Monday, July 7, 2014

Crossroads of America At the Crossroads

Officer Perry Renn
Saturday night's events were a blow to us all, and it made me sit and take stock and get a little angry about what is happening here.  The Crossroads of America has reached a crossroads.

For the third time in a little over three years and the second time since last fall, an IMPD Officer has sacrificed his life in the line of duty.  On Saturday, it was Perry Renn, a 51-year-old veteran of 22 years on the force.  He and his wife should still be planning their 25th Anniversary today.  Instead, she's planning on burying her hero.

The facts are slowly pouring out, but it's clear that Officer Renn was senselessly gunned down.  The alleged gunman, Major Davis, Jr., lies in Eskenazi Hospital.  The emergency staff there may have saved his life, but, if he recovers, it's now going to be a life likely spent behind bars.  In the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty.  He will have his day in court.

So, we're still left with the whys.  Why is this the third time since January of 2011 that we have lost an officer?  Why is this the eighth time an officer has been shot in a year and a half?  Why have 22 officers been shot at in that time?  Why do we have this culture of violence towards those with a badge?  Why were seven people shot in Broad Ripple on Saturday morning?  Why do people pick up firearms and think they can solve their differences?

Reverend Charles Harrison tweeted out something very poignant last night.  The organizer of the Ten Point Coalition, a great faith-based group doing the kind of work we should praise them for, tweeted:

How you address this problem, I don't know.

This is just one part of the issue.  The problems beyond it are multifaceted, but we can't turn away from the conversation.  We have to keep talking through the pain and through the finger pointing.  There's nothing that we can't solve together.  This is not a Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian issue.  It's an Indianapolis issue.  The violence may not be happening in our neighborhoods, but it's in our city.  Enough is enough.

For now, though, let's get through another funeral of one of our public safety heroes.  Let's make sure that we lay Perry Renn to rest with the honor he deserves given his sacrifice.

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