“He didn’t come to pray.”

I was watching the news, they were showing Lafayette Square, and it was peaceful, when all of a sudden the police started moving in aggressively. It was really weird. It was before curfew, there was nothing that prompted it, and then out of the blue, they just attacked. They started gassing the crowd, shooting them with rubber bullets, and they really went at it. You could hear so many bullets being fired, and those stun grenades. One reporter said an elderly gentlemen kept getting hit because he couldn’t get out of the way. You can see it on replay somewhere, I’m sure. It was absolutely insane.

Then we all learned it was all for a photo-op for Trump.

This morning I’ve been reading accounts from priests who were there, and who were also chased away. Apparently the Episcopal Diocese of Washington had organized a group of priests and volunteers to hand out water and snacks to the protesters, (what a lovely gesture) and they’ve been expressing their outrage. This is from the Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde, the bishop of Washington.

“He didn’t come to pray. He didn’t come to lament the death of George Floyd. He didn’t come to address the deep wounds that are being expressed through peaceful protest by the thousands upon thousands. He didn’t try to bring calm to situations that are exploding with pain.”

You can read their accounts on Facebook. It’s horrifying. They didn’t have time to grab their medical supplies. Then I read reactions from people around the world about all that is going on, and I am ashamed for our country. I also read an account of those eight minutes that Chauvin held his knee against George Floyd’s neck, and how he kept his knee there even after Floyd lost consciousness, and even after paramedics arrived, and how Floyd voided his bladder towards the end, and I just can’t bear it.

But nevermind our horror. Trump wants to get a picture.

From my walk yesterday. I was right underneath One World Trade, admiring how it looked disappearing into the clouds, and a guy on a bicycle rode by calling out, “it’s a beautiful building, isn’t it,” and it was a sweet moment. Two strangers sharing a moment of appreciation for a work of art. People are good, people are good. Those priests and volunteers were helping those protestors fight the good fight. Think of them.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on ““He didn’t come to pray.”

  1. Hey Stacy, very interesting posts. Not a lot of online friends know my late husband was in law enforcement, but he would have been appalled at what happened to George. My husband died over ten years ago, and that neck maneuver was NOT taught or used then. It should immediately be banished nationwide!! One thing my husband advocated for (and trained other officers) was community policing, which is outreach to ALL members of the community, building relationships between officers and citizens. And as an aside, he would be disgusted with Trump. Sometimes glad he isn’t here to see what has become of our country. Stay safe.

  2. Community policing has been shown over and over to work, and yet I keep reading about community policing being introduced and then they pull back on the number of officers, etc.

    Your husband sounds like he was such a good man. I’m so sorry he is not still with us.

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