A statue of Breonna Taylor was put up in Oakland on December 21, 2020.
It was smashed and vandalized on December 26, 2020.
A GoFundMe campaign was started to raise funds for the repair of the vandalized statue, called an act of racism. As of January 7, 2021, the amount raised stood at over $27,000.
Let’s look at this for a second. Breonna Taylor was a former EMT, who was shot and killed by police in her apartment. Police were legitimately at her apartment to serve a warrant, knocked on the door (even though they had a now outlawed “no-knock” warrant), and her boyfriend fired at police first. The retaliation shots, legitimately fired by police in response, hit Taylor (who was NOT asleep in her bed as alleged) and killed her.
A sad death. A statue erected. The vandalism was called a racist act.
Maybe. Maybe the vandalism was a racist act. But maybe, the vandals were acting out of frustration. Frustration that a statue was put up for someone when there was no good reason to have done so. If the reason is the latter, while I don’t agree with the method, I certainly agree with the sentiment.
Maybe it’s because I’ve seen this pandering before.
Flashback to 2007. A man arrives at Vancouver airport. He gets into a confrontation with police. They do their jobs according to training, but he tragically dies. A memorial bench is installed where his mother visited yearly until her passing in 2019.
In both cases – the death of Breonna Taylor and that of Robert Dziekanski – you have an altercation with police, a response that was justified, a tragic death, a commemorative fixture, and a financial settlement to the surviving family members.
The cost of policing is very high. Even when the job is done correctly, you find the public pandering to honor the victim and pacify those closest to them. Meanwhile, officers are vilified, terminated, or imprisoned – for doing their jobs.
Maybe that’s why Taylor’s statue was vandalized. Not as a “vicious attack against the light” as Oakland’s mayor Libby Schaaf so dramatically suggested, nor as an act of “racist aggression” as stated by the statue’s creator, Leo Carson. Maybe people are just sick of unnecessary and undeserved monuments given to victims that – while coming to the end of life tragically – are nonetheless no different from the many others who lose their lives everyday.
Death doesn’t automatically deserve honor.
So what’s the resilience tie-in here? Stop playing the victim in your life. When shit goes sideways – whether or not you could have prevented it – own it. Don’t act as if the world owes you something because you got handed a bad deal. And if – god forbid – someone in your life dies tragically, look at the entire situation before laying blame. Let’s stop pandering to pacify.