I went to this protest to see if I could take some good pictures and maybe tell a story like I like to do. I sort of stumbled into event photography over the last two years so I felt I could do a good job of capturing the moment and since this was in the town I lived in I didn’t need to go online and get the new’s opinion about what happened or allow them to show me what they want me to see, I could just go see it for myself.
So here exactly that and very little of my personal opinions, just what I saw.
Walking in the middle of a main road during middle of the day weekend traffic was new for me. For those that don’t know this area, this is probably the most visible and highly trafficked area in town.
I was encouraged by how much of the stopped traffic were honking and hanging out of their windows in support.
The crowd corralled in the mall parking lot.
The young guy in white’s name is Rakeem Jones. I didn’t realize until later that Rakeem was the guy who made national news in 2016 for being punched at a local Trump rally (and subsequently forgave the assailant).
I didn’t get to speak with him, but he made his best effort to speak about unity.
Once the mayor left, the crowd definitely got a little more unrestrained. Moving back into the road and halting traffic.
Along with a very healthy exercising of second amendment rights.
Overall I found this to be fairly uneventful, and while hopefully productive, it just didn’t have any teeth. Peaceful protests are certainly better than destructive ones, but are they as effective?
I’m of the opinion that humans learn nothing until it’s painful. Why would anyone change their behavior while their belly is full and they are comfortable.
Which is a perfect segue into the night protests.
Are you as sick of political opinions on the internet as I am?
I think it’s good people have their opinions and can voice them, but talk is cheap. People post their opinions on the internet but they don’t take the slightest real world risk to do so, this is why people’s opinions online can become so extreme. There is little social upside to being reasonable and there is little downside to being a polarizing maniac.
It’s vicarious, and it’s irritating.
In real life and in high stress situations, people behave differently than their opinions would suggest. This is exactly why in normal interactions with people, I proactively act in a stressful manner towards people, and for that same reason is why my website is named as such. When under pressure, people show you who they really are. When there is nothing on the line, you usually meet a person’s “representative”.
So I wanted to go and get as close to this thing as I possibly could because it absolves shallow opinions of what should happen and and let me see what people’s real actions were. There is no value in the worlds of a Facebook slacktivist who will sit comfortably on a couch at home and then dictate how protesters should behave, for us to have any impact in the world we must have skin in the game.
By the time I had arrived a good chunk of damage had already been done. There had been some fire and some burst pipes inside so it was a mess.
This is the market square in downtown Fayetteville. I’m not surprised it was the target of vandalism as it’s been the point of contention in the last few years due to it’s controversial history with the black community.
Hey! parking in the street is against the rules!
Getting a little rowdy now
I do not condone this.
I’ve spent quite a few years in Fayetteville, while the property has changed hands a few times I will always remember this as Lidos, a restaurant and bar my buddy used to own. Sad to see things destroyed for sure.
I would like to point out that every single person I spoke to here was incredibly pleasant to me, I didn’t feel scared to be here at all. I really feel like the pictures make it seem far worse than it really was, and that’s my fault but also, after two tours in Afghanistan there is very little that scares me.
That said along the way there were a few worrisome moments, someone drove down the main street and was shooting out the windows.
Not sure exactly what happened here but looks like someone got shot. Literally fresh blood in the streets.
No ambulances showed up though and the person was gone, so hopefully not too bad.
The police had been up the street for a while without interfering but they seemed to be annoyed now, so they marched in.
The police response, to the protests about over-policing, was to send a small army of intimidating, well equipped, and well organized troops.
It had the intended result of absolutely crushing any rebellion, but I couldn’t help to notice the irony.
This lady was out there the whole time and was an undeniable force for good, many were, but she stood out to me. She tried to stop the vandalism, she stayed on message, she was powerful.
They broke out the gas masks.
At this point most of the protesters had left and the police outnumbered the civilians by quite a large margin.
I stuck around until I was sure nothing else eventful would happen. I wasn’t scared of being arrested or gassed (wouldn’t be my first time) but the event had run it’s course so nothing much else happened. I captured everything that I could.
Thanks for reading!
I really tried not to involve polarizing political messaging in this blog. I hope I was successful, just wanted to share my experience of being there and take great photographs.
Over the last few months I have been thinking of starting a new website dedicated for pictures and storytelling OR at least renaming/redesigning this one so it’s better suited. The name of this website lends itself very well to people to my usual demographic: people who like my no-BS approach to self improvement, real estate, and business. It’s a little more awkward to share this site when trying to connect with people who aren’t in the entrepreneurship or financial space, which I’m doing more and more.
This event made it clear I need do find a better solution for curating my creative content sooner rather than later.