Letters for January 12 

Readers sound off on goats, our movie reviews, and Berkeley libraries.

Page 5 of 6

I rode up to 73rd, my best friend and her friend in my car. The music was loud but not so loud we couldn't hear the sirens. And we were distracted, but not so distracted we didn't see the rows of squad cars blocking 73rd to traffic coming from our direction. We began to survey the scene at almost the exact same moment I got a text from my sister. "Don't go to the east! Guy killed cops, still on loose." The day would be filled with small details about Lovelle Mixon, a young parolee who would kill four police officers before being fatally wounded by a SWAT officer. The ironic twist couldn't be a sharper blade: Pat Gonzales, the SWAT officer who killed Mixon, was supposed to have been demoted to a desk job after he killed Gary "Young Gary" King Jr. Not to mention Joshua Russell, 19, who he killed in March 2002; and Amir Rollins, 17, who was shot and critically wounded. In fact, all you have to type in Google is "Pat," and the very first suggestion, even before the celebrity "Patrick Swayze," is "Pat Gonzales Oakland police." Obviously, his reputation precedes him. And so, on March 21, 2009, a new example was born and a new way to analyze was adopted, at least in my life. I could no longer look at situations as simply as they had been given to me before; it wasn't simply "right" or "wrong." What was right for Oscar Grant's family was not necessarily right for Mehserle's, just as what was right for me was not always right for others. While I have never been able to respect the police as the institution of brutality that they defend and encourage, I also value all life, regardless of what badge or uniform that life was wearing in its final moments. And while valuing all life is not what has been shown to me, my picture of justice isn't based upon what has been given to or taken from me, but rather what should have been there all along. Everyone deserves the quality of life to live freely, speak freely, dream freely, and provide for theirs. On January 1, 2009, Oscar Grant was denied for the last time what he and every other being rightfully deserves, and as such, I can encourage all of us to live every day with kindness in our hearts and justice on our minds, because if not, we may forget how many have died and will die so that we could have the privilege of arguing about what justice is and is not. Of all the things my tongue will undoubtedly skim and scan that justice is, I know one common denominator through all the events witnessed recently, and that is the principle that justice, as long as it is for all, cannot be for just us.

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