If you haven’t heard of Aaron Bushnell by now, please know that even the blurred video is disturbing. Google with caution.

I’m having a hard time reconciling US political rhetoric about the preciousness of life with the willingness of some to dismiss what’s happening in Gaza. 

And by “hard time,” I mean I can’t contort my brain—which is exceptionally good at rationalizing when it wants to be—into imagining a scenario where a single, non-fascist human being can hold both thoughts at the same time without necessarily imploding.

Yeah, I witness cognitive dissonance all the time. But living in a world where a group of overlapping people can condone the genocide of a people’s children while also giving preference to embryos, calling some children filth, and trying desperately to deny other kids food?

What strikes me about Airman Aaron Bushnell is the singular sense of purpose he had, a desire for the peace and freedom of the people he saw being oppressed.

But even NPR reported yesterday a bizarre recounting of the haunting news, suggesting they couldn’t be sure what Bushnell was on about, exactly.

NPR reported Sunday: “The Israeli embassy in DC said none of its staff were injured.”  And “The Metropolitan Police department has since declared [Bushnell’s] vehicle of any suspicious activity.”

The article has been updated since I first read it, but I still don’t understand what they’re hedging for without putting on some very cynically filtered shades. They added, “As of Monday morning, NPR was not able to independently verify the man’s motives.”

What?

There are Bushnell’s statements, social media posts. Graphic video that he streamed to Twitch.

Particularly harrowing and authenticating is how a cop pointed a gun at Bushnell while an EMT yelled that he needed more fire extinguishers, not guns.

The entirety of the internet knew exactly what happened within minutes.

I don’t have well composed thoughts about self-immolation as a form of protest and frankly my mind might not even be capable. But a Facebook post I saw attributed to the airman reiterates a common refrain:

“Many of us like to ask ourselves, ‘What would I do if I was alive during slavery? Or the Jim Crow South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?’ The answer is, you’re doing it. Right now.”

I am sorry Aaron Bushnell won’t get to see the peace he sacrificed himself for.

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