Adam Toledo is Shot Dead. Age13

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In the middle of the night, on March 29th, Adam Toledo was chased down an alley by an officer who’d been called to the scene by a report of shots fired in the neighborhood.

In a recently released video (April 15th – per request of Chicago’s mayor Lori Lightfoot), Adam was carrying a gun as he runs away from the officer who’s frantically shouting at him to stop.

Adam raced on for a stretch before finally halting.

Careful observers reported that he threw the gun he was carrying over a fence before turning to the officer who was holding a gun pointed at him. I could see Adam putting up his hands. Briefly.

And immediately a shot is fired wounding Adam mortally.

The gun he was carrying was found near him.

What did the officer see that he so quickly fired after Adam turned to face him with his hands up?

I do not know.

But why did you run little brother?

Why?

What were you doing at that hour of the night, with a gun in your hands?

Earlier today, as I drove home and thought of how to approach my writing this piece, I happened to pass by a Boys and Girls Club. There were kids playing out in the yard. Kids your age, exercising, having fun, dreaming of their future.

Kids not running from their lives but embracing it.

Why did you run little brother?

There wasn’t anyone around who could take you under their wing?

There wasn’t anyone who could ask what you were feeling, what you kept to yourself and didn’t want to share? No one?

Why did you run little brother?

An African American family that was interviewed by a reporter of The Wall Street Journal about the shooting, said you had extended your friendship to their son. They thought of you as kind.

Why did you run little brother?

You could’ve stopped but you didn’t.

And now you’re not with us.

Daunte Wright, age 20, didn’t stop either the other day in Minneapolis when he was being handcuffed.

And he’s not with us either.

Adam, I know you can’t hear me, but there are lots of kids your exact age out there that I wish would learn from what happened to you.

Kids who have to stop when the police says stop.

Like all of us have to.

I never met you, Adam, but I wish I had, and so do millions of Americans, of every race and gender.

We won’t know what you could’ve become. But I know you needed someone to hear you out.

Someone to hear you say, ‘I don’t understand, I’m confused. I need guidance, clarity. I need a sense of direction, a sense that it is worthwhile to have faith in my potential. And I’m not going to get that running around in the middle of the night with a gun in my hand. I’m not going to get that running from the police thinking that I can get away with it.’

Adam, I know you can’t hear me, but there are thousands of kids exactly your age out there, all going through the same experiences you did, and failing to reach out to others.

We won’t let this keep happening.

No, we won’t. We’re going to try hard.

We can’t let it happen and call ourselves an exceptional nation.

We can’t let it happen and call ourselves a first rate power.

Something is wrong, Adam. Your death reminds us of it.

We can’t keep killing each other like we do.

Like in Atlanta on March 16th, or in Boulder on March 25th or two days ago in Indianapolis. Or the never ending body count in the South side of Chicago.

I watched the video as you lay dying.

Some newspapers chose not to show it entirely. They had their reasons.

But I looked for it and found it.

And I saw you lying motionless, as the police gathered round you trying to keep you alive.

And I saw the look of horror in your bloodied face, your eyes wide open, desperately clinging to life, as if saying, ‘I can’t believe this, I was just starting out in life and now I’m dying.’

Why did you run, little brother?

Why?

Why did you run from your life?

Oscarvaldes.net