The video of Ahmaud Arbery's final moments leaves many to ask when black people will, finally, be able to enjoy, without worry or trepidation, the simple freedoms we all have a right to, such as relaxing in our homes, worshipping in peace, or jogging.
History tells us that day has not come.
In 2018, Botham Jean was shot and killed by an off-duty Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, after she entered Jean's apartment. Guyger said she thought the apartment was hers and that Jean, an unarmed 26-year-old black man, was a burglar.
In 2015, nine African Americans in Charleston, S.C., were fatally shot, after welcoming 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof into their church Bible study.
And this year, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, another unarmed black man, was shot and killed while jogging near Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23.
On Thursday, two men – Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis, 34 – were arrested and charged with murder. The elder McMichael, a former law enforcement officer, told police he thought Arbery was a burglary suspect. Arbery died of shotgun wounds.
Voiceless, guiltless, and unarmed, he became one more grim hashtag.
Cellphone video shows Arbery approaching a parked pickup truck. Two white men – one with a shotgun – stood aloft in the flatbed. They chased Arbery. When the men encountered each other, a fight ensued. Arbery and Travis McMichael struggled for control of the shotgun.
Shots were fired. Arbery tried to flee, clearly wounded. Before the video ends, it shows Arbery buckling and hitting the ground.
Another unarmed black man dead.
The details of Mr. Arbery’s killing — and the fact that no one had been arrested three months after it happened – sparked a wave of outrage nationwide.
The McMichaels were arrested and charged two days after the graphic footage became public.
“Justice for Gregory and Travis McMichael” support groups flooded social media, their following now totals 67,000 members. Some question why Arbery didn't stop and answer when Gregory and Travis McMichael told him to stop because they wanted to talk to him.
Really? Since when did being white become a badge of authority?
Friday was Arbery's birthday. To celebrate, supporters nationwide ran or walked 2.23 miles - symbolizing Feb. 23, the day Arbery died.
Sherry Sheppard, an avid local runner and Facebook friend of one of my colleagues, joined the run to show solidarity with Arbery and his family.
Sheppard, 39, usually uses her morning run to sweat out the stress. On Friday, she became overcome with sadness.
“Getting physically ill after my run was not what I expected,” Sheppard said after a deep sigh. “My emotions took over at the grief Arbery's family is going through.”
As a white woman, Sheppard tried to put herself inside the mind of a young black male who knew he was about to die.
Admittedly, she could not. But her frustration embodied what many black people have felt for hundreds of years – and feel right now. We've observed, up close and from afar, countless such tragedies. We've wondered when they would end.
In this case, history did what it always does when horrors go unchecked: It repeated itself.
Ahmaud Arbery is dead, because he happened to be in a place where a white man didn’t think he belonged.