Timing is a funny thing
I’m not a planner. It’s not a boast. 95% of the time I’m dropping an f-bomb followed by “I wish I was a planner.” I also used to stress about the subjunctive, but that’s wasted time. Go with what sounds better. That doesn’t mean you can get away with I should of done it.
On 31 May 2020 I wandered over to the Pike / Pine corridor in the neighborhood I live in, Capitol Hill. I knew that people were out protesting the murder of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd for allegedly passing a fake $20. I have done a lot of things worse than passing a fake $20, and I don’ think any of those things would warrant a cop putting his knee to my neck for 8:46.
Have you read George Floyd’s lasts words? They’re heart-breaking. I’d like to think that most people who have seen the video or read his words look in a mirror and ask why do we keep ensuring this outcome, this model. Because we do. We (and it’s an inclusive We) pay attention long enough to post a black square on our social media accounts. I’d say it’s going to happen again. But it has already happened again.
The police system is broken, but it’s a reflection of us. We created a system that serves us very well, allowing us to every few months pretend to be shocked and to call for reform.
Pike / Pine corridor. I live a short walk away. It’s a wonderful part of Capitol Hill, and it’s an area I won’t go anywhere near after 2000 Wednesday through Saturday. (I can’t wait to go back there on a Tuesday, when the city’s coolest bartender is pouring drinks.) I’m not a planner, so I didn’t check CHS’s scanner. I stopped just north of 11th and Pine and saw what I think was a collie expressing his/her frustration with the tennis ball thrower who was talking to a woman. The dog conversation in my head went something like guys, your conversation sucks.
11th and Pine. I looked east and saw barricades and police blocking the way to 12th and Pine and the East Precinct. My brain went straight to generic precautions. Walked over to Union and did a loop. When I was on a street where I could look north again, I saw police motorcycles blocking streets and people marching toward East Precinct.
I didn’t realize that was the start of a violent state-sponsored response to protesters. Mayor Jenny Durkan, the Seattle Police Department, and the Nation Guard took up their positions and started tear gassing, flash banging, and pepper spraying the fuck out of their fellow citizens. Shameful.
I took the following photo late in the day on 31 May. I had no idea that the protesters were 1/2 a mile west of me. The area looks much different now.