It was not just racist cops who killed Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. It was not just deranged snipers who killed police in Dallas. Those answers are too easy.
If we leave all the blame there, historians of the future will have a heyday with us. They will marvel at how we ignored the obvious perpetrators, the real murderers: You and me.
It’s you and me that outsource cheap labor to meet violence and despair in our streets and classrooms. We poke a starved bear with a thin stick and blame the bear and the stick when they snap.
It’s you and me that fault the media for drenching our screens with blood and bikinis. We go on clicking and then lament the candidates we tailored for ourselves.
It’s you and me that mask fear with bravado. We speed to the car lot or comments section to ward off what threatens us.
It’s you and me that ignore cries for help. We don’t want to believe there are people less lucky than we are.
It’s you and me that have never had passports. We have long looked at the world through flat screens and rifle scopes and lost sight of freedom.
It’s you and me that let our appetites define us. We finish our burgers then soak our hands in anti-bacterial gel.
It’s you and me that merge democracy with narcissism. We weld misspelled convictions between pictures of us with our dogs.
It’s you and me that mistake coliseums for schools. We make fan and alumnus into synonyms.
It’s you and me that cling to stale customs and culture. We don’t see that what we preserve is not culture at all, but the absence of it.
It’s you and me that rub our hands together when something like this happens. We know it will energize the base.
It’s you and me that will watch it all happen tomorrow. We are looking for scapegoats everywhere but in our own apartments.
The victims are gone. The guilty will go free. All laws, all prayers are futile against this conspiracy.
This conspiracy of you and me.