June 26, 2017
By now, everyone has heard about the shooting of Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, by a police officer in St. Paul. By now, everyone knows the outcome of the trial: Officer Yanez was acquitted of all charges on June 16, 2017. He was also fired the same day of the acquittal.
But this blog post isn’t about that. It is about a mother who witnessed and video taped the event. It is about the child who was in the back seat of the car. It is about the child who was silent during the entire incident. It about a child, Dae’Anna, who was in survival mode at the age of four.
Diamond Reynold’s, Dae’Anna’s mother, said that she had taught her daughter to remain calm. In a September 10, 2016 article in the Washington Post, Eli Saslow wrote, “Diamond had taught her daughter to react that way. They had been practicing what Diamond called “survival skills” since before her daughter turned 2. Duck at the sound of gunfire. Make yourself small whenever you feel threatened. Never touch guns or needles. The more scared you are, the less noise you should make. These were some of the lessons Diamond had passed along from one generation to the next, and her daughter had learned them well.”
When I was 4, in 1968, the lessons being taught to me were something akin to: say please and thank you, don’t talk to strangers, wash your hands, be nice to your friends, respect your elders. The biggest risk that I remember was possible razor blades in apples at Halloween. There was no talk of ducking to the sound of gunfire and making yourself small. There was no talk about guns or needles.
No one should have to endure what DaeAnna and her mother, Diamond, did on that day in July. No one should witness a loved one being shot and killed, especially a child. I wonder what the long term effects of witnessing such a brutal shooting will have on DaeAnna? Only time will tell.