And Then The Riots Came (Plague, Day 87, June 1, 2020)

In the midst of economic and social and health havoc caused by a global pandemic, the cities have erupted in protests and riots, triggered by a viral video of a cop kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he died.

As a middle-aged, suburban, white woman — a Karen — nobody should care what I say, but I’m going to say it anyway. I am profoundly moved by commentary from community folks on CNN, especially the moms. If the point of the protests was to get people’s attention, it worked.

Glued to CNN and my twitterfeed this weekend, I was both horrified by the violence and looting, and touched by impassioned by the voices of community leaders and mothers of victims of police violence. I don’t think one has to choose between horror and compassion. I think we can feel both.

All weekend, I retweeted links to videos and images that were both horrifying and touching. These tweets included a cop pointing his gun at protesters, Washington, DC on fire, protestors and cops marching together, the crowd outside the White House, the cop who was killed in Oakland, a long thread with videos of LA’s protests, three generations try to figure out a better way, a shop owner being beaten up by a mob, a mob beats a man badly.

I struggle to find sympathy for the cause when it moves from orderly protests to wild mobs hurting people and breaking things. Yes, I understand that this is a product of extreme emotions, but it’s hard to watch. No, I don’t believe that Antifa, White Supremists, Privileged White Kids, or Russians are responsible for most of the damage.

Mobs are scary things. I will never support a mob targeting innocent people, regardless of the cause.

What about the looting? Well, I have mixed feeling about all that. When these mobs destroy local businesses in their own community that provide diapers and medicine for people in the community, I’m upset. When then burn random stuff in their neighborhood, I’m upset.

But what about when looters target fancy stores in Soho, like Rolex and Burberry? I guess we could see this as a form of economic redistribution – a statement about system inequalities in work, housing, education. People have been out of work for a couple of months now, and they are economically hurting. Or maybe they just want a new cellphone. I don’t know.

If those fancy stories choose to not open their stores in cities and relocate to the suburbs, where all the rich city people are going anyway, then we’re going to see a return of 1970’s New York City, when the whole place sucked.

The looting of places like Target, just makes me sad. People are taking basics, like diapers and cheap sundresses. We should just be giving people that stuff. Nobody should have to steal a package of diapers.

On Friday morning, before things got too crazy, I wrote a newsletter. In it, I explained that I was extremely angry about what’s happened to schools this spring. I’m not posting it here today because it’s too off-topic. But I do think that a whole lot of people are angry about schools, on top of a long laundry list of other angers, including police brutality.

Society was riddled with inequities and injustices before. Now, that we’re in the midst of a pandemic with an inept president, those inequities have grown more extreme.

82 thoughts on “And Then The Riots Came (Plague, Day 87, June 1, 2020)

  1. If there is looting by BLM protestors, and I’m sure there is some, It’s not a product of (just) extreme emotions. It’s a product of the dissolution of the social contract – and it did not start with the protestors. Trevor Noah said it really well – my link is to Facebook, here: https://www.facebook.com/thedailyshow/videos/271504123969416/ (I also highly recommend White Fragility although for me personally it was a tough read.)

    Because of Covid-19 I didn’t march in this latest BLM protest but I have participated in them in Toronto. I can’t extrapolate that to American cities, but I have no trouble believing that a number of these protests are being co-opted by both left-wing and right-wing extremists.

    The question is, will we find out? Can you, when the dice are stacked for arresting and prosecuting Black individuals and letting others go? If the video of George Floyd hadn’t been taken by a 17-year-old girl, who not only stood there and shot the video but witnessed this murder, what would we know?

    I too have grown up in this system and am totally complicit. It’s tough.

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  2. Who is the shop owner who was beaten by the gang? In what city/location did the incident occur? I have recently been frustrated by the information that appears on twitter without provenance and without full information. I am trying to be wary of such information without additional confirmation (but, also, frustrated because I feel that the information isn’t being completely covered by other more thorough sources).

    For example, in Seattle, a widely circulating video shows a security guard (verified by a Fox reporter who described the individual as her security guard on twitter) disarming a man who has taken a rifle from a police vehicle. The video is a screen recording of coverage by a local news station (not Fox, but an NBC affiliate). But, when the video was described recently in the newspaper, it was referred to as a “video posted on social media”. Is it? or is it from KOMO 4? If it is, shouldn’t they talk to the person who took the video?

