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TV News. For most of the past 80 days the only news story has been the virus. Every once in a while they dropped in another story but even then it seemed like the story was linked to the virus. Last night the virus was but a single news story that was presented mid-program. The lead was protests and looting across the country protesting the George Floyd murder. There was also the small matter of a the first private company to send people into space.  But the virus story has morphed into a discussion about what all this protesting will do to the spread of the virus by maskless protesters.


Note to Self. I'm confident that June 1, 2020 will be a date remembered for centuries to come. It was the date that our president turned military might on peaceful protesters. The headline right now goes something like "President uses tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters in order to have a photo opportunity." Asked why this was necessary and the news reports that he thought he came across as weak when it was leaked that the Secret Service moved him to a bunker in fear of the protesters. Note to self...check back here on 6/1/2030 and let's see if this was a pivotal moment in our society. And once again the virus is not the news today.


Another Note to Self. The sustained protests for a week across the country and combined with the level of accompanying violence suggest much more than just a reaction to the violation of African American civil rights. Don't get me wrong, they have every right to be angry. The cell phone video was shocking along many dimensions and it unlike is often the case, the video seemed to have all the context anyone would need. Open and shut case. And yet the level of anger out there across the country seems bigger than that. The response feels more primal than it has been in the past. This feels like there is an economic inequality mixed in that was spiked with quarantine injustice of its own (lower income and minority populations hurt disproportionately by the virus).


Quick Takes


Tear gas through the TV. I'm not sure what it is when I see protesters being tear gassed through my TV. It's a horrible visual. It's nothing we should ever see in the US. And the fact that they are peaceful is even more frustrating. I went to school in Santa Barbara which was famous for its riots protesting the Vietnam War. All was quiet by the time I arrived, but we all knew that the reason the Bank of America building was new was because it was burned down in these protests. I remember attending a political rally on a warm sunnyd day in the central park in neighboring Isla Vista. This was a decade after the riots but one of the speakers pointed to the three people in the crowd walking around and taking pictures. "That's the government watching your every move..." with the implication that this right to assemble was being jeopardized in some way. Nothing happened. I would go on to take lots of pictures of lots of people in my work for the Daily Nexus newspaper, but frankly that's the last time I really thought about the government as a threat to me personally. The tear gas came through the TV last night. It was hard to keep a dry eye as our President used rubber bullets and tear gas to clear protesters from the perimeter of the people's house. He then marched across the park to take a picture. We should all be tearful today.


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