Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"I Can't Breathe"

My sons are asthmatic. I know too well the cough, the wheezing. The panicky look in their eyes when they can't get enough air. 

Eric Garner was also an asthmatic--while I know little of his health history, I can imagine his mother Gwen Carr taking him to the pediatrician, the specialists, the ER, with shots and meds and puffers. Worried that every little bug is going to turn into bronchitis or pneumonia. More treatments, scary nights, missed school, missed work... 

But she raised him up. He became an adult, got a job, started a family--six beautiful grandchildren.

Then that horrible day in July. Gwen Carr's son was put in a chokehold by someone claiming to serve and protect. He gasped that he could not breathe... and medical personnel nearby did not help.

There was video. Hauntingly hard to watch. But surely, the whole world would know what had happened, and while her child could not be returned to her, there would be some measure of justice.

And now in this Advent week of hope? The grand jury decided not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who put this mother's son in a chokehold. Even though there was video of the event. Even though the medical examiner had declared the death a homicide.

Yes, I am taking this personally. A woman's son has been stolen from her, and we are told it is not a crime.

Justice feels very far away.

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