Tag Archive for: George Floyd

From My Point of View by Penny Manson

Penny Manson

Penny Manson has become a dear friend since we worked together on the Sisters in Crime Capitol Crimes Chapter’s Killer Workshop. Penny is bright, articulate, funny, talented, and exactly the kind of person you would want to be at your side in any situation. At a Zoom meeting where our friend Carla Damron spoke about her new novel that deals with human trafficking and the need to tackle social issues in fiction, Penny expressed how she recently felt while attending Bouchercon in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were moved by her words and encouraged her to write them down. That’s exactly what she has done. Please take the time to read her important message. Thank you, Penny, for sharing with us. — Paula Gail Benson

From My Point of View by Penny Manson

I attended Bouchercon this year in Minneapolis Minnesota. While many people took pictures with the Mary Tyler Moore statue flinging their hats into the air in the iconic pose most of us watched on TV while growing up, I went to George Floyd Square. When I was younger, I watched Mary Tyler Moore too. What happened on May 25, 2020, came long after that show was on the air nevertheless, the episode was familiar.

I didn’t have transportation of my own and I admit I might not have made it to the square if not for taking the time to visit an Army buddy. Jeri and I went through basic training in another life and I love her dearly. If I was ever in danger, I would want her by my side. As we looked at the mural, brown eyes met blue, and she told me she’d purchased a gun for protection during the days following the George Floyd killing. They lived close enough to the square that if the city erupted in violence, there was fear of getting caught in the cross-hairs. Never before had she ever considered people might want to harm her just because she was white.

Photo by Penny Manson

Most people of color in America were saddened and outraged by what happened to George Floyd, but not all that surprised. For many, it has felt like open season on us for a very long time. I felt unbelievably moved and sad as I looked at the mural that stood vigil over the square. Then I looked at the light fingers intertwined with mine. I thought of the Emily Dickinson poem, “Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul…” Isn’t it amazing how it’s crap that makes things grow? The last Bouchercon I attended was in Dallas in 2019. The makeup of the panels is more diverse now. The look of the authors whose books were nominated for awards has changed. When George Floyd lay, his neck squeezed shut underneath the knee of that officer, not just the Black community was impacted, we all felt the ripples.

I hope we can build a better world from the lessons we have learned. Change is happening, slow but sure, and I believe we’re “gonna make it after all.” I think I’ll go outside and throw my hat in the air.

Photo by Lonnie Paulson

Breaking the Code of Silence—by T.K. Thorne

Writer, humanist,
          dog-mom, horse servant and cat-slave,
       Lover of solitude
          and the company of good friends,
        New places, new ideas
           and old wisdom.

We are living History, a moment of angst and hope, of isolation and involvement, a time to look deep.

In the beginning of my novel, House of Rose,
my police officer heroine shoots a man in the back. I deliberately
placed Rose in that situation, because it put her in trauma, and that is
how character is built. I wanted readers to experience that from her
perspective, to be uncomfortable. Having to pull the trigger is not a
comfortable place. I am a former police officer, and, like my fellows, I
always dreaded having to make such a decision and having to live with
it—right or wrong.

My fictional shooting is a circumstance very far from the blatant
lynching of George Floyd, which—along with a dark cloud of other racial
encounters and shootings—have stained the badge that so many wear
proudly and with honor. For the first time in my memory, law enforcement
officers have broken their “code of silence” and stepped forward to
voice their outrage, some to walk and pray with protesters.

I am proud of those voices, but I understand they do not make black people feel safe.

I am not black and not trying to imply I understand what it feels
like to be, but I am listening and trying to imagine that and to relate
it to my own experiences. I am Jewish.

Recently, I watched a documentary on the growth of anti-Semitism in
the world, including the U.S., and it awoke in me something that I try to ignore in my daily life, an underlying fear of being different
and what might happen to me or those I love because of who I am and
what I believe. The outpouring of sympathy and expressions of horror at
the Tree of Life massacre did not make me feel safe either.

How are we not beyond this? I yearn for there to be no need
for police to have to make awful decisions or even to be armed, only to
perform their highest calling—solving problems, protecting and helping
people. I yearn for soldiers to put down their weapons and say, “Ain’t
gonna study war no more.”

I also research and write about history and know we have moved the
needle significantly from the past, but we have not left the darkness
behind. It is a chasm looming before us. I fear we are on a precipice as
a country and world.

What can I do?

I am a writer, so I am doing what I do—writing about my pain,
confusion, my passion for justice. Sometimes I do that through my
characters, but sometimes I just have to struggle for the words in my
own voice.

T.K. is a retired police captain who writes books,
which, like this blog, roam wherever her interest and imagination take
her.  Want a heads up on news about her writing and adventures (and
receive two free short stories)? Click on image below.  Thanks for
stopping by!