Berkeley protesters briefly block Oakland freeway
Hundreds of people marched from Berkeley to Oakland Sunday for the second night of demonstrations against a grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.If this had been all there was to the story, I wouldn't have thought twice about it, except perhaps to comment on the spectre of societal unrest, a volatile political climate for the current party in the White House, and historical precedent (although, for all his faults, Mitt Romney is no Richard Nixon...).
There were reports of some demonstrators throwing explosives at officers and assaulting each other. A group of demonstrators blocked all eastbound lanes of Highway 24 near 52nd Street at 8:45 p.m. in Oakland.
No. Then there was this:
Protesters tonight could be heard yelling, "Fist up, Fight back," and "Turn it up, don't turn it down. Shut it down for Michael Brown."(Emphasis mine).
That brought me to a full stop. For the older readers, imagine the sound a record needle makes when pulled off the record. For the younger readers, ask your parents. Just think about that line for a second, will you? These people are protesting what they feel are instances where the police have overstepped their bounds. In both cases, we have people resisting officers with physical force and refusing to follow the officers' directions.
Raising your fists? Fighting back? Isn't that what got Mike Brown killed? Even if you believe 100% that Brown was shot in the back by a racist cop, is showing overt menace to someone that potentially might do you harm going to help things? If they honestly believe that cops are just looking for an excuse to kill black people, is inciting them to raise their fists going to help things?
This just struck me as the worst idea in the history of bad ideas. Let's whip this crowd into a frenzy, telling them to attack police officers. Then, when they do attack the police officers - the ones we believe are terrible racists, what exactly is going to happen? Cops are, despite what anyone might tell you, still human. They do have the right to defend themselves. When they do defend against attack - and they will - more people are going to get hurt and/or killed.
Great. You've just agitated for a vicious circle of violence. Wonderful. This can't possibly end poorly, can it?
There are so many thoughts slamming together in my brain over this whole scenario. I can't help but wonder, with a bitter laugh, what the position was of some of these agitators some 20 years ago, when they were staking out Randy Weaver's house on Ruby Ridge. Did they think Weaver was asking for it? Did they think Weaver should have surrendered to the authorities? Or did they buy the ATF's claim that David Koresh started the fire inside the Waco compound? Fast forward - did Erik Scott really have his hand on his gun, like Las Vegas cops claimed?
Not to mention, I have to ask, how many of the professionally offended have personally donated camera time at events where gun control played some part. How many of them might have hinted, intimated, or even outright stated that only the police should own guns? It's the same side of the ideological coin.
The pro-gun control people are watching this go down with bemusement - we're told, over and over, that police are better, smarter, better trained. Ordinary people have no business owning guns; that's for professionals like police officers. "I'm the only one professional enough" and all that. We point out that only police can own new machine guns; that police are allowed to carry guns in all 50 states; that police are exempted from the draconian laws the rest of the population labors under. New York cops don't have to only load 7 rounds; Massachusetts cops can own Glocks; Maryland cops are issued "assault weapons."
I'm certain that those agitating for greater oversight on police will remember all this the next time, right?
I hope the police remember this, too. I hope they remember which side was hanging them out to dry, using them as the boogeyman. The next time some anti-gun politician wants a "Fraternal Order of Police" seal of approval on their latest gun-grabbing scheme, I hope the cops present said politician with video of "Fists up, fight back" and "Shut it down for Michael Brown." I hope they're tired of being used as props by people that would happily throw them under the bus.
And the agitators. Do they really believe that now is the time for violence? Because things are going to get really ugly for a LOT of people if that's the case. As much as the media is studiously ignoring it, we're seeing racial violence in many of these places - against folks with melanin deficiencies. A Bosnian man was beaten to death after attempting to stop teenagers from destroying his car. A Bosnian woman was pulled from her car and beaten unconscious. Both times the races of the attackers and the attackees did not match.
It doesn't take a political science major nor a student of history to see what's going to happen if this keeps going. There's no good end to any of this. Just lots more dead and broken people. What scares the living hell out of me, though, is what kind of monsters we might reanimate with renewed racial tension.
Let's not lose sight that all civil rights can and will be under attack. More demonstrations turn into riots, things get ugly, people get hurt. People get hurt, people start demanding that Something Must Be Done. That "something" is almost never the right thing. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to hear some nimrod claim we need more gun control so that there won't be more Michael Browns. Oh, wait. Someone already did.
I hope cooler heads will prevail; sadly, I fear that it may be only a hope and not reality.
That is all.