Facts and Black Voices Lead Me Right

Part 1: Just the Facts Please

Okay, to the surprise of probably no one, the bard is not Black. To the surprise of all the White boys telling me I have a tiny penis for siding with facts and the Black voices who have also sided with the facts: I actually have no penis. And I was born that way. 

So now that little secret is out in the open. I still plan to keep the logo, even if 2020 side armed me into breaking the illusion before four months have passed. Plus, I still don’t like the idea of any unnecessary information being out there to lead people to me due to my family and job, not until I know I can do it safely anyway. If you’ve seen any of the videos going up on Twitter, completely ignored by the news, you’ll understand why even in my relatively red state I’m not about to take any chances. 

For a bit more information, I also technically fall into that dreaded Millennial category: or at least I think I do, the qualifications keep changing depending on who is trying to get themselves out of the label. Therefore, despite being raised conservatively and finding myself leaning that way in many things, I still had that moment–like everyone in my generation has been programmed to–where I see the crowd, hear their cries and see their passion, and I stop. I think on all the movies of the good guys overcoming the bad regime and I wonder: am I in the wrong? Because I know what I call personal responsibility seems harsh. What I call accountability seems cruel. And the news is a constant inundation of terror and pain. 

That’s when I turn to facts. That’s when I listen to voices that have been silenced. And I can now say with confidence, that my beliefs passed that test. In this article, I’ll be covering the police conundrum and systemic racism issue that is linked to it. This blew up into a massive piece so I’ll be breaking it at least in half. This is the fact half and in a few days I’ll post the voices and news half. If I’m not hiding in a bunker burning through my extra padding as we fight for survival, that is. 

The Facts

Let’s get two final things straight as we dive into this discussion. First, I’m not doing this to give anyone an excuse to be terrible to anyone else. This is not about pointing fingers, it’s not about revenge or calls to action. It’s about finding the truth about where our real problems lie as a nation so we can stop fighting and find real ways to move forward.

Second: numbers are numbers. They are not racist, they cannot be appropriated, and two portions of data can’t be held up as accurate and a third called the “statistics of the oppressors.” I’m tired of hearing those pointless arguments. Face the facts and come up with real solutions. That’s the only way we’ll be able to put this to bed once and for all. 

So what are the facts? Is there systemic racism in America, especially in our police? Do parents need to worry every time their child leaves the house that they’ll fall to a police man’s bullet? Do Black parents need to fear this the most? 

The answer is a resounding no. No, the police are not running around slaughtering people in the streets. No, the police as a whole are not targeting anyone of a certain race. No, the average person “minding their business,” as someone claimed on Twitter, is not going to die just for the hell of it at police hands. And I have evidence, available to everyone if they would stop listening to the same media sources that think a brainless virus, that can’t even reproduce on its own let alone think politically, can magically take two weeks off from infecting people if their cause is “justified” only to reappear when the wrong-think group comes back to hold their own rallies and meetups. 

Let’s look at some data, starting with the least controversial we possibly can, and build our way to the real problems and the hard truths so next time we can decide what we can do to work towards a solution for everyone.

Biology and Death


The United States is made up of many different peoples. From all different lands and histories our ancestors, or sometimes we ourselves, came crawling towards Lady Liberty with the hope of a better tomorrow. So it’s a real shame that in the year of Our Lord 2020 we still classify ourselves based on skin color. 

Because let’s face it, we don’t separate each other by heritage. We don’t care about Irish or Swedish. We don’t care about Kenyan or Ethiopian. We don’t care about Chile, Mexico, Spain, or Brazil. It’s Black, White, Asian, Native, Latino, and mixed/other. That says next to nothing about who we are. Elon Musk might be from North Africa but no one is going to let him into Black crowd. I’m pretty sure that’s why the term Black became the politically correct one over African American. Not all Africans are Black. 

There’s our Problem #1. We’ve let ourselves be divided this way in our politics, our schooling, our advertising, and our social lives. I’ll leave out medicine because, like biological gender, different peoples can have different health concerns based on their country of origin and skin color. 

Problematic as it is, that’s how all of our information is sorted so that’s what we’ll have to stick with. Using the 2010 census information we can see that roughly 64% of Americans are classified as White, around 12% are classified as Black, 16% are Latino, 0.7% and 0.15% are Native and Pacific Islanders, 5% are Asian of some kind, and around 2% are classified as biracial and other. These are the numbers I’m using, even though I’ve seen 13 and 14% be thrown around for the Black population. 

