From the comfort of my computer and the safety of terra firma I watched the drama unfold in Tulsa, where 25 year-old William Boyd Sturdivant II, perched high on a TV tower watching the powerless police, fire and citizenry below for over 127 hours.
First things first. I am not calling William a weirdo. He’s a man who obviously succumbed to the pressures of life and found himself in a situation he didn’t know how to resolve. But for the grace of God, go I.
The weirdness is more about a society that seems helpless in the face of financial, economic, emotional and human tragedy, and is ill equipped to help the less fortunate in their greatest time of need. William’s story goes way beyond the three inch steel beams that became his refuge in the sky. As with most human tragedies, the media transfixes on the event rather than the person and Sturdivant’s six days on the tower is no different.
What I was happy to see is when William climbed aboard the rescue bucket he wasn’t handcuffed and tossed to the floor. His rescuer patted him on the back as if to say, “It’s going to be okay.” It gives me hope that there are times the authorities recognize situations where a soft hand has more power than a semi-automatic weapon.
Tulsa police spokesman Leland Ashley made the following statement: “Sturdivant was taken to a hospital to be treated for dehydration and was expected to be transferred to a mental health facility for observation.”
For his part, William Sturdivant faces trespassing charges. To the other man in the bucket, police negotiator Tyrone Lynn, I say, “Bravo and well done.”