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Tulsa Police wear masks during a suspect round-up in Nixonville after the murder of Chief Judd Crawford in episode two of HBO's "Watchmen." MARK HILL/HBO

Watchmen saw this coming.

Some fiction offers an escape from difficult realities. Other art holds up a lens to the world we know, magnifying things we haven’t looked at closely enough. Watchmen, HBO’s adaptation of the iconic Eighties comic book series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, fell into the latter category. For nine weeks in the fall of 2019, the limited series — developed by Lost and The Leftovers co-creator Damon Lindelof — dealt with white supremacy, police brutality, and so many more of the problems that have come into sharp focus for America in the weeks following police officers’ killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other African Americans.

The show presented a version of American policing where cops wore masks to conceal their identities and were able to get away with vigilante-style justice as a result. And, in time, it revealed that its police force was really just another arm of the white supremacist movement that cop heroine Sister Night (Regina King) thought she was fighting.

When President Trump announced plans to conduct a rally in Tulsa — site of the Greenwood massacre, one of the worst incidents of white-on-black violence in American history, and the event that kicks off Lindelof’s version of Watchmen — life’s imitation of art became too much to ignore.

Tulsa Race Massacre: This is what happened in Tulsa in 1921

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