In many news reports of the protests in Salt Lake City on May 30, the destruction of a police car is cited as an escalation of violence.
Property damage is not violence, it is vandalism. I generally don't condone vandalism, but spray paint and broken glass and even a burned-out car don't keep me up at night.
Knowing that police departments all over the country are rotten to the core with racism and empowered to abuse and kill people with impunity does. To be honest, it makes me want to break things.
Calling vandalism violence, and thus equating broken things with the brutalization of human beings, is a distortion of the truth and a minimization of the toll of actual violence. It is especially galling in the context of protests against brutality at the hands of police armed with guns, tasers, batons and qualified immunity. It also minimizes and distracts from actual violence at the protests, most of which has been committed by police.
As you watch videos of journalists being shot, maced and arrested for trying to report on the protests, I ask you in the press to consider your part in this unrest and choose your language carefully.
Jess Anderson, Salt Lake City