We've seen protests happen across the state, and for the most part, they've been peaceful. While I had high hopes that Asbury Park would be a great example of a peaceful protest (and I was mostly right), I will admit that I'm worried about what could happen in Lakewood this weekend.

I grew up in Brick, not far from the Lakewood border, and I lived in an apartment in Lakewood for years. A lot of negativity is hurled at Lakewood, and while this isn't the place to take a deep dive into it, it's something that we're all pretty well aware of. Our news department covered a LOT of stories about the failure of Lakewood residents to listen to Executive Orders since the beginning of the pandemic. The comments on Facebook got heated, and at times veered towards violent.

While I'm sure that 99% of it was just internet bullies, tough-talk through a keyboard, there is still that 1% that may be serious about committing violence. I don't want to dive into conspiracy theories, but there has been plenty of talk about people at protests that are not associated with #BlackLivesMatter, people who don't care at all about the movement, people that just want to smash things "for fun" or want to make the other protesters look bad. Personally, I see a very high chance of something like that happening in Lakewood.

Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely hoping that nothing will happen, that it will just be a group of people uniting for a cause, peacefully marching and demonstrating and trying to spark a change. Still, while I would not have been scared to go to Asbury or Toms River, the prospect of making a trip to Lakewood this Saturday definitely makes me feel uneasy.

If you head out, BE SAFE.

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