In case it is unclear, there are distinct lines to be drawn between people protesting non-violently, people looting, and people physically attacking other people. The previous post concerned the latter two groups who surely comprise a minority of people who’ve taken to the streets over the last week. Instances of protesters being detained for taunting the police or just saying something the police don’t want to hear is optically awful and is unacceptable behavior from a representative of the state against a private citizen:
This video of Grand Rapids PD firing a tear gas canister at an unarmed man (right after they maced him) point blank to the face needs to VIRAL. what in the actual fuck are these pigs doing pic.twitter.com/rmgC7lA8Bj
— Mayor of Simp City (@jusalotofpain) June 2, 2020
Dwelling on that for a moment, it dawned on me that just as it is easier to harass a suburban mother taking her kids to the park than it is to harass people in the streets, it’s easier to harass protesters than it is to go after violent looters. Why are there more videos of people being arrested for shouting at cops than there are of people being arrested for carting off plasma televisions? It seems unlikely to exclusively be a consequence of selective editing and uploading, since videos of any kind of on-the-ground action are getting lots of eyeballs on them. If you have the clip, you want it to go viral.
Regarding the pessimism about the prospects of the violence ending without being violently ended, the reasons for the unrest–massive unemployment, stagnant wages, social atomization, people at the bottom of society being crushed by the law while the people at the top skate–go along way in explaining the it. These are real issues tearing away at the seams of a very frayed American tapestry. Would so many people be so angry if instead of growing the Fed’s balance sheet by $3,000,000,000,000 in three months, the government had given every American adult $12,000 over that same time period?
Rhetorical, of course. The system doesn’t care because that’s not who the system exists for.