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  3. Found a report about the woman being beaten incident. It identify the recorder, who doesn’t know more, but at least sets the incident in a place (Rochester, NY)https://www.foxnews.com/us/new-york-woman-attacked-video-riots-looting

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  4. And, here’s a article saying that the Dallas mob man identifies himself on twitter: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/dallas/article243153526.html

    But, not sure what to make of a newspaper story that appears to rely only on twitter — shouldn’t they have been able to talk to the guy?

    And which is true? The original story (https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/article243133236.html) said, a shopkeeper, defending a store + critical injuries. The second story says a guy defending a bar he likes, and not significant injuries?

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  5. BTW, you are not a Karen just because you are a middle aged white woman. The term is used to refer to entitled white women who question other people’s (especially other people of color’s) access to resources that they are enjoying (from the courtyard at Harvard housing to the Ramble), with a squaring if police are called.

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  6. I do wonder about the value of sharing hot twitter takes. I have, personally, reshared the story about the sheriff who took off his riot gear in Michigan and walked with the protesters. But, even then, I waited for the story.

    Someone on my FB feed hd been posting photos of the live television broadcasts. And, I really don’t see the value in that — we’re all stuck at home anyway. If I want to watch TV, I could do so.

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  7. The initial anger, arson and looting were from a small group of people in the community but since then most of the destruction has transitioned to non-local instigators. Hard to say what the mix is of white supremicists to privileged asshats is right now. Those of us in Minneapolis saw these roving bands start shit all weekend. My friend had three white guys not from here set up shop on her block all day yesterday.

    There is no simple narrative. I’m incredibly saddened for the local businesses that were destroyed in my community. We’ve pushed and pushed and pushed people past their breaking points. Since we’re meting our empathy now, I am completely lacking in empathy for rich suburbanites downplaying police murder because the protests haven’t been tidy enough for their liking.

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  8. “I am completely lacking in empathy for rich suburbanites downplaying police murder because the protests haven’t been tidy enough for their liking.”

    Feeling very much this way about my mayor right now.

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  9. These descriptions of the Bob Kroll (Minneapolis Police Union) and Ed Mullins (Sergeants Benevolent Association), who are both, I presume, elected officials of their respective police unions certainly suggest a culture in the police that I think does not live up to my own standards.

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    1. bj said, “These descriptions of the Bob Kroll (Minneapolis Police Union) and Ed Mullins (Sergeants Benevolent Association), who are both, I presume, elected officials of their respective police unions certainly suggest a culture in the police that I think does not live up to my own standards.”

      Second look at breaking police unions?

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      1. No, just enforcing the protections of the citizens they are supposed to protect. And, if the people are electing people like this, getting rid of the union does not change the culture.

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      2. It would be impossible to break police unions, since public sector unions are one of the major components of the Democratic Party coalition which controls almost every major city. The further point is that the police will insist on strong contractual protections for their jobs as long as they perceive the risk of false accusations as being greater than the harm done by the bad apples. It’s clear, for example, that Darren Wilson was falsely accused–I mean, Eric Holder investigated and couldn’t find anything–but no member of the liberal intelligentsia will ever admit that, which means that no police officer will ever trust the liberal intelligentsia over his own union leaders.

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  10. “I am completely lacking in empathy for rich suburbanites downplaying police murder because the protests haven’t been tidy enough for their liking.”

    Now, here’s a sad truth. Rich suburbanites aren’t asking for empathy. They honestly don’t give a crap. These protests do not impact on their lives in the least. I’ve been chatting with neighbors all weekend, because it was lovely outside. This was not a topic of conversation once.

    And, you know, working class suburbanites don’t either. We spent a couple of hours walking around a lake on Sunday, which was packed with a very diverse crowd. Everybody was doing what they usually do there – walking, fishing, picnicking. No signs of political issues whatsoever.

    Rice urbanites don’t care. So, if their jobs and their favorite shops decamp to the suburbs, they’ll go, too. They’ll build themselves marvelous castles in gated communities that have exactly zero diversity. They don’t give a shit.

    And the people who watch the news, who do give a shit, get scared about the violence, they’ll vote for people who are even tougher on crime.

    So, violence matters. If things go too far, it will have a rebound effect. What did the 1960 riots bring about? White flight. It will happen again.

    Don’t shoot the messenger. I’M NOT ENDORSING WHITE FLIGHT. But it will happen.

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    1. Laura said, “Rice urbanites don’t care. So, if their jobs and their favorite shops decamp to the suburbs, they’ll go, too. They’ll build themselves marvelous castles in gated communities that have exactly zero diversity. They don’t give a shit.”

      “So, violence matters. If things go too far, it will have a rebound effect. What did the 1960 riots bring about? White flight. It will happen again.”

