Monday, December 29, 2014

1,000 Words

"When you have police officers who abuse citizens, you erode public confidence in law enforcement. That makes the job of good police officers unsafe."

~Mary Frances Berry

I photographed this young police officer, last month, on Black Friday, in San Francisco's Union Square. As you might expect, it was very busy there that day, there were shoppers, tourists, homeless folks, maintenance workers, the usual protesters of different causes, and there was the need for added security because of expected unrest due to the grand jury's decision in the Michael Brown case. Alan and I didn't stay that day, he simply circled the block so I could take a few random photos to post here on Ellipsis. It was just too crowded to stop as we usually do, so I did my photos and we decided to go down to the Embarcadero instead. After all, there is the Embarcadero Center for shopping, as well as a great ice skating rink, similar to the one at Union Square. And an added plus, there is a really nice underground garage which always seems to be warm! What more could a girl as for? And we had a pretty nice time that day, but there was plenty going on back at Union Square.

After we got home, came the live photos and news reports of the violence which had broken out at Union Square shortly after we left. As darkness fell, and the holiday shoppers waited for the Square's annual Christmas tree lighting, along came some protesters making their voices heard about the Michael Brown case, unfortunately their were accompanied by some bitter hearts and opportunists who were out to assault police officers and vandalize buildings that night. As it was, several San Francisco Police officers were injured, as they tried to protect innocent folks just there to shop and have fun with their families.  As I heard these reports, I couldn't help but wonder if the cop, whose photo I snapped that day, was among the injured for doing nothing more that doing his job? He was there to make people like me feel safe. The day after Thanksgiving has become something quite different than when I was a child... or even a young adult. While I understand the need for protest, and even applaud it, I don't understand the use of violence to protest violence.

While this police officer didn't look especially happy that I was photographing him, he never once told me to put the camera away. He never once demanded that I erase the photo of him doing his job, if anything he just went about what he was asked to do... his job! It wasn't an easy thought. It wasn't easy to decided when, if ever, to show this photo. In the weeks to come, after Black Friday, the violence and protests have gotten bigger and more intense. In fact now we have two dead NYPD officers, executed in their patrol car in Brooklyn. Two men with families. Two men who had nothing to do with the killing of Eric Garner, a man killed for doing nothing, but refusing to be arrested for... doing nothing. He wasn't committing a crime when one particular NYPD officer used deadly force on him. The New York city Coroner declared Eric Garner's death a homicide, but the grand jury in that case also chose to not charge a white police officer in the death of an unarmed black man.

Where will 2015 lead us?
  As the year ends I find myself with more questions than answers about the year that is about to end. 

1.Why did Phillip Seymour Hoffman not simply enjoy what he had, why did he have to lean on drugs to fulfill him? 
2. What happened to Malaysian Airlines 370?
3. Why did all those poor folks have to die when their plane was shot down over the Ukraine?
4. Why did Robin Williams kill himself?
5. Why didn't Joan River's doctor just do her job and take good care of her?
6. Why did an entire nation of voters, vote against their own interests and put so many Republicans in office?
7. Why won't Obama stop looking for respect and admiration from Republicans?
8. Why did North Korea take a ridiculous little movie so damn hard?
9. Why aren't big corporations taking cyber security seriously?
10. Hell, why doesn't the United States take it more serious?
11. Why are there so many holes in the Secret Service protection of our president?
12. Why did our friend have to kill himself one dark night?
13. Why can't I seem to lose these 10... no 12... pounds I want to lose?
14. Will my stupid HTC Vivid phone, that takes amazing photos, just hang on for one more month?
15. Where the HELL did my brand new pink Nikon CoolPix S3600 go? I got it in August, and it's been missing since October!
16. Why did an unarmed man in Brooklyn, not committing a crime, have to die in a choke-hold?
17. Why did an unarmed man die at the hands of the police, in a Walmart, for holding an air rifle, an item sold in that store?
18. Why did the police use deadly force on a 12 year old African American boy, for holding a toy gun?
19. Why did so many young black men and boys die this year?
20. Are we done fretting over Ebola yet?
21. Will the Hague ever come get the torturers? DICK CHENEY AND COMPANY?
22. Are we over the Kardashians yet? No? Why?
23. Why is Teresa Giudice going to prison, but not DICK CHENEY AND COMPANY?
24. Was the young policeman in this photo okay when the day ended on Black Friday?
25. As I type this, yet another plane filled with people has disappeared. Why? What happened?
26. Is the California drought finally over?
27. Why can we find enough budget for war, but not body cameras for all police officers. It makes everyone safer!
28. Did that young police officer mind me taking his photo that day?
30. Isn't that photo worth a thousand words?

Has Black Friday taken on a new meaning?

. Why... why... why... why... why... why... why... why... why... ?

2014 was just all about the WHY?

I am ready for 2015 to be here already.

Mood: Quiet


PS... This post contains exactly 1051 words, not including this post script.

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