A terrible tragedy happened in my neighbourhood in the early hours of this morning. A drive-by shooting. Two young women, dead. A car guard, shot in the head and critical. And in fact I have just read right this minute, one more person has died.
Three dead. Numerous injured.
A lot of trauma.
Alcohol. A fight. Nobody is quite sure what happened. But there were men who promised ‘they would be back.’
And who indeed came back. With guns.
Earlier in the evening I had been in that same restaurant. We’d been for a walk, watched the sun set on 2019 and decided on an impromptu cocktail.
Poppy’s is one of our favourite Melville hang outs. It’s diverse. It’s fabulous. It’s vibey. The owner is divine and so are the staff.
The service was a little slow. Of course it was, New Year’s Eve and all. We didn’t mind. Although we did ask our waiter to speed up our pizza order.
‘I’m not qualified for this,’ he said, laughing while frantically trying to find our pizza. He was just helping out for the night.
We all laughed.
He really wasn’t qualified for what happened a few hours later.
Guns. Bullets. Death.
I can’t stop thinking about him.
I also cannot stop thinking about the people who lost their lives. And their families, and how nothing will ever be the same for them. I can’t stop thinking about the car guard who escorted us to our car. Was he the guard shot in the head? I don’t even know how to find out. I don’t even know his name.
By the time the shooting happened, and I cannot get my head around typing those words, my friends and I were all tucked into bed. We only heard about it this morning. In shock I messaged whoever I could, wept a little, walked with my dog, laid a few flowers at the restaurant that is now closed for police investigations and chatted to a few locals.
MY FUCKING GOD.
Murder is terrible is terrible is terrible and please let the police find these murderers and let there be justice.
But something else has been uncovered here.
Rather than unifying and coming together in this awful tragedy, rather than taking flowers or holding a vigil, rather than being kind and compassionate and asking the name of the car guard who was shot, or the names of the women who died, or is there anything any of us can do, there has been a lot of finger pointing.
Ugly, unnecessary racist finger pointing.
Because the owner of the restaurant is a coloured woman. And she is held to different standards. White owners can have noisy restaurants. Coloured owners can not. White owners can have drive by shootings. Coloured owners can not.
At least not in my lovely suburb which pretends to be so diverse.
I am so ashamed and angry right now. And I know that for 2020 the one thing I cannot tolerate, and refuse to tolerate, is racism.
It’s time to call out the bullshit. To call out the criminals. And to call out the racists.
And to all stand together for peace and unity.
If we want any kind of future.
Happy 2020. Let’s do what we can.