BROOKLYN BRIDGE, NY—As protestors pay the credit card bills of NYPD officers across the city, outrage over Eric Garner’s death continues to take the country by storm. Tweets, statuses, pins and pluses are firing on social media faster than white, armored stupor heroes can chamber bullets for innocents.
Bryan Harbaugh, one voice among many, is one such internet aficionado whose acerbic witticisms have permeated the national conversation. Borfes caught up with Bryan after he shared our think-piece “RACISM: Buy or Sell?” on social media, adding his opinion in 140 characters or less: “SELL! #blacklivesmatter IS THIS EVEN A QUESTION? #borfessucks”
“Black lives just, really matter,” said Bryan, moments after posing for a righteous selfie in the midst of this historical event. His custom-made “I CAN’T BREATHE” poster belies Bryan’s natural design sensibility and SUNY Purchase BFA degree, opting instead for an everyman-Sharpie-chic that is indistinguishable from the other signs in the crowd. “I hate cops,” he finished.
Bryan’s smile could hardly be contained as he rubbed elbows and exchanged high fives with a more diverse crowd than his suburban life had ever allowed. When asked if Tupac’s lyrics were beginning to make more sense to him, he nodded emphatically, shouting, “I see no changes!”
“When innocent people die, I just get really mad,” said Bryan under his breath, as he and the crowd laid silently on the Brooklyn Bridge pavement. As if praying, he continued: “The way they choked that guy? Shot that kid? Shot that other guy? And that other kid? It just burns me up.”
After the night’s festivities, Bryan went home to his parents on Long Island. At age 24, he’s in no rush to move out of the house. He rolled up a joint and smoked it on his porch in broad daylight, looking at the birds in the trees and breathing the crisp winter air. “You know, it could happen to anyone, that’s the messed up thing about it,” he said. He shook his head, taking a long puff.
“It could happen to anyone.”