Tensions in Fergueson continue to heat up. I can’t help but find myself wondering if this situation is a powder keg now close to blowing up and spreading over. 1991 begs to be repeated again it seems. But then again, maybe I’m just being over-dramatic, me being supsceptible to media sensationalism as anybody else.
A strong part of me wishes everything would just calm down. I hesitate to say “calm back down” because I can’t deny that for many Americans the reality of Fergueson now has been a reality for years, for decades, arguably for centuries and millenias even.
I wasn’t in this country when the LA riots broke out in the early 90’s. I was about four years old then, goofing around in my dad’s church in Korea. It feels like such a long time ago. In the context of the history of this country though, that was barely yesterday. I don’t personally know the details as I haven’t experienced it myself of course but from what I’ve come to learn, many parts of the country were burning. Many streets and shops were bloodied and shattered. Knowing this, I think it’s a given that I wouldn’t want another such event to occur.
However, putting things into an even larger context, America (both Americas in fact) is no stranger to anger spread throughout the country. American history is not complete without bloody civil unrests every couple of decades or so. Shoot, the United States of America government was initially birthed by riots and rebellions that ultimately resulted in a full-blown civil war. Many now would argue that this contry is better for it, but I reckon that’s largely armchair historicizing. Thousands of people died and were exploited, like any other rebellion and war in history. That’s a troubling thing to always consider, even if majority of those deaths was due to disease.
A riot every now and then is healthy for a democracy. This is something that to me feels far too easy to say. As someone who’s never even held a gun in his life, I feel ashamed to even be able to think such a thought, despite feeling also that it’s a logically coherent thought backed by historical evidence. History shows that time and time again that non-violent means to achieving progress can be exhausted. As much as a pacifist like me abhors violence it’s unfortunately a necessary tool sometimes, especially so for the populations most ignored and most voiceless. There can come a time when people can get too fed up; the blowing up of the powder keg then is only inevitable.
Is nationwide rioting imminent? The most immediate reaction in my bone is to answer “No. Things haven’t gotten that desperate yet; people’s frustartions aren’t yet collected and organized enough for that.” I wonder though how valid such a thought is. See, the thing about a rebeillion that shakes up the whole country (or more) is that no one can accurately predict if it’s going to happen, let alone when it is to occur. The common theme is that things blow up when people are fed up and can’t fucking take it any more. Time will tell just how fed up the people really are at this point, and how repressive/concillatory the response is from the people in power.