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There Is No Such Thing As A Free Randomly-Obtained In-Game Content

So, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I’ve been taking some time off from Tyrannis, but I’ve got some new things in the works. And I can’t wait to show those off when they’re ready.

But for now? Just a lot of research and playing free-to-play mobile games. And research about free-to-play mobile games.

Because I like video games. I mean, that probably goes for most people who work in games, and I’m no exception.

That being said, I also like having income to afford healthcare, which means I need to make money one way or another. And game studios are no exception, if all the gacha/lootbox mechanics are anything to go by.

So let’s talk about those mobile games and monetization. And while we’re at it, let’s do some math on it, so I can justify my math degree. Continue reading “There Is No Such Thing As A Free Randomly-Obtained In-Game Content”

Tyrannis

Production Diary 0: 20th Century Breakdown

What Is Tyrannis?

To put it simply, Tyrannis is an indie turn-based guerrilla warfare game that pits one-to-two Mercenary players against up to six Rebel players as they fight across the dystopian Continental States of America, or “CSA” for short.

The World of Tyrannis

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Twenty-five years after the last world war, the Continental States reigns from sea to shining sea and pole to frozen pole. The star-crossed banner waves proudly over citizens and non-citizens alike, taunting the ever-despised Europa as a reminder of their most recent military failure.

However, all is not well in the CSA. In the South, Rebels have taken up arms once more against the forced assimilation and crackdowns by their thirty-year conquerors. Meanwhile in the more-assimilated Central Regions, corruption and abuse have reopened the century-old scars of colonialism. Even in the North, the very heartland of Greater America, the impoverished masses chafe against the American Caesar’s brutal crackdown on the Civil RIghts movement.

The year is 1976. For over four years, the American Caesar has favored blunt brutality over diplomacy and reform. Though cruel even by most Caesars’ standards, the violent crackdown on Civil Rights and the Crash of ‘75 being in recent memory have exacerbated the issue tenfold.

Left with the belief that peaceful revolution is impossible, almost two dozen Rebel forces have taken up arms against the American Caesar and his overstretched Mercenaries.

How to Play Tyrannis

Getting Started – Menus

To begin a Skirmish, select “Skirmish” on the Main Menu and choose between a Local Skirmish and an Online Skirmish.

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For a Local Skirmish, choose between starting a new Skirmish, or, if there are any saved Skirmishes, loading a Skirmish.

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For Online Skirmishes, players can choose to Host a Skirmish, or Join a Skirmish.

To Host a Skirmish, the player  will click on “Host,” then either “New” to start a new Skirmish or “Load” to continue a saved Skirmish.

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But if a player chooses to Join a Skirmish, they will need to enter the hosting player’s IP address and select one of the factions if the host has loaded a Skirmish.

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Getting Started – Skirmish Settings

If “New Skirmish” is selected, the host can toggle settings for the game, including the number of Turns, the number of AI Players, the Scoring System, the Maximum Mercenary Players, the Regions in Play, and, if it is a Local Skirmish, the number of Human Players.

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To edit any of these settings, click on the setting in the Skirmish Menu to select it, then click through the Menus to modify them.

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Note that these settings cannot be changed if the Player/Host selects “Load Skirmish.”

Getting Started – Player Settings

To access Player Settings, first select a Player by clicking on them.

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In a Loaded Online Skirmish, if you click on an AI Player Slot, and the Human Player has not chosen a slot, then the Human Player will assume the AI Player’s role.

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In a Loaded Local Skirmish, you can click on an AI Player to toggle between a Human Player and an AI Player.

In a New Skirmish, you (or the Host in an Online Skirmish) can also choose each Player’s Faction, Profile, and if they are an AI Player, the AI Settings as well.

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A Player’s AI Settings include the Player’s Offensiveness, Aggression, and Randomness. A higher number increases the likelihood of the AI Player acting offensively, aggressively, and randomly, respectively.

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Getting Started – Beginning a Skirmish

When you (or the Host in an Online Skirmish) are ready, select “Start Skirmish” to continue.

