Evocative U

(ee-vok'-uh-tiv) Bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind

Glenn Murray

Written by Glenn Murray. I design and build cool software. CV

Here's my latest think piece.


Scenes from Sacramento. Just another urban apocalyptic ghost town during the pandemic:

April 3rd - 15 days into lockdown and three days after benefits checks went out. People with crazed looks stumbling around. The unmistakable behavior of meth addicts who have spent their checks and haven’t slept in days. With everyone else at home, it looks like the world is populated by zombies. I am living in a science fiction movie.

Walking my dog on a Sunday morning. One of the few allowed activities outside the home. Something I have never experienced in many years living here: extended silence. No traffic. No people. Only the occasional birdsong. My head is spinning.

Again walking my dog - in Capitol Park - hours after the first anti-Lockdown protest had started, I asked a group of bicycling police if the crazy people were still on the other side of the Capitol Building. A leading question, of course, that can’t be answered with a simple yes / no, like the old-school question: "Was that the first time you beat your wife?" They didn’t take the bait, saying "Yes there are still crowds there." A flag-carrying protester across the street shouted, "We're Americans! You’re the crazy person!" I walked on quickly, regretting my Red-baiting.

Maskless young children of maskless protesters, running and playing on the Capitol Park monuments. I wondered if I shouted “Murderers!” at them, what their parents would say when their children asked why they were being called murderers.

School bus leading the July 4th Black Lives Matter march past my house, chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!”

The next morning, graffiti on the public buildings across the street: "Fuck The System", "No Races", "Another World Is Possible", "Trans Rights", "Fight Back"

Graffiti on the sidewalk in front of my house: "Brown and Black Used To Live Here"

Torn down statue in Capitol Park of Junipero Serra, founder of the California missions in the 1700's (and enslaver of many indigenous people), an early American exemplifier of domination and oppression under the guise of benevolent patriarchy.

Many businesses with Black Lives Matter signs, with the subtext: "Please don’t smash my windows"

Living in the midst of the violence, two blocks from the State Capitol, with roving bands of protesters frequently passing by, I fear for my own ground-floor windows.

I have wanted to join many of the protests myself (BLM definitely, Antifa not so much, pro-Trump and anti-Vax never) but I also know that stray bullets kill, so I have only joined once.

Remembering the Los Angeles riots of 1992. The first day - true anger and lashing out destructively, burning down much of the city - because police officers were acquitted of nearly beating to death Rodney King for no reason other than he was black, despite video camera evidence.

The next several days - lawlessness throughout Los Angeles. Not just protesters, but people driving from the suburbs and filling up their vehicles with free stuff because they could.

Also remembering from the '92 riots - the day after Reginald Denny was pulled from his truck in South Central and beaten nearly to death. Sent home early from work before the nighttime curfew and waiting in line to get cash from an ATM in Torrance, which bordered South Central. Several carloads of rowdy young black men drove up to us standing ducks. Savvy people looked straight ahead and studiously ignored them. I gawked.

"Hey, nice clothes white boy!" "That’s it. I’m a goner." "What do you think about Rodney King?!" (Here’s my chance.) "He was screwed!" "Yeah!" They shouted and drove off.

I was also alive during the '60s civil rights protests but was too young to really remember them. 1960's 1990's 2020's. I want to be optimistic about systemic change, but it’s hard not to be discouraged. How much has really changed?