Maps on the news and social media raised tensions and accentuated this opposition–showing cities where curfews curtailing evening protests across the nation, in an effort to minimize protest by June 1, in ways that telegraphed concern in bright red points–
–or refiguring the protests as fires, as if to ask how they could be extinguished, and suggest the activation of an urban unrest in need of policing, as they were mischaracterized as the work of subversives who sought to foment disorder, as if they were destabilizing an actually elusive peace. But as Trump deceptively deferred the reality of the pandemic, claiming “nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion,” the scale and expansiveness of the rejection of the status quo that the protests revealed a revulsion at the manner that Donald Trump had invited police officers to apply more force in making arrest, in 2017, to groups of police, but now ascribing lawlessness he usually placed beyond the southwestern border. While the iconography of disruption and destabilization seemed to necessitate order, their situation on a stable base map disguised the quite uneven landscape of infections, morality, and inadequate health care.
Such isolated dots seemed to dismember the unity or common concerns that animated the protests. We are slowly learning much during the current spread of anti-police protests across the states, as schools are shuttered, and their date of opening uncertain. In the context of our disordered response to a pandemic that we kept trying to define as a local outbreak, our cartographic instruments almost with insistence casting an infection in localized terms that obscured the epidemiological risks of contraction any precepts of containment, the disorder that played out around the question of school closures–a basic response to a pandemic? a fig leaf that concealed a lack of greater strategies? –seemed to have ripped any stability out from under the country as we progressed, clenching our teeth, to tread on thin ice of a pre-covidian world, taking the closures of school as a precaution to proceed. As “Defund the Police” became hard to separate from “Educate, not Incarcerate,” as the funding of public schools were tied to urban policing, the question of what domestic spaces we have created in the United States was closely questioned and interrogated in a moment akin to national introspection.