There are no words to express my sorrow upon reading of the BART shooting incident and the death of Oscar Grant. With the news that the police officer who shot and killed Mr. Grant has been arrested comes little relief and even less satisfaction.
It is impossible for me to approach this from a distance. I have a brother, cousins and friends…when I hear that an unarmed black man was shot point blank in the back by a police officer in a BART station I think of them and what they mean to me and that there, but for fate or destiny or something I will never really understand, go me and mine.
Bill Cosby speaks of the need for the black community to move beyond our victim mentality but it is the victimized reality that’s anything but easy to move beyond.
I do not know how to define justice for Oscar Grant.
I just don’t know.
Even if the police officer is convicted and sentenced…even if Mr. Grant’s family wins a settlement…and even if changes are implemented and trainings are instituted, justice remains an elusive concept.
There’s part of me that thinks we would all benefit from embracing the inadequacy of words like justice in cases like this. I wonder if more of us would work to better our society if we were forced to wrapping our arms around that inadequacy and immersing ourselves in the unimaginable frustration of it. And I think that we would all do well to sit back and get the fact that no march, no conviction and no settlement will provide “justice” for Oscar Grant.
We need to feel that shit down in our bones.
To own it.
To dive our hands into it…let it mark our flesh and seep into our system until we writhe in agony over the relentless reality of it.
And as bitterness fills our mouths…as we spit with rage and disgust…as our fists clench at our side, maybe we’d take a step toward prevention.
Because I just don’t know how to define justice for Oscar Grant, but something has got to change.
Before we lose another Oscar Grant.
Before, even though we know there are no guarantees...no quick fixes...no cure for this disease.
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