America has a new image, a woman staring down almost impossibly armored riot police in Baton Rouge.
Powerful as this image is in the contemporary setting in which it was taken, what’s more revealing is what it reveals about the changes in our society over time. Let’s imagine this scene playing out at different times.
In the middle ages, protesting against authority would have been viewed as treason. Likely outcome: burned at the stake.
In 1800 in Baton Rouge, an act of defiance like this would have been dealt with as a slave discipline issue. Likely outcome: suspended upside down and whipped until unconscious.
In 1900 this would have been seen as an afront to authority and a black person interfering with white folks business (use of a public road). Likely outcome: brutally dragged off and locked away by a sham court process.
In 1960 this would have been seen as an act of civil disobedience. Likely outcome: arrested and violently dragged off. Probably charged and released unless they could pin something significant on her.
2016? Quietly arrested and a symbol of the protest movement.
Across all time periods if she was armed and prepared to fight? Likely outcome: killed on the spot by the authorities.
Guns don’t make you strong. In fact, the more civilized the society, the less relevant guns become for resolving conflicts. Now, they are a hindrance. Bring a gun, and you undermine your moral position.
Story Inspiration: Where could this end up? Owning a gun becomes proof of antisocial tendencies? Politicians being asked if they owned guns just as currently they get challenged on whether they ever smoked dope?