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Selection Phase

During this Phase, the Mercenary Player(s) will select which Regions they want to control, with Mercenary Players alternating between one another if there is more than one Mercenary Player.

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Click on a greyed-out, in-play State to build a Base and claim the Region.

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Once all in-play Regions are selected, the game will move on to the Deployment Phase.

Deployment Phase

During the Deployment Phase, both Mercenary and Rebel Players will Deploy any or all Units they have available.

Click on a State to Deploy one Unit.

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Mercenary Players can hover over each Region they control to see how many Units they still need to deploy in the Region, while Rebel Players can hover over any in-play State to see how many Units still need to be Deployed. The counter in the upper-right-hand corner shows how many people still need to be deployed

Mercenary Players need to Deploy as many Units as there are States in each Region they control. For example, a Mercenary Player in charge of California needs to Deploy seven Units in the California Region.

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For Rebel Players, each Rebel Player will be able to Deploy up two Units anywhere on the map. If there are more than two Regions per Rebel Player, the Rebel Player will be able to Deploy an additional two Units anywhere on the map.

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Movement Phase – Icons

Each State has several icons that show the presence of a Base, Combat Information, and the types of Units in the State.

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The black icons with a white building indicate the presence of a Base in the State, while the number below it indicates the number of successful Attacks required before Rebels can liberate the State. If a Rebel Player wants to take a Mercenary Player’s State with a Base, they must first destroy the Base by successfully attacking it four times.

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Red icons indicate a recent Attack on the State by the owner, while white icons indicate a Draw from the previous Turn. If the State was recently Attacked by the owner, their side will be unable to Attack the State for as many Turns indicated by the number under the red icon. Meanwhile, a white icon indicates that a Draw occurred in the previous Turn, and that the Units involved in the Draw will continue until the Draw is resolved.

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Units in the State are shown with three versions of the Unit Icon, with the corresponding amount of each type shown underneath their respective Unit Icon.

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If there are Movable Units, there will be an opaque Unit Icon in the State.

Non-Movable Units will have a translucent Unit Icon.

Finally, any Attacking Units are indicated by a black-and-white version of the Unit Icon.

Movement Phase – Movement

To move a Unit, first Select a State by clicking on it, then click on any of the highlighted States to move one Unit there.

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To instantly Attack a State, hold down Shift when clicking a highlighted State to Move and Attack the State. This will not be possible if the State has been Previously Attacked, shown by a red piece in the State.

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Movement Phase – Attacking

Players can Attack a State by clicking on a State, then using the buttons on the Attack Menu to Attack the State. The Attack Menu allows Players to Attack the State with one, five, or all Units, so long as the Player has enough Units. Non-Movable Units will be used in an Attack before Movable Units.

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Movement Phase – Infrastructure Construction

If resources are the lifeblood of any war machine, then Infrastructure is the vital artery in which they flow. State Income is based on the Infrastructure multiplied by the Base Income of the State. A higher Infrastructure level leads to faster Infrastructure repairs.

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Players can see a State’s Infrastructure by first selecting a State and then looking at the box in the lower left. Hover over the Infrastructure Section of a State’s Info to see the current progress on Infrastructure Construction. If the Player controls the State and has enough Money, they can begin Infrastructure Construction in the State.

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If the Player has already begun Infrastructure Construction, they can refund their money by clicking on the Infrastructure Section.

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If an Enemy Player successfully Attacks the State, their opponents and the opponents’ allies will lose all progress towards Infrastructure Construction.

Movement Phase – Unit Recruitment

If a Player hovers over the Unit Construction Section, they can see the cost and progress of Unit Construction in the State.

Should a Player have enough money, they can click on the Unit Construction Section to begin Unit Recruitment. After the given number of Turns have passed, a new Unit will spawn in the State on the following Turn.

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A Player can also cancel Unit Recruitment by clicking on the box again to refund the costs.

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If an Enemy Player successfully Attacks the State, their opponents and their opponent’s allies will lose all progress towards Unit Recruitment.

Movement Phase – Unit Management

Players can Disband Movable, Non-Movable, and Attacking Units in a State by clicking “-” to Disband one Unit. If at least one Unit of a given type has been Disbanded, the Player can click on “+” to Restore one Unit to undo the Disbandment.

