A vehicular homicide case near the intersection of Fourth and Water streets in Charlottesville, Virginia, is international news.
I regret the loss of life, particularly since the driver apparently intended to harm or kill the victims. I’ll get back to that.
Heather Heyer had been with several other folks there, protesting something — or maybe someone — which or who she felt should be inspiring more outrage.
During the protest, someone drove a car into another vehicle, and into the protesters. 19 were injured, five critically. Heather Heyer died.
“…Heather D. Heyer, 32, a Charlottesville resident who police say was crossing the road at the time, died of her injuries after being rushed to the hospital….”
(CBS News (August 13, 2017))
A young man who apparently was driving the car has been arrested. He’s been charged with second degree murder. That seems reasonable.
Two Virginia State Troopers, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and trooper Berke M.M. Bates, had been on their way to Carlottesville. They died when their helicopter crashed.
Oddly enough, almost none of the news has been about Heather Heyer, and not much about the young man who apparently killed her.
Much of it seems to be about why we should blame some politico or another. Where we’re supposed to focus our anger depends on which news outlet I look at.
But that’s not going to happen. Not any time soon, judging from what I’ve seen over the last half-century.
I remember it as a year when some of us were working or hoping for long-overdue reforms. Others were increasingly frustrated in their efforts to preserve crumbling social conventions.
I wasn’t the craziest of ‘those crazy kids.’ But I thought we could do better.1
Heather Heyers and others had been protesting a protest held by another outfit.
She lived in Charlottesville. The fellow who apparently killed her is from Ohio. But nobody, as far as I know, has said that the focus of Heyer’s protest were “outside agitators” whose goal was to “rile up” folks in Charlottesville.
Maybe we’ve learned a little wisdom since 1967.2
The folks at the protest which Heather Hayers and others were counter-protesting apparently don’t like what’s been happening in America.
I’m not overly thrilled, myself, with the status quo. Many of our new social conventions are, I think, very unsatisfactory.
But I am convinced that the answer is not reviving injustices that we were correcting in the 1960s. My memory is too good to want the ‘good old days’ to return. Ever.
Like I said, experiencing emotions is part of being human.
Deciding whether an action is good or bad can be important. I’m expected to think about what I do, and the actions of others. But judging persons as “good” or “evil?” I must leave that to God. (Catechism, 1778, 1861, 2401–2449)
Deciding what I should do about emotions, instead of letting them direct me, isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s very hard. But it’s a good idea.
Since I also think it will take centuries, maybe millennia, to cobble together a close approximation of his dream — we are not much closer.
But we are closer.
I see reasons for hope in how many folks respond to irresponsible acts of violence. This sort of thing isn’t, apparently, international news:
“‘Come see who we are’: Community members urge hope after Islamic center blast”
Doualy Xaykaothao, MPR News (August 7, 2017)
“…’In Minnesota, we accept one another, we support one another, we respect one another,’ said [Minnesota Governor] Dayton. ‘We live together, we work together, we succeed together. And we’re not going to let one bad person get in the way of all that.’…
“‘They come Sundays, they come to play soccer in our fields,’ said Omar. ‘Every time you come, day, or night, there is activity going on.’…”
“Community support builds for Bloomington Islamic center”
KARE (August 6, 2017)
“On Sunday evening, members of Pax Christi Catholic Church in Eden Prairie delivered in a basket more than 200 handwritten notes of support to the Dar Al-Farooq Center….”
I’ve talked about love, hope, and why I think cautious optimism makes sense, before:
- “Bomb in Bloomington”
(August 6, 2017)
- “‘The Federation of the World’”
(May 28, 2017)
- “Acting Like Truth Matters”
(May 21, 2017)
- “Who is My Neighbor?”
(February 1, 2017)
- “Conservative? Liberal? No: Catholic”
(January 22, 2017)
- “Charlottesville: Who was victim Heather Heyer?”
BBC News (August 14, 2017)
- “Charlottesville: Who is suspect James Alex Fields Jr?”
BBC News (August 14, 2017)
- “Angry crowd attacks ‘Unite the Right’ organizer in Charlottesville”
CBS News (August 13, 2017)
- “Ohio Man Charged With Murder In Fatal Car Attack On Anti-White Nationalist March”
Joe Ruiz, NPR (August 13, 2017)
- “Events Surrounding White Nationalist Rally In Virginia Turn Fatal”
Joe Ruiz, NPR (August 12, 2017)