Holy crap! There were protests here in Atlanta last night. At first, they were peaceful, as they should be, but then it turned bad. People started smashing police car windows and then set a police car on fire. Starting with the CNN building, protesters vandalized store fronts, smashed windows and looted businesses as the mob travelled along the streets. They lit more cars on fire and even a building along the way. The protesters even made it as far as Lenox Mall, which is quite the walk from the CNN building, where they proceeded to continue the same smash and grab activities.
Mayor Bottoms went full angry mom mode and pleaded for folks to go home because she couldn’t keep people safe. They even had T.I. and Killer Mike get on TV to speak. Like the mayor, they were both angry and heartbroken, but they made really good points. Killer Mike especially, was raw and held nothing back. He agreed that there should be civil unrest but that it needed to be channeled the right way and organized. He said looting and vandalism isn’t the way, that those activities don’t honor the death of anyone and only makes things worse. They were hurting their own community and that they needed to stop.
I can only hope people hear his words and listen to them. If they want change, it must be done by voting, organizing, and speaking out. Sadly, the people of today have embraced the more radical forms of protest because they feel the non-violent resistance that Martin Luther King Jr pushed for doesn’t change anything. That feeling of hopelessness leads to anger and causes people to strike out. Before 2016, I thought we had mostly gotten past the racism of yesteryears. I knew there were sporadic pockets of out there that still held those ill feelings toward peoples of color but as a whole I thought we had snuffed it out. But during the last 4 years, it’s become clear my perception was wrong. It had been there the whole time, simmering beneath the surface. How do we as a nation fix things? Right now, things only seem to be getting worse.
Music: Def Leppard – “Love Bites”