      I think very rich people can stay in the city and continue to enjoy nice things…but there will be less and less reason for middle class/upper middle class people to stay.

      Between COVID-19 and riots, what is there to keep normal people in the city, regardless of color?

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    2. I don’t think white flight will happen much. The ones who wanted to fly have done so decades ago. The rest are less willing to live in an area where Trump voters predominate than they are willing to live near protests. Those are your choices here, unless you have $750,000 for a house.

      But I’m also very afraid of the political effects of this. Trump only has one move that works, appealing to white racism, and this will trigger it. I’m hoping, but far from confident, that counter-reaction will be stronger.

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    3. “And, you know, working class suburbanites don’t either. We spent a couple of hours walking around a lake on Sunday, which was packed with a very diverse crowd. Everybody was doing what they usually do there – walking, fishing, picnicking. No signs of political issues whatsoever.”

      I don’t get this. On my Facebook, everyone is roiling with anger, some of it at the looters (*cough*high school friends*cough*) and most at the police and Trump. I do know that a lot of people are so angry that they’re trying to calm down by going outside and getting fresh air and trying not to think about it all.

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    4. Speaking of suburbs, there’s a 20 year old kid from the mid-market suburb over the river who is having his name tweeted all over the internet with the #antifa tag. He trashed a police car and swore at the protestors who tried to stop him. Nobody shot him (white middle-class kid), but today he walked into the police station to surrender himself with mom and dad by his side. I wonder if they aren’t going to try to make him into the Mohamed Atta of Allegheny County since what the fuck else do they have to show for declaring antifa a terror organization?

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  11. “These protests do not impact on their lives in the least. I’ve been chatting with neighbors all weekend, because it was lovely outside. This was not a topic of conversation once. ”

    I also exist in a rich suburbanite community and we are talking about it all the time (both whites and non-whites). I accept your report that there a lot of people who don’t care (and maybe some of them never will). But America is rolling forward to significant change. I do not know what we will go through to get there. I try hard to avoid making predictions, especially about how people I do not know will behave but I hope at least some of those people you are describing realize that they will have to share power, real power with the rest of America.

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    1. There are precisely three posts on my Facebook feed (492 friends) from this weekend that are related to this issue. I think that these protests will have an impact. It just might be the one that people expect.

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      1. My social media feeds are almost 90% about this. (Maybe because so many of my family/friends are in Minneapolis?) I’m seeing a lot of people who care very deeply. For my friends who aren’t white, it has been all-consuming this week. It’s the last week of high school here in Madison. And the (virtual) lessons have been thrown out the window – teachers are sending instructions about what to do if you’ve been pepper-sprayed or tear gassed. (Because all of the kids are down at the protests…)

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    2. Fascinating — I think in my FB friend group (which is smaller, 142 people), some 80% have been about the Floyd, policing, protesting, . . . .

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    3. Also, I am not supporting the law-breaking protests. But, I am less confident of the strategy (meaning I have no idea of the strategic impact). I do believe, though, that this is what happens to dreams deferred, that they explode. I’ve written that here before, and I understand it, though the world works well enough for me that my dreams are not exploding.

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      1. “One of those two lawyers is a Princeton/NYU grad and the other is a Fordham JD.”

        They are both people of color. The “privilege” of going to a well-regarded school is often severely mitigated by one’s status as a person of color. In fact, it may magnify the disparities. I don’t think it comes to entitlement for those protesters (not that I agree with what they did).

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  12. There are absolutely are rich suburbanites who expect empathy (non-stop for every possible reason). It’s the kind of person who wants to be known as a good, community-oriented person, but who chooses to focus heavily on the looting aspect of these events instead of the police murder.

    And I gotta say, rich suburbanites in the Twin Cities suddenly care. The Targets in wealthy Twin Cities’ suburbs were all boarded up this weekend. Graffiti and vandalism happened in rich suburbs too. And yeah, some of those suburbanites will double down in their support for the police, but a surprising number are also pretty damn mad at the police.

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    1. One more thing… I work for a huge, fairly conservative Minnesota corporation. The most typical type of person I work with is well-off and white. I honestly expected leadership to say nothing. Instead, they have put out several impassioned responses about the killing and how it is unequivocally wrong. The VP (middle aged white man) of my group was practically in tears talking about it during a meeting with our whole group. Many people have cried and the focus is not on the looting.

      I know it is typical for people on the coasts to dismiss what happens elsewhere but this time really does feel different. And now that this has spread nationwide I hope the fortunate among us don’t brush off the long term implications of this.

