I get the anger over broken windows in downtown Raleigh. I understand that people are upset over property damage. I do not advocate property damage.
But in the list of things to be concerned about, it strikes me that people miss the point if they fixate on broken windows and vandalism, but ignore the larger issues:
- Police Brutality has left Black men and women beaten and killed across this country, and in Raleigh.
- An economic system that privileges property over people (whatever their color): There is something wrong about a Government that spends billions outfitting civilian police departments in riot gear and military-style armaments, but says it can’t afford to ensure that people have health care, a decent standard of living, and a future for themselves and their kids.
- A criminal justice system that, particularly when it comes to drug crimes and fundamentally non-violent crimes, sentences people to cages for years or decades, sometimes in private prisons.
These are the fundamental problems that give rise to what a good friend of mine – and downtown Raleigh shop owner whose store was vandalized – calls the “hopelessness” that results in property destruction. He told me as he cleaned up the glass this week in downtown Raleigh to try to get his store back open – after it’s been closed for two months – that he isn’t angry, but rather sad.
Sad that a system like ours has turned out to be such an utter failure at providing a good life for so many people.[[
[UPDATE: Here I am interviewed on WRAL.]