Note: Talk of the United States ahead
I learned very young that the solution to certain problems of mine, to certain aggravated, chronic problems, especially with consistently foul, abusive actors in hegemonic institutions, is to simply do away with the dynamic I was in. To end it, to destroy it. I realized people with power in that dynamic, with vested interest to keep me in it, were not looking out for my best interests but theirs’ and they would let me die if that’s what it took. And the only choice was to be free of such a power struggle. Because the other choice was to continue to accept the violence, to let it change me, until it ultimately killed me.
No amount of small shifting would change what state I was in. No amount of sadness or pain or expressing of rage and upset would soften the heart of those harming me. Only being out of the situation totally could free me.
I never deserved what I went through and trauma is not instructive, only destructive, but I am grateful for my response and that I got this taste of rebellion early. When you learn that it is best in these situations to stand and walk, to be righteously opposed and antagonistic to someone harming you, to refuse to accept their increasingly boiling pot of water, to defend yourself at any cost, it can translate politically in a deeply transformative way as it has for me, that has made me a fierce advocate of liberation and abolition.
I haven’t ever really had the words for these shootings, for any of them, even the ones going back to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church shooting in Charleston, further back, stretching as far back as my memory permits, because we have been living with this so long.
But I have seen how reluctant this country is to take its lumps and dare see itself as necrotic, parasitic, genocidal, imperial rot. I saw how in the turning point that was the Columbine school shooting, this immense tragedy, we pathologized the Columbine shooters and in turn criminalized certain types of members of a subculture or mental illness, the hyper individualistic, white woman victims’ rights movement True Crime-ification of a deep social problem, to the point that even though the shooting is modern history, so many lies about it abound that feed and…