A Personal Reaction
The news is going around. The police have made an arrest in the John Henderson case, and it all turns out to be part of a larger, sprawling story involving gunfights and men in hiding, according to the AJC. It’s a story with a lot of bullets.
With thanks to the Atlantans Together Against Crime (ATAC) blog, here’s a link to Raw Footage Atlanta Police Department May 8, 2009 Press Conference from Grayson Daughters on Vimeo.
Since I wrote a bit about the public reaction to the Standard shooting, I figured I should write something about the public reaction to this news, too. I’ve read comments of relief and comments of revenge. I’ve read lamentations about teenage shooters and I’ve read calls for blood.
Here’s the truth: I don’t know what to say.
When I tried to write about this from the perspective of a compassionate neighbor, I fell into the traps bystanders often fall into when talking about crime — all melodramatic and grandiose. When I tried to write about this from the perspective of a rational, detached neighbor, I found myself reaching conclusions that offer little comfort — cynical and sad.
What I’m left with is a mix of feelings that combines, one, a emotional, humanist desire to find a big-picture revelation in this specific story and, two, a practical desire to recognize, both personally and as a community, that there is no one person that can be jailed that will change much. It’s The West Wing versus The Wire, for me.
So I’ve cut a lot of what I wrote here, because it’s all secondary to this: This arrest isn’t an ending. Police and lawyers and bartenders and housebreakers are all still going to work. The days keep coming.