I will warn you, in a few places I have to get creative with number interpretation. The reason? The FBI and other crime units in the US consider Hispanic/Latino an ethnicity not a race. So while this census data has them as their own separate group, in much of the crime information Hispanics are split up and divided depending on their skin color. Hispanic data is included as a separate statistic in most, and I’ve done my best to represent it when possible, but there is usually a bit of a disconnect in the numbers because it’s overlapping data. 

Cause of Death

The next thing we need to ask is: are Black individuals more likely to die by homicide than other races. Looking at the CDC’s listing of common deaths I’ve found that, yes actually, they are. Black Americans are the most likely to die to homicide at 3% with Hispanics and Native populations coming in second at half that. White and Asian Americans both bring up the close though White’s higher overall population count brings their percentage number down the lowest. On the other hand, Blacks have the lowest suicide rate by a whole percentage point and if you know someone who is a Native American, please hug them and tell them it’s going to be okay because they leave the rest of us in the dust when it comes to rate of suicide. They also have almost twice the accidental deaths which looks a bit suspicious with that suicide rate.

If we’re being honest, I’d argue that suicide is a much bigger topic than police brutality or even murder. In not a single case does the number of police killings outnumber the number of suicides: it’s a big problem for everyone. So hug your white male friends too because that number is outrageous no matter the percentages. [Note: I split the ‘other’ category for murders between Natives and Asians because the FBI does not distinguish, neither does WaPo in their counts for deaths by police which is also split in half for this purpose. Also, as stated before, the Hispanic overlaps with the other counts due to how the FBI tracks race and ethnicity separately.]

Though, as we can see, the lowest suicide rates and the highest murders makes Blacks the only case where we see the homicide bar surpass the suicide bars. 

Since, we’re still focused on the riots and racism against blacks, we’ll throw the suicide chat to the side. Instead we’ll focus on how, in a few short paragraphs, we have answered one of the biggest talking points: Black Americans are more likely to be killed than any other race. So what next? 

Crime and the Police

Blood on the Hands

If we want to see if these murders are a matter of racism and police brutality, we need to look at who is causing them. This is where we start to get into the controversial territory. Because if you look at the facts then the ones most responsible for killing Black Americans are other Black Americans. Just like with Whites, Hispanics, and “Others,” you are more likely to be killed by someone who looks just like you than you are to be killed by anyone else. And it’s not close by any means. 

I think that is an important thing to note: you are more likely to be killed by any relative or friend over an argument than you are to be killed as a result of a hate crime. I don’t want to negate the hate crimes, because even with the vast majority of crimes being simple intimidation, Blacks do report the most hate crimes followed by Jews, Whites, then Gays. It is something we need to keep in mind. 

There is something else that needs addressing too. It’s another of the controversial things that is often shut down, which I think in part is due to how outlandishly blown out of proportion the graphs that I’ve seen wind up being. I’ve been guilty of spreading a few of these around myself, mostly because I didn’t pay close enough attention to the titles, so I have even more reason to set the record straight. 

Blacks kill more White people than Whites kill Black people. 

Not just in numbers, but in percentages of crime too. The number is almost double: 8% of Blacks are killed by Whites and 15.5% of Whites are killed by Blacks. So yeah, if you see a table going around that claims more than a 2x higher interracial murder rate, that’s some bull. If it’s violent crime in general… Well, we’ll get to that when we get to it. 

Why do these things matter? Because of what we’re fighting about. Black Lives Matter protesters are taking to the streets saying that it is dangerous for Blacks in our nation today and they point the finger at White people and the police as the reasons. Despite no guarantee that they are committed by white people and though the majority of the 2500 hate crimes experienced by Blacks would statistically be intimidation, simple assault, or vandalism, it is more than twice what is reported for whites. That is something that I want to see change and eradicated as much as possible. Though, I’ll go ahead and throw up Problem #2 which is, those 2500 people, even if they are all white, do not make the few hundred million other white folks in America also racist. Just like any assaults or murders by a black man don’t stain all black men. 

Problem #3 is not only that common lawlessness is what kills most people, but also that we aren’t allowed to talk about it. If a mother is afraid of her child walking out the door, it shouldn’t be because she thinks a police officer or a member of another race are going to kill them. Ideally, no mother will have any fear for her child’s life but it won’t go away as long as we ignore what the real problem is. 

And because we’re tackling the big issues here, Problem #4: though Blacks do record more interracial hate crimes than any other group, they are not immune from targeting people of other races in a more deadly fashion than the hate they receive. Calling this information racist, appropriation of facts, or the “statistics of oppressors” is not going to help anyone get over these deep wounds we have. 

Police: Help or Harm

So what about the police? Where do they fit into all of this? And why am I using the 2018 numbers instead of the 2019 numbers? It’s not to make things look better, I promise. I’ll acknowledge right now that 2019 was worse for police fatalities than 2018. But there are two reasons why I chose the year I did. First, at the time of writing this the in depth breakdown charts for 2019 crime had not yet been released meaning I had more accurate data overall from 2018. Second, like in two other cases, I caught a source editing itself after things began to heat up politically. 

