While we were gone in Hawaii, California suffered a cluster of mass shootings including an attack on Lunar New Year celebrations, and heartbroken outrage about Tyre Nichols’s murder was reaching a roiling boil. It was such a contrast, to be in the midst of such beauty with the news punctuating the days with updates of mindless catastrophe.
I suppose, to some extent, this is always the human reality: unbelievable awfulness transpiring at the same moment as incredible exquisiteness blossoms elsewhere. That doesn’t sit easy with me. The distribution is brutally uneven, the patterns of pain so repetitive, safety and serenity unjustly made into luxuries.
I am in the constant act of trying to manage my heartbreak around these forces. It would feel so good to know exactly what to do, how precisely to flip the table, what to say to meaningfully move things in the right direction so this bloodshed ceases. I listened and waited because I had no idea what to say.
The US has had more than one mass shooting per day since the start of 2023. The devastation of violence keeps raining down disproportionately on communities of color, and the last two weeks have highlighted yet again the awful, corrosive pressures that explode after centuries of racism, exclusion, exploitation, and fetishism of weaponry that sickens this society. Protests and anguish are well in order.
Tyre Nichols and Breonna Taylor shared a birthday: June 5, 1993. Tamika Palmer, Breonna’s mother, found this out yesterday, and re-lived the trauma of her daughter’s murder all over again.
It doesn’t have to be like this. It shouldn’t be like this. AAPI communities deserve to celebrate with joy. Black people deserve to live without fear that driving to photograph a sunset or even going to bed could end up being a deadly police encounter. All of us deserve to go to school, work, church, the grocery store, without the worry that the cancerous, weaponized and well-armed violence that America fosters will end us.
It doesn’t have to be like this. It shouldn’t be like this.
I can't find a credit for this photo, but it is from the protests following George Floyd's murder in 2020, and unfortunately it is freshly relevant today.