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The Patrick Hutchinson Photo

By Carol Keegan

PROMPT — I am grateful for ...

Last night on my TV screen, this morning in my paper, I see you saving the life of a far-right demonstrator whom you generously describe as “up to no good.” He'd collapsed on some stairs near a group of BLM protesters and you and your four friends swooped down on him, Rescuing him from the future blows the crowd would surely inflict on him.

Who are you, Patrick Hutchinson? How did your personal code of morality become so richly complex? You could hold two conflicting desires in your heart-mind: you could feel this man's primary hatred of black lives like yours and still know you should intervene to save that one human life.

The white supremacist you saved looks dazed in the photo that spun out across the globe in an hour or two. Maybe dazed because of the blows to his head, or dazed by the speed of events. But I like to think he was baffled that four black men were shielding him from the consequences of his own racist words.

I see him all too conscious in the fireman's hold you used to rescue him from the predictable escalation of the crowd's growing animosity toward him. I can't know, but I want to know, how he could make sense of being saved from certain death by the very object of his racism.

What does he see, peering at that photo of his battered body safe on his alleged enemy's strong shoulder? Somehow I doubt he enjoys the ethical spaciousness of a mind like yours. In a lifetime, he might never reconcile his intentions with his survival that night.

Your team brought him to the nearest policeman, then went back into the protesting crowd. Intent on safeguarding this protest from any senseless killing.

* photo credit:


Carol Keegan is a retired social science researcher living in Rockville, Maryland. This piece was generated last night in her writing group, Creative Edge, in Fair Oaks, CA.


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