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      1. Well, that’s great that you are seeing such a positive response around you. Appreciate getting the Minnesota perspective.

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      2. The short-term implication is that a lot of boxed lunch programs for kids are temporarily suspending operation.

        In other short-term impact news, the governor of South Dakota tweets that some yahoo or yahoos smashed the windows of a bunch of state cars that are normally used to transport deaf children.

        The biggest immediate impact of civil unrest is on the neediest and the most vulnerable. So yeah, it’s not privileged to care about arson and looting–those things prevent normal people from being able to take care of their basic needs and walk the streets without fear.

        Oh yeah, and a shout-out to the people who have been looting pharmacies, including stealing and then dumping bottles of other people’s prescriptions.

        https://wjla.com/news/local/video-friendship-heights-cvs-robbed-looted-during-protests

        And a shout-out to the synagogue smashers and church burners, too, and the folks who thought it was a great idea to graffiti the DC WWII memorial and the DC Kosciuszko memorial.

        It’s not privileged to care about your city and neighborhood and your country.

        If anything, it’s privileged (as well as profoundly childish) to think that people can smash things, steal things and burn things and expect that nobody and nothing that matters will get hurt and that other people are always going to clean up after you.

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      3. Oh, yeah.

        There’s supposed to be a pandemic going on right now, and up until 15 minutes ago, people were being shamed for going to beaches and public parks. A twitter mom I followed got dubbed “grandma killer” 2-3 weeks ago for talking about wanting to go to the zoo with her kids and have normal kid summer fun. And yet here we are now…If that stuff was irresponsible and selfish, so is demonstrating in denser crowds of thousands.

        Either crowding together by the thousand is going to lead to a major COVID-19 relapse or public health experts and various state governors have been way too conservative.

        This is going to be a heck of a test for whether outdoor transmission is an issue. Also, not everybody at demonstrations is wearing a mask and of course some of the indoor looting is bringing people close together in confined spaces.

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      4. ” I followed got dubbed “grandma killer” 2-3 weeks ago for talking about wanting to go to the zoo with her kids and have normal kid summer fun”

        Uh, existential concern about fathers, brothers, and sons dying at the hands of police is worth more risk than “summer fun.” I oppose the protests on the grounds of the pandemic prohibition against gatherings (even with masked participants), but I likened it recently to what others might feel about going to church, something that is very important to someone.

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      5. bj said, “Uh, existential concern about fathers, brothers, and sons dying at the hands of police is worth more risk than “summer fun.””

        It’s not equivalent, though, because there’s nowhere near the risk in going to the zoo with normal zoo distancing, as opposed to being pressed together with hundreds of different people shouting for hours at a protest. The number of people and the amount of crowding is completely different. The protests are really the worst case scenario in terms of an outdoor event, especially considering the fact that African Americans seem to be a lot more vulnerable to COVID-19.

        I went to our zoo myself last week with the 2nd grader and had virtually no close contact with anybody other than the friends we went with.

        Also, yes, it is harmful to lock little kids up for month after month with none of their normal occupations (daycare, school, playdates, grandparents, playground, zoo, children’s museum, etc.) and no end in sight.

        Whether people understand this or not, in the big cities, the protests are killing the lockdowns.

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      6. My firm’s largest office is in Minneapolis and we had a very similar response from leadership. I’ve never seen anything like this. It does feel different this time.

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    2. Yes, we are seeing that, too, unexpected support from organizations and businesses. I’m inclined to see it as strategic, but your story suggests belief as well.

      My surprise was to see the local Indian American organization take a stand. The support page of the International District on FB has been surprisingly supportive as well, in spite of the violence targeted at their stores. They are not saying “let my building burn”, but they are boarding up windows (with volunteer assistance) and digging in to survive.

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  13. Just to be clear, the diapers, toiletries etc. looted from Target are not taken by needy single mothers (or fathers). Those items are fenced at good prices. The drugstores in NYC are robbed almost daily, to the point where most of the toiletries, child care items, OTC medicines and the like are locked behind glass. I sometimes see people (not single mothers, but young men) stuffing their pants full of the stuff and walking out. Apparently, ghetto residents supply a good market for the stuff.

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  14. “Apparently, ghetto residents supply a good market for the stuff.” Really? “ghetto residents”? And if so, why? Do the thieves sell the items at a discount? And, is it more discounted than I pay buying on Amazon & Target & Wallmart? Is this something you’ve seen personally, the black market dealing of diapers?

