log: Meanwhile, in Busan . . .

Something of a rocky past week.

Another cluster infection was detected. This one at a logistics center. This Logistics Outbreak (caused by the Itaewon Outbreak) seemed to be a pretty big one. The daily caseload jumped up to, I think, 79. An average of 50 is our cutoff point. But, because these cases were so quickly detected and a bunch of action taken, we’ve quickly seen the cases drop again. They now sit around 29 a day, which is within the capacity to the health system. Some schools have been closed, some kept open. Opening the schools remains a priority.

Think of it as being a bit like flattening the curve in relation to the hospitals – basically, everything is being shut down in an attempt to open whatever schools we can open. A worthy goal and a decent set of priorities. Hard though. This bug is a stubborn fucker.

Hearing about these outbreaks, people often think of them as bad news. I don’t really know how to chop these things up into good and bad, but to me, it’s like, you just have to accept reality and work from there. These are detected cases and detecting cases is part of what needs to happen to save lives. Every detected case is a lifeboat on a sinking ship. It’s not great that we need lifeboats but, well, that particular hope is obsolete and there’s just no sense wasting any energy worrying about that shit anymore. So detected cases are good, I guess.

The re-entry aspect of my VISA was also cancelled. Nothing personal — that was a change made across the board. Not like I was planning on going anywhere anyway, but now, if I leave the country, I’m not allowed back in –at least not under that VISA. As things stand, South Korea might have a much harder time getting rid of me than worrying about me leaving and re-entering. I like it here. Where the fuck else would I rather be?

And, of course, there’s the news from America.

We often tend to use words like “shocking” about cops murdering Black people or even to minimize rage by saying things like “it’s not surprising.” In all cases, I distrust this deployment of surprise. It’s not necessary to be shocked, not important to be surprised. Novelty is not a requirement. It never has been. You can be angry without being surprised. Hurt without being shocked. Sometimes, the hurt can come from the lack of shock.

Like, if you have to clean up a restroom that’s been shat all over, and even if you know in advance that this has happened, you’re probably not going to be terribly surprised or shocked by the mess. You’re still able to have some sort of feeling about it. If it happens again and again, with the same person doing it, the lack of shock won’t cheer you up. That lack of shock is just dread. This is the same. This is America. Exploding dread.

Ever lose a fight? Ever got a good kicking? Well, let me tell you, the blows don’t stop hurting because they’ve stopped being surprising. What they lack in shock, they don’t lose in pain. And the moments between them, the waiting and need of mercy, don’t feel so great either.

The thing I find, not shocking or even surprising, but just totally illustrative of the mess of racist policing, isn’t even the double standards applied to armed white protesters and peaceful black ones. Though, of course, that is really important and disgusting. What jumps out at me is the use of tear gas.

Tear gas is an indiscriminate and dispersing weapon. It attacks the respiratory system and causes inflammation. This weapon is incredibly dangerous and has long-term effects. It should never be used on protesters. To see this weapon being used during a pandemic, to see it deployed during a disease that attacks and kills through attacks on the respiratory system with a kicker of assorted inflammations, and used on members of a population that all the data shows is disproportionately at risk from this disease, is just plain fucking horrendous. It is yet another atrocity.

To me, it’s also the clearest illustration of this whole fucking mess and of the berserk and homicidal attitude of the American state towards the American people. A bunch of cops, safe behind their masks, gassing a bunch of people who are only demanding some fucking accountability. You know, that the law gets applied to someone in power for a change.

Not to mention the fucking priorities here. Like, cops still have teargas and gas-masks but medical professionals can’t get N-95 masks? Contact tracing is all but impossible but, you just sit back and watch the cops trace these protesters. And the army can be called in to attack the people but nothing can be mobilized to deliver food or medicine? That shit reminds me of the Haitian earthquake, when we were all told that the US army could not drop food without hurting anyone. We were told this shit after years of propaganda about how this same military could drop FUCKING BOMBS into cities without hurting civilians

It’s just fucked up. The priorities, the methods, the whole fucking thing. Top to bottom, fucked right the fuck up. The system needs to change or burn.

Anyway, ACAB. And Black Lives Matter.

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