North Texas Daily

Safety from a system: radical vs. reasonable

Safety from a system: radical vs. reasonable

Safety from a system: radical vs. reasonable
June 18
12:32 2020

Beginning in April of this year, thousands of Americans took to the streets to protest the regulations encouraged by the government, the World Health Organization as well as the Centers for Disease Control, which ordered the public to take precautions to decrease the spread of the coronavirus.

Protestors flooded the steps of capitol buildings, salons, gyms, restaurants and multiple other businesses still under the economic shutdown orders that were issued in mid-March. In just one month, citizens grew impatient with shelter-in-place orders requiring them to only leave their homes for essential needs.

Many deemed it unnecessary to wear masks advised to keep not only themselves safe, but anyone they may encounter. The need for them became entirely twisted into a narrative conspired by the government to enforce power and control. Signs held up during protests read, “Land of The Free,” “COVID-19 is A Lie” and “My Body, My Choice,” all of which reek of irony.

This form of protesting acknowledges the personal desire to go back to the routine of life, one that is not necessarily at any sort of threat unless you count those who have lost jobs. In this case, protesters’ needs were centered around others going back to work for them. Demands of haircuts that they so desperately need and sit-down meals to feel seen again.

While many citizens publicly carried rifles, wore no masks, flew flags and shouted at law enforcement officials, hardly any violent action was taken against the protestors. At the very least they were pushed off capital steps for screaming in the faces of officers protecting its doors. Though the amount of coverage for these COVID-19 protests was far less than that of the Black Lives Matter protests, the media depicted many obvious signs of violence from protesters.

Fast forward to May 25, the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. After his death was put on display to the public in a video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, the nation, to say the least, was in emotional, social and civil unrest.

In an immediate response, protests began to break out, both peaceful and non-peaceful, all in demand for justice of innocent Black lives put to an end. What began with rioting quickly and surely turned to movements calling for drastic reform among police officers towards the Black community. A CityLab research article covering racial bias from police officers found that Black Americans are killed at a rate 2.5 times higher than white Americans, and the Black woman 1.4 times higher. When the death of George Floyd was uncovered to be for nothing more than a counterfeit 20 dollar bill, the response was nothing short of expected. The Black community is being, and has been, targeted dangerously, and the demand for change from the government and its leaders should not be radical; it should be reasonable.

In any instance, kneeling on a citizen’s neck long enough for them to lose consciousness and in result, lose their life, reflects no kind of justice, and incites no form of respect. In these waves of protests, law enforcement has inflicted all kinds of violence and in most cases, been the start of it. Cans of tear gas and rubber bullets blast into crowds of peaceful protesters, the treatment that the COVID-19 protesters never once received, and they were armed.

To look at both groups of protesters, it is undeniably obvious the privilege of those demanding a lack of protection and for services deemed non-essential compared to those demanding not to be killed and given the same protective rights as they are promised. Why is it that the latter is radical and requires excessive force? What is the difference? The President has used varying language when speaking about both groups, calling one “very responsible” and the other “thugs.” I’ll let you guess which belonged to whom.

The contrast in situations along with the severity of the issues they are speaking out against reflect strongly of the divide this country has always struggled with. Though, by listening and educating one another, the movements can both exceed in greater change. COVID-19 protesters becoming educated on the risks and numbers lost to the virus, along with Black Lives Matter protesters banding together with communities to help amplify their voices and educating those unaware and unaffected to create restorative change.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Lindsey Donovan

Lindsey Donovan

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