I write in response to Michael Graham’s column, “Pandemic protest hypocrisy,” and find it interesting that he criticizes protests against racism and police brutality. Where was the concern about coronavirus spread when large groups of people carrying guns were storming government offices and making threats against state employees in Michigan?

Protesting against coronavirus recommendations and best practices does not compare to protesting against racism and the poor treatment of people of color. Not being able to go out and get a haircut does not equal going out and not returning because you were jogging while black.

Both gatherings increased the risk of further coronavirus spread, yes, but if people can’t stay home, wear a mask, and maintain a 6-foot distance in the grocery store to prevent the spread of a deadly disease, what makes anyone think that passionate, brave protests against grave injustices can be contained? Pennsylvania’s Gov. Wolf admits that while inconsistent, his support in the middle of a lockdown was important; I follow all recommendations, yet I agree.

The chaotic response to the viral threat, partisan quid pro quo to get needed supplies, and the rage people feel surrounding recent and historical attacks on people of color have created a melting pot of anger that’s boiling over. Graham’s column was inflammatory and accusatory. Recent and historical events and personal motivations are far too complex for a black-and-white analysis and is great example of what causes turmoil the world over. Blame is placed where it does not belong, and those who need restraint and should admit their culpability are given a free pass.

We risk the chance of humanity losing its humanity if we become so rigid that such intolerance is tolerated, and that’s more evident every day.


Robin Johnson


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