I’m not really back from my break.
This week has been just horrific for all of us. It was bad enough that the two men killed in Louisiana and Minnesota look like the men and women that I photograph at second lines, Indian gatherings, jazz funerals and during Mardi Gras. Many of them (my subjects) have become friends. If not that, than at least, “pals on the scene.” Even though we really don’t know each other all that well, we are always happy to see each other. Fist bumps, hand shakes and hugs are the first thing we do. When I run into one of them when I’m photographing ruins, they hang with me. Because, they know their neighborhood. They are watching my back.
So? What do I say to them now? I’m sorry. I don’t think that makes it.
The world blew up last night. Dallas exploded into horrific violence. The story is developing so the number changes. Twelve shot. Five dead. All police. I’ve known a lot of NOLA police. They too, are pals on the scene. One, who used to manage second lines, saved my butt once because the brass band turned left instead of right and were going to run up my back. A hand reached out of the crowd, grabbed my collar and pulled me out of the scrum. It was him. My sergeant.
What do I say to him? What do I say to they other NOPD who I know? Sorry? That doesn’t make it. Either.
All I know is this.
Prayers. Sure, pray. Prayers of Dallas. Prayers for Louisiana. Prayers for Minnesota. Prayers for Orlando. Prayers for Paris…
Prayers without action don’t work. You know what the Bible says. Even I do. And I’m not much of a Bible reader. Faith without work is dead.
As I see it, the world today is in horrible shape. If we don’t start working together. If we don’t act to stop this overly intense violence. If we don’t stop this craziness everywhere in the world. And, if we don’t start acting like we care about each other. We are doomed.
I don’t know what those actions could or should be. Maybe it’s as simple as smiling at a person whom you don’t know. Or shaking hands. Thanking a cop for keeping you safe. I don’t know.
Think about this. Think about this right now. I cannot think of one week in 2016 that we haven’t been mourning for something or someone. That’s no good.
Think about this, too. Either everybody matters. Or nobody matters.