America is in turmoil. Protestors speaking out against police brutality have spread to cities across the country. On May 31 Los Angeles issued a curfew requiring all residents to be home by 6 p.m. that was copied for the next several evenings. This time the government isnt asking for people to just stay-at-home the mantra used during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic they are demanding it. Government leadership continues to try to quash peoples rights first with the pandemic now regarding protesting. Its not surprising that robust and passionate riots have broken out across the United States.
The conditions however were ripe for a bursting of outcry. George Floyd was killed on May 25 in Minneapolis.Video and reports of his tragic murder garnered headlines across the US. But Floyd wasnt the first black man killed by police officers this year. 1252 black Americans have lost their lives due to police brutality
since 2015. While 2385 white Americans also lost their lives to police slayings in the same timespan the numbers show a disproportionate number of black American deaths at the hands of the police. In July 2013 three Black organizers founded Black Lives Matter
specifically to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities."
In the years following Black Lives Matter waged numerous campaigns to acknowledge systemic racism in America. Through the years Americans have seen public discussions surrounding protests over the national anthem mass incarceration and racial inequality but nothing like the current protests that have also led to violent incidences of arson and theft in many of Americas largest cities and seeped into surrounding areas.
The anger festered and finally boiled over after Floyds murder in the wake of a pandemic. People were angry before but now with added country-wide anxiety and anti-government sentiment Americans took to the streets in defiance.
For some of us particularly in Los Angeles County weve been told by the government to stay-at-home since March 19. These severe measures led to rampant job insecurity and economic instability as more than 40 million people
have filed for unemployment across the country. There are people worried about the pandemic people harboring anxiety about their jobs people struggling with changes in their daily life and people unsure how to cope with a combination of those factors. Protests concerning the governments response to COVID-19 popped up in Michigan California Illinois North Carolina and other states during April and May. Those protests mostly peaceful aimed to get the attention of those in charge to let Americans choose how they live their daily lives amidst the risk of contracting a virus.
As stay-at-home rules invoked at the beginning of the pandemic became increasingly more difficult to interpret and therefore enforce citizens have been openly flouting government recommendations. Pictures of a pool party in the Ozarks
is just one example. With sheriffs across the country
refusing to enforce lockdown orders is it any wonder that American citizens have tired of the rules and can see that law enforcement and lawmakers are not working together?
The incompatibility between our governing bodies and those who enforce the law has mobilized peaceful protests that have then been hijacked by opportunists who turn them into looting and violent mayhem. Because of the coronavirus Americans have been stewing largely at home but like cold water on a stove it took only a few weeks to boil over causing people to flock the streets. People like me who once abided by police mandates are now questioning the way America governs and enforces its laws.
Today in the United States anti-authoritarian sentiment abounds. Floyds death exacerbated compounding fury over black inequality with citizens unable to return to their normal lives and worried about their future due to the pandemic. Covid-19 is killing black Americans at a higher rate than whites and so are the police. The struggle with both these issues clashing together created the havoc were seeing across the world. Many of the Floyd protestors are protesting peacefully begging to be heard and respected. But when groups set fire to stores
injure police officers and security guards and steal merchandise by the bagful that is caused by an immense amount of pent up contravention between the American people and their leadership. The collision of Covid-19 distress and the gruesome video of another black mans death at the hands of the police created the carnage being waged on the streets of America today.