How well our blessed mother understands the pain of parents mourning the death of their child! On Monday October 27th, we witnessed yet another black family who mourned the death of their son at the hands of Philadelphia police. Walter Wallace’s mother had called for an ambulance to assist her emotionally disturbed son; however, the police arrived first and shot Wallace fourteen times after he failed to drop what police believed was a knife. Stating that they sought justice but did not seek murder charges against the police offices, the family asked that protesters not commit violence in their son’s name.
As we move through this month of remembering the dead and those who mourn, we can include the Wallace family in our prayers. We can also support an examination and reformation of policing and the criminal Justice system. As demonstrated by far too many instances, long- standing racial inequities must be addressed. In addition, police training, equipment and procedures must also be addressed. Since police are primarily trained to deter or investigate crime, little training is devoted to dealing with emotionally disturbed persons. Some communities have achieved considerable success by dispatching mental health workers as first responders to such situations with police providing backup if needed. Let us give our attention and prayerful support to those who work for peace and justice in our communities.