I abhor violence. It is the tool of last resort, the proof that we have failed in so many other ways. It’s almost never necessary, but it’s also usually the first thing that the average white American threatens people with the moment they want something. Don’t shake your head, you know damn well it’s true. “You can take it from my cold, dead hands!”, “Don’t tread on me!”, or show up to “peaceful” protests armed to the teeth in your tacticool gear. For the last 3-4 months, my feed has been filled with violent threats because the richest country on Earth couldn’t handle staying home, despite all our resources. So much violence threatened for such a tiny amount of time.
And… Violence always does more damage than you expect. Always.
It’s a terrible thing when peaceful people can no longer remain so. It takes a lot to push the peaceful ones over the edge, to take the ones who are law abiding and push them to the point where they can’t take it any more. It’s what happens when peaceful protest is ignored for such a long time. An actual long time, not weeks or months like the Quarantine.
It didn’t take one death, or two, but hundreds. Thousands and tens of thousands of injustices. This sort of thing has been going on since the founding of our country, back when it was legal. We pretended things were getting better, that this isn’t how it is in the US anymore. Racism was mostly dead by the late 90’s, early 2000’s, you know? All “that stuff” didn’t happen anymore, except maybe in the stereotypical deep South, we said.
And then came a Black president, and we got to see all the people that had been hiding in plain sight, the ones telling jokes that were always prefaced with, “I am not a racist, but…”, except they were doing more than telling jokes. And that was OK, apparently. It wasn’t actually about racism, they said.
And then we had cell phones with their video cameras and the Internet, which gave people a chance to show us exactly what we’d been saying didn’t happen anymore. Proof right in front of our eyes. But that was still OK, apparently. It wasn’t actually racism, they said.
And then all those in hiding got the president they wanted, the one that never met a racist he didn’t like. But, they say, “He isn’t racist. It’s not about racism.” And so it was OK, apparently.
And all the peaceful protesting continued to fall on deaf ears. It was un-American, they said. And that was OK with everybody, apparently.
Until it wasn’t, not any more.