Friday, June 8, 2016
On June 17, 2015, I was working in Downtown Charleston when the horrific mass shooting occurred at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. I drove by that church daily and honestly didn’t even notice it until after the massacre occurred. I was roughly two miles from the church when the shooting took place and at the time had no idea how serious the shooting was. I was doing my job, going about my business, as I assumed the shooting was not an act of terror and racism. Many of the local bars closed their door as the shooter was on the loose, but we kept our doors open. I remember repeatedly leaving the back door cracked and being yelled at because the shooter was still armed and at large. I would have drove by the church on the way back to my girlfriend’s place if the street had not been blocked off, and I had no idea that was the scene of the crime. The next day I was brought to tears when I learned the true scale of what took place, and it opened my eyes to the problems our country faces.
Just over a year later I am back in Plano, Texas just ten minutes outside of Dallas. Dallas is my home and the place I grew up. Last night I was not downtown but I was in the DFW area. The mass murder of Police Officers has left me shaken once again. I was with friends enjoying a night out when I heard of the ambush happening in my city, and friends from around the country reached out to me asking what was going on. I could not give them details because I was not downtown or in contact with anyone who was. I am grateful to have people who care about me and once again very sad about the events happening so close to my home. My sister was driving home from Dallas as she had taken her friend out for a night downtown. She said she saw a number of police cars flying by her as she headed home. I thank the Lord my sister and everyone I know is safe and I send my thoughts and prayers out to those affected by this tragedy.
We mustn’t sit and point fingers but rather support those who are affected by the event. Violence is never the answer to tragedies like this, and I pray there will be no backlash or acts of revenge. We are at a critical time in our country’s history, and the violence needs to end. All Lives Matter. We all bleed red, we all breathe the same air and we all deserve Justice. We must unite as a nation and become a place where terror and violence are words that the media never has to use. It is our country’s calling to be the light of the world, and it is time to stand up and come together.
Rest in Peace to the brave officers who have given their lives to protect the people of this great community, and Rest in Peace to all the victims of the horrible events that have occurred this week. Finally, I pray for a speedy recovery for the men and women who were hurt during the ambush, and I would like to thank them for their bravery and service.