If we’re not surprised by a mob, why does it still hurt?

I have an emotional hangover, after watching the news on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.

The cheerful vandalism disgusted me.

Fuck seemed like an appropriate response, to something so barbaric, so crude.

“Look at these dumbasses,” my partner said.

I looked.

They were not wearing masks. They were wearing red MAGA caps.

“Why isn’t anyone shooting these assholes?” my partner asked.

“I don’t think violence is the answer,” I said.

“Yeah, but if these dudes were not White, they wouldn’t be getting away with this,” my partner argued.

Oh, right. He was right.

Then I heard that a woman had been shot. That was confusing. It seemed like the crowd was mostly men.

“Are you watching the news?” I texted my twin sister.

“No,” she replied. Then a few minutes later, “Watching it now. Wow crazy. Trump is probably happy, the sick fuck.”

Those were the words: sick and fuck. That’s how I felt. Upset, angry.

And then I kept watching the footage, on repeat. And another feeling started to sink in. Something heavy and tender. Sad. I felt really fucking sad.

I wanted to know the personal history of these rioters. Who did they talk to, on a regular basis? Was there any rational or sane person in their lives? Why were they so dumb, so easily swayed by a sick fuck?

Sometimes, I can’t bear my ignorance. I can’t stand how dumb I am, and how little I understand about — everything. And then I feel grateful. Because at least, I know I’m dumb. At least I’m not the kind of person who storms a government building during a pandemic, maskless, when my actions are lawless. At least I’m smart enough to recognize the people who are smarter than me, so that I can look up to them and follow their lead.

But when I was watching the news on Wednesday, I wondered, Where are the smart people? Is everyone hiding and waiting for this to end? Why isn’t anyone stopping this?

If we’re not surprised by a mob, why didn’t we prevent this?

Written by

Writer based in Brooklyn, NY.

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