Faces of Fear
These photos were taken at "The Gun Rally on Capitol Square" on January 20, 2020, in Richmond, Virginia. While these images are of people who are heavily armored, the fear and desperation for a sense of community I witnessed in them can not be understated. Often times we see these people and their guns as threats, which they are, but they are also human. Scared humans whose fears can not be ignored. Because if they are ignored, brushed under the rug, and allowed to stew, there is no limit to where they will go to find a sense of security.
On January 6th, 2021, nearly a year after The Gun Rally on Capitol Square, American terrorists sadly proved me right despite multiple government agencies being warned of the very real threat they presented.
I've been called "radical" for my leftist perspective and politic. But to me, my most radical opinion, that both sides of the disheveled isle would reject, is the need for empathy and the acknowledgment of "humanness" in all of us. Now I'm not saying that we should even remotely tolerate racism or homophobia, I'm saying instead of completely disregarding people when we identify a moral flaw, perhaps we should take a step back and try to evaluate how they ended up there.
Oftentimes, what you will find is they are victims of capitalism or gun violence and have adopted this ideology in an effort to survive. The same reason black and brown people filled the streets in the summer of 2020. We are more alike than we want to believe. The difference is, these people have utilized other systems of oppression to combat the ones they are victims of.
This is not a Rodney King "why can't we all just get along" moment. No. As the late, great Audre Lorde wrote in Sister Outsider, "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house" meaning we will never overcome and dismantle systems of oppression by using another system of oppression. You can't combat racism with homophobia. You can't combat homophobia with sexism. Our most useful tool is to educate each other on our own lived experiences and be open to listening to others. The basic human principle of communication is all but gone from our society today.
*Edited 12 March 2022*