With Tyre Nichols’ killing, a traumatized America is mourning once again

Michael Sneed: Horrifying murder is becoming our nation’s legacy.

SHARE With Tyre Nichols’ killing, a traumatized America is mourning once again
RowVaughn Wells, the mother of Tyre Nichols, gets in a limousine after her son’s funeral Wenesday in Memphis.

RowVaughn Wells, the mother of Tyre Nichols, gets in a limousine after her son’s funeral Wenesday in Memphis.

AP

I’ve seen a lot of death in my line of work.

Death by accident, suicide, murder; notebook filler in a long newspaper career.

The violence of a story can track you, follow you, and sometimes it finds you again.

In 1967, the grist of everyday street reporting was minus today’s grisly murder by multiplication.

Death was all in a day’s work, oftentimes gory story talk at a beer bar.

Then, in November 1978, an assignment to cover a cult massacre in Jonestown, Guyana, changed the way I looked at the abacus of death.

The sudden sight of more than 900 sun-swollen American bodies scattered in agonizing clumps across a grassy field; who had been lured from California by a madman named Jim Jones and led on a death walk to vats of cyanide laced Kool-Aid, was overwhelming.

So this is death by the numbers, I thought. Numbers so big it required two recounts, jumbo military transport planes to transport the bagged bodies back to America, all together on their last night on earth waiting in a line to kill themselves and their babiesm those who would have mourned their death now dead amongst them.

There are too many mourners in America now. Mass murder is becoming our nation’s legacy.

“I think we have lost our soul, our moral conscience, the value and respect of human life,” says the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina’s Catholic church in the city’s violence-torn Auburn Gresham neighborhood. “And we are all to blame.

“No place is out of bounds anymore; no race is exempt. Man’s inhumanity has now stooped to street level,” he says, referring to the fatal traffic stop in Memphis of 29-year old Tyre Nichols, an African American man beaten to death by Black police officers.

Nichols, a new father, had been pulverized and savaged for not lying on the ground he was already on. Dead in three days, his face pummeled.

Now, Nichols’ incendiary traffic stop might finally green-light national police reform legislation.

“The video of what happened to Tyre Nichols was traumatizing,” says Pfleger, an anti-gun violence priest who has seen his share of murdered children in coffins.

“But the video also symbolizes a broken system,” says Pfleger, whose adopted son was also murdered on the street.

“It can happen in church, a park, even yards away from the safety of your mother’s home calling your mother’s name like Nichols,” he says. “No place is out of bounds.

“The police officers in the Nichols video were acting in brutal gang mentality mode, obsessed with power, dehumanized. Not even looking at a person as a human being. The insanity of using a badge and a gun to do whatever you want and getting away with it.

“It all has to stop.”

Pfleger says the video has traumatized people who have lost children to street violence.

“They told me they couldn’t sleep after watching it, hearing the eerie cries of Nichols’ mother, feeling the rebirth of pain for a child they were losing all over again, bringing back pain and tears, a scab off the womb.

“The immediate action taken in Memphis against the police, whether they be Black or white, was a blueprint for how police officers who do wrong should be addressed,” he says.

“We need federal police reform in this country. Not just state by state. We are one nation. There can’t be two sets of laws in this country.”

Amen.

The Lightfoot hot foot…

Now, it begins: the name-calling.

Known to mix gasoline in her sugar, Mayor Lori Lightfoot just sent a hot foot to mayoral opponent Paul Vallas, who claims his campaign is SURGING!

  • To wit: Livid Lori just released a treatise on Vallas, whom she impolitely refers to as “Privatization Paul” in her disembowelment document dealing with Vallas’ history of education reform.

Will Paul volcanize, vocalize or … just treat Lightfoot like a nettlesome nabob?

A distant TRUMPet?

Oy! Have I just awakened from some bad dream?

Am I no longer former President Donald Trump World’s favorite patriot, the star of his endless bot world pitch for campaign cash to join him in a crusade to make America right again?

No more Trump text in my in box?

No more pretty notes for petty cash?

No more bot love?

Shucks.

Hence, Pence?

Corncob gab! If it’s pundit true “no politician ever arrives by accident in Iowa,” the land of corn and early presidential litmus testing, former Trump veep mate Mike Pence has been reminding us he grew up next to a CORNFIELD!

Or was it in one?

Sneedlings…

Belated condolences to former Illinois film maven Chris Dudley on the death last month of her beloved mother Barbara. No mother could have a better daughter. Saturday birthdays: Boxing champ Oscar de la Hoya, 50, football legend Lawrence Taylor, 64, and singer Alice Cooper, 75. Sunday birthdays: soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, 38, and singer Bobby Brown, 54.

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