Some Listen, Some Don’t

As is often the case, The Onion captured the bitter zeitgeist with a dead-on headline that read: Protestors Criticized For Looting Businesses Without Forming Private Equity Firm First. Very few people are in favor of random violence for its own sake. But what we’ve seen the past few nights in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles and elsewhere is far from “random violence.”

A Riot Is The Language of the Unheard

Just so, Dr. King – as true as it’s always been, which is to say: very.

Is it any wonder the last time riots were seen on this scale was 1992, and before that, Vietnam? Then, as now, things seemed unimaginable. The ugly, beating heart of racism was revealed to be still very much alive in America in a way that could not be ignored or gainsaid – and it was supported and condoned or at least dismissed at the highest levels. Police kill black men with seeming impunity, and as in Vietnam, a deeply unpopular President threatens to mobilize not just the National Guard, but the Army — against his own citizens:

As unrest spread across dozens of American cities on Friday, the Pentagon took the rare step of ordering the Army to put several active-duty U.S. military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis, where the police killing of George Floyd sparked the widespread protests.

James LaPorta, AP

But there is also solidarity and resistance — real resistance, not the ineffective, candy-assed, self-involved play acting we’ve been treated to the last few years:

Workers for New York City’s MTA are refusing to transport people arrested during protests against police brutality in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. A video of a bus driver refusing to transport people arrested during protests in front of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center went viral Friday night.

Jason Koebler, VICE