When I was a little girl, about twelve or so, I had this vision of my life, except it was more like a film scene.
I was sitting at a typewriter during the years of prohibition and fine dancing, outside the window of the obviously a newspaper room I could hear the sounds of bombs and fighting on one side of me, singing and dancing on the other, with me in my brown suit sitting in a chair on wheels in the center.
I was trying to figure out what to write, and I thought about writing a letter to my future self, my “reincarnated” self if you will. I have no idea what the hell the letter said, because I woke up shortly after hearing what sounded like a bomb but what I am sure was a gunshot.
I heard one last night at three am or so, a gunshot, just a single shot, a loud echoing boom just outside my house that sounded like it was only inches away, and then nothing…then just utter silence.
I don’t know what it is like to live in Compton, but I know what it’s like to live in Surrey, and it’s strange that as I grow older I am finding the sounds of sirens a comfort, in ways I never did before. Unless I hear gun shots and then silence…which is what I heard last night.
The siren’s remind me that help is on the way – whatever you may or may not feel about cops, when the shit hits the fan you know you want someone with a gun whose job it is to protect you when you need them.
Whether we like what the bad ones do or do not do, we know that there are good cops out there, which is why it’s so frustrating when cops get shot at. We hate their job, we hate that we need them to exist, and we hate that some of their co-workers treat so many of us like shit, and yet not a single one of us didn’t say a small prayer of thanks when we realized they were going to be okay.
Because at the end of the day no one wants anyone to die from gang violence, no one wants anyone to die at the end of a gun, because we know, instinctively that’s a terrible fucking way to die.
Everyone on earth knows what it is like to be afraid, to suffer, to run away from danger when we can, but very few people understand what it is like to run head first into danger and escape at the skin of their teeth.
Six officers in Philadelphia did that, they ran head first into danger, and rather than let their coworkers, their Ohana enter in to save them, they stayed put and stayed in the center of danger so that other’s would be safe.
I don’t have much more to say to those six officers other than thank you for your bravery. I know that it’s going to be an event that will haunt you for many years to come, and I know that you have a lot of work to do to pretend everything is okay when it won’t be, because you had the scare of your lives.
I know that there are a lot of people with a lot of reasons to hate cops, and a lot of people who love you because you exist to help them when they need it, so I just wanted to say thank you, for living. For escaping the danger so you can help speak to how much gun violence has affected your lives.
May the healing part of your journey be short so that you continue to have the strength to the the hard things so that the rest of us may remain safe.
Sending all my love,
Siddha Lee Saint James