Yes, after Tucker Carlson praised WaPo for their accurate record keeping on police shootings and used their data to explain the ten deaths of unarmed black individuals at the hand of police in 2019, they found 4 more deaths to add to the count. I admit they also found 6 more White deaths taking that number from 19 to 25 which keeps the general ratio, but I find it particularly hard to accept that between June 3 and June 13 they were able to discover, or reclassify,ten different victims who had no weapons at the time of their death. There does not seem to be any such adjustments to the 2018 data, perhaps due to the number of unarmed deaths being higher anyway. 

Let this be a lesson: Problem #5 the media will do anything it can to make the situation look worse than it is. There is nothing so terrible, heinous, or tragic that the media can’t twist it worse to fit their narrative. 

Now, back to what the police can and can’t be blamed for. If you look at the chart, you’ll see right away that unarmed or unknown police fatalities are a minority of the total number of fatal confrontations at the hands of police. For Whites, the 30 cases wind up being 6% of overall deadly encounters with police while Blacks wind up with 23 or 10%. There is a small difference of around 4% here. And even if you compare it to total homicide deaths, leaving you with 0.9% of White deaths and 0.7% of Black deaths, I think we should have a look at what is going on here. 

And no, I’m not going to say don’t run from or fight the police. Yet. No matter how much of an argument that may be, I think there is something else to look at first.

A group of scientists, eager to know the truth on the question of perceived racial disparities in police encounters, used a different metric to measure that I’m shocked has never been talked about before. In fact, they’ve been discussed so little that some try to argue their invalidity. Why? Because it turns the argument on its head. 

How can that be? After all, at 64% of the population Whites are fatally killed by the police 46% of the time while Blacks only represent 12.2% of the population and they were 23% of the deaths in 2018. Between that and the 4% difference in unarmed deaths, it’s a clear case, right? Not when you factor in violent crime and county demographics. 

“However, using population as a benchmark makes the strong assumption that White and Black civilians have equal exposure to situations that result in FOIS. If there are racial differences in exposure to these situations, calculations of racial disparity based on population benchmarks will be misleading. Researchers have attempted to avoid this issue by using race-specific violent crime as a benchmark, as the majority of FOIS involve armed civilians. When violent crime is used as a benchmark, anti-Black disparities in FOIS disappear or even reverse.”

David J. Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario

Disappear or even reverse. It’s a big statement, especially since our entire world is in the process of burning down using this as its excuse. We’ll save any speculations on whether or not that’s what’s really going on for later. For now, let’s see how they came up with those numbers.

We already broke down murders, but there are more violent crimes than that. There is rape, aggravated assault, and burglary to name a few. And as you can see, those numbers aren’t pretty. For 2018, while White people committed roughly 59% of violent crime, slightly smaller than their overall representation, Black people committed 37%. That’s three times the size of their share of the population.

If the percentages of overall crime aren’t enough, let’s use this second graph to break it down another way. If you divide population density by the number of violent crimes, it’s one crime per every 682 White people and one crime every 201 Black people. 

Not every person is a criminal. The vast majority of both races are loving, peaceful, smart, and non-violent. It’s time to realize all the same, there is a reason police officers are found frequently in Black neighborhoods. And we have to start admitting that it’s not racism. 

Just like how White people made up 47% of fatal police encounters in 2018 versus 23% of Blacks, the #1 and #2 spots, respectively, the exact same trend is present among crimes committed. This supersedes the percentage of population because POLICE AREN’T POLICING POPULATIONS, THEY ARE POLICING CRIME. 

Simply put, Blacks make up much less of the population but, Problem #6, they act out violent crime proportionately more than any other race leading to increased encounters with the police.

“On the other hand, race-specific violent crime strongly predicted the race of a civilian fatally shot by police, explaining over 40% of the variance in civilian race. These results bolster claims to take into account violent crime rates when examining fatal police shootings.”

David J. Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario

Now for the other part of the study, county demographics. Because I know some of you will be chomping at the bit eager to shout out that “just because some black communities have more crime doesn’t mean they all do!” and that is correct. Luckily for us, those conducting this study also thought of that so they dove into county specifics. They looked into what crimes took place in a certain area and what sorts of people became fatally involved with the police. 

What they found is that the more White crime went up, the less likely it was that a Black or Hispanic person would be killed by police. Conversely, they noted that as Black or Hispanic crime went up, more people shot were Black or Hispanic respectively. Black and Hispanic crime rates did not have a major positive or negative effect on the other race. 

