This was difficult to watch.
But let me say this, the trauma suffered by people of color (POC) at the hands of law enforcement is real and lingering. While video footage has helped to expose the source of this trauma, video footage also now contributes to it.
Every time I see footage of violence against people of color by law enforcement officers (LEOs) the images are indelibly imprinted in my mental, and what I can manage to push to the side or compartmentalize is negated by the constant reminders of violence against black and brown bodies like mine on my social media timelines as the trauma mounts with every view, share, and like.
That being said, trauma has effects. Sometimes those effects present physically, but most of the time the consequences of trauma from what we see manifest in ways we usually don’t see – mentally and emotionally. The same way in which our servicemen and women return home suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) having witnessed unthinkable things, requiring mental health intervention, are the ways in which we must now consider POC and the effects visible, viewable violence induced trauma have on our mental and emotional health.
I don’t know #KorrynGaines and I’m not her doctor, but just from viewing her behavior during this 20 minute exchange I’d say she has suffered tremendous trauma associated with the witness of violence against people who look like her – who look like her children. I’d say her traumatic lived experiences had negative effects on her mental health, requiring treatment that she never had a chance to receive, just like many of our veterans suffering from undiagnosed PTSD.
Police brutality is a public health concern, because it now has the ability to kill us remotely, mentally, even when it may not be physically present in real time. Every time I get news of another killing, I die a little inside. An entire race of people dies a little. If the trauma continues, soon we won’t be able to chart the number of actual police killings for all the invisible deaths suffered slowly in the silence of our mental and the restlessness of our rage.
God help us.