THE HERO OF SOUTH CAROLINA
I don’t know if I could have done it — stood there recording as a man was shot in the back by a police officer while he was running away. Feidin Santana was just walking to work like he did on every other day when he saw a cop — Michael Slager — on top of a black man — Walter Scott. Feidin heard the taser, kept his cellphone aimed at the two men as Walter ran, as eight shots rang out, as Walter Scott fell, and as Michael Slager then walked over to the man who was bleeding to death and handcuffed him. That video changed everything. There was no one else around. If not for Feidin’s courage, the only narrative would have been Michael Slager’s…that he feared for his life, that he administered CPR.
Walter Scott’s mother said that God put Feidin there so the truth would come out. God made a good choice. This 23 year old man, a Dominican immigrant, has said he was afraid and is still afraid. But he didn’t hesitate to do the right thing. He’s admitted that after it was over, when fear really washed over him, he almost deleted the video. But he didn’t. He’s said, “Everyone can be a hero. You just have to try to do the right thing.” We all like to think we would be brave, that we would do the right thing in a frightening situation like that. But fear is powerful; it paralyzes us. We can all learn something from this young man.
There are so many enduring elements to this story, a story that ended in the murder of an unarmed man. But one of those elements is a lesson in courage — in calmly and boldly doing the right thing, because if just one person does, it changes everything.
(photo: Jonathan Capehart, The Washington Post)