The Monster Among Us

*Sigh* I try to keep this page free of politics and controversy. I try to focus instead on positive civic events and perspectives. So, please forgive me if this seems a little out of character, but I am merely responding to a trend of social media posts I’ve seen by friends and neighbors in Minne Lusa that has me a little concerned. Recently there was a string of murders in the city of Omaha that had everyone ruffled and a little shocked. Good news, the police caught the monster and he’ll stand trial for what he’s done. What I am starting to see is a rash of posts crying racism that the bad guy was only caught after killing a white woman. People are starting to question why the bad guy wasn’t caught after killing minorities in different corners of east Omaha. People are accusing the police of being careless until the victim was someone from West Omaha.mugshot

Here’s what has me concerned: The police are taking the brunt of criticism for our collective failure to be outraged at the right time. The killer’s first victim, a young black man in North Omaha, was found dead and the news reported it. No media circus. No public outcry. No weeping or gnashing of teeth. Just a sickening rolling of the eyes and pre-programmed apathy about violence in North Omaha – NOT BY THE POLICE, BUT BY US! When the two men were found in their truck in South Omaha, we simply waited for the news report to give way to the 7-day forecast. No vigils. No fundraisers for the families. We as a city missed that train. Then comes the white mother of 3 from West Omaha, and suddenly the news can’t stop vomiting details at us at every opportunity. “TRAGEDY! OUTRAGE! CALAMITY!” they shout at us. And right on cue, we print t-shirts and wear ribbons and talk about it relentlessly at the office.

The fog clears, and we have talked about it so much that finally we start asking. Asking turns to suspicion. Suspicion gives way to accusations. Accusations breed a little more bitterness and the race issue seeps to the surface like infection in an open wound. Why won’t this go away? This concept of racism among our police?

For every person who posts, “Where were the police when the black man was killed?”, I want to ask them, “Where were you? Where was I?” I suggest that before we accuse anyone of questionable racial motives, we ask ourselves how we really see the race issue.

The police are accountable for what they do, and we are right to hold them to that. But so are we accountable. I trust that the next #hashtagcritic is going to be the next #ribbonwearingvigilcoordinator.

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