By Jason Walter

I wrote this upon hearing of the death of Christian Taylor, who was shot by a police officer this past August. His story struck a chord with me because he tweeted out his shock at all the killings of young black Americans taking place and openly wondered if something like that could happen to him. Well, it did, and I tweeted these thoughts out when I learned of it, 140 characters at a time, shocked at how that tragic situation unfolded. The next day, someone tweeted back to me to “tell these kids not to do dumb things.” And as the media broke the story over time, it appeared that Christian Taylor was really at the wrong place, at the wrong time. In the video footage released, his behavior was not that great. When the autopsy report came back later, it was unfortunately revealed that drugs were in his system.

Wrong places, mistakes, are these really justifiable for the killing of a youth, when most, if not all, youths venture into the wrong place and make mistakes?

As the son of a former police officer and Vietnam veteran, I’ve always had a reverence for the men and women who protect and serve us. It’s impossible to know what it’s like to be in an excruciating circumstance, to have the weight of protection and service for the greater community on one’s shoulders in that exact moment, and say what we’d do or have done differently. Whether we agree with it or not, there are always two perspectives, and the officer whose action resulted in the death of Mr. Taylor has had his whole world turned upside down and backward.

That can’t be pleasant either. In the end, I’m damn certain the view from both sides of this unfortunate equation is not balanced, nor is it love.

Senseless action

Of the (glass) power reaction

How ‘bout some compassion?

Before you go splashin’

Another gun pops

Collective Heart drops

Another life is lost

Collective love coated in dust

Oh Lord, we must Trust

Nature let us see our Best

Before it’s far too late & we sealed our fate

So much hate

Too much hate

It’s not too late

But it’s far too late

B/c we lost

Yet another life

One far too young a life

Jay said “This can’t be life…”

We all know “This can’t be love…”


Jason Walter, Hawaii Opera Theatre’s marketing director, writes poetry and social commentary. His newest collection, The Empty Flask, is available on iBooks now.

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