I think we need to look at this situation fully and put things in context, and not just in regard to Saturday night's incident. We need to see and truly understand the full picture of how we got to this particular time. Instead of retreating into the tempting light of sepia-tinted nostalgia for days that never were, we need to ask hard questions right now about our country’s history. The trail to the truth isn’t hard to find, you just need to brush aside the detritus.
The human harm didn't start on Saturday or in May when George Floyd died or even in this century. It's hundreds of years old and has been subtly and expertly threaded throughout our country's politics and societal makeup right up to this very day. Please, please, please look at our history, follow it right up to the present, and hold people accountable for trampling on other humans. I don't think violence towards someone solves anything. But, I am also aware that if oppression is not resolved and is allowed to fester beneath band-aid rhetoric and policy, an explosion of violence is inevitable. When people cry out for help and they're ignored long enough, desperate (often violent) measures are taken. And, while I hope those who ambushed the LAPD officers this weekend are held accountable just as I hope those who killed Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Elijah McClain, etc, etc, etc, etc are held accountable, I also know this to be true:
“But, in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so, in a real sense, our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delays. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having recurrences of violence and riots over and over again.”
–MLK, “The Other America,” March 14, 1968
Still, on top of all that, here's something to remember, from May to late August, there were more than 10,000 BLM protests throughout the country. Over 90% of these protests against police brutality were peaceful. And that's just 4 months of this year. If you think BLM only started protesting in May of 2020, I encourage you to look up their history and see the actual number of protests and vigils they've been involved in since 2013. It's a staggering amount and they were by and large peaceful. If you didn't hear anything about them (or only heard about the ones that turned into riots), that says something for how wholly their cries for justice have been ignored.