A while back I unfriended a Facebook friend for saying about the damages that businesses incurred during the Seattle and Portland riots, “Stores have insurance.”
It’s not merely that he said something so dumb that pissed me off so badly I cancelled the relationship. It’s that he’s a highly intelligent person who seemed not to be the least bit empathetic toward *actually innocent people* who were harmed on account of other people’s senseless — and, yes, terroristic — violence.
I’ve always felt bad about the unfriending because I think that, had I made the effort, I could’ve at least tried to match my understanding to his point of view and perhaps see whether he really himself understood the consequences of his worldview — a worldview in which it’s okay to lash out at whomever you envy for the sake of your personal plight (or even someone else’s plight, as many of the rioters weren’t even members of the demographic groups they claimed to be “defending” against, I don’t know, VCRs and clothing).
I don’t feel so bad today. In Portland, at least, “Stores have insurance,” has become, “Stores have insurance only if they pay four times as much for coverage that no longer covers what their insurers had to pay out for this last go-round — assuming the stores can even find an insurer who’ll cover them.”
Please be aware: I do *not* blame insurance companies for raising premiums, cancelling policies, and withdrawing coverage on account of the riots. Insurance companies issue (or do not issue) policies and coverage according to very unforgiving mathematical calculations of risk that tell them what they can and cannot afford to cover. Used to be, Portland was not a city full of violent, infantile assholes. Now it is, and insurance companies have to take these violent, infantile assholes into account. *It is entirely the violent, infantile assholes’ fault that innocent people who own, work at, and shop at small businesses in Portland are suffering.*
I’ve thought several times about reaching out to the person I unfriended, apologizing for my reaction — after all, I could’ve just kept my mouth shut and maintained the relationship — but that might give him the impression that it’s okay to be someone who empathizes with violent, infantile asshole terrorists instead of with the innocent people they harm. And that’s *not* okay. So I’ll be just fine without him. (And I’m sure he’ll be just fine without me. I entertain no delusions about that.)
- “Boarded-up Portland Store” — Kingofthedead, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons