Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lighting the Darkest Hour

Last night I did something I've never done. I've not ever been one for crowds, but at the last minute -- in fact, late -- I decided to go to the second community vigil for Josh Miktarian, the officer who was killed in my tiny quiet town Saturday night.


I went for selfish reasons, initially. I wanted to see who was there--in other words, I wanted to confirm my suspicion that this poor officer's death was the first stumbling block in a trip down the steps into the basement of race relations. I wanted to see what my community was really like. I was stunned and moved to see a sea of humanity of every race, paying rapt attention to the words spoken by those who had known Officer Josh Miktarian.

It was a beautiful night, too. As I gazed up and over the hillside covered with people, I looked up at the stars and took a little comfort that maybe, when we die, we get this feeling of relief for a brief moment before the flame goes out. I think it might be kind of cool to fly around with just enough of a shred of consciousness left to take in a scene like that last night, a swath of land covered in flickering bits of light from the vigil candles.

As sad as it all has been, everyone knows that at some point, you hit the bottom and then come back up. And we all know someday we'll draw our last breath. We don't look forward to that, necessarily, and it's never easy on the ones we leave behind. I can't imagine what this officer's family must be going through. Somehow I stumbled into this music during a time of my own deep darkness, and so some of the old gospel tunes brought real comfort, and still have meaning even though my perspectives have changed. I hope someday that this community finds peace, that the officer's family will be able to find a little light, a new dawn for them so that they'll take a satisfying breath again.

This beautiful old Stanley tune is even more beautiful delivered by Emmylou Harris in the video here. Enjoy one for a moment called The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn.


3 Comments:

At July 17, 2008 8:27 AM, Blogger DrDon said...

It's interesting to me that as people are mourning the death of this officer, there's a little battle going on between two columnists in the Plain Dealer over officer Jim Simone shooting and killing his 5th perpetrator. Regina Brett seems to be arguing that since Simone has had far more fires, and kills, than the normal police officer, this is a real problem and he should be thoroughly investigated and watchdogged by a citizens group. The other columnist, whose name escapes me, is basically saying that we need more Simones on the street taking out criminals.

I guess I understand Brett's point. We don't want police being vigilantes but at the same time, the culture of arresting people, slapping them on the wrist and releasing them isn't working. Maybe if criminals knew that they might get killed committing crimes, some might think twice. They're not afraid of arrest.

All I know is that I find the debate to be odd. If the Twinsburg officer would have been able to get his gun out and kill the man who instead shot him, everyone would be happy that the officer lived instead of the criminal. Jim Simone basically did just that and he's being attacked for using his gun. What are police supposed to do?

 
At July 17, 2008 12:15 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Damn, that's the truth. Officers are damned if they do, and dead if they don't. But something absolutely has to happen. I was shocked this morning at the full story behind the woman who was shot the other night while she sat on her porch with relatives and played cards. This woman, a mother of two seemingly bright, well-mannered kids, was hanging out with her family mourning the death of HER mother, whose funeral was supposed to be today. So now the family is planning a double funeral, because some nutjob walked up to the porch and fired nine shots. This song is really for folks like that family. A cop at some point has to know his or her life may be in danger. But they can't protect the rest of us from the kinds of things that happened to this mom or to Daniel Lewis without some kind of support system. I don't know what the answer is, but I do know I have not been this wary in a long time, and it's really, really sad.

 
At July 18, 2008 8:15 AM, Blogger DrDon said...

Look, again I say this as a current gun owner: unless guns are restricted in some way in this society, this will NEVER change. And, in fact, with a worsening economy it is only likely to get worse.

Americans are so full of shit it is almost inconceivable. They bring flowers and teddy bears to their stupid-ass makeshift memorials for people who get killed, they gather in useless candlelight vigils bemoaning the danger of their neighborhoods, and they spew empty rhetoric about how things have to change.

But when it comes to actually doing things, Americans are nowhere to be found. Laws placing more strict limits on gun ownership are overwhelmingly unpopular. These same assholes who show up at candlelight vigils won't talk to the police about who the perpetrators are. It's ridiculous. It's not like the criminals in these neighborhoods are professional criminals vacationing in Cleveland from Miami. The people in the neighborhoods know who these thugs are but they won't tell. They won't take a stand.

These people are great at holding candles and buying teddy bears but when it comes to doing something to actually help the police, they all go mute. They scream that they need more police help in the neighborhood but heaven forbid that a cop injures or kills a perp. Then these citizens who are so concerned about saftey want the cop fired and want to sue the city.

It's absolutely ridiculous. People in this country either have to stop being so fucking selfish and start understanding the concept of universal morality or this country will burn. There is no other outcome. Every formerly great civilization has proved this.

 

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