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    1. And, yes, violence always has a victim.

      https://www.npr.org/2020/05/29/865261916/a-decade-of-watching-black-people-die

      The article then goes on to say

      “Part of our job here at Code Switch is to contextualize and make sense of news like this. But it’s hard to come up with something new to say. We covered the events in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014 after Michael Brown was killed by the police, and we were in Baltimore after Freddie Gray’s death in 2015. We covered the deaths of Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Delrawn Small.”

      Which is exactly what Laura said.

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    2. I see the stealing personally, and I have read about the dealing. (The dealing doesn’t occur here on Central Park West, but in less upscale neighborhoods, sometimes called ghettos.) I presume the stuff is sold at a discount to retail prices, even Walmart prices, as is normally the case with fenced materials. Below is a link to one of a few dozen articles I found in a two minute google search. https://www.businessinsider.com/tide-theft-drug-dealers-2012-3

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  15. A few more things:

    1. Officer Chauvin was arrested and charged a few days after George Floyd died. What concretely are the protests supposed to be achieving? It’s not like the justice system needs to be persuaded with protests to prosecute him–he is being prosecuted. I am increasingly convinced that few participants (especially outside Minnesota) could identify what city George Floyd died in or are aware that Chauvin has been charged. It feels more and more like a pretext for violence and mischief, especially when the protests are happening far from Minneapolis, and particularly since multiple members of Floyd’s family have been begging for an end to the violence.
    2. There has been a sharp decrease in the number of unarmed black men who have been shot to death by US police. In the space of a few short years, we’ve gone from about 40 annually to less than 10 last year. In a country where the police shoots 1,000 people dead a year, that’s a lot. And yet, I don’t think that those stats have been a big part of the discussion. Also, a lot of those cops have been going to jail lately. (See, for example Amber Guyger of the Dallas PD. Guyger was arrested within 3 days of shooting Botham Jean.)
    3. It’s almost certain that far more black men are going to die as a result of the current protests (either due to police, arson, misadventure, being unable to reach medical care or to COVID-19 exposure) than have been killed annually unarmed by the police under normal circumstances.
    4. Lastly, we’ve heard a lot about global warming and carbon emissions the last few years. I don’t want to hear any more about it from people who are pooh-poohing the fires burning right now. These arsons have a heck of a carbon footprint.

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    1. You’re making a lot of assumptions about what protesters know about specifics, but regardless, the harassment of black men (and women) by police is incessant, and *that* is what protesters are protesting.

      Yes, more people are going to die because of COVID etc. It’s a risk they’re willing to take to make a better world for their children and grandchildren.

      “There has been a sharp decrease in the number of unarmed black men who have been shot to death by US police. In the space of a few short years, we’ve gone from about 40 annually to less than 10 last year. In a country where the police shoots 1,000 people dead a year, that’s a lot.”

      I know “unarmed” is your qualifying word here, but it’s also worth acknowledging, that about 240-250 African Americans are killed each year by police. Via Vox, we find that “But controlling for population (that is, looking at killings per million people) shows that it is black Americans who are most likely to be killed by police officers — that they are nearly twice as likely to be killed as a Latinx person and nearly three times more likely to be killed than a white person. Black Americans are also about 1.4 times more likely to be unarmed in fatal interactions with police than white Americans are (and about 1.2 times more likely to be killed unarmed than Latinx Americans).” That information is either from or supported by the website Mapping Police Violence: https://mappingpoliceviolence.org

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      1. Wendy said,

        “Yes, more people are going to die because of COVID etc. It’s a risk they’re willing to take to make a better world for their children and grandchildren.”

        It’s a risk they are imposing on everybody around them and everybody who will be dealing with them. Thousands of black Americans have died because of COVID-19 and the odds are that thousands more are going to die because of the choices being made by protesters this week.

        The last couple days, I’ve seen reports of healthcare workers and nursing home workers participating in marches.

        https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/stephaniemlee/protests-racism-coronavirus-doctors-nurses

        “Protests Will Likely Spread The Coronavirus. These Doctors And Nurses Are Protesting Anyway.
        “I’m an African American first before I’m a physician,” one doctor said.”

        There’s also the question of what the heck is going on with the mass European demonstrations over George Floyd. It’s not like a protest in Amsterdam or Paris could have any conceivable positive effect on American policing policy and yet they’re still marching by the thousand.

        My best guess: people are sick and tired of lockdowns, and any excuse for getting out is being grabbed at by a fairly large percentage of protesters. This whole situation is unimaginable without the privations and isolation of the preceding 2.5 months.

        Looking on the bright side, we’re about to find out how risky outdoor crowds are! Maybe it’s totally OK!

