A Scream to Eat the Sky
May 26, 2020
12/22/20 - Republished 05/26/20, original publication date - I think we've had enough.
12/16/20 - Republished 12/16/20 ***this post was originally published on May 26, 2020. It's been republished and moved to the top because this photograph just showed up again in a Washington Post article published December 13, 2020. 'A Dark Empty Place'.*** Not cool.
Brian Cash, of New Hudson, MI on April 30, 2020. We believe the red bearded man to be screaming directly at the officer, six inches from his face.
That's not what's happening though. We believe he is six inches from the officer's face because we believe that anyone with that level of rage would do exactly that. He is at a rally at the State Capital in Lansing, Michigan.
Take another look. Both officers on either side are staring past him at the rest of the crowd. In the photograph, the man who's scream would eat the sky, is focused past the only lens we can look through. He is outrage and anger are directed at someone else.
I only know because I wanted to know who he was before I wrote about him. I was startled to see the Snopes link pop up. What's there to validate? A picture is a picture, and of course I've already made my mind up; I already know the story. Right? Don't you?
I learned more from Snopes that I thought I knew. I other words, the misinformation I started with was an incomplete set of misinformation. From Snopes I learned that Brian Cash maintained that he was screaming at another officer beyond the frame, and he explained why.
There's something else very wrong with this picture. Not the photograph, the photograph is astonishing; more so when you look closely. This photograph was taken on April 30, 2020.
From ClickOnDetroit, in Detroit...yah., the headline below on April 30: (have a look)
Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 41,379; Death toll now at 3,789
Detroit, Oakland County continue to lead state in confirmed cases
Michigan's case and death tolls were on a fourth upswing. On April 30, the new case count was 876.
Not the worst, but far from the best in terms of national mortality statistics.
So here's what's wrong with the picture, no the photograph, the picture. Those paper masks are a nod to a mask. They are the masks you wear when you've run out of anything else and the way you shape the nose, adjust the elastic, and pull it all the way open and snugly under your chin is the difference between whether or not the mask makes a difference.
Which is why Sergeant Merritt of Chappaqua, NY, wearing his paper mask like a mustache is mostly irrelevant. Sergeant Merritt forgot the nod. I wonder if he'd have done that if it had been someone else in the lobby. Hard to say.
I don't know much about Michigan's PPE situation and I certainly don't have that sort of stat from April 30 but it's not entirely relevant. The only thing that is relevant is that the officers in the photograph are as good as naked. How could we?! How could we send them out there like that? How could we possibly be so thoroughly dismissive in the face of the man screaming to eat the sky.
It is preposterous that we stand behind him with tissues on our faces and stare beyond him as he turns his body inside out in defense of the way people had been handled by the police force. I wrote that as generically as possible. I refuse to put a gender or a number or an actual intent on his event. All you have to know is on his face.
I can't really judge what happened in Lansing that day because I wasn't there and I no longer know my birth state. I am not blaming or condemning anyone in the State of Michigan. How can I?
What I want to make clear are two things:
- When you hear a scream of the intensity that will swallow the whole of the sun and moon and stars and the blue, when you hear a scream to eat the sky, stop dead in your tracks (unless it's aiming for your head and then by all means run like hell). Stop dead in your tracks and find out why.
Because that kind of pain is more important than anything, ever. Find out why.
You know better than to give me the surface shit, right? That's good, because in my life, every time I have heard that sound it has always come down to control, as in not having any of it. Don't take that shit for granted.
- Do not tell someone that they have to wear a mask if you have not put one on yourself. Now ask yourself why so many people continue to question their civil liberties.
I'm not saying this makes them right. I strongly suggest that it makes them bat-shit crazy murderous assholes. But don't you think we ought to find out why such a significant percentage of our population appear to have a median IQ of 79?
This photograph was taken in 2014, I believe. I don't know what her problem is, exactly, but I probably don't have to know. The photograph is from a Goldie Taylor op ed piece originally published December 30, 2014 titled What Would Happen if I Got in White Cop's Face?
I don't see any rage. I see a temper tantrum and it's not even epic. I see a cop who would really love to be able to put his hands on her shoulders and move her out of his face. He cannot. I see a cop in the background who's watching. He's relaxed, sorta, but he's alert. God knows what she'll do. God knows why we scream at the police force as an entity when we want or need to make a point.
To be fair, I don't know what she's yelling about and maybe I've entirely misread her but it is the posture and expression of the man two inches from her mouth, that moves me.
Hey, you know, maybe he's a raging sociopath. It's just a photo, right?