This post was written shortly after Memorial Day, 2020, beginning the summer of our discontent.
The climate was right. Summer heat had overtaken the city. It was a holiday – a day of remembrance for those who had died defending their fellow man. In one part of the city, a white man, hired to serve his community, subdued a black man and placed his knee on the man’s throat. The man died. The city roared in anger at this injustice. Their anger turned to rage and spread throughout the community of those already cloistered from the normality of life.
Again we watched from the comfort of our homes as city streets filled with protesters – walking arm in arm and side by side. There was no social distancing. There were masks, but were they being used to shield others from a deadly disease or as a means of disguising who they were? The crowds gathered at first to protest peacefully. It was a right given them by the law of the land.
As happens when crowds gather and are incited by others to do violence, the protests turned ugly and the city went up in flames. Shops were looted. Items from those stores were carried off or destroyed. Glass crumbled under the hands and feet of violent people who had been stirred to make the most of a bad situation. The cause was no longer just. The man who lay dead could not come back to life because of it. The man who killed him would not be judged fairly because of it. The deed had already been done.
For days the violence continued. Some said it was a plot to undermine the country and eventually start another civil war. Some blamed the white race for their inaction. Others blamed the blacks. Some blamed the law enforcers. Others pointed fingers at the lawmakers and elected officials. All of them pointed fingers away from themselves.
Eventually the violent behavior spread out across the entire land. No longer were they confined to their homes. They left their cocoons and took on what they deemed a righteous war. All the years of oppression had culminated into another battle. Cries for justice; hands raised in solidarity; the call of resistance against current laws and complacency screamed loudly in the night sky. Flames encompassing businesses that once thrived in these neighborhoods and burned them into ashes..
Barricades were set to protect those behind them. Troops entered the city. The presence of military uniforms mingled with those of local law enforcement. Streets filled with more and more voices and cries for justice.
The people wondered if this would ever end. Would they continue to be held captive in their homes? Would the disease again rise because so many were blind to the restrictions? Would there be another catastrophe on the next day? In their secret places, many cried out to God. They begged for mercy on an evil world. Some blamed God for all the tragedies that were unfolding before their eyes. They cried tears of pain, loss, anger. They hugged each other as if it was the last time they would do so. None of it would change what had occurred.
They went to sleep wondering if they would have a world to wake up to. Even though the sounds of random fireworks blasted through the evening sky, they went to sleep hearing cries for justice and peace and yet there would be none.
This was just the beginning.