[This is a fourth article from our guest writer who does not wish to make his identity known. I refer to him as G, a retiree who moved to Bellingham over 15 years ago. His previous pieces were, Enough, MintTheCoin - Money for Everyone and A Pandemic and a Depression.]
The word tragedy refers specifically to an ancient Greek dramatic plot in which a hero consciously or unconsciously sacrifices their life in order to or with the effect of curing a city state or other sort of society of a plague or saving it from other disasters that are destroying it. China’s Wuhan based whistle blower Dr. Li Wenliang, 34, who died of COVID-19 on Feb. 7 after having co-discovered the disease is a recent example of a tragic hero, as is his comrade scientist, Dr. Mei Zhongming, 57, whose death from the novel virus was announced on March 3.
Wars and revolutions are events in all of which tragic heroes exist, not only on one side of such conflicts, but on both sides. The word tragedy does not appear in this Guardian article of September 4th, “Suspect in Portland killing of far-right protester ‘shot dead’ by US marshals”, but that is nonetheless its subject. We can be confident that far right member of Patriot Prayer Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39, believed that what he was doing might cure America of what he perceived are wrongheaded protestors, and we can be equally certain that his killer BLM supporter Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, killed by U.S. marshals, believed that what he was doing was the right and necessary thing to pursue.
These killings occurred in Washington state, where I live and where ‘open-carry’ is the law for toting guns. The Republican and Democratic legislators who for decades cravenly catered to the godawful National Rifle Association’s propaganda, power and money are responsible for a lot of killings, including at least in part those described below.
It seems probable that what actually happened when Danielson and Reinoehl confronted each other will never be decisively known, nor may what really occurred between the U.S. marshals and Reinoehl ever be fully known. At this time there are no films that clarify anything, and all testimony is likely to be prejudiced by the opinions of witnesses and self-interested politicians. So I’m writing only about tragedy, not who was guilty, nor who was innocent. In cases involving tragedy, innocence and guilt are not what most needs to be understood.
I do hope each of you takes a few minutes to watch the filmed interview (Man Linked to Killing at a Portland Protest Says He Acted in Self-Defense) of a reporter with BLM supporter Michael Forest Reinoehl, who was later killed by the marshals. It will help you decide for yourself what sort of person he was. I don’t know if there is a film of the man he shot dead saying anything, but if there is I’ll watch it, too.
As my readers know, I’m firmly on the side of the BLM protesters, and my bet is that a street revolution is well under way in America, but still in its early phase … and very likely going to get worse and worse. But that does not mean that I am, should or could be unaware of the human cost on both sides, nor unaware of the pity of our species. As is everything in Nature, the human condition is complex and nether bad nor good. It just is. We all imagine we can do something to change things for the better. I’d like that to be true, and I, like you, believe that those with whom I stand possess the ideas most likely to achieve something better for all people, everywhere.
And that’s what is the pity of our species. Either one path or another is the best one, and our nature prevents us from ever agreeing to all take only this one, or that one.