I've been kind of off all day. I kept telling myself it was just the chronic fatigue. Maybe it was the humidity. Maybe this, maybe that. I was busy at work, so I didn't think much about it.
Then, as I was getting ready to leave, I realized that my knees were shaking, and that it was difficult to stand. Even now, sitting down on the couch, my knees are shaking a little, and it's hard to relax. In fact, my whole body is starting to tense up into a giant cramp.
I'm genuinely upset about Philando Castle's death. A senseless death that never should have happened. A death that happened in one of the most unremarkable and least dangerous suburbs of the Twin Cities, and not even an exurb or anything like that. It's surrounded by major shopping centers and the State Fairgrounds. Even a place like that isn't safe anymore.
Then I kept flashing back to the time I got stopped by the cops two blocks from the apartment while I was walking home. I remember the tone the officer took with me, that fake small talk where a statement is an accusation. I remember realizing that if I hadn't had my ID on me, he would have thrown me in his car. He claimed I resembled a homeless man in the area that he'd been trying to track down. Even the best actor in the world couldn't have sold me that bullshit.
I've been stopped by cops a number of times for being gay. I got a speeding ticket because of it once. On a separate occasion, while driving to a company gathering at my old job, another cop tailed me for three miles until she pulled me over for...I don't know what. I think she may have actually claimed that I had a busted tail light. That's what I get for putting a rainbow on my bumper.
Minorities are not safe. We have been made targets by decades of political rhetoric and religious dogma. We, as a culture, refuse to acknowledge the hateful force eating us from within. We may mourn for victims of tragedy, we may apply a filter to our profile pic, we might offer all the thoughts and prayers we can utter, but in the end we forget about it and move on. We have become desensitized to our own destruction.
I don't want to live in this kind of culture. I shouldn't have to. None of us should. Yet even while I type this, a man who wants to become president is willfully and unrepentantly fomenting more of this toxic hate just to get a few votes. It sickens me.
My heart breaks for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castle, a heart already trying to heal from the massacre of my own people in Orlando. And my knees refuse to stop shaking.