Updated: Apr 25
"It is a terrible, an inexorable, law that one cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one's own: in the face of one's victim, one sees oneself.", by James Baldwin.
In of what he speaks, the easiest thing to do is ask, "What does he mean? Why is he speaking of the victim at the hands of the assailant in the same breath, and there is no clear blame? Because it isn't. We cannot address the current state of violence without giving attention to it's root or cause. And in that, there are a number of variables, from systemic poverty, classism, racism, the enforcement of law, bias, resistance, desire, misunderstanding, carelessness, the lack of concern, hate, and as well, love. We said it's complicated. Yet, it is possible to grapple with the circumstances of a rise in deceptive numbers that suggest, violent crime has risen to the level where no one is exempt from being a victim and no place is safe from the encounter as small as verbal abuse to homicide. A citizen can avoid watching the nightly news and scroll past the headlines of the latest 911 call and go about life with no concern for alarm. And then a business that's usually open until 10, closes at 9. Your child that enjoys recess, avoids exercise and chooses instead to remain in their room. The park is not a recreational space anymore. Taxes increase on parking and property. The effect of heightened alert ripples across communities in subtle ways that tamper such things as community events, Friday night football, or just quick trip to the store around the corner.