COVID-19 + Protests and Our Frustrations — Will There Be An End?
Recently, I was watching parade footage featuring NYC’s 99th Mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia, from 1937. Just over 80 years ago the city’s population was under 2 million residents of what it is today in 2020. Yet the visually discernible sizes of the crowds outnumbered that which I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime here in NYC.
This write-up is more about going by a presumption I’d like to think most would agree with than actually trying to prove a thesis; ‘and what might that be?
These recent protests’ half life may be much longer than one might expect.
Today’s cultural mess is made up of people so hypnotized by their smart phones, social distractions and other cultural crap that the extent of their political involvement with most things ends with their trip to a diner, restaurant, movie theater, bar or any other diversion you might think of. The fewer distractions there are, the more likely they’d be involved with a particular issue. In this digitally driven world there are tons of examples.
I’m not saying that applies to every individual, just most.
80 years ago there were nowhere near the kinds of diversions there are today. Such was the case every day prior and, depreciatively speaking, for decades thereafter.
So what’s my point?
Today, we’ve multitudes protesting in the name of George Floyd who died mercilessly at the hands of a monster, supposedly representing the Minneapolis Police Department. These people are pissed off. I’m pissed off!
But how long will this last? It’s an answer which, as of the time of this writing, has no answer. Why?
Because these are people without anything to distract or divert their attention. Many cannot return to work due to the COVID-19 crisis; have no school to return to, and no social distractions to experience on their own or share with loved ones and friends. There’s limited or no access to much of that which so many have been accustomed to.
Likewise, people are frustrated and upset, with many bearing pent up frustrations from being cooped up at home. Not to say that the George Floyd death deserves any less attention. No, his name should never be forgotten. Yet, without employment and things with which to occupy oneself, these George Floyd protests serve as a source through which to vent one’s frustrations. Better still, a source for many people, far and wide, to share a common perceived enemy.
When I say wide, I’m not just referring to the United States. His name’s now garnered global focus. As of this writing, “Black Lives Matter” has found its way onto the tongues of citizens from England, Germany, Canada and Italy. Remember, they too are suffering through the same health crisis as America. As I’ve mentioned, not that they’ve no reason to join in our cries for justice over a committed wrong. But, take away all the distractions and watch a people’s focus become more precise.
Now, what IF another incident were to happen in the coming days or weeks? Then, I’d be very afraid for our future.
Our local enforcement personnel may be just as frustrated as everyone else. One’s got to remember that a good number of these people were either sickened by the disease or forced to self quarantine. The numbers of our NYC emergency personnel were cut down for some time.
Now, these days, I walk down the street and half the time I want to snap at the next person I see without any sort of facial covering. That’s how I’ll feel but I don’t act on it. I know many others who feel the same way. Imagine if I had a badge?
There was one recent local incident, in the East Village, involving an undercover police officer taking down a bystander. That situation supposedly began with a group not social distancing properly or wearing adequate facial covering. Last I heard, he was to be reprimanded for his actions.
Can you see how some resentment might creep in? You stand to protect the law. Many of your own brothers in other similar authority and emergency support positions have suffered due to this health crisis. Now, you’ve to deal with those who flaunt adherence to the rules. Not that any of this excuses any misbehavior or brutality on their part. It doesn’t. I’m just trying to get a point across. There’s frustration, on all levels, experienced by the city’s residents, individually and collectively.
Aside from the above, there ARE bad people who should never be cops and others who aren’t bad yet who shouldn’t be cops regardless. They’ve neither the sensibility nor the self restraint needed to deal with New Yorkers, or any other city dweller for that matter.
But, I’m afraid to say, something WILL happen again and it may happen sooner than later. Then people may react even worse than before.
With the way everyone’s carried on, there’s no telling how long we’ll be stuck in this health crisis limbo.