Every level of government official, from local to national tried to quell the violence, to no end. News commentators capitalized and sensationalized the catastrophe for ratings. The rhetoric of the talking heads still resonates in my head. "Only a fool puts themselves in harm's way with the belief that their morals, charity or love will protect them from bad intentions of others." "Do not be deceived by the appearance of what could be a friend, as an enemy can wear the same face. The body is just a shell. One's true nature and intent is that which lies hidden inside." "The government knew this was coming for a long time and did nothing." Frighteningly, their messages, though politically incorrect at the time, makes perfect sense now. Panic swept through the country when the death toll reached ten thousand. Each day the number of deaths increased. Two months later the count was at an estimated three million, and at this point the flow of information ceased. I watched as each television channel one by one went off the air. The National Guard, and shortly after the military, roamed the streets, but the violence only intensified and in most cases, they found themselves outgunned and outnumbered by mobs ready and willing to kill them or anyone else they deemed the enemy. Then one day the military retreated, leaving the cities to burn or fall under hostile control.

The sound of another explosion. I rush to the window. It was closer this time. A building outside the city is now burning and judging the location, it was likely the Mesa’s police station. It had been and probably still was being used by both local law enforcement and the military as a command post. Behind me the others have gathered to view the destruction. "That police station   is on the road that leads directly here" a middle aged white man named Richard points out. "They will be coming for us." Across the dimly lit room a foreign woman with darker skin tones and thick accent responds "Who do you mean by they?" obviously offended. A white woman next to her repeats the question "yeah who do you mean by they?". Shit, we are beyond the reality of political correctness, I think to myself. He doesn't respond as they expect, but I knew what he meant. "One faction or another."

In that moment I wondered how future scholars, if there are any, will look to the past for a flash point where the breakdown of race relations began. Even if records survive they will find no single event, but rather a long series of events. They will come to the conclusion that a portion of population was unwilling to let go of the past while another portion was unwilling to embrace the future. They will also realize that the volatile combination of Hispanic drug gangs, immigration, Islamic cultural differences and extremism, terrorism, the Black Lives matter movement, the increase in the number of White supremacist and a surge of Nationalism was a powder keg waiting for the right spark to light the fuse. A nation where groups purposely segregated themselves believing that unity and commonality would diminish their own race and cultural backgrounds. The breakdown in our society was well under way, long before the death of the two teens at the hands of the police in Detroit, and long before the election of extremely unpopular and perceivably racist White president.

It's past midnight now. Some amongst the group have fallen asleep in the pews while others still hold vigil. Their continuous candlelight prayers begins to grate my nerves. Some believe that by some miracle life will return to normal one day if they only can survive until that day comes. They are sadly mistaken. They have buried their heads like ostriches, choosing not to see the world in its terrifying new reality. A lawless world where execution squads and rape gangs commit atrocities in broad daylight. Then there were those driven mad by hunger. Cannibalism has become a reality. In every crisis there are always those who would capitalize in any way possible. That type of person would sell other people as slaves or for sex and even as food. Too many people have died in the unleashed hatred and orgy of death, birthed from racial divides to make normalcy a possibility again.

I envy those who escaped the country in the first months before everything collapsed, before the ethnic cleansing. They are the ones who are lucky not knowing this life. A life which can be described as apocalyptic or hell on Earth. I have urged the group to consider crossing the border into Mexico. At least there we could get refugee status. But their ill placed hope holds them here. Perhaps I will go on my own.

"Wake up!!" Someone shouts. The light of approaching vehicles beams through the stained glass windows of the Church of the Last Days. "Put out the candle!" someone else yells. "Quiet, quiet!" I tell the group. We hear the vehicles come to a stop close to the entrance of the subdivision. They are large pickup trucks, five of them. In the dark I could tell that the men who exited the trucks are carrying rifles. It is too dark to see any other details. We listen for a hint of who they may be. Do they sound White, Black, Hispanic or Middle Eastern?? Suddenly screams and the sound of automatic gunfire come from nearby houses. Other people were hiding there!? Perhaps the house owners. Through the stained glass windows night becomes day as homes are set ablaze with Molotov cocktails. Half of our group lay on the floor of the church with their eyes closed whimpering in prayer. The lions will have their feast tonight.

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