October 07, 2014

#Ferguson update shows why both "sides" aren't totally right (updated)

Introductory note, also used in conclusion: Saying that neither side is totally right doesn't assign percentages of 50 percent right to each. Also, per Iranian philosopher Idries Shah, let's not assume there are just two sides.

Some people in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as, quite possibly, outside agitators driving through, complained about the curfew that Gov. Jay Nixon imposed late last week.

Complained, and more than complained.

They upped the scale on the rioting:
While protesters condemned the police, saying the move to break up the crowd was unprovoked, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the protesters had attempted to overrun a command post in a shopping center parking lot. Police say protesters fired at least 30 gunshots and threw Molotov cocktails. … 
 Police reports note that McDonald’s employees were forced to lock themselves in a closet after being “overrun” by protesters. The demonstrators also attempted to block off a city street with cinder blocks.

And, if you think "upped" implies deliberation, so do the Missouri State Police, which took over patrolling the city late last week as well.

Here's what the local scene commander said:
According to Capt. Ron Johnson, who was put in charge of the police response to the protests on Aug. 14, this new spate of violence appeared to be “premeditated” and “coordinated,” rather than spontaneous.
Premeditated is bad enough. Coordinated is even worse.

These actions are just a more violent version of headline-grabbing last week by Anonymous. In fact, maybe some of their black bloc kin, as well as other extremists, are in on this.

It's clear, from this piece, that the majority of local residents who have concerns about Ferguson police, including some who protested earlier in the week, don't support the latest actions.  (Update: Six weeks later, they're even more tired of the vandalous-type protests.)

Was the curfew itself "to blame," as the ACLU, NAACP et al hint?
The American Civil Liberties Union, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund said in a statement that the governor’s action “suspends the constitutional right to assemble by punishing the misdeeds of the few through the theft of constitutionally protected rights of the many.”
Anyway, your wish has been granted.

Curfew's lifted; in exchange, the National Guard is in town. From my point of view, a relatively light midnight-5 a.m. curfew did not suspend the constitutional right to assemble, either. It just limited its hours of availabililty.

As for the claims of some residents that they individually were not looters, etc.? Yes, it may be true of you individually, but that doesn't prove the state police wrong.

As for claims that nobody did anything like this? If the Ferguson PD had claimed there were Molotov cocktails, etc., I might not believe it. However, Capt. Johnson seems like a straight shooter (not even close to a pun intended), and, unless people can produce evidence clearly disproving him, I'll take him at the general gist of his words, at least.

And, now, with the Guard in place instead, I'm sure that we will have even more video monitoring of events.

Because people do exploit tense situations like this for their own advantage, even if that "advantage" is nothing other than primal scream type rage. (Speaking of, while they don't "represent" protesters at all, the New Black Panthers and their ilk saying they want "Darren Wilson dead" don't help matters.)

Now, as for the shooting death of Michael Brown, which caused this? The family's privately sought autopsy is in. It exonerates police of the worst of the claims against them, namely that he was shot at very close range or in the back of the head. I'm not saying it "looks good" for the police, either. The federal autopsy that Attorney General Eric Holder announced will show more.

In the header, I said "both" before sides. There's really more than 2 sides here. Many people are protesting what they see as a wrong, yet not assaulting the highway patrol, or perhaps even the Ferguson police. I am sure that there are good white residents of the city, and white police officers, too. For that matter, there are black police officers, and black public and private sector security and prison guards, that can be thuggish, too.


Updates, Oct. 7: White respondents were largely wrong in a relatively small protest outside Busch Stadium last night at the start of Game 3 of the NLDS between the Cardinals and the Dodgers. Several things here.

1. It illustrates that white racism (racism is not just race-based actions against another race, it's race-based factually incorrect beliefs and attitudes) is in all of St. Louis, not just Ferguson.
2. That many protesters are peaceful

3. That even more sympathetic people are probably protest-deadened by now. That says more about ever shortening attention spans in the US than anything else.

A Saturday protest at a performance of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra was more interesting. The video shows many patrons were discomfited. That could be good, could be bad. If they heard, and absorbed, the message after being discomfited, and have an appropriate internal shift in attitudes, if needed, it's good. If not, the protest was neutral at best, wrong at worse.

Protest, overall, can only be one part of changing problematic city government and policing attitudes in Ferguson that existed before Michael Brown's shooting.

And, if Brown's shooting, while not necessarily "justified," was something far short of police murder, then Michael Brown is a horse that can only carry you so far.


And, as for problems with local policing, this is why liberals in general, and minorities in particular, need to remember that Washington is not the solution for everything. If you have local problems, you need to vote in local elections.

Unfortunately, some liberals, like some conservatives, prefer black-and-white narratives. It's good for ramping up social justice warrior issues. (Note to one commenter on Hardball Talk at NBC Sports: I never said I was "edgy." I have repeatedly said that I am an independent-minded skeptic. If that's "edgy," we need more of it. And, I think I have another partial answer to that; thinking Twitter is a reliable news source because it somehow bypasses the mainstream media. And, with that, it should be noted that sex/gender isn't the only area of like where we have SJW groups. Sexual orientation is another. Race is another.

And, before the liberals who like black-and-white narratives accuse me of 50-50-ism or something, uh, no!  (And, from my experiences in the "real" online world, there are people who think that, who accuse people of me of believing and even perpetuating that, and more. Short and shallow thought processes go along with short attention spans.)

Saying that neither side is totally right doesn't assign percentages of 50 percent right to each. Also, per Iranian philosopher Idries Shah, let's not assume there are just two sides.

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