Perspective: Philando Castile
I was listening to the news while watching my twitter feed. Someone posted the link to Diamond Reynolds live stream. She had ended the stream probably 30 minutes prior. This video is very raw and disturbing. Philando Castile, his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old were detained by police, and during that traffic stop Philando was shot by the police. Diamond starts live streaming the situation on Facebook. She’s asked to get out of the car, handcuffed and placed in the back of the police car. I watched this video holding my chest in disbelief until her daughter tells her “It’s OK mom, I’m here with you”. I totally lost it. I could not stop crying.
At that point I figured that Philando was on his way to the hospital, so I started praying for the Lord to be with him. I kept trying to find updates online to see if he had made it. It was a long night. At some point I fell asleep of exhaustion. A few hours later, I woke up looking for an update. Philando was dead. But there was a new concern, nobody knew where Diamond and her daughter were once taken into police custody.
The phone number for the Police Department was blasted all over social media. People from everywhere were calling inquiring about her. It was a moment of unity. I had several conversations with people on social media trying to create a line of communication updating each other on any new piece of information we could find. From the pictures on their twitter profiles, there were people from every background trying to make sure that Diamond and her daughter were OK. Total strangers for one moment united looking out for the well-being of one of us, another human being. We need to extend those moments. At some point, in the morning, a friend of hers posted on Facebook that she had been found and we all breathed a little easier.
When I was a child, we used to place firecrackers on our neighbors fences. We would open the little string and take some of the powder off to act as a timer. The idea was that when the firecracker went off we would not be there, so we wouldn’t be found as the culprit. I think this firecracker had been lit for a while and this incident was the one that finally blew it.
I’ve tried to place myself in this woman’s shoes and I don’t know what my reaction would have been. I think that my reaction would have been to tender to him and that could have resulted in my own demise. I don’t think I would have had the presence of mind to get my phone and start recording.
From everyone who knew Philando, that has spoken, he was a great guy. He worked at a Montessori school in the cafeteria. They say that he was a role model to the kids and well loved. It sounds like his passing was a true loss to the community.
My biggest heartache is that child. That baby could have been shot in the crossfire. That baby can’t unsee what she saw. We don’t know how this will affect her in the future. If this was an intense experience for people watching the video, can you imagine what this does to the young mind of a 4-year-old?
Different things have been brought up. The ones that have been confirmed are that he didn’t have a criminal record, but tons of traffic related violations. He did have a gun and a permit for it. There has been the speculation that he didn’t have a permit because none were found in his county of residence. Apparently he obtained it in a different county. At the end of the day none of this matters, he didn’t deserve to die.
As I said yesterday, aside from the child, the eagerness to find something to say negative about him has been appalling. The attempt to justify that his life somehow was not important. I think as human beings we need to recognize that those feelings don’t come from godly places.
This one is a complicated one, there’s so many things that went wrong in the heat of emotions. Listing them is not important, but creating consciousness of what matters now.
We need to stop devaluing life. We are our brother’s keeper. We need to keep reminding ourselves that our brother and sister is Every. Single. Person around us. We all get hungry. We all get sad. We all get sick. Our blood is red for all. And it was with blood that we were bought. Blood was the prize that Jesus paid for our redemption. When things like this happen we need to embrace each other.
Remember that regardless of the circumstances, there are immediately two families destroyed that had NOTHING to do with the incident; the shooter’s family and the family of the one who was shot. Let cool heads prevail. Let’s pray for the families that are going through the worst time of their lives. Let’s embrace each other instead of fighting each other over the smallest detail. It’s time to mourn together as the human race, because we have lost plenty in the last few days.