Let me start by saying I do not believe I (Jerome Nichols) am related to Tyre Nichols. Still there is a possibility due to the location and rarity of our shared surname. Just wanted to clear the air upfront since there would be questions. I also want to acknowledge the many other tragedies happening around the country. But as we will address, choosing your battles is important. This fight is closer to me for obvious reasons.
I watched the Tyre Nichols video, and it is jaw dropping. The absolute lack of professionalism. The dereliction of duty. The depraved sadism. Tyre's unanswered cries for the safe caring arms of his mother. I hope the officers all rot. I'm furious, as I'm sure you are.
But as a person in Michigan, who's skills are best suited for everyday life when emotions are in check and I feel safe, I know this is not my battle. So, I'm making the active choice to disengage from that news, until there is a conclusion. And you probably should too.
Disengage - VERB - separate or release (someone or something) from something to which they are attached or connected:
Ex. I am disengaging from the shocking and brain chemical disrupting news of Tyre Nichols' murder to preserve my energy, rage, and determination for the fights I know I can win.
The world doesn't need more public displays of sadness, misery, anger, or anguish. That won't move the needle. That's the performative, thoughts and prayers, black square Insta post bullshit we all hate but with a Salt Bae sprinkle of sincerity. Truthfully, outside Memphis, DC/The White House, NY and The Bay, we probably don't even need to take to the streets this time. We've seen how little it accomplishes in modern times where our politicians are both more accessible and more insulated than ever.
Rage is a valuable resource. We gotta be smarter about how we use it.
Still things have gotten better in subtle but powerful ways since our last bout of collective and justified rage at police brutality. All over this country, we've finally started to discover some more effective channels for our rage. We've seen fed up people running for office, drafting legislation, filing lawsuits, injunctions & FOIAs, civilian auditing the police, reimagining public safety, creating powerful art, and indoctrinating the youth with the fuck 12 messaging all kids need these days.
Rage is a valuable resource. We gotta be smarter about how we use it. Our conservative ideological opponents, while outwardly messy, sleazy, and childish, have a plan back there. There is leadership, recruitment, grooming, ground troops, funding and an entire media machine supporting that mess.
We will not break their stranglehold over our legal system from the streets or Twitter, in protest or emotionality at least. But your campaign flyer will. Your art and the money that flows around it will. Your Twitter DM campaign will. You can convert your 4th graders into thoughtful, rebellious, community-minded citizens for the people. Your leak of hacked documents could be the next Wikileaks or No-Fly List fiasco.
We finally have a successful blueprint to stop the conservative creep our country has been under for the last 50+ years. We’re ready to burn some shit down. Whether you choose a blow torch, pyre, candle, explosives, or star, use your fire wisely.