The events of the last few days have been difficult and emotional ones, with news coming at us at a fast pace as the story has unfolded, with more surely to come. It’s hard to process, hard to know how to think about.
First and foremost, I want to express my deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Officer Natalie Corona. By all accounts, she was a kind person who was dedicated to serving her community. Her senseless and tragic death is a reminder that even in seemingly mundane situations, a police officer is always putting their life on the line, a target for those who have a grudge against the police (if that is indeed what has happened here, as suggested by the letter from the shooter). We all need to be grateful for those who are willing to serve on a police force. (Full disclosure: my grandfather was a NYC street cop).
It is understandable that so much of our focus would be on the loss and sacrifice of Officer Corona. But I want to highlight something else we’ve heard a lot less about: the officers who were working the night of her death. They surrounded the house where the shooter lived for hours. According to the accounts I’ve read, the shooter emerged from the house twice, at least once with a gun. That could have gone very badly for the police. The situation was unpredictable and the lives of those police officers were under a direct threat.
Let us be sure to thank them, too, for getting the situation under control while the rest of us followed the direction to stay inside and avoid the downtown.
Less laudatory was the alert system from UC Davis and from Yolo County. The emails, texts, and phone calls did not arrive until hours after the story had broken on social media. I don’t know what went wrong, but I hope it gets fixed.
Finally, and most controversially, I am saddened by the use of the “blue line” imagery by some current and former council members and at the candlelight vigil. I will assume that many who have used it do not know some of the ways it has been used. I recommend this article for background. The bottom line for me is that this symbology is painful and hurtful for many, at a time when we should all be coming together, and so I urge people to rethink its use.
I imagine that we will be processing this event for a long time, as we figure out what it means for our City as well as for larger issues like gun control and mental health treatment along with racial issues.
Rest in peace, Officer Corona.