I wanted to write to you about something fun today. But violence got in the way.
I'm talking about the riots that are taking place across many American cities this weekend. Riots that are horrific.
I know riots like this aren’t new. There were riots in the ‘60s… again in the ‘90s… and we even saw something similar in Ferguson six years ago. But what is happening now seems far, far worse. Because this seems like war.
So what is causing all these different people to fight? Who is the enemy? Well the one connecting thread I can find is that they are all against militarization of the police. So to me, this isn’t an issue of race, politics, or class.
It’s an issue of power. And too much power in the hands of individuals unable or unwilling to use that power responsibly.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-police. In fact, I feel terrible for police right now. Because many of them are good. Many are honest. Many are not racist. Many became cops out of a desire to help.
Like the Sheriff in Flint, who laid down his helmet and baton and joined the protesters to “turn this protest into a parade”. To which the mostly black crowd responded with cheers, hi-fives, and chants of “walk with us” and “one life”.
There were also protesters who stood up for police. Like the protesters in Louisville that “formed a human shield” around a lone cop who was stranded. So humanity does exist out there.
But sadly, it does not seem to be the norm.
No, the norm is swarms of masses bearing down on each other. Full water bottles of glass and plastic being thrown. Pepper spray. People bleeding from their eyes from rubber bullets. Buildings on fire. And worse.
One man, after wielding a broadsword at groups of people in an attempt to “protect his store”, was beaten brutally by dozens and dozens of flying hands and feet. It's biblical evil in the street.
But it’s not just evil. It’s stupidity.
Like the clotpole who, in an attempt to throw an incendiary bomb into a building, poured the flaming fuel on himself and erupted in flames.
And the dingleberries who brought their 12-year old child to the riots. And, of course, the kid was tear gassed and went into a full-blown panic attack from the pain and the many strangers standing over her pouring milk on her face.
Another guy got out of his car and began pointing his bow and arrow at groups of people like Darryl from The Walking Dead. Which, predictably, resulted in him getting swarmed and beaten.
All this fueled by a hatred and fear of police.
And to make matters worse?
The police are playing into their narrative by doing dumb aggressive things.
Like randomly pepper spraying groups of protesters as they drive by. Shooting rubber bullets at people just sitting on their porch. And antagonizing others for no reason (I even saw a video where a cop pepper sprayed a woman who was clearly walking away from him and no threat at all).
In my eyes, both sides are thugs.
And I think I know why.
Neither is a true a group or movement. Neither has a true leader to rally behind. Neither has a guiding principle or philosophy.
There is no Ghandi fighting for freedom.
Or Nelson Mandela fighting for equality.
Or Superman fighting for justice.
They are simply loosely defined groups all with their own gripes. And no one really knows whose side they are on. And yes, that includes the police.
Through this horror of beatings, looting, and destruction, you have the chance to define your character. Because right now, is an important moment. We are watching history unfold.
And the decisions we make today, will affect what they teach our children tomorrow.
So make good decisions out there folks.
And stay safe.