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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Commitment

(the flags are flying at halfmast at Bellarmine High School today)
I woke up this morning, turned my radio on, and on KUOW I heard that Maurice Clemmons had been shot and killed early Wednesday morning. I lay there in bed with my arms wrapped tightly across my chest. Like so many other people I felt shocked, relieved, and sad that the tragedy that began Sunday morning appeared to have come to a very painful conclusion.
Police persons shot, people that might have helped Maurice Clemmons arrested, and Mr. Clemmons was dead.

So many people have been touched very deeply by what has happened these last few days.

Where do we go from here? I found the Your Voice column in today's News Tribune by Mr. Julius W. Brown, the former chairman of the Lakewood African-American Police Advisory Committee, very helpful. At the end of his column Mr. Brown Jr. says: "I have faith that the Lakewood Police Department will continue to be fair..." He concludes the article with this statement: "We (the Lakewood African-American Police Advisory Committee) will continue to build bridges (between the Police Department and the African American Community in Lakewood)and we will word hard to heal the wounds left open by this one hideous act of violence. You have my commitment to that."
Please read Mr. Brown Jr.'s column.

What do you think we need to do?


Stephanie Frieze said...

Great post, Joseph. I am sorry that Mike Huckabee ever let McClemmons out and that law enforcement could not seems to keep him away from the public. It is sad that at some point when he might have been salvagable no one was there to save him and his fate is not surprising. I hope that those who helped him get to spend time meditating on their poor decision. Thank goodness that he was not able to kill again during the manhunt. Perhaps now maybe the families and the community begin to heal.

JosephMcG said...

Thank you for focusing on this: "at some point where he might have been salvagable no one was there to save him..."
I have always had somewhere there to help me get over the hard, hard points in my life.
I think I need to reach out more to others who are salvagable...
How and when I do not know, but this tragedy has got me seriously reflecting

Lorraine Hart said...

We must find the troubled kids the school system. We must bring back the Arts, for kids to express their anger and hurt in safe and creative ways. We must show different choices and how to connect the dots of "what happens next" at young, young ages. We must have a level of honour and respect that flows both ways, so children are heard...and ALL know they are cherished.

Kim Thompson said...

I love all of your points. I think another critical issue is pediatric/adolescent mental health care. I speak to the kids because many issues can be worked young. I know that in the South Sound, resources and services for this are limited. Plus, if you don't have insurance coverage, it's beyond affordable (and sadly, even if you do, insurance coverage can be awful--dealing with my son's issues has taught me that). While some counseling/pastoral care things are available for young folk (and this is good), some folks, early on, have mental disabilities and disorders that need psychiatric intervention too. Couple mental health problems with poverty, abuse, neglect, violence, racism, sexism, et al, don't get the condition treated and this is a recipe for disaster.

Tony A said...

Thank you. When I first heard about the shooting of the four officers, I couldnt believe that this was real. Lakewood is the first community I have ever lived in where I honestly felt the police were more like a member of my family trying to help, rather than people with badges and guns trying to harass me. It was devastating. I joined groups on facebook, reading how the community felt the same as I did. When Mr. Clemmons was shot, the tone changed in these groups and I have to say I was disgusted by the reactions. I understood the anger, but what was said hurt. He was failed by both the justice and mental health systems. If someone had bothered to try to honestly get him some help sooner, those officers would still be alive, and these two tragic stories would not need to be being discussed. I hope lawmakers do not rush to pass useless legislation because of this, and instead work on useful and helpful legislation based on compassion and education about mental illness.