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Movement Phase – Rebel Support

Rebel Players can seek a more peaceful means of revolution by increasing Rebel Support in a State. Every Rebel Cell, as well as any Rebel units, will increase Rebel Support in the State by 2.5%.

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Should Rebel Support reach 100% and a Base is present, the Base will receive one Level of Damage. If the State has no Base, the State will be transferred to the Rebel Players during the Combat Phase.

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Rebel Players can press “+” to organize a Rebel Cell. Rebel Players can also press “-” to refund any Rebel Cells that are organizing during the current Turn.

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Meanwhile, Mercenary Players can press “+” to organize Propaganda Campaigns, each of which will decrease Revel Support by 5%. They could also Attack the enemy State and eliminate any Rebel Cells. Mercenary Players can press “-” to cancel a Propaganda Campaign.

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Movement Phase – Continue

When a Player is finished, they can click “End Turn” to move forward to the Combat Phase.

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If this is an Online Skirmish, all Human Players must agree to move forward before they can enter the Combat Phase. See Readiness Bar at the bottom for details.

Combat Phase – Combat

Tyrannis’ combat system is pretty straightforward. Basically, the larger army wins.

Defend with more Units than there are Attackers? All of the Attackers are destroyed.

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Attack with more Units than there are Defenders? All of the Defenders are eliminated. And if the Defenders’ side controls the state, then the Attackers take the State. Or at least destroy part of the Base.

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The same happens if you can start an Uprising with 100% Rebel Support.

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But in the off chance that the Attackers and Defenders are evenly matched, the Battle ends in a Draw, with all of the Units involved locked in combat until the tie is broken.

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Combat Phase – New Owners

When a side successfully Attacks an enemy-held State, the Attacking Players can choose which Attacking Player will control the State.

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If the Rebel Players are able to control all of the States in a Region, the Rebel Players will also choose between themselves to select the new Region Controller.

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Endgame Phase – Victory Conditions

In Tyrannis, there are five different ways to win: Conquest, Elimination, Score, State Coalition, and Rebel Coalition.

Conquest: If all States are simultaneously controlled by the Rebel Players, all Rebel Players win.

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Elimination: If there are no Rebel Units on the map, all Mercenary Players win.

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Score: Players with the highest Score at the end of the Skirmish win. Score is calculated by counting the number of States owned by each Player, with a 2x multiplier for a State controlled by the same Player as its Region.

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State Coalition: At the end of a Skirmish, the Player controlling the most States, any of their allies they select, and up to one opposing Player (Or in the case of a tie, all Players controlling the most States, plus one lower-scoring player), can form a Coalition. If that Coalition contains more than half of the States, then all players in the Coalition win.

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Region Coalition: At the end of a Skirmish, the Player controlling the most Regions, any of their allies they select, and up to one opposing Player (Or in the case of a tie, all Players controlling the most Regions, plus one lower-scoring player), can form a Coalition. If that Coalition contains more than half of the Regions, then all players in the Coalition win.

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Updates

For post-launch content, Tyrannis will have six planned Updates:

Update 1.1.0 – Peaceful Revolution

Organize Resistance Cells in occupied territory to support a peaceful uprising, and receive rewards for your patience. Or fund Propaganda Campaigns to discredit the opposition and stoke fear.

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Update Completed and Implemented for July 8th Launch.

Update 1.2.0 – Custom Faction Creator

Create custom factions for local and online multiplayer and share your unique factions with your friends through online multiplayer.

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Update 1.3.0 – Reconnaissance Skirmish

A new Skirmish mode for 2- 8 players. Recon Skirmishes have Rebel Players scouting Mercenary territory, while the Mercenary Players try to root out Rebel networks. Victory comes from gathering intelligence rather than conquest.

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Update 1.4.0 – AI Profile Overhaul

Using player gameplay data, profiles can be used to create AI players that simulate a player’s decision making. Connect with friends to share your profiles, so that you and your friends can play one another in Local Skirmishes and Online Skirmishes, even when they are offline.

