I have been wanting to write about the recent killings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas. Or about San Bernardino, Orlando and Paris. But I couldn't quite find the right words to describe how I feel or what I think about it all.
My mind keeps going back go the Detroit riots of 1967 and how I thought the end times were upon us. I remember as a teenager I thought they were coming right up from Grand River Avenue 12th Street to my house in the first of the northwest suburbs. I remember my grandmother lamenting that the riots were most intense was where had grown up fifty years before.
I start thinking about the Kennedys, MLK, Vietnam, drugs, sex and rock &roll. All the signs were there. The 60s were a violent decade. The Tate-LoBianca murders. All the signs were their.
Yet all that led to new affirmations if civil rights. The Age of Aquarius. Peaceniks. Desegregation, Voting rights for all. On and on. I remember thinking how very progressive our country was, how democratic and filled with equal opportunity for all. It seems to have been a mirage.
We seem to be right where we were 50 years ago. Only now we have semi-automatic weapons, social-media, (that is proving to be as anti-social as it is social), and constant instant replay. We had the dirty tricks of the right and the moral fluidity of the left. Then there was outrage. Now it is part of the norm They say everything is relative.
I remember seeing the actual killing of Lee Harvey Oswald on TV. I remember seeing the horrific assassinations of JDK and RFK played over and over on TV. No one had a cell phone in '68, so no pix of MLK. But now people do have Instagram and Facebook Live. Now we see young black men hunted in public parks, shot down like dogs and police officers running from sniper bullets, not getting out of harm's way. We see people, as it happens, running from a madman in a crowded nightclub on what was just a moment before the scene of celebration and camaraderie.
As I am writing this, I can hear a police helicopter hovering nearby and think about the video on Facebook I saw just a while ago of protesters marching through our little neighborhood shopping plaza chanting "hands jup, don't shoot". Later I hear on the news that it was the end of yet another car chase that began in San Diego and ended a few blocks from my home.
As I get up, get dressed, and get ready to walk the dogs, I feel the fear, the anger, the despair all around. I soldier on. I keep my hands folded, sometime physically, sometimes figuratively. And now nothing seems routine or normal. Nothing can be taken for granted.
Have the end times returned? Did they ever go away? Could there really be a Satan? Is God dead? I don’t know.
Seems like the same questions are still waiting to be answered. All I know is we as humans don't seem to be going about finding the way forward in a very effective manner. Some say their is a conspiracy. It is to keep us distracted from what is really going on. I have to wonder though: if this is how they distract us, what the heck are they really up to?
Hands folded. Breath held. Deep sigh. Move on.