By Alicia East
I knew exactly what was coming when I watched the Jake Blake video and still couldn’t help myself from saying out loud “No. Please don’t do it. God. No!”
I had already seen “shot 7 times in the back” and “three kids in the car.”
He had reportedly been trying to break up a dispute and was getting back into his car. That’s all he was doing. Say he MAY have been a threat. Call it noncompliance. Call it whatever you want. There is no justification. It’s on video plain as day in broad daylight.
And I already knew, before watching the videos, what the difference was between him and the 17-year-old who shot 3 people and then walked toward police with his AR-15 flopping across his body while people yelled that he was the one.
The police ignored him. He went right up to their vehicles. He was arrested the next day. The. next. day.
Jake Blake had his back turned–no weapon in sight. He was shot 7 times. in. the. back.
The videos confirm what we already know. Jake Blake was threatening not because of a gun. He didn’t have one.
Likewise, the videos of the 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, show what we already expect: he was ignored even though he was obviously armed and had just shown without question that he WAS a threat.
What was the difference? You will read this well after the fact and without having seen the videos and I don’t have to say it. You already know.
I’ll say it anyway: Jake Blake is Black. Kyle Rittenhouse is White.
And who does Rittenhouse align himself with politically? You already know.
If we all know it without having to see or say it, then it’s a predictable pattern that can’t be explained away.
I’m tired of the videos, but energized by the people putting their platforms and careers on the line for something more important. Even Jim Gaffigan, the “supposedly apolitical” (his words) Catholic did it!
I’m tired of people I’m close to willfully closing their eyes because it doesn’t affect them, but energized by those who use their privilege on behalf of others.
Jake Blake’s kids were in the car. This could be your dad. Your gentle, kind dad who I hear chasing and tickling you as I write. It could be your Uncle Sean. It could be Ronald.
I understand the cynicism about politics. I really do.
But this is different.
I’m considering what to do besides vent to an audience that can’t even read yet. There will be something. You might be joining us in strollers and carriers and you won’t understand it all. But you’ll feel love and unity in whatever we decide to be a part of.
At an absolute MINIMUM, we will vote. It would be embarrassing not to. The Venezuelans didn’t get this chance before their country got taken down with a wannabe dictator at the helm. We have the hard-won chance. I’ll be damned if I don’t do at least that. If I sincerely respect John Lewis and Dr. CT Vivian, it would be an insult not to.
And if these are the issues topping my mind, you don’t have to see my ballot to know who has my vote: you already know.
Hi, I’m Alicia. I started writing daily letters to my 3 young kids at the beginning of the pandemic. Their world will forever be shaped by this period in history whether they remember it or not. In addition to writing about it, you better effing believe I’ll be voting like our democracy depends on it. I sincerely believe it does.