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Update 1.5.0 – Survival Skirmish

A new Skirmish mode for 1-8 Players. Survival Skirmishes have Players from both Rebel and Mercenary Factions fighting for survival from an unknown enemy that threatens friend and foe alike.

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Update 1.6.0 – Custom Maps

Create a Custom Map of up to 30 Regions that is compatible with Classic, Reconnaissance, and Insurgency Skirmishes, as well as playable with Online Multiplayer and AI players. Connect with your friends to share your custom maps.

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Conclusion

Thanks for checking out Tyrannis, an indie turn-based strategy game from cGh ONE.

Tyrannis will be launching on Steam on July 8, 2020 for $9.99.

To stay updated, feel free to follow us at @cGh_ONE on Twitter, cGh ONE on YouTube, or head straight to the source at cghone.com.

Hope to see you on the 8th.

-Chris

Lead Artist, Writer, Developer, and Almost Everything Else at cGh ONE

Tyrannis

Dev Diary 7: A Dawn Long Overdue

Let me start this off by apologizing. When Tyrannis’ campaign was launched, I’d set a goal of late May 2020, which soon turned into June 2020.

And unfortunately, the game isn’t out yet, due to many, many reasons. These include, but are not limited to, computer crashes, joining the protests in the United States, the late-implementation of accessibility features for colorblind players, software crashes, and, of course, more computer crashes.

That being said, Tyrannis has reached 100% completion, and is ready for launch on July 4, 2020.

Pending, of course, on the waiting period for Steam due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Implications

Now, with that out of the way, I should probably address the second elephant in the room: Tyrannis. Specifically Tyrannis being a game where people rebel against an authoritarian American government that made peaceful revolution impossible.

As previously stated, Tyrannis is about the conflict between the violent America that we tell ourselves that we are not, and the hopeful America we could become. And as part of depicting the former, the antagonists’ actions are inspired by some of the worst of American history.

Which, in light of recent events, is pretty topical. Scarily topical, I would argue, especially with all the cases of police brutality against unarmed protesters, and at least one poorly-chosen New York Times piece saying we should use the armed forces against unarmed protesters.

So to be absolutely clear (and for legal reasons), I (and probably every other sane person in the world) do not support violently overthrowing the American government. Honestly, I hope to God we never reach a scenario like Tyrannis.

But at the same time, I realize that there are parallels between Tyrannis’ themes and recent events, despite the backstory being designed months ago.

After some discussion with a friend of mine who is much more knowledgeable on recent events, I’ve come to the decision to launch Tyrannis as soon as possible, to honor the promises I made to all of Tyrannis’ Kickstarter backers.

However, the first major update will introduce a non-lethal mechanic that will allow Rebel players to peacefully take over States on the map. Rebel players will be able to use their Units and resources to organize the population against the security forces and their overlords. After reaching a certain threshold of public support, the rebel-sympathetic population will be able to force out the security forces.

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In contrast, Mercenary players will be able to spend money on propaganda to lower public support for the opposition. These propaganda pieces run the gamut from character assassination pieces, such as digging into a victim’s criminal and medical records, to outright conspiracy theories, such as proposing that an elderly man who suffered brain damage is a socialist agent provocateur.

So, you can expect that to be in the first update, followed by the Custom Faction Creator.

Faction Abilities

When Tyrannis was originally designed as a board game, having different factions was a largely cosmetic decision, though the code required different factions to make sure that the States were owned by the right players.

And while it was not mentioned when the game was first announced last year, all 27 factions in Tyrannis have their own special abilities that make each faction a bit more unique. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Let’s start with Continental Armed Security Services, all that stands in between the rebels and the Caesar himself. Like their boss, CASS isn’t one for consequences, so when they lose a unit, they’ll receive a refund for some of the money they’ve spent.DD_07_04

Next up is Yuan Enterprises, the so-called “Asiatic Hordes” by those who don’t understand history. But with their manpower, they are able to provide a garrison whenever one of their Bases are attacked. While these are mainly defensive forces, a few extra units can be the turning point for a close battle.DD_07_05

