A few weeks ago, Timothy Caughman was killed, stabbed to death by a hateful man who traveled to New York City to kill black men. Mr. Caughman managed to make it to the police station after he was attacked, but at 66, he passed away. This happened in his neighborhood.
A small memorial went up almost immediately, followed by this larger one. I walk past it every day and each time, there are more flowers. People keep the candles burning, they wipe the rain water off the top of the box; they say prayers and bless themselves as they pass. There are nothing but kind words spoken about Mr. Caughman.
According to reports, I was at that corner just minutes before Mr. Caughman was attacked, though I did not see or hear anything. When I woke up the next morning and read an alert, there were no details other than that a man was stabbed. I thought to myself, “thank god I wasn’t there at that second.” But now, reading about the attacker, James Harris Jackson, who was motivated strictly by race, something has been haunting me. Surveillance videos show Jackson following another man, but according to police, he didn’t act because there were people around. If I had been there a few minutes later, would it have deterred him? Would he have spared Mr. Caughman’s life to avoid witnesses? Or would I have been in danger too? I won’t ever know the answers.
I hope that Mr. Caughman is somewhere better, somewhere where diversity is celebrated. I hope that his family can heal. May he rest in peace.