A Deep Mystery of Absence Surfaces

Bren Kelly
7 min readJul 31, 2022

The Coldest Case of Federal Crime

Can You Spot the Federal Authorities in this Massacre? Where are the good guys with the guns?
Can You Spot the Federal Authorities in this Atlanta Massacre of 1906?

It’s a more than a little disconcerting when I had a flashback of “Where were you when?” I paused when I saw some clip during the last segment of the January 6 committee and suddenly remembered the trauma of watching live on January 6th, 2021. It was like when I saw live the second plane slam into the second World Trade Center on 9/11, back in 2001. Although I had seen clips many times of the rebels going up the stairs at Capitol in the year that followed, this was the first time I had a “flashback” sense. It was the first time I saw it again in a new light that made sense.

This time the pattern that couldn’t be seen appeared: it was the absent puzzle piece that fit into America’s violent racial struggle.

When I was watching the original event unfolding back on January 6, I had been writing for a few months on “Black Lives Matter” issues on Medium, trying to “do the work” of a white person to better see the systemic part of racism that drove the murder of George Floyd (among the many, many in the news that year). In that first live unfolding of the insurrection, I noticed that there were no federal police, no national guard, no military troops, no secret service, no FBI, no ATF.

These alphabet letter of police and military enforcers, who had surrounded Trump when he marched…



Bren Kelly

Engaged in new Ideas and old Inequalities, dismantling the system in systemic, born on the 50th Anniversary of Women's Lib Day, still seeking injustices.