An Exercise in Empathy

by VanessaVaile

gadflyonthewallblog

Eric Garner protests in Boston

I can’t breathe.

I can’t breathe.

I can’t…

I awoke abruptly from a troubled sleep and I literally could. Not. Breathe.

I stumbled out of bed and into the hall, banging into the walls, rushing to the bathroom commode.

I looked down into that porcelain abyss hoping and dreading the spasms that soon rocked my stomach.
It all came pouring out of me like I was a burst balloon.

After a brief eternity it was over.

My lungs sucked in air. My mind was awake.

I shivered realizing the video was still replaying in my head. The video of Eric Garner’s death.

I had watched that video with the same morbid curiosity as everyone else.

A heavyset black man choked to death by police as he screamed “I can’t breathe,” over and over again.

But now, merely a week after the police officer who killed Michael Brown was let…

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