Massacre shootings, police killing minorities and even now children have become everyday norms in a broken modern America. The time for change is NOW.

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Today is Friday, April 16, 2021. This week, I’ve seen a black man shot and murdered. I’ve seen a black Army Lt. pepper sprayed and beaten down. I’ve seen a 13-year-old child shot and murdered. All by police. All on video. All in just the last five days.

I am sick.

After seeing the Adam Toledo video Thursday night, I could feel my brain rejecting what it just saw. I closed my eyes, trying to erase what I had just seen, and I can’t even describe the deep, disturbed feeling I felt. Maybe you felt it, too.

Then I woke up Friday morning, and the first headline I saw read: “At least eight killed and multiple others injured in shooting at FedEx facility near Indianapolis International Airport.” Another mass shooting.

This isn’t normal. The brain can’t process nonstop headlines and videos of murder and death and injustice and violence and chaos and crying and grieving. It’s just entirely too much.

Two weeks before my seventh birthday, Columbine took place. In the two-plus decades since then, Columbine has become just another name in the long list of public mass shootings. You could really torture yourself trying to think of and name all the mass shootings in America over the last 20 years.

The same goes for police violence against and murdering of minorities. Just think back to Rodney King being savagely attacked by police in 1991, and it was among the first incidents recorded on camera for the world to see. In the 30 years since then, how many other brown and black men and women have been beaten, abused, and outright murdered by police? And how many of those murders have you seen on camera? Again, the list is long, and you know too many of the names.

Do you ever wonder, is this really what the rest of our lives will be like? Do you really want to live out your days oscillating between headlines of massacre shootings and police murdering the public?

Much like COVID-19, we don’t know the long-term mental health impacts of continuously being inundated with murder after murder after murder after murder after murder after murder after murder after murder — many of them recorded and viewed by millions. And, also like COVID-19, it almost seems inevitable that we’ll all one day have our own mass shooting or police brutality story.

“Yeah, I was at the WalMart earlier that day, but got out before the shooter showed up.”

“My cousin was killed by police during a traffic stop last week.”

“It’s been a tough week for our daughter. Her teacher was shot and murdered in the classroom last week.”

How sick and disturbing is that? What’s more disturbing is that many of us seem to have just accepted our new reality without ever wondering how we got here or how we get out.

Put simply, I’m at the end of my rope with this shit. I am sick and tired of police murdering the public and then city officials urging peace and calm. I am sick and tired of police acting as warriors instead of guardians of their community. I am sick and tired of no damn justice being served against bad cops or crooked politicians and lobbyists who make buying a gun easier than voting.

As a country, we’re not unique in our sins, as poignantly put by Eddie Glaude.

The time for change has come and is in fact long overdue. Maybe we need a nationwide strike where employees refuse to go to work until gun laws are changed and police reform is passed. If your employer wants to punish you for that, let them show their true colors.

I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that you’re probably as fed up and sick as I am. And I bet you also know a lot of people who feel the same way.

So we need to unite, simply as humans. We might disagree on everything politically up and down, but we can agree that we should each be able to go to the grocery store, the movie theatre or school without the validated fear of being murdered. We can agree that police misconduct is out of control in this country, is a rampant issue, and is the result of a poisoned tree, not just a few bad applies, with deep roots in white supremacy and oppression of minorities.

I’m asking that you don’t just ‘move on’ from this week, only to re-live more massacre murders and police killings next week. Do not just simply accept the chaotic and insane reality you’ve been living. Decide right here and now that you’re done accepting this as your American reality. That you will scream for change until your last breath, just to make sure that this current hellish reality isn’t the future for us or those who come after.

We can be better. We must be better. The time for change is right now. Now. NOW.

Are you with me? #NoMoreAmericanTrauma

-ZM