Saturday, July 03, 2010

Waking up from a nightmare

When I heard that Dontae Morris was in custody last night, I went to the monument to fallen officers outside of police headquarters. Not to celebrate, necessarily. But just to note the end of a sad chapter in Tampa history. Of course, it's not over for everybody. Families, immediate and extended, are torn apart and will never be the same. Trials, deliberations, verdicts and sentences will go on for years and will remind us of what happened. Most of us are lucky that the real nightmare, when a killer was on the loose, causing us to be wary in our travels and afraid of what may lurk in the shadows or the back rooms of our neighbor's homes, really only lasted four days. Four days that felt like four years. That's what nightmares are like.
I'm glad it ended the way it did, and you should be too, if you're honest about it. To say that you were hoping that Morris would be maimed or killed in the act of being apprehended suggests that the police are basically the same kind of creatures that he is. They're better than that, thankfully. These are dedicated professionals who have taken it upon themselves to serve and protect, the polar opposite of whatever it is Dontae Morris is and what he chose to commit his life to. Sure, it feels good, cathartic, to wish harm upon somebody like Morris. To want immediate, brutal and equal justice for someone who commits such heinous acts is human nature to an extent. But to engage in increasingly cartoonish, excessive wish scenarios about what you hope happens to him is hyperbole and rhetoric, and ultimately dishonors the victims and the survivors. You're better than that too.

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