The National Guard Have Been Deployed

Sirens fill the warm night air. A helicopter hovers. Then disappears behind a plume of black smoke—its spotlight strafing the crowded streets of downtown Los Angeles. “Protestors are being removed from Whole Foods.” The news reporter stares into the camera, his mask allowing him to say that with a straight face. A kid runs past with an armload of asparagus water. The cops fire rubber bullets. The cameraman ducks. The reporter prone on the ground, “Get me the fuck outta here!”

Five days ago a Minneapolis cop murdered George Floyd and the streets are finally on fire. For his own amusement the president fans the flames of hate. The killing of unarmed black men escalates. Even a deadly virus can’t drown out the screams of the privileged; outraged at being asked to wear masks. An armored assault vehicle skids to a halt. Cops in riot gear charge the demonstrators, “Social distance my foot in your ass.”

“When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter has declared war on Donald Trump. I hope they both die. “I don’t think Facebook or Internet platforms in general should be arbiters of truth.” Another self-absorbed billionaire presses that old familiar capitalist knee even harder on our necks. What will this revolution use for a guillotine?

When the agency empowered by the state to enforce the law is allowed the impunity to do whatever the fuck they want—the result is violent systematic oppression. Teargas burns my eyes. The riot has moved away leaving smoldering ashes at my feet. Down the block the flames of discontent ignite and grow higher.

Target is burning and I don’t give a fuck.

–Patrick O’Neil


Essays

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