On May 17 at about 3 pm, I stopped by a liquor store at the corner of Quail Street and Elberon Place and bought a bottle of wine. This is almost exactly one mile from my home.
On May 30 at about 3 am near that very same intersection, Devin McGlothan, 29, was the ninth person murdered in the city of Albany, NY in 2021. It’s the sixth killing in the month of May, including two high school girls.
This is hardly just an Albany problem. It’s a national disease. In the Miami area on Memorial Day weekend, there were two mass causality events. One involved three men jumping out of a car, shooting two dozen people in six seconds, killing at least two, then driving off. See the mass shootings list for 2021. Workplaces, grocery stores – no place appears immune.
After spending 2020 worrying about getting COVID-19, I don’t want to spend 2021 worrying about violence. But living near a hotheaded neighbor who thinks we’re always calling the cops on her -I did once, because of the dog – unexplained noises at night are unsettling.
I wish I had some cogent solutions to offer the country, but I’m just nervous because it’s rooted in a fit of cultural anger that I don’t know how we fix. And they have lots of guns.
Anger over COVID: its physical and economic effects, people “forced” to wear masks, people demanding others NOT to wear masks, the belief that the disease is a “fraud”, that the vaccine will empower Bill Gates.
And when they get out and about, they seem to have forgotten how to act like civil human beings. No wonder Southwest and American Airlines at least temporarily banned the sale of liquor on their planes. A female passenger punched a female flight attendant in the face. Unruly Passenger Reports have skyrocketed in 2021
Anger over race/religion/ethnicity: Japanese-Americans and Korean-Americans assaulted because their attackers discriminate but aren’t discriminating. Jewish-Americans and their places of worship threatened, as though they control the military policy of the Israeli government. Hispanics are harassed because they don’t “talk American.” Black Americans are still killed, because.
Anger fueled by social media. When I read my political feeds from all sides, they often use terms such as “destroys.” Such as, “Adam destroyed Bob with this tweet.” Zero-sum.
Anger stirred up over the Big Lie about the 2020 election. This begat the January 6 insurrection. And has brought forth laws in several states interfering with elections; in Georgia and Texas, it’s much easier to overturn the mandate of the populace. And some wuss members of Congress who have decided that 6 Jan was a tourist event.
Terry Moran on ABC News This Week for May 30 described it this way: “The Republican Party isn’t very Republican, and it’s not really a party, right? It’s a nationalist Trumpist movement right now.
“Parties are static. They operate within a received set of laws and traditions. They compete for voter support to enact policy preferences. Movements move.
“And nationalist movements move to attack the establishment in their own party first and then everywhere else. And anything that gets in the way must be attacked as well.”
Just Google “angry Americans.” Read how political rage helps campaigns but hurts democracy.
“So, when democratic laws and traditions and values get in the way and the basic arithmetic of democracy, if the other guy gets more votes, you lose, they attack that too. And that’s what’s happening.”
As I noted, I’m looking for suggestions, because I’m bereft of them.