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Each Monday, Tommy Tomlinson delivers thoughtful commentary on an important topic in the news. Through these perspectives, he seeks to find common ground that leads to deeper understanding of complex issues and that helps people relate to what others are feeling, even if they don’t agree.

What Have You Learned Two Years After The Keith Scott Shooting?

Jeff Cravotta

Two years ago Thursday, Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer. That shooting and the days of protests after his death, are seared into Charlotte’s collective memory. Or are they? 

It’s been two years since the Keith Lamont Scott shooting. Two years since the protests in the streets. Two years since those tense and troubling moments that aired all over the world. Two years since Charlotte changed forever.


An anniversary is a time to look back. So look back and ask yourself what you learned over the last 730 days.

Did you ever have a conversation with someone who saw that moment differently than you? Did you work through your thoughts and emotions with anyone who came at it from another angle? Did you hold your prejudices up to the fire, and see what burned away? Did you look for common ground?

Have you tried to understand the history of Charlotte through a different prism, one where some neighborhoods suffered and sacrificed so that others could grow? Have you thought about the Charlotte Way, where everything is done with quiet civility, as a massive rug we’ve spent decades sweeping our dirt under? Have you wondered if the Charlotte Way is the right way? Have you dared to look under the rug?

Could you put yourself in a police officer’s shoes and think about making a life-or-death decision in seconds? Could you put yourself in a police chief’s shoes and figure out if there’s a way to train officers so fewer conflicts end with gunshots? Could you put yourself in a young black man or woman’s shoes and understand why not everybody sees the police as heroes? Could you get out of your own head long enough to live in somebody else’s?

Would you spend time in a part of town that scared you, if it meant you could learn about the people who live there? Would you talk to the person next to you at the DMV, even if their hair and clothes were different than yours? Would you listen long and hard enough to hear what somebody else is saying, and not just how they say it? Would it help if you learned, deep down, that we’re more alike than different?

Are we any closer to really knowing one another than we were two years ago? Are we willing to let more days slide by without working for real change? Are we convinced that something like this won’t happen again? Are we sure about that?

In the end, did all those things that happened two years ago end up mattering to you?

Do you think sorting out all those things is important to the future of this city?

Had you forgotten it even happened before I brought it up?

Tommy Tomlinson’s commentaries represent his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to his commentaries in the comments below or email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org.

Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.