Logically, it seems impossible to deny that the lockdowns are a major cause of these once-in-a-generation nationwide protests. As liberal writer and former Baltimore Sun reporter Alec MacGillis put it, “there’s been a massive, unprecedented (since 1918) shock to society over the past two months. Of *course* it is shaping what is unfolding now, in a way that didn’t happen in, say, 2015-16,” when other police killings happened.
On a basic level, people are more unhappy during this pandemic. Gallup in late April found that “the percentage of U.S. adults who evaluate their lives well enough to be considered ‘thriving’ has dropped to 46.4%, matching the low point measured in November 2008 during the Great Recession.” That’s a 13-point drop from a year ago, so this isn’t about Trump. The share of Americans feeling stress and worry jumped by 50% this Spring.
Unemployment, idleness, and fear will do that. Millions of people are without work. Millions of young people are without school. Everybody’s bars, restaurants, and coffee shops are closed. Cities have removed the rims from basketball courts and threatened fines for getting together with too many of your friends.