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    2. Echoing what Wendy says, the harassment of African Americans by police is constant. The teachers I know who work in Oakland and San Francisco schools have talked about kids as young as 12 being tased. For things like being in a park after closing time, trespassing or shoplifting a candy bar. Things I and my friends did as teenagers and at most got told to go home by police.
      It’s illegal for police to use tasers to get compliance from citizens. They are only to be used in defense. Yet this goes on constantly in these communities. It’s not surprising to me that Black communities might think the police are worse than Covid.
      I was at the Denver protest again last night. Everyone was wearing a mask and people were running around with masks to distribute. Was it risk free? Probably not. When everyone sat down on Broadway (and were mostly 6ft apart) I saw a lot of Black people crying. This protest was not something done impulsively.

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    3. This is about the systematic problems in the police systems of the united states now, of which the deaths of George Floyd, but also Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are only examples. Of those, only Breonna was shot by the police, and she is a young black woman, not a young black unarmed man. Thus your selective statistic does not counter the underlying perspective that the system is broken for people of color.

      (and — a cite for the carbon creation of the arson? I searched, but couldn’t find the talking point. My educated guess is that they are highly likely to be negligible.)

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      1. bj said, “(and — a cite for the carbon creation of the arson? I searched, but couldn’t find the talking point. My educated guess is that they are highly likely to be negligible.)”

        bj, It’s just common sense.

        If I burn down a 189-unit public housing project and then the project gets rebuilt entirely, the public housing project suddenly has roughly twice the carbon footprint.

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    1. That piece is fatally flawed at the “Why have Republican leaders abandoned their principles…” in the header. The number of Republicans who have had any principles besides self-centered self-dealing and a will to power since Goldwater can be counted on one’s digits without taking off any shoes. Of course, Applebaum’s piece works if you want to rationalize supporting Republicans in the past without acknowledging that they were just less egregious versions of the present ones.

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      1. Oh, I forgot racism and keeping the whites and Christians up and the rest down. That’s a principle, I guess, although not one I really have much time for.

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    2. I haven’t read the Applebaum article, but have read her long article about the personal view of the end of rise of authoritarianism in Poland. It starts with a party and ends with a polarized nation where people cross the street to avoid each other and are embarrassed to have ever known each other.

      I was also never a Republican and never voted for one, but, in a middle school election contest I did once advocate for the Republican governor. In my fantasies, at least, there used to be a rational Republican party. Applebaum is clearly the kind of person who at least hung out with Republicans (i.e., the anti-communists) and has seen her party leave her at least twice.

      I spend a fair amount of time trying to explain to my 16 year old why a person might have voted for a Republican.

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      1. In my fantasies, at least, there used to be a rational Republican party.

        If one is going to assert this then they need to provide a year in which it existed and examples of people in the mainstream of it who fit this description (and weren’t one of a few odd examples who really shouldn’t have been in the party in the first place). I believe you can’t do this unless you go back to before 1964 and even then that party had rolled over for McCarthy.

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      2. Yes, I have a tough time when I have to name names. Usually they are people who switched parties or who were better than they could have been (but still not good).

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      3. bj said,

        “I spend a fair amount of time trying to explain to my 16 year old why a person might have voted for a Republican.”

        You might want to tell your kid some stories about Bill de Blasio. It might clear things up.

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      4. Nope, because he is even more disgusted by Bloomberg. Bloomberg’s recorded speeches are straight up racist and kiddo listened to them. Hence the problem — even when a democrat might be ineffective or incompetent the Republican is horrible, in my son’s experience and value system.

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      5. You might want to tell your kid some stories about Bill de Blasio. It might clear things up.

        The problems with this “argument” are:

        1. de Blasio, while incompetent, isn’t an irrational corrupt self-dealer.
        2. de Blasio, while incompetent, isn’t representative of the Democratic party. In fact, he just ran for President and got about 0% of the primary vote, which indicates just how representative he is of where the party is.

        This is just a whataboutist nutpicking argument where one chooses an example they don’t like, falsely portrays it as representative of the whole, and then uses it as an excuse to dismiss the entire point that was actually made.

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  16. I live a few hours away from the Twin Cities. Everyone is talking about it. Constantly. Social media, conversations at work yesterday, texting…being so close almost everyone knows family or friends who live in the Twin Cities metro area making it very personal.

    What are they currently protesting? Well, Officer Chauvin’s bail as been set as $500,000 so yesterday there was a “Bail Protest” whose message was that his bail should be way higher. In a separate interview, one man commented that he was “protesting for change…I’ll walk until my feel start bleeding!” “Change”, unfortunately, will come through changes in unions, laws, legislation, etc. so will take several months or years, right?

