“Thank God It Wasn’t One Of Us” And Other Incorrect Thoughts
So, I hate violence.
This horrific tragedy in Virginia is America. They were innocent people. Completely innocent. As they flash the faces of the victims, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings.
“Wow, this shit was completely random…These people didn’t have a chance…There lives are over in split second…God, their families have to wait to be notified…This is horrible…What would I do if I were confronted with a shooter?”
So many thoughts flashed through my head.
Do you remember Iraq? Those people are equally innocent. They have done nothing to the people who beat them, shoot them, bomb them, poison them with Depleted Uranium. Does your mind flash on them, do you identify them as “innocents,” as innocent as the engineering or German students at Virginia Tech?
As a black person, the question of identity is always turbulent. Who we are is contested, questioned. We live on a fault line and depending on current events, we are either monsters or marginalized/invisible. Many of us fear the identication of criminals responsible for high profile crimes – fear one of us will be fingered. Why? Because we KNOW that all of us receive an adverse sentence behind the actions of one of us.
I woke up this morning and saw the picture of a Korean man, the alleged shooter. Conflicted. “I thought it’d be a white student…but thank God it wasn’t a black man.”
But this man’s violence (if he indeed committed it) took place within the American pressure cooker, within a context of illegal, indiscriminate violence, organized violence. The media focuses on random violence, so-called “street crime” but ignores the far more prevalent legal violence of our government. How does state-sanctioned “invisible-subliminal” violence impact the mind, body and spirit of people, particularly young people?
State violence is global. State violence is not simply the use of arms, it is the maintenance of conditions of social and economic injustice that are violence incarnate. It is the proponderance of rape imagery, assault imagery, murder imagery that is violence.
The United States produces and manufactures violence. Globally. And that violence is visited upon – 99% of the time – INNOCENTS.
In Iraq and in this country.