After that is Cascadia, home of One Continental States of America News Network. Fed up with the 24-hour stream of pro-Caesar propaganda and conspiracy theories, the Cascadians have reverse-engineered OCSANN’s methods to give them an edge in drawn-out battles.DD_07_06

In Upper Columbia, the very Capital of the Continental States, several generals have taken arms in mutiny against the Caesar. These men, household names to civilians and living legends to soldiers, command a respect that can draw even defeated soldiers to their side.DD_07_07

In the Caribbean Sea, economic inequality and poverty have forced many to resort to crime. Piracy, once the subject of stories, has become a necessary evil for the poor to survive. So long as they are raiding a coast, these reluctant raiders have no equal.DD_07_08

Our last showcased faction is Group 401. With their background as Special Forces, these men and women are experts at training units in hostile territory. Not to mention their effectiveness as “Advisors” to anti-colonial forces during the African Colonial Wars. With this kind of experience, the 401 will be able to train your units (or your ally’s units) in record time.DD_07_09

Intel Reports

As a reward for pledging at least $25, backers would appear in Tyrannis in an Easter Egg.DD_07_03

To that end, Tyrannis features each backer showing up in an Intel Report, an in-universe document that gives a view of the American dystopia that Tyrannis is set in; a dark reflection of our own world.DD_07_01

One that portrays the worst in America, whether that be prejudice, authoritarianism, greed, or not understanding Rise Against lyrics.DD_07_02

Launch and Beyond

All that is left is submitting Tyrannis to Steam for approval. With the game prepared, we will be bug testing Tyrannis and developing the first update.

This concludes what is likely to be the last pre-launch Dev Diary for Tyrannis. It’s been a long road, but we’re almost at the light at the end of the tunnel.

Stay safe. Stand up for what’s right. Fight the good fight.

And don’t forget to play video games.

-Chris

Be sure to follow us at cGhone.com, @cGh_ONE on Twitter, cGh ONE on YouTube, and our Kickstarter.

Main, Tyrannis

Voices Off Camera

Out of all the people in the world, I am not the first person who should be talking about this. I’m just some game developer from the suburbs whose own experiences with abuses of power pale in comparison to that of countless Americans.

But at the end of the day, I am developing Tyrannis, a game that portrays dystopian American authority figures as the villains, and those who stand up against them to be in the right. And in that game, the heroes do support violent means to achieve their goals in response to the violence those same authority figures have used against more peaceful methods.

I won’t lie when I say that my game does portray it’s setting’s America in a negative light. Nor will I deny that my game pulls any punches with the America I live in, since the sins of the setting’s America are based on my own country’s misdeeds.

But out of all the themes in the game, one of the most important is the importance of peaceful societal change. Or to be more specific, what happens when it is made imposible.

Or as John F. Kennedy put it, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

In the setting of Tyrannis, there is a civil rights movement that is violently surpressed by the American rulers, including the American Caesar. What had been a peaceful movement had been escalated by police brutality and bullets to the face, from the authorities.

Which is, sadly, similar to what is happening today. Thirty minutes from my home, a young man was shot in the face by local police. And today, the President and a Senator from Arkansas have called for a similar escalation of force and violence against a largely-peaceful demonstration.

The violent actions of Tyrannis’ American dystopia are coming to life in our own world.

And they are as unjustified, needlessly violent and morally wrong as they are in Tyrannis.

Still, Tyrannis is about a conflict between two Americas.

Not police vs. protester or white vs. black, despite what some with power may wish.

No, the conflict in Tyrannis is between two visions of America.

On one side is the protagonists, struggling and bleeding to make a better America. Where people of all colors, religions, languages, and cultures may live in peace. An America without fear, hate, greed, brutality, and intolerance. One that will lead to all peoples’ happiness,

On the other side is the antagonists’ America, fighting for a status quo of violence, abuse of power, corruption, cruelty, prejudice, and white supremacy. an America that lets men torture and prison innocent people with impunity.

At the end of the day, Tyrannis is about a struggle between the America that we can become, and the America that we tell ourselves that we are not.

This is not in support of violence, but a condemnation of the use of violence by those in power who would use their power to abuse others.