in the middle of that abomination was her 4yo daughter in the backseat, watching her father-figure die. I almost can’t breathe, thinking of these children.


    1. One of the pluses/minuses of following a large number of social justice activists on Twitter, where many of these events are first reported: I receive notifications on my phone of killings like this. Some mornings, these deaths are the first thing I see.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been off the grid a little so I had to look up what this post is about. I’m sickened by the entire thing. How many more have to die before ALL of us stand and say “Enough is enough.” Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever get there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I believe we are _capable_ of getting there, which gives me hope and strength to continue raising my voice, organizing, doing what I can. Capable — though rebalancing the world may take the work of many lifetimes.

      There is a quote from the Talmud I lean on in moments like this:
      “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

      Liked by 3 people

        1. “Justice…for those still here.” YES. I, for one, do not see justice as only more imprisonment. I do not think justice lies in further expansion of the carceral system — nor only in punishment meted out after yet another death.

          I go back to Mychal Denzel Smith’s formulation: “Justice for Renisha would have looked like Michael Brown being able to attend college. Justice for Trayvon would have looked like Renisha McBride getting the help she needed the night of her accident. Justice for Oscar Grant would have looked like Trayvon Martin making it home to finish watching the NBA All-Star game, Skittles and iced tea in tow. And so on, and so on. Justice should be the affirmation of our existence.”

          [source: ]

          Liked by 2 people

        1. Uh, lemme see. In cases involving exes (and other related or formerly-related asshats), I prefer less poetic, more to-the-point options. “I have better things to do with my days than hard time for homicide.” Something like that, perhaps? 😉

          Liked by 1 person

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