    Fargo had peaceful protests that turned violent on Saturday. (Fargo!) Social media showed a group of four beefy white men carrying guns crossing a street in Fargo. Word spread quickly that White Supremacists were behind the violence. Fargo police clarified the next day ~ the men were approached and it turned out they were regular citizens showing up to defend local businesses. Police said “Thanks, no thanks, please go home.” In rural MN and Dakotas, many are just itching for a reason to pull out their weapons and start shooting (the message I’m getting from social media).

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  17. In New York at least, the police seem to have lots of time to shoot tear gas at peaceful protests and try to run the protesters over with cars, but are unavailable to stop looting. I certainly don’t feel protected, quite the opposite.

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  18. “In rural MN and Dakotas, many are just itching for a reason to pull out their weapons and start shooting (the message I’m getting from social media).”

    This worries me. A lot.

    re: NYC. I am beyond sad about what is happening to my favorite city. I think the cops purposively let the looters loot.

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    1. It’s not itching. They’ve been pulling out weapons for years now. There’s hardly a month that goes by without some mass shooting that would be labeled “terrorism” by all if the shooter wasn’t a white guy.

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    2. I agree with Laura’s comment. It seems clear the NYPD is using this moment to vent their frustrations with DeBlasio. We know from multiple protests, including Occupy Wall Street, that the NYPD knows how to handle protestors properly. From attacking protestors to ignoring looters to vandalizing its own cars to publishing Chiara’s arrest report on Twitter, the NYPD knows what it’s doing.

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  19. I’m in St Paul. We have helicopters overhead at night, armored vehicles on our main business street, and neighborhood watch going.

    My white neighbors and friends are heartbroken. Many are talking about how to change the system, whether it’s about educating kids about privilege and unconscious bias or taking food to new food deserts or donating to black-centered causes. As we have lost our sense of safety (this is a very safe neighborhood; the crime we worry about normally is people breaking into our detached garages to steal bikes), people are reflecting that this is a fraction of what our friends and neighbors of color feel because of our policing system. The goal is not for all of us to feel unsafe, but for all of us to eventually feel safe, and if we need to feel unsafe for a little while to get there, that’s ok.

    We are fully aware that covid is still going and don’t need well-meaning people from other parts of the country to lecture us about that. We’re weighing the risks actively.

    Bob Kroll and Donald Trump made me so angry yesterday. I’m a 40-something year old white woman, WASP, Ivy League, all the training in the world to suppress my feelings, and if I feel like this, no wonder we have looting.

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  20. One thing that struck me is that the four officers were a white guy, an asian guy, a hispanic guy and a black guy. Blue was the only color that mattered to them. The problem is systemic – it isn’t the training about diversity it’s the training about use of force. It is the police versus civilian attitude. (Maybe we should make them subject to the UCMJ) The officers were diverse, most police departments are diverse and yet black men are still targeted and more likely to be beaten and killed. I don’t think educating kids about privilege and unconscious bias will fix it. Policies about use of force have to change. I think qualified immunity has to change. Every time there is an officer involved shooting it seems like the phrase “procedures were followed” is uttered and no one ever asks what is being done to change the procedures (see, for example the Tamir Rice case).

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      1. Police do not receive the same charges that citizens get. It is not enough to look at the police, the entire prosecutorial system must be addressed. Including plea bargaining which coerces defendants into pleading guilty. It must be systematically addressed because individuals risk too much to oppose it. Defense attorneys cannot try to get their clients to fight it when they can face much longer sentences, it would be malpractice. And, this too has a much larger impact on minorities

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    1. Every time there is an officer involved shooting it seems like the phrase “procedures were followed” is uttered

      The guys in the first episode of “Chernobyl” going in and out of the control room saying “We did everything right…”

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    2. Well, there isn’t any point in doing things that won’t work, so if diversity training and teaching children about privilege won’t change anything, let’s not do it. Maybe different training and techniques are the answer, but there’s no racial aspect to that answer, so no one will be all that interested. I’m very skeptical that qualified immunity is a factor: it applies in civil suits, not criminal ones, and most police officers don’t have enough money to be worth suing. Qualified immunity protects municipalities, not police officers, and I suspect that most municipal officials will consider controlling crime and maintaining police union support to be worth the occasional tort judgment.

