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The World is Burning

2020-06-04

picture by Open Clip Art Vectors courtesy of pixabay.com

Many people are under tremendous stress at this time.  Cases of anxiety, depression, and despair have proliferated as people are forced to the wall by being impoverished, isolated, and killed by an invisible pathogenic virus and its economic side effects.  The economy, especially that of the US and South America, has been ravaged.   A lack of a safety net for Americans (both North and South) has resulted in a sudden increase in unemployment that strikes already marginal people the most severely.  Many people are afraid to go out in public, especially in areas where the virus has struck the hardest.  There has been a failure in guidance from the previously most trusted institutions like the CDC and WHO.

On top of this pandemic and its stress upon the American economy (in particular), there has been another death of a black man in police custody.  This time, the death was recorded on a video that was circulated throughout the world.  The video evoked shock and horror in all who saw it.  It has provoked protests all over the world.

While the police were distracted by the protests, opportunists saw their chance and began looting and burning.  Those who engaged in looting were motivated not by the death of another black man, but by their prejudices that informed an urge to break and damage society while the police were looking elsewhere.

News media has noticed (but not emphasized) the fact that the looters were able to get away with their activities because the police were massed against the demonstrators.  The protestors are being blamed for the inefficiencies of the police– when it is the police who should be blamed for allowing their attention to be distracted from their main purpose.  They should have been protecting shuttered businesses instead of intimidating peaceful demonstrators.

Some businesses had to hire their own security guards, while in poor communities, volunteers came down to protect businesses owned by their friends and neighbors.  While people had to protect their own businesses, Washington DC was blanketed by anonymous government agents from the Bureau of Prisons acting as police.

The president’s response to peaceful demonstrators on Monday was to violently crack down on the people for a political video he will use in an attempt to be re-elected.  He was well-served yesterday by the voice of his former chief of staff, a retired Marine general.  General Mattis finally came out and spoke against this monster, telling everyone what he really thinks of his president.

While our attention is on this spectacle and the damage to our country, South America is being beaten to the mat by the virus.  Life in the Southern Continent was already marginal, with grinding poverty the rule in every country and democratic governance losing ground to tyranny.  Cases of COVID-19 are now proliferating and the entire livelihood of poor people in South America is being destroyed.  If you think we are having problems, you should read the news coming out of Brazil and other South American countries.

Today, the supreme irony of George Floyd’s death was revealed.  At the time he was killed, he was recovering from COVID-19– no longer infectious, but with the virus still present in his body.  He will, at the end, be counted as another victim of the virus.  He survived infection, only to be murdered by a policeman.  The reaction to his death will bring down a president, and I can think of no-one who more deserved to be taken down.  I hope that George Floyd’s death will not be in vain.

(I’m not giving any references in this post, but if you look at the news you will see it’s all there.)

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