Monday, February 1

Open Season on White People?

Here's the start of a post from NextDoor that was a little frightening: 

I just had a man attempt to run me over
and then spewed racial hatred at me... please be very careful, it appears it's open season on white people. Sent to me from an Upstanding Individual Who lives here in Jacksonville. My Friend was on a sidewalk riding his bicycle.

OK, so political or racial beliefs aside, trying to run someone over with a vehicle is attempted homicide. Probably something less strict in Florida, like attempted vehicular intimidation, but it's still a crime. Even if this upstanding individual was wearing a Stop the Steal shirt, MAGA hat, and Confederate flag bandana, no one has the right to try to run him over. Except his ex-wife, maybe. I'm kidding. (Let's all, please, get back to kidding.) 

The story is not something that happened to my neighbor, but to one of his friends, so that does mean it's a little less reliable. I didn't read the entire post, but I assume there are more details and that some kind of unfortunate event did happen, but a repost of a post or text is not altogether the best source, and my reposting of a repost of something is even worse, since I don't even know the upstanding citizen. 

Please don't go out and buy several guns because you see this article or a similar post on social media. You're not going to ride your bike with one hand on a gun, anyhow, so you'll end up just sitting in your house, surrounded by your guns, not getting any exercise. Just like there are some crazy white people who want to storm the Capitol, I suppose there are some crazy people from other races who want to storm white people, but it's not happening all the time, and it might not even be quite as serious as that in this case. 

The man who tried to run over the guy on the bike also bothered to yell racist epithets at him, which to me signifies that he was trying to scare rather than kill. Like when I get upset at the geese in my neighborhood and yell or honk ironically at them. I might fake-try to hit them, but I'm not really going to run over a goose. However, if I really wanted to kill an animal in the road, I'd probably silently run it over because there wouldn't be much of a point in also calling the goose names if I've already killed it. 

I'm not even going to ask if we can all just get along. Probably not. But let's at least agree to disagree from afar and without violence. For white people, keep in mind that not everyone else is out to get you, even if there are some crazies who might go there. For all the other races, keep in mind that 60% of the population in America is white, which means not every white person voted for Trump. And very few of the ones who did are in hate groups. So lay off. 

A fun side note is that the Southern Poverty Law Center shows four hate groups based in Jacksonville: The New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Revival Baptist Church, Act for America, and Nation of Islam. There are also about a dozen white nationalist/KKK hate groups that operate statewide. All told, only California has more hate groups, so at least we don't lead the nation. I wish we could turn this around and the hate groups become love groups. But even if we don't, just remember that most of these groups are pretty small, like under 100 members, so even 68 hate groups in Florida probably means under 10,000 hate group members in good standing. In a state with 21,000,000 people, that's not too many, really. It also means that most random white people you see while driving around are not in one of these groups. Therefore, it is definitely not open season on white people. Or anyone else. This isn't some kind of post-apocalyptic people-hunting world, even in Ocala, and most of us would like to keep it that way. 

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