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Afternoon Pages: May 31st, 2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the D.C. metro region has been in a state of lockdown. To alleviate fear and stress, my writer's group has put together a daily “morning pages” get-together on Zoom in order to touch base before starting the day. Here's some of my brief thoughts.


I think today, I became addicted (or re-addicted really) to this video on this BBC weatherman playing drums. I really like BBC dubstep. Here's a dubstep remix I copied from DropBox. And ahhhhhh there's an HTML MP3 player! That's so cool.


It's been an…exciting…few days recently. I thought George Floyd died last week, and I mean I guess I would be correct because today's Sunday, but like then I thought he died last, last week. Nope, just last Monday. I thought Ahmaud's death would be the trigger, and it was, for some peaceful protests. You know, gunning a guy down while he's jogging. Then I thought it'd be Breonna Taylor's death, and it was, for some peaceful protests. You know, gunning down an off-duty paramedic in her own home during a pandemic and then arresting her boyfriend.

Now, I think everybody's just sick of everything and feel like nothing matters anymore, hence burning and looting and shooting and stuff.

Strange thing is, all this death and destruction doesn't really piss me off. It might be because I'm not personally affected and I'm a selfish person who primarily looks after his own self-interest. It might be because I felt this was a long time coming and was mentally bracing for this for a number of years. Maybe it's because I'm so emotional about things I've wrapped back around to heartlessness.

But if I had to pin this to one reason, it's that I've long stopped thinking that people can change systems based on altruism. I've been hammering nails into that coffin for quite a while. That coffin is probably more nails than wood right now. I mean seriously, I listened to my pastor's address on this matter, and he's great on most topics (which is why I go to his church), but this message seriously pissed me off.

It was so milquetoast, it was enraging. The most aggressive thing he said was “God condemns injustice”. I don't remember if he mentioned Floyd's death as unnecessary or cruel. Come to think of it, I don't remember if he addressed the peaceful protests earlier this year. Maybe I have a bad memory (I do really have a bad memory), or maybe it's because the Arlington County Police Department offers protection to our church to prevent mass shootings since Sutherland Springs and the pastor didn't want to tick them off by speaking out of turn.

For me, it definitely underlines the whole “white moderate” shtick MLK was steaming about, that people mostly want to stay on the sidelines and not get involved, and that they'll only do so if it inconveniences them and even then only to the extent that the inconvenience is lifted from their conscience.

Well, now the gloves are off. The truth is, in any struggle for rights and freedoms, there are no referees and there aren't any rules. In fact, it's quite dangerous to not be involved – the less you're involved, the less power you have, the less you matter, and the more vulnerable you are to all factions, police, anarchists, doesn't matter. So when I see videos of innocent civilians shot on their porches, or journalists deliberately being shot at by rubber bullets, something that doesn't happen even in war zones, I see people realizing the futility of appeasement and moderation. You can't sit this out anymore. That's the only way I see lasting reforms can occur, by pissing off as many innocent bystanders as possible in whatever way can get them pissed, as painful and sad as that may be, because it's the only way that accepts our human nature.

Don't forget, we're still very, very lucky. I believe one point of Syria's Arab Spring uprising was police / state brutality. Now, I have no idea what people are fighting about over there. We still have one major faction of peaceful protesters wanting the right to live we can ally ourselves with. I think worst-case scenario, that might not be the case in 12 months.

This Bible passage popped into my mind as I thought about all those and all that we've lost from our collective inaction, ignorance, and selfishness:

Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

Genesis 3:17-19

Now, more than we have been recently, we are all sons of Adam.