Hard to Understand

Tyrie Nichols, Anthony Lowe.

Sr. Pat Thomas, OP
Blog by Sr. Pat Thomas, OP

These are two of the latest victims of overzealous police action. Some say police brutality.

Both men were African American, but the men who killed Mr. Nichols were also African Americans and part of an elite police unit that never seemed to have seen this kind of behavior coming. If the videos are to be believed he was fleeing from the officers, probably gave them a lot of smack talk, and was frustrating their efforts to restrain him, even after being tased. Critical point….was he armed? No proof has been found that he was. So a well-trained, elite squad could not capture him. All of the officers have pleaded not guilty. Hard to understand.

Anthony Lowe had stabbed a man on the street and police were called. Mr. Lowe had a 12-inch butcher knife and was wielding it at the white officers who responded to the call. Mr. Lowe was an African American paraplegic and was fleeing the officers, not in his wheelchair but on his “legs”. These officers were in fear of a disabled man with a knife as they aimed their guns and fired.  Hard to understand.

Videos, from body cams and other devices, in both of these situations, showed clearly what was happening and left little to the imagination. An unarmed man was fleeing police who could not otherwise completely restrain him, and a knife-wielding man was running away on his crippled legs and could not otherwise be apprehended without injury to one or all of the officers. There seemed to be no other response that the officers could have made. Hard to understand.

This is the state of our country. I think of this every time our older African American boys come to the center. Some of them have “hair trigger” temperaments and thus could fly off the handle with the least provocation. Those same boys are on medication for various disabilities, e.g, ADHD, ODD, general anger management. Some have seen people gunned down right in front of them, relatives and strangers. What does the future really hold for them? Hard to understand.

A few days ago, two of those boys returned to the Peace Center after being away for some months, and just knowing they could see this place as a safe place even for an hour or two was hopeful for me. They need more safe spaces in our cities, and more people to let them know they can live good lives. Without violence? Well, that remains to be seen.

Hard to understand.


Posted in News, Weekly Word

6 responses to “Hard to Understand

  1. Thank you Sr. Pat for your work, words and dedication. I spent time yesterday thinking about how we could engage more here in Columbus. This city police force has one of the worst records for killing unarmed citizens, particularly those of color. It seems an enormous issue, with many layers, but something to be tackled with perfect prayer, precise planning, precise training and precise procedures.

  2. Hi Pat ,
    Yes thank you for your reflection. Although my question, after 27 years as a nurse and going to minister in the prison system “I do understand” a person of color’s reaction toward police. How often ,if at all, do we hear of a white young man been shot by a police.? In the assault of Nancy Polosi’s husband What would have been the reaction of police if person had been a black person? I could name many other situations here in Tucson of person running away from police, throwing rocks at police, resisting arrest, not a shot fired. WHY? Color.

  3. The truth will set you free. Is that statement not true anymore? Thanks, Susan for your constant effort to be a woman of faith, kindness, and truth.

  4. Dear Pat,
    It is so good to learn from you that the older African American boys felt safe to come to the Peace Center and find sisters who gave them not only shelter and peace but unconditional love. Thank you, Pat.
    I just attended a prayer service for 40 people mostly men who gave their last words before being executed. Our response was “Please don’t execute me.” I continue to pray that we will find ways to help these young and older men and women a safe place to come and feel safe and be helped to choose life.

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