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      1. The data on diversity training effectiveness (and, I don’t think there is any significant data on teaching children about privilege and bias and systemic racism– that’s education that hopes to change the impact of racism in the long term) is mixed (just like for body cameras). No solution can be seen as a panacea, and solutions need to be tested. And, a significant issue with implicit bias training is that it helps those of us who are good willed with a positive desire to end the tragedies playing out, not those who like the status quo.

        The progressive crowd (or at least elements of it) want to defund the police. Not my solution, but presumably that could be tried somewhere, particularly somewhere that doesn’t want to spend money. In my world, I think people imagine diverting those funds.

        I also think the qualified immunity defense is a red herring, but not a more overarching change in the requirements in police contracts and the degree of oversight of the police departments might have benefits (as shown in the suggested revisions of the Columbus OH police department contract, which cites to other contracts).

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      2. I hadn’t noticed that police shootings (or crime, for that matter) are lower in DC than in Columbus. I had noticed that if, as in DC, you have a largely black police force policing a largely black city, you don’t get protests about police abuses, since there’s no racial aspect to get people interested, and obviously the white people in the ‘burbs don’t care about what one black man does to another within the city limits.

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  21. “It is the police versus civilian attitude.” I am being shocked by this again. One of the police shooters in the Louisville killing had, just a few days ago, posted a picture of herself at a protest wishing pepper spray on a woman handing her flowers and promising to do it again.

    Now, I think, there is among a certain class of young people, broader than just african american men, who are regarding the police as the other as well.

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  22. Samuel Sinyangwe posted a twitter thread on research based approaches to improving policing: He summarized 10 top points, first that body cameras aren’t the panacea solution but, say, that there is evidence that you predict which cop is is going to be a bad cop using predictive policing, but on police.

    The research is summarized here:

    https://www.joincampaignzero.org/research

    and, an example, recommendations for the Columbus, OH police department contract:

    Click to access Columbus+Division+of+Police+Union+Contract+Analysis.pdf

    I am trying to focus my attention on what I think needs to change. I believe we need the police, that without their authority we devolve into a society of warlords or vigilantes. I believe in the rule of law. But, I think something is wrong and that we are seeing it now with the videos.

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  23. Oops, can’t figure out why it sometimes does that. I also recommend Jennifer Doleac’s thread on the same topic.

    And, unlike the protestors, I feel complicit with the police. They are us: we fund them; we tell them what to do; we are responsible for them (both for their work and their protection).

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  24. Oh, and the coronavirus is not over. The degree to which our lives change from day to day because of it might be (until we have other changes, most notably when schools start, in some form or another). Texas reached a one day high a couple of days ago (though I do not want to use one data point as a trend, the cases have been trending upwards in TX for about a week). But, the deaths are not also increasing at the same rate yet (and, are, still in the 10s).

    I do think the protests are accelerating the end of the quarantines. But, the quarantine is also making it easier to enact curfews. The people I know are being careful as they can, and some, my kiddo tells me are isolating themselves from their families, or are going to a protest and then not going out for two weeks, so, trying to mitigate harm.

    And, those of us who like data are definitely going to be looking for a peak of cases in the coming weeks.

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    1. When I saw the Sloan Kettering staff out supporting the protests (on Twitter) my first response was: noooooooooo get inside, you are going to have to be treating some of these people in two weeks. We’ll see, I guess. Israel just had to shut its schools down due to a spike in cases.

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      1. Funny you should mention Sloan Kettering staff. I just got off the phone with one of BFFs from high school who is an oncologist there. We talked about COVID and other stuff. I’m on deadline today, but might write about it tomorrow. Surprising info.

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  25. The damage from looting is often no worse than what you see wrought in communities from a tornado or hurricane (whose frequency and extremity, we can argue, are just as driven by specific human actions as looting). Bouts of physical destruction are bad, but they are temporary. The looting narrative should not be driving the conversations. The headline on last night’s network news trilled, “America braces for another night of unrest.” But an alternative headline could have been: “Americans risk COVID to fight systemic racism.”

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    1. In my area of SE Mass, there was some rioting happening in a majority black city and many MANY reports of looting/rioting in the next town over from mine. People on the local FB group were *insisting* it was happening. However, it wasn’t.

      This was amusing. One of the repliers says they thought that Meghan wasn’t even in NYC right now.

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      1. The local Nextdoor is always full of people wondering if something was gun shots. It doesn’t help that some asshat was shooting fireworks while the protests were happening.

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  26. I haven’t looked at Next-door, but did see some fear and trembling on a town Facebook page about a potential riot in our town with outsiders looting and pillaging. The riot turned out to be four high school teens from town walking down the street with BLM signs.

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