I don't usually cover the local murder beat for various reasons. However, the visual presentation of the Timothy Barbour vigil by freelance photgrapher Abdul Sharif was particularly moving. Barbour, 26, a father of three, was shot and killed last Saturday when he intervened to stop a fight on a TARC bus.
The C-J's Jessie Halladay reported yesterday that TARC officials are paying for Barbour's funeral. On Sunday, police arrested a suspect, 22-year-old Apollo Avery on charges of murder, first-degree assault and several counts of wanton endangerment.
From JPG Mag:
What would you do if you were headed home on the bus after a hard day of work and you noticed a man using foul language and becoming physically aggressive towards a group of teenage girls? Would you sit back and do nothing while letting the situation continue? Or would you step up and put a stop to the harassment you see taking place?...
Timothy's actions more than likely saved the life of one if not all of the teenage girls involved in that heated argument. But, unfortunately, his heroic actions led to the end of his own life.
The question from Sharif's photo essay is on the forefront of many minds. The fact that Barbour's heroism was met with a bullet secures and augments for many the Hobbesian feeling of helplessness and lawlessness in pockets of West Louisville. Better to mind your own business, lock your doors, and look the other way. Leave the death and the dying to the police, the media and the activists.
I see it different.
The Barbour shooting further illustrates there's a choice to be made in black communities locked in the forgotten American inner-city. It is not a simple one, but it is there nonetheless. It is a choice Barbour made with his life. His sacrifice is an activism that is priceless. We can let the drugs, the criminals, or 'the Game' consume our neighborhoods or we can fight back. The choice is staring us in the face.