I told my son first thing this morning and watched his young face grow hard. "I thought you were going to tell me we have to put the dog to sleep," he said. (The children's daily worries, with a very old dog.) "I can't believe it, but this is worse."
I told my daughter at the park, where she was playing with her best friend, digging in the cool sand, building a kind of bowl-castle for a ground bee. Her mother and I thought the best friends might help one another cope.
"You remember Phil from the cafeteria?" I said. "Well, last night, he got shot. But the police. And they killed him. He didn't do anything wrong, but they shot him."
Why did they shoot him?" my daughter asked.
"Because he was brown," I said. "Because the police man looked at his dark skin and thought he was scary. He didn't see Mr. Phil, who is so kind. He saw a monster."
They nodded. The friend's mother is reading Ta-Nihisi Coates, and we lived in South Central Los Angeles. "Could she walk home with me?" the other child asked, and the little girls took hands and started walking and I picked up the phone to call the press and do everything I can to best express the totality of the kind, warm, human being that we know.