May 30: Protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd continue throughout dozens of cities across the United States. The demonstrations are largely peaceful during the day, but several turn violent at night, as police and crowds clash. In New York, a police car plows into a crowd of protesters, and one person is killed in Indianapolis when a gunman fires at a protest. Hundreds of people are arrested throughout the day. Mayors in several cities issue curfews, while the National Guard is activated in Washington, D.C., and 10 states, including Minnesota, where Floyd died. By Saturday evening, around 1,000 protesters in Washington have gathered by the White House, which is protected by Secret Service, D.C. police, and U.S. Park Police. Global coronavirus infections top 6 million.
Something has shifted underneath the ground of this country. I do not know how to convey the chaos that is unfolding around us. Today, as the CDC reports total predicted excess deaths since Feb 2 in the United States to be somewhere between 174,930 and 235,728, fury over the murders of Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd has merged into Black Lives Matter protests threading through a dozen or more major cities from coast to coast. Massive protests with hundreds, even thousands of participants meet with teargas and flashbang grenades. As I watch the videos on Twitter and the television news showing police cracking down violently against peaceful protesters, I keep thinking, what the hell is wrong with these cops? Why do they beat and mace people who are simply holding signs? Why do they hit people with their cars? Where is their composure under pressure? Why are they masked, like the secret police of history’s worst authoritarian regimes? They have been ordered to enforce curfews, and I know that they are following commands that have come from their leaders, but do they not see that America is hurting and angry? Do they not understand why people have taken to the streets to protest the exact senselessness in their violence that they are exhibiting over and over again?
“This is not America in the 21st century,” I keep whispering to myself as image after image of police beating protesters plays on the screens. This must be Hungary in 1956, or Selma in 1965, or Tiananmen Square in 1989.
But of course, this is America.
We are in the middle of a pandemic. The Minneapolis police just killed a Black man remorselessly on camera. America is aching and exhausted from centuries of continued violence against minorities and four years of overt expansion of racist social practices and structures from the heights of leadership. We are openly displaying the underbelly of America that we don’t see in our hagiographic textbooks and state-approved high school curricula. This is the violence that Black America faces every day. This is the state violence that can come down on you at the drop of a hat, for no obvious reason except that the color of your skin and the texture of your hair is different than the person sitting next to you.
Is it just me, or are there not clear similarities between the management of the pandemic and the management of these protests? Instead of acknowledging the problem, we are faced with brute denial. Instead of taking responsibility, our leadership casts blame on the very people who are hurting the most. Instead of calling for new action, all the nations resources are mobilized to maintain the status quo. Just as we have a large population that will refuse to wear a mask to defend the lives of all Americans, so too do we have tens of thousands of people who are not able to see the fragility, fear, and danger that comes with being a Black person in America. All of it is rooted in a profound lack of basic human empathy.
Many leaders, like Civil Rights stalwart, Rep. John Lewis try to tamp down the rage and emphasize nonviolence and civic action. The debates from fifty years ago rise again like hot phoenixes right there in the comments to his Twitter post—how long do we wait? How patient must we be? Why do the bodies of Black and Brown protesters have to remain nonviolent while white power wields whatever weapon is at hand?
Meanwhile, a simple virus for which there is no treatment continues, unaddressed by the so-called leader of the free world. I fear there is no Apollo Program behind the scenes working on a solution.
 CDC, “Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19,” May 30, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm. Videos taken from media sources can be viewed on the JPY website.
@josemendex, Josemendez, 2020-5-30, “Atlanta said Fu*k everything else up but not Waffle House 😂” #foryou #viral #georgefloydprotest #blacklivesmatter #atlanta #endracism2020 #riot. https://www.tiktok.com/@josemendex/video/6832502902515387653.
@whatchugotforme, Sarah Cooper, 2020-5-30, “How to MAGA,” TikTok, https://www.tiktok.com/@whatchugotforme/video/6832703997808364806.
I love you, you are a hero in my family but we have organized, sat in, stood up, voted. We’ve been doing that for decades. Maybe what the country needs is to know that if you murder a black man in the street then every street in major cities across the country will burn.— Looking Thru (@RykerStephenson) May 30, 2020
Auto shop workers cheer on protesters marching past in Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/g4wSgVIumm— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) May 30, 2020
This is the moment Minneapolis Police fired on our CBS News crew with rubber bullets. As you can see, no protesters anywhere near us- we all were wearing credentials and had cameras out. Our sound engineer was hit in the arm. #cbsnews pic.twitter.com/UAy7HYhGnL— Michael George (@MikeGeorgeCBS) May 31, 2020
An LAPD officer hit me in the stomach after I clearly identified myself as a journalist multiple times.— Lexis-Olivier Ray (@ShotOn35mm) May 30, 2020
Wtf!!! #BlacklivesMaters #brooklynprotest pic.twitter.com/S1oet8JC0x— Pierre G. (@pgarapon) May 31, 2020
Share widely: National guard and MPD sweeping our residential street. Shooting paint canisters at us on our own front porch. Yelling “light em up” #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #JusticeForGeorge #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/bW48imyt55— Tanya Kerssen (@tkerssen) May 31, 2020
Minnesota State Patrol just fired tear gas at reporters and photographers at point blank range. pic.twitter.com/r7X6J7LKo8— Molly Hennessy-Fiske (@mollyhf) May 31, 2020
A thread on how NYPD broke up tonight's protest in Flatbush, Brooklyn.— 🎥 Mark Helenowski (@markhelenowski) May 31, 2020
— Forceful treatment of protesters & press who were already following orders to "move back"
— Multiple NYPD tackling a seriously injured person
— The aftermath of teargas
It started like this: pic.twitter.com/KbfC6Q9rqP
MSNBC reporters were just almost hit with some sort of explosive device by law enforcement officers in Minneapolis pic.twitter.com/Cy4ayEm5TE— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 31, 2020
Protest in Brooklyn getting big. Chants of “We are George!” and “Who keeps us safe? We keep us safe!” pic.twitter.com/aAI2kNn2H6— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) May 30, 2020
Watching live feed local ABC affiliate, city center Salt Lake City. Police identified as SWAT team, got out of vehicles and immediately knocked a grey haired man using a cane, to the ground for no apparent reason. WHY?? @slcpolice pic.twitter.com/N4WxrCTpXm— SkyeMartin (@skye_rtin) May 30, 2020
We have liftoff. History is made as @NASA_Astronauts launch from @NASAKennedy for the first time in nine years on the @SpaceX Crew Dragon: pic.twitter.com/alX1t1JBAt— NASA (@NASA) May 30, 2020
Congratulations to the Astronauts that left Earth today. Good choice— Andy Milonakis (@andymilonakis) May 30, 2020
* Timeline summaries at the top of the page come from a variety of sources:, including The American Journal of Managed Care COVID-19 Timeline (https://www.ajmc.com/view/a-timeline-of-covid19-developments-in-2020), the Just Security Group at the NYU School of Law (https://www.justsecurity.org/69650/timeline-of-the-coronavirus-pandemic-and-u-s-response/), the “10 Things,” daily entries from The Week (theweek.com), as well as a variety of newspapers and television programs.