Ahmaud Arbery was just out for a run…

Who was Ahmaud Arbery? According to the New York Times Mr. Arbery, 25, was a former high school football standout who was living with his mother outside the small city of Brunswick, Georgia. He was shot dead in a suburban neighborhood called Satilla Shores. Friends and family said he liked to stay in good shape, and he was often seen jogging in and around his neighborhood 

On Sunday, Feb. 23, shortly after 1 p.m., Mr. Arbery was killed in a neighborhood just a short run from his home.  Ahmaud Arbery was confronted by a white man and his son. Greg McMichael, 64, and his 34-year-old son. Arbery was chased, hunted down and murdered by the McMichael’s. They were arrested months later.  Months later.

I did not know Ahmaud Arbery. Most of us didn’t and now we certainly won’t have the opportunity to do so in the future. Arbery was only 25 years old. He was filled with possibility and promise that will never be realized.

 Ahmaud Arbery was just out for a run…

A surveillance video showed Mr. Arbery had entered a property under construction in Satilla Shores. The owner of this house which is in the very same neighborhood where Ahmaud Arbery was killed reported no crime. Ahmaud like many other curious people that had entered this property was just looking.

Ahmaud Arbery was just out for a run…

So many times, over the many years of running I have stopped to check out houses under construction. Sometimes even benefitting from a very conveniently located porta potty. A serendipitous happenstance. No one ever seemed to care, approach or suspect any wrongful activity. 

Although I did have an incident one very early summer morning on Cape Cod a few years back. My husband and I were caught snooping around a house under renovation we stopped at after our Saturday morning run.  A very angry neighbor approached us at 7am but her vigilantly behavior seemed fueled more by drugs and alcohol than a serious commitment to neighborhood safety. Her demons quickly and continuously spilled out all over the pavement with her four-letter words spraying like aerosol in our direction poisoning the otherwise pristine July morning.  We stood there wide eyed in our brightly colored running apparel frozen but trying to quietly move along from the hornet’s nest we were caught in. We were wrong. We were trespassing. No doubt about it. Never did I think even for a moment that even if she had called the police as she purported, we were in jeopardy of losing our lives. A reprimand yes. Losing my life, no. I have never had to be fearful of running or doing anything based simply on the color of my skin. 

Ahmaud Arbery was simply out for a run…

Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.

James Baldwin

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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