In his opinion piece, "Selective indignation" (Feb. 11), John Donegan tries to equate Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests/riots and the Make America Great Again (MAGA) protest/riots/insurrection (yes, it was an insurrection). He also tries to convince readers that the violent insurrectionists imitated the BLM rioters. Let's look at this again.
First, the BLM protests: The goal of the protests has always been to stop violence. Stop the beating and killing of people in the hands of some members of law enforcement. A Harvard Radcliffe Institute article, "Black Lives Matter Protesters Were Overwhelmingly Peaceful, Our Research Finds" by Erica Chenoweth and Jeremy Pressman, describes a study that determined that the vast majority, 93 percent, of these protests were peaceful. It goes on to explain how most of the remaining demonstrations ended up violent. It found that most of the violence was initially caused by police or counterprotesters first directing violence toward the BLM demonstrators. Take for example the attack on the peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., followed by Trump's surreal and ghoulish display of the Bible in front of St. John's Church.
Now let's look at the "Stop the Steal" fiasco and determine the real cause: Hmmm ... well, first you have to acquire groups of really gullible and oh-so-loyal people, aka Trump's Perfect Subjects. Fox "News" and the like can help with that. Convince these people that the more loyal they are, the more patriotic and religious they are and vice versa. Encourage them to buy lots of red MAGA hats and lots of flags—really big ones to display on the back of their cars/trucks, so they can speed around and look real intimidating. Then, bombard them with lies about the election results.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
The louder the better!!! Finally, set up a date and time for them to meet, like when our democratic presidential election is being certified. Hey, what a coincidence! Oh yes, remind them bring their stockpiles of ammunition, locked, loaded, and ready to go. At the last minute, provide them with just enough fuel to frenzy them up to attack our Capitol building. (I say "just enough" because one needs to have a defense later: It wasn't me! All I said was to fight ... figuratively. Hey, Trump may not be quite as stupid as his followers!) Anyway, that is the sequence of events, not MAGA supporters watching BLM protesters/rioters and thinking, "Gee, I want to be just like them." Those MAGA people came to the U.S. Capitol to be violent, not to stop violence. That crazy train left the station years ago, not just after the BLM riots.
Again, I hope one can plainly see: BLM people are protesting against real, heart-wrenching and horrible events that have gone on for years. Those MAGA people were acting on the belief of events that never, ever happened. Ever. So yes, sometimes a riot is the language of the unheard, but this insurrection was not that. It was the action of idiots. That "Stop the Steal" violence was 100 percent unjustified, any way you look at it.
What "liberals" (or any decent human being) don't understand is why white people discriminate against, repress, attack, and murder Black people just because their skin is darker than theirs. This is true senseless violence. Most of the BLM protesters who turned violent during the riots were reacting to this senseless violence, out of frustration and anger, as well as in self-defense. They reacted not always individually, but as a whole, and maybe not always in real time, but because of our times. Unfortunately, our country's past has continued, in many ways, into our country's present.
Susan H. Farbstein writes: "My concern is that the insistence on nonviolence may sometimes reinforce injustice. In certain circumstances, force may be the last appeal to human dignity and the last resort to realizing human rights." ("Reflections on the question of when, if ever, violence is justified in struggles for political or social change") When circumstances take a dramatic change for the worse, as they have since Trump was elected, people see violence as a last resort.
Yes, we should all be equally concerned about the increasing violence in our country. We can start by electing government officials, both locally and nationally, who advocate for human rights and promote justice for all. We can also not elect people who make up, believe in, or spread conspiracy theories and incite senseless, baseless violence on their fellow citizens. Δ
Kathy Riedmann writes to New Times from Los Osos. Send a response for publication to firstname.lastname@example.org.