By Andy Christian Castillo
I’m so sick of waking up to another bloodbath; another black man shot down in his car while his little girl looked on; another police officer killed in cold blooded retaliation.
Most recently, ten police officers shot in Dallas. Last I heard, at least three dead.
Humans killed by a fellow countryman.
I’m forced to choose a side: cops or black lives matter.
Why must I choose a side!?
Yes, there is deep-seated racism in the United States that stems from a mass genocide slave holding culture that segregates the entire nation and causes black men and women to suffer under the chains of an unequal justice system; that forces people with dark skin to walk uphill their entire lives — can’t I fight against that inequality, and at the same time, say that the vast majority of law enforcement officers deeply care about the people and communities they serve and would step in front of a bullet for anyone?
Can’t I say that yes, there are police officers out there who are racist, and who shouldn’t be officers of the law. Can’t I also say that there are others out there who hate and kill officers and insight violence for their cause?
Can’t I say that both are wrong?
No, I am told that I must stake out my ground; pitch my tent on either one side of the law or the other. Those on the side of law enforcement tell me I’m a crazy liberal who doesn’t understand the complexities of the problem; those who support black lives matter decry police officers as inhuman beasts who are out to kill every black man, woman and child.
I throw my allegiance with the human race. I support peace, justice and love for all people regardless of skin color, profession, sexual orientation, religion or any other dividing factor.
I denounce all dividing lines that separate us, mourn with all who are in pain, and cry for justice for those who have not seen it.
So what, right? The cops deserved it, they put the uniform on every day, they know what they’re getting themselves into. It doesn’t matter because the shooting was “justified.”
Who gives a fuck if it was justified or not, who cares if it was deserved?
When did being in the right become more important than human life?
Do you know what I hate most of all? I’m most sick of the aftermath of a shooting; of the heartache and pain that I see written on the faces of my friends, family, loved ones; and the fear that I hear in their voices.
I’m sick of being left wondering what to do next — no, wondering what can I do next?
There comes a time when words become meaningless: now is one of those times. Words can’t bring back the dead, and they can’t pursued the man who picked up an assault rifle, walked into a nightclub and slaughtered so many people, that human life has value.
Words can’t tell the shooter who butchered officers not to pull the trigger. They can’t stop the officer that fired his service weapon at point blank range and sent a husband and father to another place.
Words can’t fight the racist ideologies that are so deeply rooted in the fabric of American culture that many deny they even exists.
Words are incapable of articulating the pain, despair and helplessness that I, and so many others, are feeling right now.
I’m so sick of complacent white privilege that allows me to turn around and look the other way, because being white means that it’ll be like it never happened tomorrow. It’ll be like no one died. I’m so sick of revenge and hatred that drive people to commit horrific atrocities in the name of their cause, and somehow those crimes are justified because they’ve been hurt in the past.
I’m so sick of the devaluation of black bodies and human life!
There isn’t an easy solution to hate, and pain won’t be cured by slathering on more hate in return; wounds won’t be healed by inflicting more wounds: justice won’t happen through snarky comments on tossed around on social media or dismissive thoughts thrown about at press conferences or ammunition fired into the bodies of police officers or anger directed at others who disagree.
No, the hate that stares us in the eye won’t just fucking stand up, walk out the door and say have a nice day because you know what?
We don’t want it to.
The entire nation is filled to the brim with hate right now: It consumes us — drives us to retaliation and anger.
And we want to be angry; we’re justified in our anger. The killings are justified.
But all that justification won’t change anything. Nothing will change until we change the place we react from; until we turn the other cheek and love on people with the love that Jesus demonstrated.
He is my only hope for humanity.
Andy Christian Castillo is the Founder of Ver・ism(s). He is a military veteran and student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he studied English. Now, he’s pursuing a graduate degree in creative non fiction from Bay Path University. In his free time, he plays music, writes poetry, gallivants around the world, climbs mountains and runs through the pouring rain.