Thursday, August 13, 2015
Ferguson Revisited: Beginning to Wise Up
On the anniversary of the Michael Brown shooting the usual protesters, now calling themselves part of the Black Lives Matter organization, did their usual peaceful march down the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, with the cops out in force watching them. Nothing happened until the sun went down and visibility got poor. Then, just like last year, a bunch of Black provocateurs started throwing rocks and bottles at the cops. One of them started waving a gun around -- as the news cameras caught -- and the cops shot him, nonfatally, and hauled him off to jail. His relatives posed for the cameras, weeping and wailing that it was all a mistake, and their son was a good boy.
But there were some differences between this year's "unrest" and last year's. For one thing, this year the cops didn't go merrily hog-wild and attack the whole protest march, but only shot the one fool and arrested him; they seem to have learned some self-control in the past year.
Second, as the protesters and even the police insisted to the reporters, the troublemakers were not the protest marchers but "two gangs" of crooks who "took advantage of the cover" of the march to "settle some personal scores". I suspect that the provocateurs were a little more than that, but at least the townsfolk are beginning to realize that there's another group of players in the game.
Third, another group has joined the factions; the Oathkeepers -- a libertarian bunch of ex-military and ex-police (and sometimes not to ex-), who claim to keep the oath they swore on joining the police and/or the military: to uphold and defend the Constitution. They brought their rifles and shotguns with them, and volunteered to guard the local shops and businesses so as to prevent the kind of looting and burning that happened last year. To all accounts, it worked; none of the provocateurs went after the local shops, but tangled with the police on the street. This seems to have upset the police, who afterward ordered the Oathkeepers to leave their posts -- on the excuse that they didn't have a "license" to work as security guards.
The Oathkeepers then promised to join the protest march next day, which seems to have upset everybody: the police because they're worried about the "inflammatory" effect of all those adults carrying long-guns, the protest organizers because the Oathkeepers are largely (though not entirely) White, the media because they've convinced themselves that the Oathkeepers are "right-wingers" and therefore racists, and the provocateurs (though they don't call themselves that) because it's "unfair" that "these White guys" can walk around carrying guns without getting shot by the cops.
Actually, it would be a great idea for the Oathkeepers to march with the protesters -- especially out on the margins of the march. It would keep the cops from too readily shooting at the protesters, it would discourage the provocateurs from provoking trouble with the police, it would prove that it's a lot more than just Black lives that matter -- or Black people who get attacked by thuggish cops, and damn-well resent it --and it would display the usefulness of the 2nd Amendment. It's a win-win situation for everybody.
Of course, there are a lot of people in Ferguson who don't like any of those outcomes. Black Lives Matter has been trying terribly hard over the past year to make police abuse look like a purely racist issue, neatly ignoring the fact that more than half the unarmed civilians killed by police every year are not Black. The police really hate any bunch of civilians proving in public to do their job better than they do. The provocateurs don't like any bunch of armed civilians interfering with their business, and the media don't like the idea of armed civilians contradicting the stereotypes that the media have already set up for them. Nobody likes having their precious prejudices refuted!
Besides, libertarians and other Bill-of-Rights protectors tend to throw a monkey-wrench into pre-planned political plots of established political factions, wherever they go. Boo-hoo.
I'm writing this at 10:30 PM on Thursday, August 13, while watching the TV news. On no channel do I see any mention of anything happening in Ferguson. Was the protest march called off? Or did the Oathkeepers join the march as promised -- and nothing whatever happened?