How much more heartache can we take
Before we wake to hear
That our hearts are numb
To the beats of life
But awake to the beats of hate
How much more can we take?
It is really difficult to shake a person’s hand when it is raised in the air in response to a demand from a police officer. I have been, in the last 96 hours, on an emotional roller coaster. The hours began to tick on a very high note while I was recently in Fayetteville, Arkansas working with our office (MSR Design) on the expansion of the library designed 12 years ago. We had a series of three public meetings in which we unveiled the concept design and explained the underlying reasons for the need. Parallel with this Philando Castile was killed by a policeman in Minnesota and at least five policemen were killed in Dallas.
On the high note I heard loud and clear at these meetings how important the library is to the community and why it helps people of all ages, persuasions and socio-economic status. It is the only neutral, safe place in the city. It treats everyone the same. In fact, as I was walking into the library there was a man also arriving with a T-shirt proclaiming “HILLARY for prison 2016.” This is for sale on Amazon. I cringed when I overheard this same man challenge an Asian person (that he obviously did not know) by saving: “You must be Chinese because you are smiling; ’cause Japs don’t smile. A friend who has been there told me that.” Yet I was held in check by knowing that he was at least polite, was in a library and was carrying an armful of books instead of an AK47. Having just returned from a five week trip to Japan, I was puzzled by what “Japan” did this man’s friend visit. It reminded me of the role that gossip, innuendo and heresy play in forming people’s opinions and believes. I am still pondering how to absorb all of these shocks to my system. But I do feel good about contributing to the betterment of society through my library work.