We watched our local RIte Aid in a little shopping plaza called Gower Gulch get looted. We watched people try to break into a Walgreens but were stopped by a bunch of protestors surrounding the entrance with arms outstretched. And we saw the news continually talk only about the Rite Aid as the on-site reporter found newer and newer ways to break the looting down for us. Then, when arrests of peaceful protestors were made in a nearby intersection, she kept trying to insinuate that the protestors being arrested could be connected to the looting even after the police answered her pretty clearly that they were being arrested for "unlawful assembly."
When a group of protestors neared a four-way stop with two of the ways blocked by police and, instead of turning down the one open route where other protestors kept marching, a majority of the marchers simply knelt down in the intersection with their hands up. Instead of stating what had just happened, that a large portion of protestors peacefully gave themselves up to be arrested, the helicopter reporter claimed that the police had done a great job of boxing the protestors in.
Later, they cut to the city of Riverside where 4 protestors were kneeling in the middle of a street as a large group of police walked towards them with three armored cars following closely behind. The 4 protestors put their hands in the air and police fired what appeared to be rubber bullets at them while continuing to move forward. 3 of the protestors scattered to get out of the way of one of the vehicles making its way to the front. The other remaining protestor was grabbed and arrested just before the vehicle had a chance to run him over.
We also watched two different high-speed car chases. One was a burglary, the other seemed to be a similar situation. Neither were said to be tied to protestors. There are definitely people taking advantage of this situation. That's pretty clear.
I get that this whole thing is scary and unsettling. I definitely got a strange pang in my gut when we watched people loot the Rite Aid. It's disorienting.
Before George Floyd, Black Lives Matter factions had already organized hundreds of protests and demonstrations. A huge portion of them were nonviolent. Hundreds of protests and demonstrations where black Americans peacefully demonstrated and said, "stop killing us" and it hasn't changed. How many times should anyone have to say "stop killing us" to the police force who they pay to protect them?
George Floyd was pinned to the ground and suffocated while begging for breath, begging for his mother, while passersby screamed at the cop to get off George's neck, to treat him like a human, to care enough about George to just check his pulse after he went unconscious. White people do not have to worry about that happening to them. We just don't.
People of many races took to the streets all over the country to protest in outrage over George's death and, by and large, the protestors were unarmed. (And, truth be told, I have yet to read of a single situation where any protestor was armed, but I don't want to deal with some side-tracking statement about "actually, there's this one person...")
Now, for comparison, just a few weeks ago, after a month and a half of quarantining to stop the spread of a global pandemic, a large group of white Americans couldn't take it anymore and they broke quarantine and protested by storming into government buildings, many carrying firearms. None were killed. None were even threatened or arrested. Police did not come wearing riot gear, hit anyone with batons, spray anyone in the face with pepper spray, shoot anyone with rubber bullets or fire tear gas into the crowd.
But, that's how the protestors who were protesting the murder of George Floyd were met.
One of those responses quells the situation and prevents violence, the other stokes it.
This is where we're at. It is scary and unsettling and we've held black Americans in that place for far too long. That is why the protestors are chanting, "no justice, no peace." We should all be chanting it.