A Week of Thoughts #12

Attempted Murder

The man who shot Ralph Yarl looks like a puppet out of a confederate America play, I imagine. He’s 84 years-old, but who’s really noting it. Ralph Yarl on the other hand is a 16 year-old black boy who was shot in the head, then the arm, in Kansas City on April the 13th. ‘Is’ is right, is the reason I found myself able to say something about it, Ralph Yarl survived. His road to recovery is steep and probable, but I can’t think of anyone of us who’ve gone on to live. Still,

“A major part of Ralph died on Thursday,” his aunt told CNN.

Ralph Yarl is in talks with an attorney and a trauma psychologist. I wonder what he’ll go on to say in the weeks, months, years, decades to come. It’s a weird sort of euphoria to consider it. Looking outside of my window right now, it’s just shy of 9am, so that the sun is colourless and high, and the clouds are pouring down its beams. It’ll have been nearly a week over the 30th anniversary of Stephen Lawrence’s murder when this goes out. There isn’t much I can say anymore and there hasn’t been for ages, yet, there’s always someone else with some other way of putting it, we should all be grateful for that. But Ralph Yarl, whether he decides to talk, go on talking, or let it be, I’m more grateful for his ability to decide. 


There’s a crystal clear lack of patience in helping someone you don’t particularly like; in the waiting and the coaxing, there’s an embargo on tact. When the stakes are high, and when they are not, if you do lose your good samaritan will, it happens quickly– within an hour or so. Then, not only are you willing to stand by and let them do the thing, you might even feel like helping them do the thing. And so you taser them, while they stand on the ledge of a high rise, suicidal. 

This is what the Metropolitan Police did to a man in the early hours of April the 12th, body cams and all. ‘Suicidal man dies after being tasered by Met Police and falling several floors.’ Policing at large is a song about hating people and abusing them– we know which kinds of people especially. And though there’s no information on the man who was tasered off a block of flats in Peckham, this is a safe space for assumptions.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) issued the statement that police officers tried negotiating with the man for over an hour. That is a long time to pretend to care, and a meagre amount to spend trying to save a life. If recklessness will save you the trouble, who cares if it doesn’t pay dividends.

It’s a story with the sort of bizarreness that serves the Met. Everyone goes their separate ways at the end of a good joke at someone else’s expense. Someone’s life becomes a flippant headline, and the Met lives to fight another day, the IOPC will see to that. 

I’ve booked myself off from Friday the 5th-12th, physically (I’m abroad), and mentally (I need to regroup to prevent myself from spouting nonsense). The 12th will be a repost of something that I think you’ll enjoy reading more than once. I will officially be back on Friday the 19th.

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