cw: violence

Instead of saying radical Islam, let’s start calling it reactionary Islam. Radical could mean all sorts of different things. Reactionary is more clear on why it’s bad. The right won’t like it though because they’re reactionaries too. Saying “radical Islam” is favorable to the right because then they can group people like anarchists, communists, and socialists with groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al Qaeda, when in reality radical leftists strongly hate reactionary Muslim groups (look into the PKK, a communist Kurdish group kicking ISIS’ ass), just like we hate reactionaries of any religion (or lack of religion).

Being bisexual, lesbian, gay, or sexually queer in a heterosexist society means you’ll be subject of heterosexist violence. Being female, feminist, transgender, or genderqueer means you’ll be the subject of sexist, misogynist, or patriarchal violence. Being a person of color means you’ll be the subject of white supremacist violence. Being two or more of those things compounds the violence you experience and the reasons you’re experiencing it. It also makes it more difficult to feel some semblance of safety because you could be targeted for one of those identities in a space that is set up to be safe for people with [an]other one of those identities.
—  H. Sharif “Herukhuti” Williams, PhD, interview with Vox

People across the country joined protests and held vigils late this week, following two highly publicized police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. As those incidents dominated headlines and social media, a sniper targeted law enforcement at a peaceful protest in Dallas, killing five police officers and shocking the nation.

On Saturday, President Obama rejected the notion that these latest tragedies portended the country’s return to an era of racial brutality.

“You’re not seeing riots and you’re not seeing police going after people who are protesting peacefully,” he said from Warsaw, Poland, where he was attending a NATO summit. “You’ve seen almost uniformly peaceful protests and you’ve seen, uniformly, police handling those protests with professionalism.”

Here are scenes of protest, prayer and activism from around the country.

The Days After: A Nation Reacts To The Week’s Violence

Photos: (top and bottom) Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images, 
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images, Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

The problem today is that politics might once again be moving in the wrong direction.

Julian E. Zelizer draws striking comparisons to the socio-political climate of the United States in1968 and in 2016, particularly as the the federal government falters to address police brutality. Read the excerpt below from “Is America Repeating the Mistakes of 1968?”

The problem today is that politics might once again be moving in the wrong direction, not unlike what happened in 1968. Structural racism has to be addressed, but Obama is a lame-duck president with a Republican Congress that is unwilling to work on any legislative proposal that this White House sends them. The prospects of this Congress making progress on any kind of federal criminal-justice reforms are slim to none. And though Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has taken a much tougher stand in calling for criminal-justice reform and fighting for racial justice, she does not have an extensive record of dealing with institutional racism, and in the 1990s, she supported federal crime policies that only bolstered the law-and-order approach. Like Humphrey, she has shown a willingness to allow the political fears of the right push her toward a more conservative stance on these issues.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
—  Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community (1967), p. 62.
Everyone is the hero of their own story. Everyone is the hero, everyone is the good guy in their own life. If one believes all those lies of microaggressions, if one believes that all gays are pedophiles, that all trans people are liars and cheats, if one believes in one’s heart and soul that gay is the literal worst and most disgusting thing it is possible for a human to be or do … then what does a good person do? A good person fights the evil. A good person stands up against villains. A good person argues and shouts and pleads, and when no-one listens, a good person might, in despair and rage and righteous conviction, pick up an assault rifle and go kill monsters.

In the eyes of many, I am a monster.

In the eyes of many, I need to die.

The people who believe that, who know it in their heart and soul, they got to that point of view because we all allow it. We allow the slow drip of poisonous belief to spread. Every microaggression towards queers allows some vulnerable and confused person to believe that they are right, good, and justified in wanting my death.
Things Violet does in the first five chapters of Valhalla by Ari Bach:
  • Gets logged out of school for fighting with other student avatars
  • Fails her VVPS (Verheoven Violent Predilection Scale) test
  • Fries a man’s eyes out with a microwave gun
  • Kills another with the same
  • Disintigrates a man’s head in a dispersion field toilet
  • Cusses at a police officer
  • Breaks a drill sergeant’s arm
  • Beats up several fellow recruits
  • Drives a man’s face into concentrated acid
  • Kicks the teeth out of a girl who tries to befriend her
  • Attempts to logic-bomb a suspected AI
  • Vows revenge against the remaining family of a dead enemy
  • Steals a knife and fights with her would-be employers
  • Mocks a man’s accent
  • Kicks a man, breaking his ribs
  • Kicks a teenager for his taste in music
  • Breaks his cheekbone moments later
  • Punches his eye out of its socket
  • Kills a man unprovoked by stabbing him in the back of the head

This is all before the first action scene in the first novel. And there are 3 novels.