Monday, October 5, 2020


Someone was murdered not far from where I live yesterday. We heard the sirens and saw police cars speed past our house. I stopped what I was doing and said a prayer because that’s not a usual occurrence and I knew it couldn’t be good.

Someone was killed.  In my neighborhood.  Near the elementary school where my daughter went. My heart aches for his family, for his neighbors, for my community.

Someone was shot. Someone died, and Howard County turned out on social media to spit on the Village of Oakland Mills.

“Columbia, the failed experiment,” said one.

If your automatic response to a tragedy involving the loss of life is to offer scorn and derision then the failure rests in you: your utter lack of empathy and human kindness. 

Real people live in my village. We work, we raise our families, send our children to school. We make friends, wave to neighbors, share what we have with those in need. We do not need your racist dog whistles about who we are or what we deserve. Like any community that has suffered a tragedy we need your prayers, or at least your kind words. We need people who respond to pain by offering to help.

The kind of people who turned out yesterday to spew their ignorance about my community are not unlike the kind of folks who used to turn out to enjoy a good public execution. Our pain and loss has entertainment value for them. They do not care who is getting hurt. 

For those who think this sort of thing happens every day where I live: you are wrong. It is shocking because, thankfully, it is so rare. That will not stop you from spouting crime statistics that do not exist, and no one will challenge you because those tired old tropes bolster their superior images of themselves.

“Thank God I don’t live in Oakland Mills,” they think. “Thank God I am not like them.”

I, too, thank God that they don’t live here. We don’t need that kind of hate in my neighborhood.

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