Where is the light? #EricGarner #ICantBreathe #Nowisthetime
Eric Garner died as a result of a choke hold used by a NYPD officer attempting to subdue him. The first video shows it here. Mr. Garner pleads for his life. “I can’t breathe,” he cries out (weakly) to the police officers. The second video (here) shows police officers and EMT handling an apparently unconscious Mr. Garner like an animal. Or a slab of meat.
How did the Grand Jury not indict the police officer?
We should and must mourn the loss of Eric Garner lest we accept that our hearts have grown cold. We should and must grieve over the injustice served by the non-indictment of Daniel Pantaleo.
In the midst of an overwhelming number of police officers, Daniel Pantaleo’s actions in subduing Mr. Garner (in the manner in which he did) were arrogant, contemptuous and, yes, evil – beyond even the possibility of a racially motivated crime. If you watch the second video where Mr. Garner appears unconscious, hand-cuffed and mishandled, Pantaleo appears in the background – proud, puffed up and “manly” in how he holds himself.
Pantaleo did not act as a man on that day. He acted as a coward. He did as a bully does. And we can all see this with our own eyes. Any other conclusion is in itself, cowardice, false consciousness, or, yes, evil. Regardless of prejudice.
Daniel Pantaleo, however, is not beyond redemption or our compassion. He can confess his sin and repent, publicly. And, in return, we can forgive and love the man.
Cases of police brutality, state oppression, terrorism, and all kinds of violence may be worse and more frequent elsewhere in the world. That does not make the wrongful death of Eric Garner, acceptable. Lukewarm reaction is absolutely reprehensible and disgusting. It is written that God vomits the lukewarm.
In the face of overwhelming lack of compassion and concern for the dignity of the human person, outrage and anger will burn in the hearts of those who still have hearts to mourn what has happened. Evil shall also grow in burning hearts. There will grow a want of revenge, a spirit of fear and contempt for others. This too is human – fallen humanity.
Now is the time for justice. For leadership. For love.
Ye are the light of the world.
Where is the Christian voice in the midst of the darkness? Where is the light of Christian love in dark nights as these?
Light does not shine in the streets. Now is the time for Christians to go forth, cast out demons, heal the broken-hearted, and demonstrate the power of Jesus. In prayer. In compassion and with love. In sharing Christian wisdom and truth. In solidarity with the human family. With a crying out to God!
I am reminded of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, Now is the time.
Or is my opinion in error?
04 December 2014