I knew enough to know I didn't want to be there.
My husband and I spent some time in Florida recently and took a drive down Route 1. We saw a myriad of red and blue flashing lights ahead of us as traffic slowed. We were stopped in a line of traffic as we craned our necks trying to catch a glimpse. Traffic started moving so we resigned ourselves to not knowing.
Until a car marked Sheriff drove towards us and then pulled across in front of us and parked. A uniformed officer climbed out and readied an assault rifle, pointing it towards a parking lot on the other side of the street. A parking lot next to the beach.
I just wanted to see the beach. Maybe catch a glimpse of a dolphin slicing through the water. Maybe see a sailboat pass. Instead I witnessed numerous cars and officers doing the same as our new friend.
I am not an assault rifle girl. I'm a nail polish and cotton candy girl. As I watched the scene unfold I did what any girl-who-shouldn't-be-there would do. I ducked under the dash figuring if there was going to be crossfire I wasn't going to be in it.
In the parking lot were numerous officers, some with assault rifles aimed towards the red car and others with big dogs heading towards the red car. As they stormed the red car the officer in front of us jumped back in his car and moved to the parking lot. I barked orders to my husband, "Get me out of here!" He complied, though later admitting to wanting to stay and watch.
I recovered quicker than I thought I would. I've not seen anything like this in person before and was more unnerved by the fact that I've become de-sensitized than I was at what I witnessed.
We see things like this every time we turn on the television for entertainment or news. It's commonplace but it shouldn't be.
We shouldn't be able to simply brush off the bad. It should unnerve us. It should spur us to do good. Instead it's easily forgotten.
I'm glad we left when we did. They later caught the man they were seeking. I'm glad I didn't have to view it through the screen of my windshield. I'm already pretty picky about what I watch on television but you can believe I'm going to be even more so. I don't want to be desensitized. I want the reality of life to shake me.