On Wednesday night’s episode of Shots Fired on FOX, “Hour 6: The Fire this Time,” the town of Gate Station, North Carolina became the site of violent, racially motivated riots, to the delight of Pastor Janae.
As racial tensions in the town escalate, Pastor Janae follows through on her desire for another Ferguson. She urges a crowd to action by calling for a “fire to burn down police brutality,” “racism,” and “injustice.” Although she uses the word “riot,” she claims that this will be a riot of peace, not violence.
Pastor Janae: We ask for programs for the poor, they turn our neighborhoods into a police state. We ask for better schools, they give us prisons. We need an uprising like Baltimore. Like Ferguson. Like Detroit. But we need a different fire this time. We need our fire to burn down police brutality. Burn down racism. Burn down injustice. Burn down everything the flag on this wall represents. This is a riot of ideas and action. The fire this time will be stoked by love, not hate; truth, not lies; peace, not violence!
Bottle thrower: Get off me!
Pastor Janae: It's easy to throw a bottle. It takes wisdom to know why you want to throw it. And courage to know why you shouldn't. When we're united, anything is possible. If you share that belief, join me at Chosen House. Turn your anger into action. You can go now. Ain't nobody gonna hurt you.
Crowd: Justice for Joey! Justice for Joey! Justice for Joey!
Not unlike the real Black Lives Matters riots however, these riots are far from peaceful.
Later in the episode, while rioters start fires, break windows, and smash police cars, Pastor Janae speaks again. This time however, she is less interested in peace. She proclaims, “The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King said that a riot is the language of the unheard. If that is true, if our voices be silenced, our spirits broken, if we have no other choice to speak to power and power has neither the desire nor the will to listen, then Dr. King's words will no longer be a warning, but a prophecy.”
What exactly are they protesting? Justice for Joey, (the black teenager killed by a white police officer)? This show is still unapologetically pretending that the killing of unarmed black people at the hands of the police goes unnoticed and that people only care about the killing of white people. But yet again, this sentiment is completely unfounded. What about the DOJ investigations of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, and Laquan McDonald?
Even Officer Beck (the black cop who killed an unarmed white teenager) says to the DOJ Special Prosecutor, “Well, the truth is you wouldn't be here if I shot a black kid.” But he follows that statement up with “a black man killing another black man isn't sexy enough.” Well, he’s right about that. Where are the riots in Chicago over the fact that 75-80 percent of shooting victims there are black, and mostly at the hands of other black men?
Officer Beck makes another true claim after temporarily being suspended from the police force until the close of the investigation: “I guess due process is for everyone but the ones upholding the law, huh?” Kind of like how police officers are immediately accused of murder in shootings involving a black victim, regardless of what the facts say.
But maybe these protests make sense in the Shots Fired world where the bad guy is a greedy, white capitalist who possibly murdered an unarmed black teenager, wants to build a new private prison in the town, and claims that “Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was riddled with lies.” With a super villain like that, it seems like Fox is more interested in creating racial tensions rather than healing them.