I was having a hard time at work today. I kept messing up in obviously wrong ways and I started to get shaky. I went outside during my break and I thought to myself: ‘I’m in a weird mood today.’
Was I in a weird mood? Perhaps. Or I was in a reasonable mood for the situation.
Yesterday, Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts of killing George Floyd. Yesterday, the cops in Columbus, OH, my new home, killed a 16-year-old Black girl. It hit me all today.
I woke up this morning to a message from a friend, saying, “Please don’t go to the protests that I’m sure are going to happen for that teenage girl! It’s not worth it. It’s too dangerous.” I trust this friend, I think she would know what is and isn’t safe and why.
To further expound upon her warning, I came upon this article, titled “Ohio county where girl, 16, was killed is state’s deadliest for police shootings” by Adam Gabbatt. I moved to the county where the police shoot and kill the most people in Ohio and is the 18th most deadly county in the country. But this is not for me. I’m white.
Earlier, when I was thinking about how weird I was feeling, I also felt like I was going to cry. It could have gone either way. Either I cried and felt better or I didn’t, so I didn’t. If any of my coworkers saw me crying I would have to tell them through those tears that this is about me and my feelings. If I were to have cried my mostly Black co-workers would have to console the white girl they work with and barely know while people in their community are being murdered at rates higher than anywhere else in the state.
There’s nothing wrong with crying in itself, and maybe I will later when I can be alone, but this isn’t about me and my feelings. We’re all feeling like shit right now, yes, but we also can’t take the stage when people are literally dying.
This pandemic has been weird because so many people are dying, it’s a public health crisis. Black people are also dying at alarming rates, it is also a public health crisis. The most frustrating thing about these two things is that I live in a country that takes my taxes and does nothing to stop this death but only uses them to continue with more and more death. Yes, the military budget is way too bloated and we cause disgusting amounts of death in other countries, but we are funding this public health crisis here. I hate that my money is going toward paying the officer that killed Ma’Khia Bryant. I hate that my money is going toward giving police officers more military toys and trainings that only teach them to shoot first, everyone is a threat. I hate that my money is going toward a system that allows officers to kill other humans for no reason and get away with it.
There was no justice yesterday. Smarter people than me have pointed out that Justice would be that George Floyd and Ma’Khia Bryant (etc.) are still alive. What happened yesterday was accountability at best, and a small amount of accountability at that. We have just been trained to think this is Justice because we never get accountability.
What now? We know there’s this crisis and we know the problem. In fact, we know the solution. How do we get there?
Days like today, I hate this country. I called myself a Patriot for a long time, trying to take the word back from far right-wing nutjobs. I decided that I’m a citizen and cannot easily leave, and therefore I want to make this place my home. I want to make my home better. I don’t know if I want to call myself that any longer. I still want to make this country better and I will support others fighting and fight to do so myself, but I am not a Patriot.