• Hakim Bellamy

A Living Document

by Hakim Bellamy

It’s rare we consider guns a force of creativity, much less a form of life. Sure, there can be said to be an art to marksmanship or even the fabrication of a firearm. But the mere act of collecting them, in the same way that car purchasing and car crafting differ, is much more buy than build. As American as Stargazy Pie.

Theater, on the other hand, is very much alive…even if not American by birth. I’m not saying it cannot (or has not) been used as a weapon of mass destruction. It has also been more protectionist than generative at times. However, the practice of performing both the world around you as it has been (historical) and the world that is possible (futuristic) has been a “for better or for worse” proposition long before Shakespearean firearms.

What if we lived in a world where the next video gone viral of an officer involved fatality came with a “Choose Your Own Adventure” role play manual that your beloved young man of color could play with his friends? What if playing was practice? What if he could practice with his friends, and a few of his friends were officers? What if they had weapons? Would they need a manual like this?

Would it be a matter of life and death?

Sometimes the ability to walk a life in someone else’s shoes is the difference between coming home alive and coming home at all. For officers and for the average citizen. In a country like Australia, where this is a real live document (See Licensing and Regulation Division – Version 0.1 June 2017) where they rank 51st in firearm-related deaths per 100,000 (a list where we rank 10th) it is interesting to have a policy on performing arts that includes sections on “Historical Re-enactment Groups” and “Loaning of Firearms for Re-enactment purposes.”

Anything that our society deems essential and in the collective good of the population, it creates standards, practices and laws for…at least anything that happens at a relatively regular frequency? Perhaps we can make preventative role play before the next incident as important and collective and predictable as the grief we collectively perform afterwards. Maybe we’ll even eventually find ourselves in the position to do the former so much more than the latter, that we’ll warrant a policy on how to perform that traffic stop. With our without discharge.

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