Edit: I put a big dump of videos and general sources at the bottom for anyone who wants to catch up.
Time to get serious, everyone. Here are my opinions. Let’s keep this respectful :^)
At the time of writing this, there are at least 30 cities and states where protests are going on and continuing to move across the United States (1). These include, but are not limited to: Minneapolis, Atlanta, LA, Houston, Boston, Philly, Miami, D.C., Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, Nashville, and Jersey. The national guard has been deployed to Minneapolis, and is mobilizing to several other states. Even a few hours ago, locally, in Sugarloaf Mills, there were four arrested and two police cars damaged amidst protests (2). As of 2am, Hackers Anonymous also just released a statement that they’d be taking a piece of the pie, threatening to release any and all previously closed cases of corruption (3).
For some reason, people find these protests bipartisan. “Are you on the cops’ side, or the protesters?” Certain news outlets are attempting to trim the narrative and equating protesters to looters and rioters alike.
I can’t imagine how polarizing it is to be in one of these areas protesting. One second, a peaceful protest, and the next, one wrong move and crowds of people are being tear gassed, gunned down with rubber bullets and bean bags, tased, and hogtied, like we continue to see everywhere.
Earlier today in Minneapolis, a reporter is now permanently blinded in her left eye while photographing the protests, reportedly shot by a rubber bullet by police. “Why was she protesting?” --> She’s a reporter, from Nashville. “Why wasn’t she wearing protection?” --> She was wearing goggles and a respirator. Still blinded (4).
In Salt Lake City, also earlier today, a man exited his car, bow and arrow in hand, yelled “All lives matter,” then shot an arrow into a crowd of protesters. He was jumped by the crowd, and his car was burned down (5).
Here’s the thing. I read this earlier today, and I wholeheartedly agree. It went something like this:
“Nobody was saying ‘straight pride’ until people said ‘gay pride.’ Nobody was calling themselves ‘meninists’ until people became ‘feminists.’ Nobody was saying ‘all lives matter’ until people said black lives did. If your only reason for trying to start a movement is to take attention away from another movement, you might want to look at your real intentions behind it.”
When people say “Why do only ‘black lives matter?’ What about the rest of us?” they’re not reading into the why – it’s not a means to discredit everyone else’s lives, nor is it some kind of personal attack. It gives voice to identity and to what the movement has been trying to get people to acknowledge for years, if not decades. Only recently, with the death of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and finally, George Floyd, people have begun to believe them, and stand by them.
I don’t think these protests should be as bipartisan as people are making them out to be. I am in no way defending the violence that is appearing in many states, but I understand why it is happening; but if people blindly condemn both protesting and rioting alike, then they’re missing the point. There’s something greater going on. These protests aren’t just about the clear and abhorrent murder of George Floyd under officer Chauvin’s knee. They’re a culmination of anger and frustration at our faulty judicial system. The fact that it took days to arrest officer Chauvin after clear footage was released, and the police attempted to craft the narrative that George was a criminal and died from previous health complications was sickening in and of itself.
Think – without social media or people recording, or if it were up to badge cam footage (which, officers seem to conveniently not turn on or mute, where the penalty is a slap on the wrist), then that is what the story would be. We’d have to take authorities’ stories at face-value. Society would continue. There would be no protests, no riots. George would be another “criminal,”, a name that nobody knows, being arrested and executed for a faulty 20 dollar bill.
The fact that law enforcement could have inevitably gotten away with murder has opened a lot of people’s eyes – “this is what has been going on for the longest time,” and it’s making people question whether people saying ‘F the police’ have been right all this time. There’s evil in every field, yes. But to give someone enough power to be judge, jury, and executioner for the rest of their lives? They should be held to higher standards, not “investigate themselves, find they did nothing wrong, then get two months of paid leave.”
I’m seething every time I hear “Why are people burning down our economy just over one black person?” or “I think the protesters should stop rioting/looting.” There’s something wrong with these statements – don’t equate the protests to riots and looting. They’re not one in the same, and their intentions are all inherently different. Many news outlets are attempting to change the portrayal of the inherent goal of the protests from peaceful to everyone using it as an excuse to destroy small businesses, banks, and buildings. That is happening, yes, but it isn’t most protesters’ intentions. There is no “Protesters seen looting stores” or “Protesters seen vandalizing and burning down cars.” These are looters looting stores, and rioters that are rioting – their goals are different from the ones these protests stand for. The protests start with seas of people marching, thousands standing and chanting in solidarity. One thing goes wrong, then the police throw out the pepper balls and tasers, or start running over protesters, as we’ve seen in New York (6). Things begin to escalate, and nobody knows who’s who – some protesters begin to riot, and things turn out of hand very quickly. Some aren’t even there to protest in the first place – they’re there only to instigate violence. Others take advantage of the situation, regardless of the cause for protesting, and use it as an excuse to loot.
In civil unrest, especially here, you’ll always have people who take advantage of the situation and smear the original goal of the protests in the first place, and outlets take advantage of that and coalesce the protests with the violence, which makes even the original goal of the peaceful marches and rallies all seem unjustified. I could link tens more videos of peaceful protests in Atlanta, LA, and New York happening in one area only for everything to blow up the next hour, where people are being trampled by horses in Texas or being tased and beaten for walking in the streets – but honestly, if you want anything, just check Twitter or the first page of Google.
Some media may try to convince everyone that George died in X way or was Y person – at this point, it’s protesting not only police brutality, but protesting the hate, bigotry, and racist rhetoric that has been growing the past few years and breeding in the U.S. for the past few decades since the civil rights movement, all recently feeling empowered by our oh-so beloved 45. They’re protests for the direction our society is taking. Protests not only for justice for George, but for the country.
I believe we’re at a social turning point, a mixed class and race war ushering in an age of nu-progressivism. What we’re seeing right now is people pushing for equality across the board, both judicially and racially. Nothing changed in 2016 when Kaepernick took a knee – if anything, recent years in our country’s direction have resurfaced hostility into people thinking that the U.S. is once again like the 1960’s. It’s 2020, and this is our response.
Stay safe, everyone. :^)
A big dump of random videos of the chaos going on:
Credit to u/xxxnina
here’s a compilation of police starting attacks against protesters, pls continue to spread it.
police shoving an old white man who is literally just standing there with his cane onto the floor.
cop pulls down the mask of a PEACEFUL black protestor and sprays pepper spray on his face.
protestors kneeling and the cops attacking them with pepper spray.
Some rubber bullet victims: