There used to be a time when I’d think, “this is too much”, and, “they’ve finally gone too far.” The first time I watched the Rodney King beating video I thought that, but then there was the trial and all of the officers involved were acquitted. The L.A. riots that followed had flashes of sending a message, especially when they started to move towards the wealthier areas of the city, but in the end the folks who rioted only managed to burn and loot their own neighborhoods. I should know better than to think that any one incident will turn the tide at this point because the list of demands from communities most affected by these types of incidents usually focus on reform, which is the same reform that previous generations have been calling for since the 1960s.
Last week’s Monday blog was about the SFPD’s execution of Mario Woods by firing line, which was all captured on video, from multiple angles in the city’s Bayview District. I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to see when Facebook autoplayed the first video I watched of Mario Woods being gunned down by the SFPD. That’s a shitty function by the way, and who knows why Facebook feels the need to shove video content down the throats of its users, but either way I watched that video, and later the other videos from different angles before writing last week’s blog. It was shocking, and after two years of protests around the country, and the Black Lives Matter movement, to think that something like that can happen in a so called liberal city like San Francisco just underlines the fact that we are way past the point of fixing things with simple reforms. Oh, and if you watched the Mario Woods video(s) and thought, “this is too much”, and, “they’ve finally gone too far”, then you probably missed the video of Los Angeles police officers shooting a man 33 times as he attempted to crawl away. The LAPD says they found a gun on the man they shot from behind, then continued to shoot as he crawled away, and they also claim that they received 911 calls from citizens in the neighborhood reporting gun fire, and that the young African American male they shot to death matched the description of the suspect. If only we had a system where we could trust that all of those claims would be followed up on and properly investigated.
There used to be a time when people believed that art and music could change the world, but that got commodified and turned into art and music becoming a soundtrack for social change, then finally a soundtrack for a generation that once called for change in this country. They protested in the streets and occupied their college campuses, then graduated and got married, had kids, bought property, turned their homes into apartments, and their backyards into apartment buildings, then rented these units to students so they could circumvent rent control laws, and so on. That’s a different subject for a future blog perhaps; the Baby Boomer generation and the pitfalls of granola based diets.
A creative, conceptual, free form approach to addressing the inequality and injustices in our society can change the world, as we observe it. It’s not literally the art or music, but a state of mind. I know that’s a fairly abstract statement to make without expanding on it further, but the point of these blogs is not to delve deeply into every thought I have concerning whatever subject I’m addressing, but it’s more of an immediate response to what’s most on my mind on any Monday morning when I sit down to write.