Your confusion is understandable, and thank you for being honest. That lack of understanding is a a problem though. So many people don’t understand why someone would run. But we don’t have to understand to know that they were doing the best they could in that situation, and that they deserve our compassion.
As a man, I don’t understand why women are afraid to go out alone at night.
As a graduate of a private university, I don’t understand why people don’t educate themselves about government, philosophy, and literature.
As a white person, I don’t understand why people think racism is such a big problem.
But in all of those situations, I know that my lack of understanding is my problem. It’s simple ignorance on my part — an ignorance of what that other person’s life must really be like, an ignorance of all of the beautiful privileges and opportunities I’ve had that have kept me from feeling the things I see other people reacting to. And you know what? I’m grateful that I don’t understand. That i don’t have to. Those people who do run from the cops, the people who are afraid to go out at night, the people who aren’t educated, the people who do feel discriminated against — I wish they didn’t understand that life either. I wish they hadn’t been forced into the fear and anger and hurt and lack of trust that creates the sense of danger pervading everything.
Our responsibility, as people who don’t understand, and who hopefully never will, is to find compassion for those who don’t have what we have, and to find ways to help them find shelter from the lives they’ve had that have hurt them, and to help them join the happier, safer, more trusting world that we are fortunate enough to enjoy.
Thank you again for your comment, and I’m sorry if this has come off as chiding or lecturing. It hurts to feel like you’re being corrected in having a heartfelt emotion, and we all must grieve in our own ways when we experience tragedy, even at a distance. I’m upset by your comment, though. It hurts to have people remind you of the “common-sense” ways that tragedy could’ve been avoided. These phrases might sound familiar:
“Don’t wear a hoodie.”
“Don’t run from cops.”
“Don’t reach into your pocket.”
“Don’t play with toy guns.”
“Don’t resist arrest.”
All of these are well-meaning advice (or “corrections” if you’re less sympathetic) given unasked-for to the people grieving men and boys who have been killed by the police. Given to people who know that they themselves might wind up on the ground, with bullets being pumped into them by a drunk cop after an argument with a girlfriend. We don’t need to be told not to run from the cops. We need the cops to stop shooting people.