It Happened Near Me This Time

So “Black Lives Matter” came to my area in the worst possible way, and it’s really an unsettling situation.

Somebody was shot.  As of this writing, it was only a few hours ago, so I haven’t got much information to know what “really happened”.  The official story is that the man held up a gun, but it sounded like the witnesses say it was a book.  With all of the recent shooting of unarmed people on video, it is really hard to believe the official story even if it were 100% true this time.  It sounded like the victim had some amount of “mental illness”, although I’m not sure quite why that’s supposed to matter.

There’s protests in the street, reportedly started by the man’s neighbors; the police are using tear gas to try to make the crowd disperse.  Some bold people are live streaming it on Facebook.  I heard a rumor of damage to a police car, but it didn’t sound like there was anything directed at people yet.  Oops, looks like there’s a crowd smashing the police car now on the live stream.

I feel torn between “this is terrible” and “this could have been prevented”.  There’s been peaceful protests around the country for months, but it doesn’t seem to have worked.  There’s even an athlete who has taken to not standing during the national anthem to call attention to the problem, but all the main news networks keep covering it as “disrespecting the military and our country” rather than protesting police killings.

The protesters are saying “They want us to be peaceful, but they killing us.”  It was JFK who said “Those who make peaceful protest impossible make violent revolution inevitable.”

I think we’re too sympathetic to government when there’s a riot.  Before the riot, you had control.  What did you do with it?  Whatever you did, it wasn’t right, because you lost control of everything.  Is this keeping people safe?

At the same time, I find myself hoping for a peaceful resolution, even though that seems less and less likely.  I find it hard to fault the protesters.

What amazes me most, especially from the live feeds, is how it is the protesters, not the police, who jump in and deescalate.  At least on this video (an unedited live feed), it’s the police who are escalating and menacing, getting into people’s personal space and not respecting people.  They aren’t saying anything, just moving in large numbers into individual people’s space while carrying shields and weapons.

I worry about my friends in the area, who might get swept up in the crowd if things turn sour.  One of them has shut and locked her doors, and is waiting for the group to clear out before trying to go home tonight.  I normally tell my friends to “stay safe”, but tonight I think “stay free” is more appropriate.

Every time this sort of thing happens, I’m never quite sure what to think.  I wanted to share the feeling of panic and the confusion.  I wasn’t even there in person, but a wrong turn on my way home from work could have put me there.  The more it happens, the worse it gets, and the harder it is to believe even legitimate concerns from the government.

The killing has to stop.

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