Seems a common pastime for a lot of us lately
I lived through the racial riots in ’67 — here in Milwaukee. I was sad then, but I am heartbroken now. 50 years later and it’s as if we have learned nothing as a nation. For all the pretty civilized veneer we present to the world, underneath that there is rot — clear down to the very core of this nation and it stinks. It always has but it seems to take horrendous acts to make us look at it and admit to what we see.
I AM a pacifist. I have been all my life. But I have to say that unless you have been powerless as very few white Americans have been you have no idea why protests become violent in the best of cases, and unless you yourself have witnessed the lawlessness of the POLICE firsthand you probably won’t accept that a good part of the violence we have seen in recent days is not the fault of protesters but has been the actions of instigators and agents provocateur sent in to make situations worse so as to justify more violent responses.
A few years ago I cringed when a legislative windfall enabled police forces around the country to “improve” their departments and it was reported that a force in one place bought mobile situation command vehicles and other forces bought armored personnel carriers and some bought fancier weapons, etc., etc., etc.
You know the thing about having toys is that people want to use them. And when you give a police force more deadly power you are spitting into the wind if you think they are not going to use that power for just what it was designed to do: to kill.
Some years ago the U.S. Supreme Court in deciding a case came up with a “theory” immunizing Police personnel from various prosecutions because it was reasoned in the course of enforcing the law there could be instances when police had to do things that might be considered by some to be excessive. A great many of the black lives that have been lost in recent years went un-prosecuted because, in part, the local district attorneys felt the police were covered by this legal theory and there was no sense in charging them — and so anger has built and built and built until in recent days we witness it overflowing like water through a burst dam.
I am a pacifist. I don’t believe in violence; but I also know that when you are powerless there are going to be times that any human is going to strike out. For the last 50 years those advocating for actual equality for blacks have tended to leave behind violence for the most part, taking up the Martin Luther King cry of non-violent protest — but little effective change has resulted and if I was a black man I’m not sure if even slow-to-anger Peter might not be ready to become violent. I hate it, but people are just human for God’s sake and you can’t keep killing them and expect that they will not react.
It’s important to realize that when we see violence in connection with protests it’s not always the protesters who are causing it. And when we see looters, it is not the protesters — they are busy protesting. Rather, you are watching looters do what they do: looting. The two groups are not one in the same. Oh, sure, there will be some in both camps, just as there are some good cops, and some bad cops in every station; just as there are some real Christians and some sham Christians in every church, just as there are some good teachers in school and some very bad teachers. But you cannot, you dare not say that just because you see some violence that you can discount the protest of the rest of the people. If you do, it is only because you are unaffected by the cause of the protests in the first place.
Personally, I think it’s time that white people stopped cringing about saying what we are witnessing in the United States today. We see racists who happen to be cops murdering innocent men. The men happen to be black, but their blackness is not their fault — they were born that way — and people in uniform are deciding that they think they are better than this man, or that woman, and they make a conscious choice to act in a way that snuffs out an innocent life. Cops are killing innocent people — the killings are racially motivated and are the result of hatred ingrained and taught to them by other people in their lives.
Somehow we need to find a way to stop teaching anyone that one race is superior to another, and we need to own up to the fact that racism is alive and well in the United States.
Until we do that we will never end the senseless murder of innocent people, at their homes, in their cars, on the streets; we will never end the intentional pepper spraying, the intentional maiming, the intentional infliction of pain and suffering just because these people can and just because they think they can get away with it.
i wonder whether the price of change in a country with a short attention span like the US is that a lot of innocent people, store owners, property developers, etc., have to suffer loss BEFORE the base of injured parties grows wide enough and angry enough to get real change enacted through staid and traditional governments?
As a nation we get angry for a weekend but we don’t know how to sustain our fury because we have so many distractions. The Boston Tea Party wasn’t covered on CNN, there were no 80,000 capacity stadiums, and social media amounted to a few neighbors gossip over the space heater in the general store.
The Arab Spring, & more recently the protests in Hong Kong were/have been ongoing for months. Until the US can learn to sustain its fury legislators will listen to lobbyists and special interests more than to their constituents. 😥
Before the police arrived