I am not heartbroken. I am enraged at the senselessness of what is happening, at the sense of fatalistic distance that overcomes us when this happens, at the way it keeps happening, and at the way every single response to this, every single one, could be choreographed in advance because we know already how this is going to go because it’s fucking GONE THAT WAY BEFORE.
A killing. Demonstrations. An overreaction by the police. Riots, destruction, and media coverage that only bears a scant resemblance to reality making everything look worse.
When the fires burn themselves out: Some kind of made-for-TV reconciliation event in a church. Sweep up the glass, solve nothing, and next month or next year, do it all again.
It’s senseless, and it’s always been senseless, because the way we live now is senseless. The way we live is paranoid, and angry, and exhausting. The way we white middle class people negotiate the world, and talk about it, and engage with it, just doesn’t fucking work.
We wall ourselves off in our little neighborhoods and we tell ourselves we’re safe if we just don’t cross that street (we shrug about what happens to people who live across that street, if we think about them at all). We give our police departments great big guns and then tell ourselves we need guns too because however big the cops’ guns are, they’re not big enough. We make sure our kids don’t go to school with those people. We make sure to live where they don’t, where they won’t, where they can’t.
We spend thousands of dollars on security systems and not a damn dime on our souls, and tell ourselves we’re safer when what we are is smaller.
We live mired in fear and anger. We tell ourselves a constant story about poor young black men and what they represent, and we let ourselves off the hook over and over and over and fucking over again for being less than we should be, as if fear is some kind of excuse.
Heartbreaking. Try inevitable, so long as we keep living the way we do. As long as we keep being heartbroken instead of inspired to action. As long as we keep locking our doors and windows and shaking our heads and being sad instead of furious.