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ANALYSIS | The names and places that define a week marked by "one tragedy after another" in the United States

2023-01-27T17:33:56.758Z


Tire Nichols, Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay: three new entries for America's tragedy list added this week.


The figures that illustrate the tragedy of the shootings in the United States 3:33

(CNN) --

Tire Nichols, Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay: Three new entries in America's growing list of tragedies emerged from obscurity into the media spotlight and exemplified societal currents of violence. , injustice and pain.

A week that began with the country shocked by the new mass shootings, ends with the publication of a video that captures the beating of another black man who was stopped by the police at a traffic control and who ended up dead.

  • "My son's nose was like one": Tire Nichols' mother tells how she found her son

Nichols, a 29-year-old from Memphis, became the latest fatality suddenly presented before millions of Americans.

On Thursday, a grand jury indicted manslaughter and other charges against the five fired police officers involved in his arrest.

With tensions rising in Tennessee and beyond, the city of Memphis will release video of the arrest Friday night.

It will be an ordeal.

"I've seen the video. [...] You'll see it too. In a word, it's absolutely appalling," said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch.

In California, meanwhile, bereaved families are processing the horror that suddenly throws a town or city into the spotlight and epitomizes an epidemic of lone attackers unleashing massacres in everyday places where people trusted to be safe.

Tire Nichols' mother recounts how she found out about her son's arrest 2:16

On Saturday night, in a Monterey Park dance hall, 11 people, ranging in age from 57 to 76, were killed while celebrating Lunar New Year.

Incredibly, on Monday it happened again.

Seven innocent people died in a mass shooting that took place at a mushroom farm and near a trucking facility.

The community's sense of peace was "destroyed by senseless death," California Assemblyman Marc Berman declared.

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Aside from these brutal and sudden needless deaths, this week's shootings and the aftermath of the loss of another young man are unrelated.

But there is a sense that the rituals of anger and mourning after such horrors are familiar.

A new set of family members is drawn into the interviews and press conferences, as well as the political fights that tragic incidents often spark.

They are like new characters reciting the same lines of anger and disbelief, in an endless cycle of loss.

The trauma afflicting California and Memphis this week also affects areas where a polarized political system has repeatedly failed to move forward to prevent such tragedies from occurring.

The rituals that follow mass shootings – politicians expressing condolences, liberals demanding gun reform, and conservatives deflecting blame for lax gun laws – almost always lead to little being done. .

An equally politicized debate on police reform is futile after almost every incident of apparent brutality.

Following a spate of police deaths of black youth, a bipartisan attempt to address police conduct failed in 2021, and has little chance of resurfacing in a now divided Washington.

Cartoony discussions about whether Democrats want to "defund" the police -- many don't -- and heated gun politics paralyze any hope of change.

Memphis Police Chief Gives Details on Tire Nichols Arrest 4:50

Another meeting marked by tragedy

The Tire Nichols tragedy is compounded by its recurring elements.

He was taken to hospital after his arrest on January 7 and died three days later from injuries sustained when he was arrested.

After his family and his lawyers met with police and viewed videos of his arrest, the story made local and then national headlines.

All of this led to the indictments on Thursday.

Nichols' face is now smiling in photos on all television channels and news websites.

Her name has joined those of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright and countless others who, in their deaths, rose to fame and became exemplars in America's fight against police brutality.

Others, like Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin, in general, have become victims of social and individual racism.

These names are important to remember, both for the people they were and for the unresolved national grief they represent.

Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, leading civil rights and wrongful death attorneys, made this point in a statement issued Thursday on behalf of the Nichols family.

"This young man lost his life in a particularly disgusting way that points to the desperate need for change and reform to ensure this violence stops occurring during low threat proceedings, as in this case, a traffic stop," they wrote.

"This tragedy meets the absolute definition of needless death. The lives of Tire's loved ones were forever changed when he was beaten to death, and we will continue to speak his name until justice is served."

It is disturbing, however, that millions of Americans who never knew Nichols only know him now in death.

It is a dehumanizing tendency for victims to become metaphors for social problems or political failures and for their lives to be embedded into established narratives when they can no longer write their own stories.

That is why an anecdote about Nichols – like how he loved to go out in the evenings to take snapshots of the sunsets – is so important to give him back a part of his humanity.

The release of the video this Friday, which has officials since President Joe Biden warning against backlash, will offer new insight into Nichols' death.

As will the prosecution of the five ex-agents.

The trial is also likely to expose the context of a difficult law and order and crime situation in Memphis, intense police tactics, and how the conditions set off a chain of events in which a routine traffic stop could end so horribly .

Unlike many recent incidents in which black youth have been disproportionately affected in encounters with white police officers, the Memphis case involved five black officers.

The charges that ex-police officers will face for the death of Tire Nichols 4:20

But Bakari Sellers, a political analyst for CNN, said the incident showed that the criminal justice system was failing.

"Many of us have not necessarily criticized the race of the agent, whether white, black, Hispanic or otherwise, but the system. And what we are seeing time and time again, time and time again, is a system that perpetuates violence against people of color," Sellers said on CNN's "The Situation Room."

Each of the five officers has been charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated unlawful imprisonment, two counts of officer misconduct and one count of officer repression.

Although each played a different role in the incident, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy stated, "The actions of all of them caused the death of Tire Nichols, and they are all responsible."

But lawyers for two of the men cautioned that not all the facts of the case have yet been established.

"Nobody wanted Tire Nichols to die that night," said William Massey, who represents Emmitt Martin, one of the former agents.

"Justice means following the law and the law says no one is guilty until a jury says they are guilty."

More US cities suffer tragedies from mass shootings

Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, in California, now join the list of cities whose notoriety is burned into the American conscience by mass shootings, such as Columbine, Newtown, Uvalde, Parkland, San Bernardino and many others. to count them.

Shooting in Half Moon Bay, California: this is how the suspect was arrested 0:34

All the dead represent crushing individual tragedy, a family torn apart, and future memories erased by a gun-wielding assailant.

Valentino Marcos Alvero, 68, expected to retire within a year and return to the Philippines, but in the meantime he loved "dancing around the house," said his son Val Anthony Alvero.

Mymy Nhan, 65, also loved to dance and for years she attended the Monterey Park ballroom where she died, according to a statement from her family.

As mass shootings cast a pall of fear and loss over California, there was a silver lining in the form of 26-year-old Brandon Tsay, who wrestled the Monterey Bay shooter at another dance studio in Alhambra, eventually disarming him and potentially preventing a even greater slaughter.

Biden called Tsay on Thursday to thank her for "taking such incredible action in the face of danger."

"I don't think you understand how much you've done for so many people who won't even know you," the president told a modest Tsay, according to a transcript.

"You are America, my friend. You are who we are. [...] America has never backed down, we have always stepped forward, thanks to people like you."

Overall, though, it was a harrowing week where the pain never seemed to stop, best summed up in a tweet by Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

"One tragedy after the other".

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Source: cnnespanol

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