“Controlling for predictors at the civilian, officer, and county levels, a person fatally shot by police was 6.67 times less likely (OR = 0.15 [0.09, 0.27]) to be Black than White and 3.33 times less likely (OR = 0.30 [0.21, 0.47]) to be Hispanic than White. Thus, in the typical shooting, we did not find evidence of anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity.”

David J. Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario

Something that the article pointed out is that disparities and bias are not necessarily the same. A police officer could potentially have a personal negative bias while his actions fall within the realm of excusable disparity. But all of them? Or even most of them? 

“We did not find evidence for anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity in police use of force across all shootings, and, if anything, found anti-White disparities when controlling for race-specific crime. While racial disparity did vary by type of shooting, no one type of shooting showed significant anti-Black or -Hispanic disparity.”

David J. Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario

How could a systemically, set in its ways, racist to the core, even if on an internal level, police force possibly accidentally only shoot people who fell in line with racial crime so perfectly that it made White people look targeted by comparison? 

More Than Murder

Only two more bits for this section and we’ll be through part one.

As I mentioned before, there are two types of graphs floating around the internet right now. The first is specifically about interracial murder, the other is about interracial violent crime as a whole. 

We saw that when it comes to murders by the percentages, Blacks are roughly twice as likely to kill Whites. But what about everything else? Are the crazy graphs that show massive disparities between races correct? Well…

There are a few caveats as you can see from the extensive ledger. Specifically, there is an issue with some of the numbers surrounding Asian and Other crime. Either because they couldn’t find enough data on it occurring, or because the data varied so widely, it was hard to pin down an accurate finding. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Asians leave everyone else alone for the most part which is what has caused the issues. Now we know who gets the most disciplined population award. 

Taking in the information as a whole, the first thing of note is that White people get beat on. A lot. No other group comes close, not even by half. Like, I don’t know how these numbers can even be publicly available and we are going through the crap we are.

Not only do Whites get targeted more often, according to this White people are twice as likely to target an Asian or Hispanic person than a Black person and a Black person is one and a half times as likely to attack a White person than the other way around. That’s not good, mind you, but it takes all the wind out of the Whites bullying Blacks argument. And to give a visual to the numbers, here’s one more Microsoft chart.

Here we see again the visual reminder that the person most likely to wrong you is someone who looks just like you. Unless you’re Asian then you’re more likely to be wronged by a Black individual. And, if you look closely you’ll see that while percentage-wise Blacks are hurting more Blacks, when it comes down to numbers, they are hurting more Whites.  

Other things to note are Hispanics overall receive more violent victimization than Blacks; who victimize them at around the same rate, though overall lower numbers, as they do Whites. And we could all stand to learn a thing or two about not being assholes from the Asian communities in America. 

What does this all mean? For one, it means that the chart I’m referring to is accurate, though it leaves out Asians entirely and the intraracial crime bars. I feel that does us an overall disservice, because if there is one thing that we’ve seen and I think deserves to be front and center is the fact that we are hurting ourselves more than we are targeting anyone else. Whites do it, Blacks do it, Hispanics do it, and Asians just want to be left alone. Violence wise anyway. 

Problem #7 The injuries we are causing to our neighbors is a result of the pain and turmoil within ourselves, not because of a prejudice against that neighbor. 

Why So Trigger Happy?

One more thing for this section. Let’s tackle this last stupid straw man of an argument that I hear thrown around about police. “Why is he a police officer if he’s so afraid of dying?” This is normally said about an officer who kills a subject who is armed and didn’t shoot, a subject who appeared armed but wound up not being so, or a subject who was unarmed but did something else to cause a life or death situation to unfold. Let’s address each one of these. 

First: Subject is armed but does not fire first. News flash, you don’t have to wait for someone to kill you to be justified in defending yourself. That’s kind of the entire point of self defense; not dying. And yes, a police officer who is in the process of confronting a criminal who decides to make the encounter about life and death deserves to live more than the criminal who refused to listen to orders. Deescalation is not a magical thing. It’s one thing if you’re in a standoff and no one is directly pointing a live weapon at anyone else. That’s when you get the negotiators on the line and try to deescalate. When weapons are drawn and pointed, it’s time for orders and stern commands. And if you’re running and see someone aim at you, it’s time to fire before you lose your life and your weapon.

Which is real? Too late! You’re dead.

Second: Subject appears armed but winds up being unarmed. This is when a cell phone, toy weapon, or in the case of a popular book a hairbrush looks like a weapon in the heat of the moment and due to the escalated situation, the subject gets killed. Sometimes when this happens, it’s a matter of suicide by cop. Other times, it’s a matter of a mental break and darkness. Again, would you risk your life by waiting the extra seconds to see if it’s a handgun or an air soft gun? These cases are tragic, and luckily much less frequent than even unarmed deaths. 

Finally, we have the unarmed individuals who still pose a threat. Because that can be the case. They can choke an officer, try to wrestle their gun away, resist tazing and still continue to fight, they might have a history of armed standoffs and claim to have a gun during another standoff, or they could have a gun on hand that they just didn’t have time to reach because the officer stopped them. It’s funny how the only two people charged with murder or manslaughter in these unarmed cases are those whose subjects had guns at hand.

And let’s not pretend that it doesn’t go the other way too. In 2019, 48 police officers were killed on the job. Many were just pulling people over for speeding. Five were killed in unprovoked attacks just for being police officers, two more were ambushed. Three were killed by cars, one died trying to serve a court order. There is not a single part of their job that is safe. Because even when it’s not felonious, cops can be killed on the job. Sixteen were killed by being run over during a car accident. Have you ever seen a police officer rescue someone in the water? Well last year two officers drowned. One was even killed by a rogue tire incident. In total 89 officers died last year. 

Doesn’t look like much? Well, that’s because they are the unlucky few. They weren’t the only ones who were on the target block. In 2018, [again, no data for 2019 yet] 58,886 officers were assaulted. That’s roughly ten percent. One in ten officers will be attacked at some point during the year. We also learned that 3 out of 100 officers would be seriously hurt from these assaults or 1 in 33. 

The majority of these assaults happen during disturbance calls i.e. domestic violence or bar fights. The second most likely time to be assaulted is when you’re arresting someone and his buddy decides he’s not happy with the situation. The third is when you’re transporting a prisoner. So if the cuffs are a bit tight, maybe think about what happened the last time someone pulled a Houdini on the officer. 

Any one of these incidents could have turned from an injury to a death. And for all the times they were assaulted in 2018, less than 2% of that number died at the hands of police. That doesn’t include all the traffic stops and domestic calls and rescues that didn’t result in any fighting or injury. Because that is how most encounters go: you just fess up, or remain calm and lawyer up later, and take the ticket. At worst things will devolve into a screaming fit but hurt feelings don’t hold a light to stitches or a body bag. But across America, every day, roughly 161 police officers get assaulted. And roughly once every four days, a police officer dies. And every day they put on their badge and kiss their families goodbye, they know it could be their turn on the block. 

So instead of asking “Why are they police officers if they’re afraid they’ll die?” a better question is “Why are we persecuting those who know today could be their last and choose to head out anyway?” 

And no, walking away because their fellow officer was convicted of first degree murder and is now facing the death penalty for doing everything by the book does not mean they’re bad cops or cowards, it means they don’t want to have fewer rights than the average citizen while doing more to protect them. 


We came into this with the story that Black people in America faced monumental discrimination, particularly from White people and the police. For this study, we took a look specifically at crime and the police to see if those who say they feel nervous being pulled over or are afraid to see their children walk out the door were correct to feel that way or if it was all a fabrication. After looking at the different facts, we were able to draw some conclusions about what really ails these communities.

Problem 1: We allow our society to divide us based on skin color, not on anything personal or substantial. This difference wedges a gap early on and has nothing to do with heritage as no “race” has a single nationality or tradition that it stems from. 

Problem 2: We are too quick to make numbers personal. No matter how many or few acts are done by someone of a certain appearance, holding the collective responsible is only going to make life worse for everyone. 

Problem 3: While it is correctly said that Blacks are the most likely to die violently, we are told time and again that we are not allowed to talk about how 90% of those deaths are caused by other Blacks. This not only inflames ill will among the accused but prevents the real problem from being addressed, meaning the issue will never get better. 

Problem 4: Black people kill more White people by number and by percentage than White people kill Black people. Ignoring this or calling it racist to point out only makes you look hypocritical. 

Problem 5: The media lies about everything for sensation and political advancement. Always go to direct sources and get the whole picture. 

Problem 6: Police come into contact with Black people more often than their population size would suggest because Black people commit more violent crimes than their population size would suggest. 

Problem 7: Possibly the biggest one, each race is hurt more by other members of that race than by someone outside of it. We do not have a problem with race relations, we have a problem with lack of morals. 

In part two we’ll be putting these observations into practice and see if they hold up by taking a few stories apart. And also we’ll see how people of color are reacting to these same situations on the other side of the spectrum. Until then, don’t use the truth to cause more hurt feelings. And remember: work to be healthy and be happy with the rest.

Saintly Scr3w Ups

Ya know, some days I hate social media. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we are bombarded by an unending tide of information from the inane food snaps to the serious reports of crimes or disasters to every single time President Donald J Trump sneezes that will for days after be either the source of his racist dictator ways or a sign of his glory depending on if you agree with him or not. Because heaven forbid a person be somewhere in the middle. 

I’m joking with that last sentence but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the average Twitter feed or Facebook group. For a society that has spent the last 50 some odd years screaming that there are no moral absolutes you wouldn’t know that’s the common opinion based on how people act. But that isn’t my focus today. 

Today I’m going to be looking at the St. John’s church debacle. Why? Because I’m in the middle of a Twitter discussion on the topic and the more I look up resources, the more I find that I don’t have the space in 260 characters to say what I need. That’s one of the problems with our instant media. 

As Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s communications director, said in an interview, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on.” (5) That’s the other reason this topic needs to be addressed: when all you have are shouted half truths from what it looks like on camera or one person’s side of the story, you wind up spreading what becomes a lie. Sometimes, it’s an accident. Other times, it’s flat out malicious. For example, while digging for my sources, the first one to come up for the explanation of the church fire was a short one from Fox News. When I looked for information about the photograph incident however, Fox News, the first title that didn’t make it seem like Trump walked out and personally shot the protesters, didn’t appear until page four. 

That’s the way instant communication helps turn those lies into gospel in the minds of everyone and, depending on how you feel about the topic at hand, no amount of facts are going to be enough to fully dethrone that narrative. 

So what happened? Let’s start on Sunday.

The Fire

Let’s set some terms up. Protests are calm, peaceful demonstrations of upset, hurt, and anger justifiably felt. Protesters are civil, strong, and honorable individuals who are taking part in protests to make themselves heard. Riots are chaotic, though sometimes organized, shows of emotion and brute force without regard to who or what is damaged or destroyed in the process. Rioters are thuggish cowards who carry out riots on the homes, businesses, and landmarks around them far too often from behind the meat and moral shield of protesters. Got it? Good. Let’s start.

Sunday evening [5/31] protesting for changes to law enforcement in the wake of the death of George Floyd turned to riots outside of the White House and St. John’s Episcopal church was caught in the crossfire. Luckily for everyone the fire department was able to plow through to put out the blaze in the newly-renovated nursery of the church’s basement before the whole building was consumed. Rev. Fischer, the rector of the church, expressed both how surreal the news felt and how he separated rioters who carried out the attack from the protesters. (1) 

“And I’m very mindful that those people who did this — it may have been one person, I don’t know who it was — I think it is really important to say that person does not represent the majority of the people that are out there peacefully protesting with an important message.”

Rev. Fischer, Source 1
Thugs come in all shapes and sizes and aren’t protesters.

President Trump has made similar calls during his speeches and tweets. (pic) Too many don’t, as far as I’m concerned. Though I will admit, the longer this week drags the more the line seems to blur as the rioters make their stand earlier in the day. 

There are many questions that spring to mind at this event. The biggest is why here of all places? Truth be told, it’s most likely solely down to location. St. John’s is right across the street from the White House’s front lawn and there were guards standing there, so that wasn’t going to work out too well. But let’s say the responsible rioters, who had an appearance matching long-time left-wing communist anarchy group and terrorist organization Antifa, actually were taking the time to choose their target well. What would the reason be then? (2) 

Built in 1816, St. John’s has been called the church of presidents, with every president in the lineup since James Madison attending at least one service there regardless of denomination. That might make it a particularly appealing target for destruction, even if President Lincoln was one of those who prayed in its 200 year old halls. After all, the Lincoln memorial, built for the unjustly slain president who freed the slaves, didn’t get spared by this group supposedly spurred on by the unjust death of a man of color. Neither did the World War II memorial, also known as the memorial to the first anti-fascists according to people on Twitter defending Antifa from the bane of the President {they are wrong for many reasons but we’ll cover that in a separate article}. They also tore up Lafayette Square outside of the church with graffiti. (2)

As they tainted historical landmarks earned by the blood and paid for by the tax dollars of countless US citizens it was only a matter of time before they clashed with authorities. This led to more than 50 secret service members taking injury before they were able to disperse the crowd and end the violent night. (2) America was reeling. And somehow it could only get worse.

Pics or it Didn’t Happen

You’ve likely heard this side of the story, but I know some haven’t. In keeping with the spirit of getting the whole story and demonstrating the social media effect mentioned above, I’m starting here. 

Monday evening, well after the fires had gone out but less than thirty minutes before the curfew was set to start, Pastor Gerbasi, an Episcopal priest, was working at a relief station outside the boarded up church. She and a group of priests and laypeople had snacks, water, and hand sanitizer to help the protesters through the long late spring day. Then the chaos started. Without warning the mass of protesters moved in a wall of screaming and alarm towards them, bringing the stinging scent of pepper and the explosion of flash grenades which swept her and the others up into the sea of movement away from church steps, leaving the rest of their things behind. (3) 

It’s a terrible scene and I can only imagine the horror and pain they experience while under attack. It was so bad that it wasn’t until she got to her car did Gerbasi take notice of what seemed to be the cause of all this. Trump was now where she had been just before, taking pictures of himself holding the Bible in front of the assaulted landmark. And she was pissed. (3) 

For many, that is where the story ends. Good people packing up from a good day of protesting suddenly rained on by flashes and smoke and capsaicin only for the President to walk out with his agents and up to the building to take vanity shots. (3) I would be pissed too. And so many were, and are, because that’s all the information they have. That’s what’s in the tweets and posts on their dash. It’s what most of the media says, it’s what most of the celebrities are saying. 

There are some exceptions to the rule. The Hill, who interviewed Gerbasi, despite being strongly on her side in her scolding of the president, admitted that Trump aides explained that the decision to expand the perimeter back away from the church had come much earlier Monday and had nothing to do with Trump’s decision to appear there.(3) AG Barr had made the call and had gone out to check on the area to see how it had gone once he learned of the decision. (5) 

We all know it hadn’t been done yet, we wouldn’t be talking about it if it had and whoever dropped the ball on that should be reprimanded by a demotion or something for leading to this situation. And no, I don’t just mean because of the confusion it caused that gave people with half the facts another thing to “muh Drumpf bad” about. No, it’s because the rioting had followed the pattern of starting in the evening as darkness fell so things would have undoubtedly gone better earlier. It would have at least spared Gerbasi and her companions, because we’re not done yet. 

Just past 6:30 pm, around when Barr was arriving on scene, the rioters made their move. From the shield of protesters they began to throw bricks, frozen bottles of water, and caustic liquids at the police. Not just the water from the aid table, not rocks or sticks; ice, bricks, and something in the bleach or acid family. Not exactly your standard fare for a peaceful day of coming together as a community. They had also begun to climb on the husks of destroyed buildings north of Lafayette Park. (5) 

In the wake of arson and 50 injured companions and faced with active assault, there was no other option. There are recorded calls of violence starting against the police, and in the aftermath they found the glass bottles, baseball bats, and metal poles left behind. The rioters hadn’t just come back for round two, they were out for blood. (5) 

So who is to blame for this? Trump who had nothing to do with it? AG Barr for not ensuring his orders had been carried out earlier? Whoever he told to push back the line who didn’t get it done? Or maybe, here’s a thought, while AG Barr and his team could have made the event happen away from the church and possibly after the lawful crowd had gone home, the people to blame are the rioters! You know, the bastards that think they can solve their problems through violence and destruction but only once they have a nice meat and sympathy shield held up over them. 

I’m going to give another, more controversial take too. But first: semantics. Many news articles, including the one by The Hill, stated that tear gas was released on the crowd.(3) Even some who know the protests grew violent think something like that is excessive and have complained so the US Park Police released a statement. They did not use tear gas. What they did use was a combination of smoke canisters and pepper balls. (5) Together they wound up giving the impression that tear gas was used. 

What’s the difference? Tear gas is a powder mix of chemicals launched from canisters or grenades that irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory system. (6) Pepper balls, on the other hand, are paintball-like rounds that burst out capsaicin on contact. (7) While it seems to be a minimal difference, I’d say in my unprofessional opinion, that the balls sound more direct and less likely to cause the deep and lasting effects than a cloud of chemicals would. 

Now for my controversial take before I give a brief overview of the technically coincidental photo shoot. There is only one person who put the protesters in harm’s way that day. And it was the protesters. 

That may sound like victim blaming, and in every other situation I’d say you were right. But on that day, though the rioters are to blame for their own actions of starting a brawl with the police, the only ones who can be blamed for the protesters being swept up into the aftermath is themselves. Why? Personal responsibility. 

Roughly 24 hours before, in that same spot, a lawless anarchist group of rioters had turned the ground they stood on into a flaming, destructive, chaotic scene. (2) Worse, they did it while pretending to promote the same cause as the protesters, decorating themselves in the trappings of comradery and righteousness. And the protesters came back the next day. 

Protests are a valid way to have your voice heard, they are a Constitutional right. If they are peaceful. But what are the odds that the day after the riots ended, the ones who are so misguided that they think they’re on your side, so they can use your public sympathy to buy them time, are not going to return to finish what they started? Sunday wasn’t even the first night of riots. At what point does it go from a tragic surprise to expected? At what point do you say I’m mad about this, and I will fight for change, but until the rioters have been brought under control I’m going to stay home, protect myself and my loved ones, and give the police and soldiers space to do their job? 

Speaking of: Why is everyone so angry at Trump for saying he’ll stop the riots? In what world are riots and destruction the same as a protest? Yet Trump’s calls for law and order, telling mayors and governors to stop the burning in their streets before he does, and everyone screams like he’s telling the Navy Seals to reenact the slaughter of innocents that both Moses and Jesus narrowly escaped. And I don’t get why. (4)

I’m going to link a Chicago Tribune article that lists twelve times in the past where the National Guard was called in by the president. Several times it was to prevent governors from using the guard to prevent integration in schools. Most of the time it was used for what it would be used for today which is to stop a riot caused by the reaction of the public to a tragic death. So Trump’s use would not only be not a crime or a prevention of human rights but also widely precedented. (8)

The Aftermath

Upsettingly, due to partisan politics and the speed of the internet, the real story will never be accepted by some. No even time travel or pictures of the scene will be enough to convince them. And it’s sad and terrifying. To think that there are people in America who are so wrapped up in their ideals that they have no room left to even listen to an argument that might make them second guess their decision is something that I’ve been struggling with since I left for college the first time and it only seems to get worse as time goes on. 

As for the dreaded photos, I personally think Trump sucks at taking stills. He doesn’t know how to stand. The only good pictures are the ones where he’s walking. They need to get a more invested photographer who can set up scenes that look like stills but have him moving so he looks more natural. But I get the reason behind them. 

This was the President’s 204-year-old church. This was an attack on our capital, on our heritage, on our safety and freedoms. For many, it was just one more sign that forces are at work to rob us of our religious liberties. Plus the hashtag Bunker Baby was spreading on Twitter. For many of his opponents, nothing he’ll do will ever be right. But for those who are on the fence, those who support him, seeing those pictures was seeing an emblem of America. Not because of Trump but because of the office of the President, standing amid damages, unafraid with God at his side. (4) 

Unless you’re one of those weird fanboys comparing it to 9/11 or WWII. Y’all need to calm your jets we ain’t there yet. Same goes for the people whining about how pointless it is. The protester thing was separate and guess what most people are still theists in this country whether you like it or not. (4) 

And for those of you who want to know what he’s doing for real, what his feelings are about the police situation, he’s working on it. I’ve said it before, but for a bunch of screamers complaining he’s trying to be Hitler 2 the god-emperor of hatred and evil and bad you sure as hell get mad when he doesn’t do dictator things like make sweeping reforms to the justice system without congress or the state or backs off of using the Insurrection Act to stop the riots. You can’t have it both ways. He can’t be the fascist military king and a useless layabout. You think you can but that’s why the rest of us on his side or in the middle think you’re bonkers. 

Specifically, after the dust settles–since he’s putting the safety of the people from arson, looting, and murder first–he has his eyes on brainstorming ways to get improvements in the police departments. Though it should start at the state level. His aide also stated the White House is building out their funding programs for black colleges, school vouchers, and lowering prison sentences while looking into tools to ensure law enforcement doesn’t use excessive force. (4) You know real solutions other than police bad and should die.

Yes, there are problems. Emerging amid the crying victims are images of police in riot gear being a bit too happy to plow into someone. Even if they were not complying, and even if the ambulance was called, there isn’t a need to bowl over single men or casually mace someone who hasn’t actually moved to hurt you. Most of it’s camera shots and half-videos but some of it needs to stop. I understand the frustration, being low on sleep and having stand down orders while literally everyone is yelling at you and burning down your city for a crime where all four perpetrators have been arrested and charged and you had nothing to do with it but they still literally are screaming you need to die to your face and… you know what? I’m going to leave it here for you to decide if they should get any sympathy for losing their tempers. 

That’s all for this one. If nothing else, I hope you have the facts now. Maybe a new perspective. Until next time, work to be healthy, be happy with the rest, and stay safe.


  1. https://www.foxnews.com/media/st-johns-rector-fire-impromptu-trump-visit
  2. https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/paula-bolyard/2020/06/01/breaking-rioters-burn-historic-st-johns-church-in-d-c-deface-monuments-across-the-city-n474820
  3. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/500628-priest-among-those-police-cleared-from-st-johns-patio-for-trump-visit
  4. https://www.npr.org/2020/06/03/868779265/trump-defends-symbolism-of-photo-op-at-st-johns-church
  5. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/park-police-defends-actions-clearing-protesters-near-white-house-says-no-tear-gas-was-used
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/tear-gas-effects
  7. https://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-pepper-balls.htm
  8. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-national-guard-deployments-timeline-htmlstory.html