Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What is the value of a life?

22 years old. A father. Shot in the back while laying on his stomach, with the knee of an officer at his neck. In front of hundreds of witnesses. On the subway.

It is not easy to watch. It shouldn't be. There is no reason. There is no justification. There is a child left without a father; a family struggling to figure it out; a company scrambling to justify it, a community trying to make sense of it, an attorney hoping to quantify it, a race praying to make it stop, a life lost. Senselessly lost.

Does it make it easier to ignore it if you knew that he was fighting. That he was a convicted felon. That he worked in the fast food industry. That he only has a GED?

Does it matter that he is a Black man, and all of the officers were not.

Or rather... he was.

BTW Officer Johannes Mehserle is reported to be the officer that confused his taser with his hand gun. And one day after the murder he became a proud father. Hmm, what does one say to him. What would Sophina Mesa -- the mother of Oscar's daughter Tatiana say?

I struggled with writing about this. Wonder if I'm just getting soft. Cause I won't say what I want to say. I'll just let it be inferred.




  1. I am speechless. I am so sad. How do you even begin to understand this type of tragedy?

  2. That is horrible. I'm not surprised the person who taped it wants to remain anonymous with cops like that around. Just so senseless.

  3. I had heard snipets of this last night and this morning on CNN. They had also announced that the officer has quit and the question is should he be charged with a crime for shooting an unarmed man.

    While I typically think that a majority of police are good and right, there is no excuse for this situation. I hadn't heard the story of the confusion between a taser and handgun, but I have seen both before, and while I haven't held them, I can't see confusing the two.

  4. wow!!! This is sane. I have to follow to see if this will turn into another Sean Bell Verdict...

  5. We are still in this place?! WHY???

  6. I saw that...

    Unbelievable. Infuriating. Here we go again. When will it ever change?

  7. Did you hear about the one in Houston - Robbie Tolan where the police officer shot him in his own yard. He was a semi-pro baseball player...he is still in the hospital from being shot in the chest on Dec 31. the police dept. says it wasn't racial profiling just a tragedy. yea, ok. His family is the only black family on the block...they thought his truck was stolen? They were coming from Jack in the Box. He was on his back doing nothing, the police officer pushed his mother, Robbie asked what are you doing and the police officer's response was a shot in the chest. Nice. WTH?

  8. The cop had to have been temporarily insane. Even dirty cops would never shoot an unarmed,restrained man in the back in full view of many people at the BART Station. And tasers are on the opposite side of the gun belt and usually brightly colored. Tragic and senseless.

  9. I feel sick to my stomach. This is a needless tragedy, and if there was confusion with his gun, it just adds to my hatred of Tasers.

  10. This is the first I've heard of this Robbin. Thanks for posting it. As the mother of young black males, it saddens me deeply. It makes the fear for my own boys more real.

    My son won't drive certain cars because of racial profiling. He drove my car recently and was pulled over uneccessarily. I've never been pullled over. On a recent holiday, my boys stated they didn't fear the police because they were with me. That hurt me to realize what they must endure because of who they are. No one understands the walk of young black males. Society wants to label them all as criminals.

    Who is profiling the pediphiles? Who's patrolling them while they walk the streets with young boys and girls. One day we will live in a world that just... one day when our Savior comes to judge the unjust.

  11. Robbin,
    Like Angela, I worry about my boys. They are not black but hispanic. They wear the slouchy clothes, the hoodies, the beanies......I don't like them out at night, I don't like them wandering the streets like some of their friends......they are teenagers, I know in a couple years it'll be out of my hands. The fear is not only of police activity, but also gang activity which is a very real thing in their school and neighborhood. Unfortunately, the problem isn't anything they do or how they act, it is just because of the way they look.

  12. Oh no, it's crazier then what the media is reporting.

    My daughter and a couple of her friendgirls attended the funeral services for Oscar Grant @ 11:00am and the rally @ 3:00pm (which turned ulgy by the protesters who didnt' have the correct mindset going in)...bottom line...Oscar Grant was a father, a son, and most importantly, a human being!

    ***A very close friend to my Dad, John Burris is handling the case for the family---won't bring Oscar Grant back---so sad. Pray for his mother!

  13. Update: The BART Police Officer who murdered Oscar Grant was arrested in Lake Tahoe early this morning. My daughter and several of her friendgirls will "yet again" march in a "peaceful protest" today @ 3:00pm in Oakland, meeting at Webster and
    14th Street, marching up to 17th (long blocks) for a "peaceful rally" and then back to 14th.

    Because they enjoy taking BART, they will ride to the Fruitvale station (where the murder took place) and then walk to the designation place.

    Continue to pray for Wanda Johnson, Oscar's mother and for Tatiana, his 4-year old daughter.

    Pray for the mind and heart of the officer who decided for himself that Oscar's life was of no value.

    Lastly, pray for "some people" here who seem to think just because Oscar had experienced trouble in his past, that he "deserved" what for these same people who seem to think that police officers (particulary police officers who are of non-color) are always 100% correct and that we, (yes, we, people of color) don't understand authority and whatever they say, goes...again, WTF????

    I've just finished up Day #1 of fasting and praying for our children and our youth---my heart is hurting for them.

    Thanks Robin for letting me vent and share and vent some more.

  14. This is so incredibly sad...
    I dream of a world where this kind of injustice is unheard of. I hope that world is not too far off and will be the reality for my baby.