We went to the Black Lives Matter vigil at Westlake Park on July 7 to stand against unwarranted police violence in wake of the killings of black men in Falcon Heights and Baton Rouge. We listened as speakers—a number of whom had lost relatives at the hands of police—urged us all to sign Initiative 873, which would change Washington State's overly lax law on police killings. You had a different idea about what should be going on. You were part of a small group of ignorant assholes who repeatedly interrupted and eventually derailed the vigil and the signature gathering by shouting: "All cops are murderers! All cops are murderers!" Around the same time, five police officers in Dallas were being murdered by a man who allegedly described his killings as revenge for cops killing black men. As President Barack Obama said in the wake of the Dallas killings, in a movement as large and open as Black Lives Matter, "there are always going to be some folks who say things that are stupid or imprudent or overgeneralize or are harsh." But, as George Saunders also said, in a powerful piece in the July 11 New Yorker about extreme political speech and stupid violence being committed by people on both sides of the political divide at Trump rallies: "This... is why we practice civility. This is why, before we say exactly what is on our minds, we run it past ourselves, to see if it makes sense, is true, is fair, has the flavor of kindness, and won't hurt someone or make someone's life more difficult. Because there are, among us, in every political camp, limited, angry, violent, and/or damaged people, waiting for any excuse to throw off the tethers of restraint and get after it. After which it falls to us, right and left, to clean up the mess."


We saw you, a black woman who was trying to hold the Westlake vigil together, who wanted to keep it focused on targeted action to reform our very flawed police and criminal justice system. We silently rooted for you, and then we saw you get shouted down by another black woman holding a bullhorn. The woman with the bullhorn was urging people to leave the vigil and take to the streets. "Girl, you better back up," the bullhorn-wielding woman said to the woman trying to hold the vigil together. Soon the woman trying to hold the vigil together backed up. Soon after that, the vigil fell apart as people followed the woman with the bullhorn—as well as the "All cops are murderers!" crowd—into the streets.


We saw you holding your ground at the Westlake vigil, long after most of the crowd took off into the streets. You were speaking into your own bullhorn about the need to focus on actually reforming the system. We were one of only a handful of people still around to hear this.


Outside Hot Mama's on Pine Street, you saw it. "Oh, it's just a Drowzee," you said, referring to the brown, hypnotist, tapir-like Pokémon that lazily lumbers around the streets of augmented reality like some stoner older brother who won't just GET A JOB already. We were walking by so quickly that we didn't get a chance to memorize the details of your appearance, and when we glanced backward, there were two groups of people staring down at their phones, gleefully trying to catch the digital monsters, so we couldn't be sure who made the comment about Drowzee. But then, just as we turned our head away and resumed our course forward, some angelic neighbor shouted out, as if from our own brain, "Stop catching Pokémon! IT'S NOT WORTH IT." Thank you for recognizing the latest phone-based tech craze for what it is: another path away from a world that needs our attention so badly. Is the game really bringing people together, as the hype insists, or is it driving us further apart?


You were at a rooftop birthday party on Saturday around 5 p.m. There were burgers on the grill, there was a cake shaped like a ladybug, there were people socializing, but you, a twentysomething in a gray V-neck, could hardly be bothered to look up. You were absorbed in trying to catch Pokémon. You'd spent most of the weekend so far unsuccessfully trying to play. Now, on top of a fancy South Lake Union apartment building, you had your chance. While we're glad you were finally able to catch a Zubat, you may have enjoyed the milestone, the communal camaraderie, and the gifts of being alive in a beautiful city on a beautiful day had you not decided to catch 'em all. recommended