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Close to Home: Go beyond blame in Andy Lopez case

  • Demonstrators blocking Mendocino Avenue while protesting the death of Andy Lopez. (CONNER JAY / The Press Democrat)

During the past three months, Santa Rosa became the eye of a hurricane in the national news due to the tragic death of Andy Lopez. This relatively unknown town was not in the news because of a great discovery. In fact, it made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Santa Rosa called for justice in the midst of a misfortune that brought attention to many controversial social issues. Various marches took place, in which classes were left empty as students walked out to protest peacefully, while shouting such a broad word as “justice.” People of all social classes, races, genders and ages marched and took a stand, but three questions sparked my interest.

Why is it that our police officers are trained to “shoot to kill”? Why is it that our younger generations yearn for violent entertainment, such as toy guns, to feel happy? Why is it that whenever a lawsuit is filed, as is in this case, the compensation for a lost life is usually millions of dollars?

Everyone has the right to feel how they desire, but the fact is that this tragedy will not be erased with the money that the lawyer of the Lopez family expects to obtain. The pain of family and friends, as well as the rest of the community undoubtedly exceeds the confusion that this tragedy left behind. But money will not erase that pain. It will not unravel the confusion, and it certainly will not revive Andy Lopez.

If there is such a thing as justice, this “solution” does not fall under it. I propose that after a close and transparent investigation of what occurred, such money should instead be put toward constructing a more unified Santa Rosa and preventing further tragedies from occurring.

The First Amendment gives protesters the right to express themselves. While the Second Amendment allows U.S residents the right to bear arms, it also implies that authority figures protecting a community should use them with reason. Nowhere does it state the right to bear toy guns.

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