Tulsa Oklahoma has been through hell before. It’s the place where Black Wall Street was burned to the ground after a Black man was falsely accused of sexual assault. Historians hid the attack for years, insurers refused to pay for the damage, and now, three elders are fighting for justice. But they’re each over 100 years old.
I’m saddened about the racial history of Tulsa. But I’m just as hurt by what happened there this week, when a Black man named Michael Louis killed two doctors, a patient, and a receptionist at a hospital before turning the gun on himself. This wasn’t a crime that was driven by race. Instead, it was driven by rage.
Louis, who legally bought an AR 15 style rifle and a handgun just hours before he started shooting, left behind a note. In it, he said was going to kill the doctor who’d recently performed Louis’s back surgery, and that he’d also kill anyone who got in his way. Louis claimed he was still in pain after the surgery, and he blamed his doctor for that discomfort. The doctor’s name was Preston Phillips, and he was Black, too.
Which means it wasn’t driven by race. It was driven by rage. When patients start killing doctors because they don’t like the outcome of a procedure, that’s rage, and it’s dangerous. Because rage doesn’t allow you to think things through. It doesn’t allow you to weigh the consequences. Rage simply makes you act, and sadly, in this case, it made one Black man take up arms against another, and that hurts. We cannot afford to let our emotions run wild. We cannot afford to have unchecked rage. We cannot afford to have gun laws that do nothing. We must change the laws. We must change how the laws are enforced, and then we have to change our minds.
Photo: Crime Scene Tape By. Brandon Anderson