The Marshmallow Ranch Gazette

Volume 5, Issue 15 - Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

Howdy, patrons!

If it felt weird before devoting a significant chunk of time towards serialized porn, this week had made it feel almost like it's out of the question. George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25th and protests have been spreading nationwide ever since. There's video that shows Floyd pleading for his life as an officer plants a knee on his neck for almost nine minutes, and while there were three other officers on the scene they didn't stop the arresting officer. Floyd was being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill.

It took four days for the killer to be arrested. The official autopsy of Floyd's body blames his death on underlying conditions exacerbated by the physical ordeal; an independent autopsy arranged by Floyd's family instead says it was homicide by asphyxiation. Tony McDade was killed in Tallahassee by police the same day Floyd's killer was arrested. Their names have been added to an insanely long list of black people who have been killed by police over the last ten years. Most of the officers in these incidents are not charged, convicted, or even fired by their departments. 

I am a black man in the United States, and I've grown up with the knowledge that any encounter with a police officer might end in my death. It doesn't matter if I'm innocent, or that I wouldn't hurt a fly, or even if I call them; any time I am in contact with police, I could die. And the person who killed me will not even be charged with my murder. If my death received national attention, I'm sure people would dig through my digital footprint or try to find anything they can to throw my innocence in doubt.

I've often thought about how my character would be assassinated after my death. Would they bring up my mental illness? Would they talk about my drug use? Would they bring up the fact that I wrote furry erotica for money? Which details of my life would right-wing media use to justify my murder by a police officer?

This is a question that is much less hypothetical than it is practical. Police have killed black people for minor misdemeanors, traffic violations, being in the wrong building, being in their backyard...being in their home. Every time I see a police car, I have to be hypervigilant about the way I come across, have to run a mental checklist of what I have on my person, calculate how best to make sure I don't draw attention. And it's not because I'm guilty; it's because I'm scared. For me and people like me, seeing a police officer is a lot like seeing a wild animal. You have no idea what they will do or what might set them off. 

And now, as the protests roll on for a week straight, we're seeing police officers around the country become increasingly violent. Tear gas, mace, flash-bang grenades, rubber bullets have been used on peaceful protestors, members of the press, black politicians, and innocent civilians just trying to get home. Instead of de-escalating the protests, the President is calling in the national guard. There are so many abuses of power happening all across this country, and it's all being sanctioned by our government. 

It feels impossible to pretend that life is normal when all of this is going on. I'll have a busy week at my job, and I'm trying to get better about writing, as always. There are tabletop role-playing games I'd like to run and play in. I want to bake bread, and cookies, and get better at cooking. I've been toying with the idea of buying a bong, that last great threshold into being a true pothead Californian. 

I want to read more books. I want to learn HTML/CSS/JavaScript so I can learn how to build my own websites. I want to learn aikido. I want to learn how to be a better runner, chef, husband, friend, writer. 

But I look at my Twitter feed and all I can see is violence, violence, violence. I see almost half of my fellow Americans focusing more on property damage than police brutality. I have to prove that my life is under threat by white supremacy to people who are seeing the same things I do but have entirely different interpretations. I can't be too angry, or too fatalistic, or too horrified; I can't be scared or grief-stricken or depressed. I can't fall apart in a way that makes others uncomfortable. 

Just being Black in the United States is a traumatic experience. The trauma of my ancestors are woven into my DNA and the very structure of our American institutions. Generations of inequality and disenfranchisement have filtered through to my daily experience in ways large and small. And trying to talk about it is like trying to tell fish about the ocean. 

It's exhausting, folks. I'm exhausted. I wish I could just write the things we all enjoy, but I can't. Not when it feels like my very government has turned against me. 

I'll be shuttering this Patreon for now. I would very much like to come back to it later when I feel it's time, but I need to take this moment and ground myself in order to meet it as best as I can. 

I really appreciate everyone's support through the years, and I hope to be able to tell you stories in a happier world sometime soon.

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