I grew up with Star Trek on TV. It never occurred to me that this show was violent, even though they got into a shooting match at least once per episode. I think that’s because you never saw blood, and even the Vulcan neck pinch didn’t seem that invasive. And the phasers didn’t go “bang, bang, bang,” they went, “pew, pew, pew.” And most of the time they were set to stun. The very word phaser makes you think it will only leave you fazed.
I remember running around in the yard, pointing my finger at other kids, shouting, “pew, pew, pew!” and knowing that at the end of the game, no one would really be hurt. It’s hard to even shout pew. It sounds like a whisper even when you say it loudly. In fact, it sounds like you’re talking about sitting down at church. And come to think of it, the pews almost always seem to come in threes, like the holy trinity.
I’ve been lucky, living where I live at this particular point in time. I’ve barely ever heard a gun shot in real life, and I have never been shot at. No invasive metal objects have entered my body unless you count tooth fillings.
But here lately, my fellow citizens have been hit with rubber bullets and glass balls. Flash bangs and tear gas have been thrown at them. People have been hurt, hospitalized, even killed. All because they are protesting police violence, where people have been killed for no justifiable reason. We’ve been ignoring this. We can no longer do so.
While I’d love to reenter the fantasy world of my childhood, the land of pew, pew, pew, I can’t do that anymore. Violence is real. And while most of us are, indeed, stunned, these phasers have never been set to stun for many of us. It’s time we acknowledge that and put a stop to it.