It’s gotten to where I can’t bear to turn on the television or the radio, for fear of learning of some new tragedy happening in the world. War, disease, natural disasters, and police brutality. As long as the terror is happening in other countries, it’s easier to distance ourselves from it; there’s a buffer zone. Then you turn on the news and see police in military gear, armed with assault rifles and tear gas, and see armored vehicles driving down U.S. streets.
We find this police brutality and suppression of civil rights shocking; this denial of freedom of speech is something that takes place in the Middle East or China. We forget our own country’s history of oppression. We forget about the attack on the Bonus Army, a group of veterans and their families gathered in Washington DC in 1932. They were there to demand payment of their service certificates. Instead the police showed up and started shooting people, then Hoover ordered the army to clear them out. They were chased away with guns and tanks, their encampment full of women and children was burned to the ground.
Not as far back in our suppressed memories are the Kent State shootings, when the National Guard opened fire on students protesting the Vietnam war. Four students were killed and nine more wounded.
A few days ago, a young man, Dillon Taylor, was shot and killed by police here in Salt Lake, because he didn’t respond immediately to the officer’s orders. Witnesses say he had headphones on and didn’t hear the officer, and that he was unarmed.
I am far and away not a criminal element, but I have to say I feel uncomfortable around the police. I used to work in a domestic violence shelter. I was followed, and not in a protective way, by police on more than one occasion as I picked up women to bring them to shelter, or left to drive home after work. I remember very clearly being verbally assaulted by an officer when I refused to tell him where the shelter was. I was scared. He had his hands in my car, white knuckle gripping the door, his face in mine screaming like a banshee and spitting, as he threatened and demanded to know where the shelter was.
I don’t feel safe in this world. I don’t feel safe in this country. I need some good news. I need to hear about people being good to each other. I’m going to avoid the news today and get lost in some stitching. If you hear any happy news, please share.