I am concerned as all people in the State of North Dakota should be at this moment in time. We have more than a situation at hand; it is a full-blown incident that has exploded out of control.
I was listening to late night talk radio Friday night, and they were talking about soldiers with PTSD and how that happens, and what happens to them in their moments of despair after coming home. What they think about and how they are unable to talk about all the things their minds can never un-see.
My mind drifted toward the shores of the Cannon Ball River in North Dakota and all the things that have happened there over the last 3 months and counting. It occurred to me that these officers are going through a heat of the moment situation, where they do what they do, because that’s what they do. I wonder what they think about when they are in the quiet moments. I wonder what they think about when they get home. Do they see the faces of the elderly, the women, or the children screaming out for mercy? Or, do they see nothing at all? Do they see the blood of the people as it seeps into the ground after being shot with “non-lethal” weapons? Do they see the horses as they jerk in pain from being shot with the same said “non-lethal” weapons? Do they hear the voices of the people rising over the plateaus, drifting on the prairie wind, crying out for love and compassion? Or, do they hear nothing at all?
I wonder about the children who have borne witness to all of this hate. Will they grow up to hate, because that is what they learned? Will they grow up to be violent, because that is what they learned? Will they suffer from traumatic stress to the point of being unable to function as an adult, because their hearts and trust were broken as children?
As a grandmother, I wonder about the elderly and what their last days will be consumed with? Will they let their minds wander to better days that were far and away, or will they be consumed with terror and mistrust of those who were supposed to protect them? Those who were supposed to respect them?
We, the people of the world of 2016, are witness to a tragedy in human history. It’s not about pipelines. It’s about humanity and loving one another, applying the rule of law as it is written, upholding the constitutions of the United States of America and the State of North Dakota. It’s about the inherent rights we all treasure as citizens of America. It’s about the right to be free from brutality and the right to the common needs of life giving water, air, and tillable soil. It’s about the right to be seen and heard as individuals and collective peoples as appropriate to the citizenry of the world.
The events over the last 90 days will haunt us all for many years to come. We the people of North Dakota bear responsibility for what is happening and how it is happening, because we idly stood by and watched it happen. Both sides of the issue. We allowed human beings to be treated like so much cattle to slaughter. Not just the Water Defenders, but law enforcement as well. All of them will suffer for many years on a level much deeper than any of those of us who stood on the side lines in the heat of the moment and did nothing to stop it.