….notably, this afternoon for love of my daughter, I went to a Black Lives Matter protest of George Floyd’s death, in Wilkes Barre, Pa.
My daughter announced she was going and asked if we wanted to come. I said, as lawyers we shouldn’t risk arrest— especially, she shouldn’t, poised at the beginning of a law career in which she would be well-positioned to work for system-wide change. Sha said she attends protests all the time, I said, I know, but you’re home now, and I’m…aware. . Well, I didn’t want to sit home worrying for 5 hours, so I said I’d go, and so did my BMD. We’ve both had less-than-pleasant experiences at the hands of cops, and I am furious with this Chauvin bozo. WHAT could he have been thinking?
So, on a beautiful, cool, sunny day we marched from Kirby Park, across the Susquehanna River , to Public Square. The dread police were assisting the procession at crossings. At Public Square we all lay face down on the ground for 8 minutes intoning I CANT BREATHE , with the organizers reminding us how much worse it would be with someone’s knee an our necks, and that, at least WE would be getting up again. ( I was totes into this, since we had our faces coverEd with bandanas and I really could not breathe too well.) Almost the entire crowd, we estimate 250 people tops, was white. We chanted GEORGE FLOYD and NO JUSTICE NO PEACE, NO RACIST POLICE and BLACK LIVES MATTER and NO MORE DEATH. A drone hovered over us, and we all held our signs to the sky. Then we marched back to the park, with. motorists enthusiastically honking and waving.
The requirement to assume an unfamiliar posture ( first we were asked to kneel, then to prostrate ourselves) Couple with the mantra-like chanting, is very powerful. We were only out for maybe 2 hours, but I can imagine an increasing susceptibility to suggestion the longer you stayed standing in the streets.
One of the organizers had exhorted us not to wreck any businesses, but that was never on the agenda for this crowd.
Well: this, O Ratty, is northeastern Pa.
I felt I was among people of good will.
I suspect the intentions of many people attending protests in the big cities may be similarly benign, but that as darkness comes, and parade fatigue becomes endemic, the more malign element takes control.
For today, in Wilkes Barre, I witnessed only the exercise of “the right of the people to peaceably assemble”.
God save the United States!