Kenosha unrest and its impact


Sourced from USA Today

Picture of people supporting Jacob Blake during protests

Paul Navis

Before the summer of 2020, people already were preparing for an unusual summer. What people weren’t prepared for were the weeks of protests and demonstrations that would follow from the death of an African American man at the hands of a police officer. Currently, another incident has sparked protests, this time due to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

Officers who responded to a domestic dispute were in the process of interrogating Jacob Blake. Video camera footage of the incident has Jacob Blake telling officers he had a knife in his car. When he approached the car, Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Jacob Blake 7 times in the back. What led to the increased use of force is at the moment unclear. According to The Washington Post , Sheskey is currently on administrative leave, and the other 2 officers have also been placed on leave. While copies of disciplinary records have been requested, it is unclear how long it will take for the requests to be fulfilled. 

While the investigation has been going on, much of the community has already started to view Jacob Blake as a martyr and a hero. However, others don’t feel this is a fair assessment due to his criminal record This does not deter the many people who support him from protesting. However, this protesting has at times boiled over into looting and rioting in the streets.

While many support the current protests in Kenosha, the civil unrest has begun to take their toll. According to Kenosha News, the destruction of private property has topped 50 million to buildings, including 100 businesses, 40 of which will be closed permanently. As the rest of the world debates the merits of civil unrest and what should be done, the Kenosha County Board is meeting together to discuss options

In Blythewood, people are wondering how to react to the civil unrest going on in the US. When asked how Blythewood was feeling the effects of Kenosha and other similar events, Blythewood High School Principal Matt Sherman stated “we do have things we need to improve”. While he points to the fact that Blythewood had “empowered student leaders” that we still face some issues such as the fact that “lots of teachers don’t look like the students we teach”. 

Blythwood Junior Jeremy “Griffin” Wilson stated that “I don’t believe they should be rioting. I believe they should be protesting. With their rioting they have burned and destroyed private property and that’s just going too far.” Brant Miller, a Blythewood citizen disagrees. “The right to protest is a fundamental thing in our country. It’s something that we have to have and without it it can get very scary very quickly. I think the intention behind the protests in the daytime is pure. I don’t think I actually agree with their sentiment. Because I think that the situations that lead up to the shooting of Jacob Blake don’t call for mass protest. I think that it is within their right to protest. I don’t think it is within their right to riot.” 

Kenosha and other similar events have in one way or another had a profound impact on the Blythewood High School Community and with civil unrest hitting a new all-time high, the repercussions will be felt for the foreseeable future.