The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection. The novel takes place in the near future, in “a time that looms around the corner of today,” when a rising police state controlled by the corporate-political elite have plunged the nation into the grip of a hidden dictatorship. In spite of severe surveillance and repression, the Man From the North’s banned articles circulate through the American populace, reporting on resistance and fomenting nonviolent revolution.
The story below is one of several written by the Man From the North. The article series is not included in the novel and was originally published on Dandelion Salad. We will feature a Man From the North story on a weekly basis through June 3, 2015. You can read the entire series at Dandelion Salad. The Dandelion Insurrection and a companion study guide can be purchased on Rivera’s website.
Police State Blues
Another citizen was shot dead by the cops.
He reached inside his coat. The officer pulled the trigger. But it was his ID – not a gun – that the man’s fingers sought.
The Chief of Police says it was unfortunate, but it happens. His officers are trained to look for dangers, to stop threats in their tracks, and what if the man had been a terrorist headed toward a school?
The kids on the street nervously pat their hidden guns and swap stories of other people shot dead by killer cops – a brother, a best friend, a cousin, somebody’s sister. Then they recite the litany of beatings they’ve received.
The gun rights faction, outraged at the police, yet contemptuous of the man’s lack of self-defense, is stating that they would have shot that officer first – the Second Amendment was intended to protect citizens from the tyranny of the State!
The Chief of Police made no further comment. Perhaps he was ramping up the weapons training program, buying better bulletproof vests, drilling with the drones, teaching his officers to drive the tanks, giving lectures on the crazy gun rights fanatics and hoodlums who wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an officer.
A quick-draw showdown is escalating between citizens and the police. Paranoia and suspicion rage on both sides of the equation. Every hand is reaching for a gun. Every finger is on the trigger. Blue and white lights signal not safety, but trouble. Cops eye us distrustfully as they patrol down our streets. It is any wonder that shootings erupt from this tension?
Our fear is the real enemy, our fear of each other. We are all caught in the cogs of a system that turns citizens into criminals and law enforcement officers into killers. It is a system of injustice fraught with poverty and debt; a system that hold opportunities only for the few and for the wealthy. This is a system that forces two parents to work to survive, that defunds the schools to build bombs and prisons, that shackles youth to debt, and that holds no future for any of us except for wage-slavery, misery, illness, and death.
Our police are drowning in the undertow of human desperation. Guns, arrests, raids, and barricades are no match for the floodwaters of the river of injustice. Half of this nation lives at the international poverty line and the roar of the masses is deafening. The dam of the State won’t hold back their hunger.
And the police are being thrown life preservers of tanks, weapons, and drones, but militarization is the lead weight by which they drown. Citizens also arm themselves to the teeth. So, loaded with metal weapons and heavy ammo, we all sink deeper into the river of injustice.
Citizens and police are squared off on the street, furious, desperate, shooting at each other because the real criminals who profit from our misery seem out of reach in their armored cars and penthouse suites. The real culprits of injustice, who turn the police into hired guns and thugs to do their dirty work, sit in the halls of justice, the seats of power, and the positions of prestige. So, we’re trying to kill each other, rob the pockets, strip the corpses, and get away without being caught.
These are the things that make my heart hang heavy. The folly of humanity weighs me down. The glimpse of who – and what – we could be blazes so fiercely that it stings my eyes to tears. I turn my gaze to our dark and troubled world. The shadow of sorrow falls on me. Hope slips away on my vanishing out breath. Weary stubbornness rallies to inhale. I am here, in this world, and I keep moving forward, one foot, then another, one breath, and then again, until someday, the sun dawns on a better world for us all.
Rivera Sun sings the anthem of our times and rallies us to meet adversity with gusto. In addition to her most recent novel, Billionaire Buddha, she is the author of nine plays, a book of poetry, and her debut novel, Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, which celebrates everyday heroes who meet the challenges of climate change with compassion, spirit, and strength. Learn more about Rivera and her work on her website.