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Death in the Morning

October 16, 2020

In this episode of democratic depravity, who among us did more than watch aghast from our balconies?

Robert Kahn

By Robert Kahn

Deputy editor emeritus, Courthouse News

I’m old enough to remember Kitty Genovese, who was stabbed to death outside her apartment in Queens, New York, on March 13, 1964, while her neighbors did nothing to stop it. Seems to me that’s the state of our union today, and has been for three years and counting.

But it’s worse than that. We are all involved in this, from every perspective: as victims, killers and bystanders.

We’ve stood by for three years, going on four, as we watched our republic stabbed, over and over, by a demented man.

We haven’t all suffered the stab wounds in our flesh, yet — and yet we have.

All of us but one are victims — but unlike Kitty Genovese, who was murdered at 28, not all of us are innocent.

True, none of us are Winston Moseley, who confessed to murdering Genovese after being arrested during a house burglary six days later. (He died in 2016, in his 53rd year in prison.)

Yet I don’t see how any one of us who has sat through the past three years and nine months, without raising our voice, can claim to be any better than Mr. Moseley, except by a smidgen.

OK, we didn’t hold the knife in our hand.

But we’ve watched it all onscreen. Just because we can’t hear the screams doesn’t mean we’re innocent.

Sure, sure: the neofascist white racists who love Trump, whom he has incited to commit violence on Election Day this year, claim to be defending “liberty” and “freedom.”

But it’s always liberty against something — never liberty for something, except white racism and guns.

What sort of freedom do Trump’s white militias want, aside from the “freedom” to impose their will upon others, with guns?

Freedom against government “oppression” is fine. I’m not asking what they’re against.

I’m asking what they’re for.

Aside from the ability to impose violence upon people who don’t have as many guns as they do.

And don’t look like them.

They’re just wannabe murderers, watching Kitty Genovese be murdered, and wishing they could stab her too.

Kitty Genovese being — in case you haven’t caught on yet — the government of the United States.

And the “innocent bystanders”? That’s us.

So. As Trump and Bill Barr and Stephen Miller and Chad Wolf and their Heimat Sicherheit — excuse me, I mean the Department of Homeland Security — have their way with us, what will you do? What have you done about it?

Or did you cheer them on? Watching from your balcony as government officials with long knives murder our perishing republic.

In conclusion: The thesis of this column is that all of us are, in a sense, all of the people involved in Kitty Genovese’s murder.

We are all the people who did nothing.

We are all Kitty Genovese, being stabbed.

We are all the murderer.

While the guy in the White House tells us, day after day, that he’s the only victim here, and that none of it really happened.

Categories / Op-Ed

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