Apr 4, 2014 orenda commented on The Man Seattle Police Killed Yesterday: 26-Year-Old Chef Cody Spafford.
Sloggers, I am appalled. At least by many of you.

I suppose it should be now no great surprise to me how quick we can be to dismiss our own humanity in the face of abstract absolutes like "safety" and "crime." You all mock the compassion and Truth of this article - the journalism behind it - as though what's missing is in the details of the violence Cody perpetrated before he was shot. That the only thing worth noting or reporting is what he did wrong.

You're missing the entire goddamn point.

Renee states clearly the purpose of her words are to shed light on a life that mattered dearly to a great many people and mattered, period. No one says he was innocent. But as Cody was human, he had myriad facets; wouldn't you want to be remembered for your brightest - your most polished? - rather than your most horrific mistakes?

You all distance yourselves: not one of these comments mention his name, as though he's not a whole person with marrow and ventricles and family and secrets. He's separate. He's a criminal; he's not you, you write. You are literally hiding yourself. You other Cody, as though we don't all have a desperate, cross-dressing bank robber inside of us, too. Go ahead and argue with me. I dare you. But your four a.m. self in its deepest pits knows I'm right. And you will likely never admit it.

Which is, itself, the greatest tragedy.

Cody was in deeper shit than most knew. But he didn't reach. He couldn't reach. Shame is a powerful force, arguably THE most powerful, and all I read in this article is that it can be lethal. What happened yesterday is what happens when we aren’t ever given enough to tools hack away at it.

And this article? This article is an attempt at shedding light on a beloved human life. It is an attempt to not allow Cody to die in shame because in life he battled shame so thick it ended up killing him. And because, if you've ever met the man or dined at Walrus, Cody was a spectacular human. The kind you feel upon first meeting. So much so, in fact, I remembered Cody over a year after first dining at Walrus. I was serving him this time and he was so seemingly weirded out that I remembered him: "Cody! The oyster shucker!" as I walked up to greet his table. And then I explained that I was sitting through one of the most uncomfortable and seemingly unbearable dining experience with my company the first time I had eaten at Walrus, and that I remembered feeling as though he immediately picked up on it as he continued to carry the rest of our dining experience so awesomely, I left nearly forgetting my unfortunate interpersonal dynamics between me and my fellow diners. I thanked him for making my night, and to this day, I believe he spent the energy because he knew. And he knew, because he was one of the best kinds of humans. The kind that people remember, even in passing, an entire year later. The kind that despite whatever deep and likely unspoken dark well caused him to take the actions he did yesterday, still dared to live life less hidden and more genuinely present than most of us ever will.

None of us are innocent. In our quietest moments, we all know this. It’s why we’re afraid, it’s why we drink too much, it’s why we spend to much, it’s why we hurt people, it’s why we procrastinate, and it’s why we write cold or downright hateful comments on the slog. Cody wasn’t innocent. He would have never pretended to be – I know that, and I have only been a member of the “Nautical Mafia” for six months. I, myself, hardly had the opportunity to know him. But fuck, is he ever loved. So let him be celebrated. Really celebrated and remembered for who he was.

We can back and forth about what criminals are deserving of deadly force and which point and about who is dangerous and what could done about it. It is a crucial and important dialogue, for damn sure. I work full-time as a case manager with homeless men and some of the stories I have heard and witnessed, are downright disgusting. Lest we forget the homeless men stabbed by off-duty firemen a month or so ago? How is it even a question that the people who are paid by all of us in order to protect us be further examined and scrutinized when that ceases to be the case? Some of you commenters astutely point out that he endangered a neighborhood of people when he flipped his car, but there is not one mention of the multiple shots. Multiple shots. Multiple. Shots. If you think that is reasonable or necessary to protect anyone from anything by any means, you need to take examine your own fears.

I read through these comments expecting an onslaught of love and support.
I can only assume that those of you interested in only calculated and critical comments are the very reason Cody couldn’t ask for help. And your unwillingness to own your own humanity has to be the cause for you to so flippantly discredit someone else’s. And fuck, guys, that shit is the root of homophobia and racism and a great deal of other injustice and all the rest of the horrible shit in the world like rape and war and colonialism. And police brutality. It is your perpetuation of a world in which life like Cody’s can be wasted.

Please stop blaring your clear misinterpretations of the article’s raison d’etre. And then go take a long, hard look at yourself. Do it. Do it for Cody. Do it for you. Do it for all of us.
Apr 4, 2014 orenda joined My Stranger Face