Arch madness

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Videos started circulating online Monday night of a truck intentionally driving through a crowd of protestors right under the Reno arch—one of our city’s most recognizable symbols. Thankfully, apparently no one was badly hurt.

Reno police are still investigating, though the videos seem to present an incident of deliberate violence perpetrated for no reason other than discrimination and racism—a hate crime.

The protest was organized by American Indian Movement of Northern Nevada, aimed at protesting the Columbus Day holiday and raising awareness about issues that affect our indigenous population.

It’s unclear from the video whether the driver was motivated by the sentiments expressed or because he was threatened or if he was just angry because he saw some brown people expressing their opinions.

I really don’t understand why anyone in this country would feel any loyalty to Christopher Columbus. (I like that we Nevadans celebrate Nevada Day instead of Columbus Day.) Columbus was an imperialist who got lost on a colonial mission. He has nothing to do with the ideals on which this county was founded—the right to express opinions and to protest peacefully, and an acceptance of diversity. Those were the rights exercised by the protesters.

Here’s where I get really disappointed in our town: reading the comments on social media and news stories about the incident—things like “It’s too bad that they weren’t seriously injured” and “They threatened him with violence and he had no choice but to drive through them. Sad that none of them died” along with racial epithets and victim-blaming. It’s as if telling someone to turn around or even shouting obscenities at someone is the same as intentionally plowing into a crowd with a piece of heavy machinery.

It’s probably a stretch to connect what’s happening locally to things on the national stage, but we have a major party presidential candidate with a crudely cavalier attitude about assault. And I fear that, in some circles, even in this town, that attitude is catching.

Brad Bynum