A terrible thing happened in Oklahoma this week. A man was killed, an officer was charged with manslaughter, and the justice system failed. A set of parents lost a son that they will never see again. A set of parents could see their daughter go to prison in a short amount of time. None of them expected their week to turn out as awful as it did.
Immediately following that another terrible thing happened. Sides were taken and lines were drawn. Depending on your views, you knew who you could and couldn’t talk to about it. Maybe you sided with the victim. Maybe you sided with the officer. Before we even had a chance to process what had taken place, many knew where they stood and many simply began dissecting evidence to choose which side to be on.
This is wrong. This isn’t Oklahoma. This is too divisive.
To my fellow Oklahomans, let’s please take a moment to feel the anguish and not the outrage.
My social media feed has been filled for days with friends posting articles with “definitive proof” that the victim did nothing wrong or that the officer was completely justified. Not once has it paused for a moment of silence to acknowledge the tragedy.
As a nation and as a state, we have issues to fix, and we need to fix them badly right now. But if we never step back to empathize with the pain and loss that has occurred, I don’t know if we ever will see the change we need.
There are families on the other end of these stories. These families are just like yours and mine. We’re all Oklahomans, and we should treat them with the dignity and respect that we would if they lived across the street. Change comes from compassion, not from lines in the dirt.
Personally, it weighs heavy on my heart, and I just want to know what we could do to prevent it from happening again.