We passed the Arena during the service and paid a moment of respect. As I was driving earlier this morning...coming the other direction on the freeway was a police escort as the hearse carrying Officer John Hege passed en route to the funeral. All of this has left Sho and I bereft and looking for ways to give back.
The photo above was taken at the site of the shootings. There is a memorial of 4 flags along with messages and flowers left by folks in our community and outside of it.
Our Mayor releases doves at the vigil held last Tuesday night at the site of this tragedy. All very public ways of honoring the lives and service of the men who were killed last Saturday.
Last night, however, we began to think about how very personal it can be to try to honor their service and our lives here in East Oakland. Yep, we live in the 'hood. Everyday we witness the poverty and crime which has beaten down this part of Oakland. My little block has always been pretty quiet and neighborly. Over the last year, however, there has been a change. Some young families have left due to foreclosures and economic hardship. The long term residents on either side of our house are no longer there due to economy and health. Still, pretty quiet at night. No problem to sit on the porch in the evening or hang in the back yard.
Last night, though, shots rang out a block and a half from our home. Semi-automatic fire with a lot of yelling. Then silence as the sound of cars racing off past my house. Then, a minute later another volley of shots from the next block behind me and down further. So, how do we honor the men who gave their lives serving....? Well, we opened our door to the officer walking the neighborhood after the event. We spoke with him to tell him what happened. We find out a man was taken to hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. Take care, be safe, we are thinking about all of you...we say as the officer leaves to speak to more of my neighbors. The Oakland police response to this crime was fast. They were here less than 5 minutes after it happened along with our city's paramedics. I don't know the fate of the man shot or what his story is. Wrong place at wrong time, maybe. More likely some kind of affair that went badly.
Just a note....and this speaks to some of why East Oakland feels alone and abandoned...there is nothing on the news wire about this event in my neighborhood. Also, the shooter who killed those officers was just last Friday connected to a brutal rape of a 12 year old at that same corner. There have been several other rapes since February as well in our area. The area schools, parents, and ME want to know why none of this was in the news before last weekend.
Let's hope the events of the last week can bear fruit which will nourish peace and justice!