"How can I be safe in America if I can’t be safe in my body?"

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; death; terrorism.]

This piece by Charles M. Blow for the New York Times is so, so good: Police Abuse Is a Form of Terror:
State violence, as epitomized in these cases by what people view as police abuses, conversely, has produced a specific feeling of terror, one that is inescapable and unavoidable.

The difference in people's reactions to these different kinds of killings isn't about an exaltation — or exploitation — of some deaths above others for political purposes, but rather a collective outrage that the people charged with protecting your life could become a threat to it. It is a reaction to the puncturing of an illusion, the implosion of an idea. How can I be safe in America if I can’t be safe in my body? It is a confrontation with a most discomforting concept: that there is no amount of righteous behavior, no neighborhood right enough, to produce sufficient security.

It produces a particular kind of terror, a feeling of nakedness and vulnerability, a fear that makes people furious at the very idea of having to be afraid.

The reaction to police killings is to my mind not completely dissimilar to people's reaction to other forms of terrorism.

The very ubiquity of police officers and the power they possess means that the questionable killing in which they are involved creates a terror that rolls in like a fog, filling every low place. It produces ambient, radiant fear. It is the lurking unpredictability of it. It is the any- and everywhere-ness of it.
Blow likens this to "America's reaction to foreign terror," which I think is an apt comparison. And I think there are all kinds of ways that non-black marginalized people can recognize a similar sort of terror in their own lives, conveyed by virtue of the ubiquity of a particular kind of violence that targets people like them, e.g. the rape culture, which we can use for the internal work of bridge-building toward understanding.

But as Blow notes, the difference is this is state-sponsored terrorism. It is happening with the full force of the state behind it, usually protecting the perpetrators of this violence.

It is the people who are ostensibly meant to be protectors, whose actions instead terrorize.

Go read the whole thing.

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