By the time this movement arrived in Kalamazoo I had been isolated at home for 2 months. All of my news was coming from my phone. Everyday was another total of deaths due to Corona Virus and then there were riots. I was expecting these but I thought they would come from food shortages, I’m still waiting for those by the way, and never thought that this would come from the death of a man while being arrested. I forgot it was an election year.
Protest had erupted across the country and everyday there was another march in a city and that night buildings burned, cars torched, and businesses looted. I’m not on Facebook and I don’t watch the local news, those channels are horrible with their content anyway, but more about that later. I had to learn from my neighbor, a text from a friend and my mom calling me, to stay away from downtown because there was chatter online about looting and riots planned for that night. It wasn’t until I looked up the local news on my phone that I learned about the protest that happened the day before. A march had started at Bronson park and moved down the mall and onto Kalamazoo Ave. when things became rowdy white vans pulled up delivering police in riot gear. The crowd chanted “fuck the police” while throwing water bottles and rocks at the police. The cops had done nothing but show up. A few minutes later the vans came back, the police piled into the vans and they drove away while protesters hit the vans and continued throwing items at them. I had to see this footage on news 8 because our local channel did not cover it. Instead, news 3 WWMT declared that it was a “peaceful protest” without incident.
I went upstairs and loaded my gun just in case. I saw the footage of people yelling “kill white people” and “kill the police” and from what I could see they meant it. The local Walmart had shut down. The people working at the courthouse were sent home early. A Meijer location closed their doors and barricaded the entrance with shopping carts. Crossroads mall had plow trucks parked at their entrances so that people could not drive up to the entrance. The city was on a different kind of lockdown.
That night on the news there was footage of people laying down on their stomachs before marching down the street for day two of their protest. Across the street in the background a Mexican family that had just opened their new restaurant a few weeks before was boarding up their windows and doors. They were the only ones to do so.
I slept that night with one eye open, waking up at the slightest sound and looking out the windows at all hours of the night. I heard nothing. Everything was quiet.
The next morning, I woke up at 6:30 with my two-month-old daughter. While I was feeding her downstairs my phone was loaded with video footage of downtown Kalamazoo, smashed and looted. There comes a time when you start to question everything you see on your phone or television. You aren’t sure what is real and what is made up. I had to see what had happened for myself.
I put my daughter in her car seat and went out the door just before 7am. We parked outside of the brewery that I used to work for and I started filming. Windows had already been boarded up. The cleanup had started at 430am. The first block wasn’t bad except for the dried spit on the windows of shops and the local MLive office. Then the real damage started.
The small window where the cigarettes were kept at the cigar shop was broken. The front door to Taco Bob’s, a local favorite, had been smashed. I was almost happy Bob didn’t have to see that happen, he had died a few weeks before all the chaos happened across the country. As I walked the damage was worse and worse. Gazelle sports had their windows smashed and items stolen. Several other shops had their windows busted out and their displays gone. My chest felt heavy as I walked through there. I didn’t recognize the city I had grown up in. what took twenty years to create had been destroyed in a night.
I went back to my car and decided to find other places that had not been covered on the news. Sure enough, on Kalamazoo Ave there was a whole series of stores with smashed windows. The first national bank had their drive through window shattered. A women’s clothing store had all of their windows shattered. A new café had a broken window. Jimmie John’s had not delivered their sandwich fast enough for one of the rioters. Their window was smashed as well. A new bank had their picture window decorated with a spiderweb pattern of destruction. The courthouse I once worked at had their own window on the ground floor busted out. The only thing I missed was the car lot at the beginning of the street with their merchandise vandalized in the lot.
By the end of the day all of downtown was boarded up and secured for what was to come. A local store owner sent me a link to video footage of the looting in progress. Everyone involved is on camera while they smash the window of Gazelles and start looting. As of today, not a single person has been arrested that was involved in the looting.
A week later my wife and I drove down the mall just to see what it looked like. The stores were still boarded up only now the city was allowing people to paint art on the boards in support of Black Lives Matter. As we drove down the mall I looked at my bank, one of the original buildings that formed downtown 150 years ago. The limestone framing the doorway had been painted over instead of the boards covering the windows. Gang signs and other tags littered the facades of the stores as we continued. Downtown was a free for all to do what you wanted as long as you were pissed off about something. I couldn’t see anymore.
The day before I would finally return to my own job a mural was painted in the street next to our building that read Black Lives Matter. It is in the turning lane and fills the length of the block. That was when I knew they had defeated the city. The enemy had won and they were given whatever they wanted. Local businesses had been terrorized. People stayed at home scared to go out not knowing who or what would come for them. Lively hoods were ruined. In the end they were allowed to tag their prize and the city even handed over the tools to do it. Kalamazoo had become BLM’s bitch.
I don’t like bullies. I don’t tend to back off when someone is being aggressive. If somebody tries to force me to do something, I don’t want to do odds are its not going to happen. Except for Frat parties gone wild on campus I have never seen the police use tear gas before. The last time downtown had that much destruction was the tornado that went through in 1980. The more I learn about BLM the more angry I become. In two months the organization has raised over 300 million dollars and nobody knows where it is going. There is no audit and since they are a 503c they are not required to report it. They answer to no one and no one is asking any questions. Meanwhile the country is in turmoil with riots and protest still happening. More statues and monuments are being destroyed. Politicians are no longer protecting the public instead giving in to a group of terrorists demands like defunding police departments and sending local crime rates to record levels. BLM has yet to comment on the 8-year-old girl that was killed in Atlanta by BLM members in their occupy zone or the 1 year old that was killed in Chicago over Father’s day weekend.
In 2019, 54 unarmed men were killed by police. Out of that number 9 were black. On Father’s Day weekend 104 people were shot in Chicago. Five black men were killed in CHAZ during the capital hill BLM occupation. There have been multiple shootings in Atlanta to the point they called in the national guard. The country is under siege and we are being occupied by an army of Marxist extremist who only have one goal, destroying the United States. Ilhan Omar stated yesterday that not only should the police be defunded but that the whole political and economic system needs to be “dismantled” as well. BLM has a lot of blood on their hands and it is the blood of young black men and children across the country that have died because of their actions and their demands. This isn’t a protest this is a revolution and one that the American people did not ask for.
I do not kneel, I do not bow, I do not give in to bullies. I hit them back. You do not cave in to bullies, they only end up wanting more. You make sure they leave realizing they should never try doing that again. You leave them bruised and broken. In this country you do not negotiate with terrorist. You hunt them down, shoot them in the head and dump them over the side of an aircraft carrier. Look to our past, things did not end well for those that tried this kind of thing before.