The New York Times has a reported piece on its homepage entitled, “As Guns Get Drawn at Protest Sites, Demonstrators Fear a Volatile New Phase.” Were these past few months the peaceful phase? According to Forbes, 19 people had died amid the protests by June 8 — most of whom were black males. David Dorn — a 77-year-old retired police captain who was shot after responding to a burglary at his friend’s pawn shop and whose wife delivered a moving speech at the Republican National Convention last week — was one of them.
Nevertheless, the Times insists that only now that “right-wing activists have arrived, bent on countering the racial justice protests with an opposing vision of America” have the protests “taken a more perilous turn.” The authors of the piece also lament “the arrival of firearms” to these demonstrations. Yet 16 of the 19 people who died in the two weeks following George Floyd’s death were killed in shootings.
For months, while violent crime rates have skyrocketed in cities across the country, outlets such as the Times have brushed aside the lawlessness, insisting instead that the protests were “mostly peaceful.” Over time, that narrative has become increasingly untenable because it is so divergent from the public’s lived experience. The Times has been forced to find a culprit other than the largely peaceful protesters — why not “right-wing activists”?
If we have all this time been in the peaceful phase, we should all be on guard as we enter the violent one.