You can tell a lot about a society by the way it equips those who serve on its front lines. Big-city police departments in the U.S. are outfitted with sufficient military hardware to take over a small country. Many of the nation’s health-care workers, on the other hand, had to make do with re-used scrubs and homemade masks during those first hellish months of the pandemic.
The last time America truly boiled over on the streets, as it has this month, was in the late summer of 1968. Protesters flooded Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated earlier in the year. And just a few months later, Robert F. Kennedy, who had been running to become the Democratic nominee for president, was shot. Chicago became a melting pot of Yippies and various anti-war activist groups. There was a cohort outside the convention simply torn by the deaths of King and Kennedy.