Scenes from America

In Ferguson, Missouri, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed Black teenager. The shots were not at close range, indicating no immediate struggle, and there were at least six shots fired. Setting aside the subsequent character assassination of the victim, the police response to popular outrage and demonstrations has been militaristic in nature, and overflowing with issues of race and class in contemporary America. 

No one condones looting or violence, but the ridiculously overwrought police response has quashed the people’s right to demonstrate. 

Hysterical right wing commentators have overwhelmingly sided with the police officer who shot Michael Brown, labeling the dead kid a “thug” who clearly deserved to die. Of course, we still don’t have a copy of the police report surrounding the shooting incident. The people in Ferguson are outraged by the latest homicide of an unarmed Black teenager under questionable circumstances, and their demonstrations have been met with this: 

Some months back, there was a standoff in Nevada over Cliven Bundy and his cows. Back in 1993, Bundy didn’t like a change in policy at the Bureau of Land Management, so he refused to renew his license to permit his cattle to graze on public land. In 1998, a federal court barred Bundy from letting his cattle graze on the “Bunkerville Allotment”. In July 2013, a federal judge further ordered Bundy off of additional lands

It should be noted that, in both court cases, Bundy had an opportunity to be heard, and exercised it.

In 2014, the Bureau of Land Management undertook action to forcibly remove Bundy’s cattle from federal lands pursuant to the court orders. Hundreds of armed, right-wing, so-called “militia” came to Bundy’s aid in the Nevada brush, and the rancher became a right-wing, anti-Obama cause celebre. 

American fascists justify the homicide of Michael Brown, whom they dismiss as nothing more than a thug who got what was coming to him. They deride the outpouring of grief and anger in Ferguson as being nothing more than a subhuman gallery of violent looters. They have nothing whatsoever to say about a military show of force against lawful protests in Ferguson, and ignore the obvious provocation of police snipers and tanks aiming at civilians in middle America. 

But when Cliven Bundy disregarded a lawful order of the court, and declared some sort of idiotic war against a federal government he claims has no legitimacy, hundreds of American fascists came to his aid. The bloodlust against federal agents was shocking, and we had images that contrast with those out of Ferguson in one very salient way: 

In Ferguson, protesters are mostly African-American, and the government’s guns are pointed at them. 

In Nevada, protesters were mostly white, and they pointed their guns at government agents. 

It’s like the anti-Burning Man

 

Cliven Bundy had people aiming guns at federal agents, but we’re supposed to get all upset because some angry demonstrators in Ferguson broke a McDonald’s store windows or stole some TVs? 

The people who support Cliven Bundy’s defiance of legitimate government authority think that the demonstrators in Ferguson have no business protesting questionable government actions. 

Go home, America. You’re drunk. 

13 comments

  • Excellent analysis

  • It’s interesting the perspective that grows when we focus on tragedies/cause and effect and our reaction. Remember Ruby Ridge? Waco? Oklahoma City? They were all related. Thankfully, Eric Holder did not make a martyr of Clive Bundy. The Missouri violence, however, feels like a middle point preceding some tragic capitulation. I hope I am wrong. I fear I am not.

  • Ferguson and Nevada; black and white: Both armed militias need to turn it down 4-5 notches and stop escalating violence for fun. Sick fucks.

  • And at no point have the police realized that the protests – hell, the very presence of anyone – is now completely the result of their refusal to stand down. The minute the police put their military toys away and leave, I can guarantee you that the protestors and media will also head home.

  • Love the use of Burning Man as an example of “what should happen”. I’d wager if the halfwit who found that pic actually saw what was going on at Burning Man his/her brain stem would melt.

  • It’s funny how these folks in Murrieta, CA, protesting a bus full of undocumented children seeking refuge, weren’t asked to “keep moving”

    Even funnier when the news came out that a number of recently deported children have been killed upon their return to Honduras. Great job, America!

  • I don’t recall rioting, looting and protesters being shot, by other protesters, in Nevada.

    • What would you consider a group of private citizens aiming automatic weapons at law enforcement in an atmosphere where the lives of said law enforcement officers have been threatened multiple times in comparison to a group of private citizens looting a private business:
      Worse
      Better
      About the same

      • Different. As for Ferguson, I support the right of the people to peacefully protest and I am very disturbed by the actions of law enforcement personnel. I do not support the willful destruction, or taking, of another person’s property.

    • Maybe that’s because the kooky right wing typically operates in the more disconnected and desolate corners of our communities, isolated from most of civilization…which mightily contributes to their psychosis.

  • A question – how in the hell is Ferguson PD getting away with being out in public without badges, nameplates and any other identification pieces? When they are asked for their badge numbers and names, they’re telling protestors to go fuck themselves.
    Is this Russia? This isn’t Russia, is it, Danny?

  • What we apparently need in this country is a tea party candidate whose got the stones to run on simply just “outlawing black people” once and for all.

  • There is a disconnect in society. It has always been there. Altruism and greed, faith and fear, the desire for peace and lust for power and wealth. But at some times this disconnect between us grows wide. Wider than usual. Wider than acceptable.
    Tolkien said we do not choose the times we live in, only how we play our part in them. Why in the world, why, at this particular place and time in a land of plenty…a land of “sweet watermelon and buckwheat cakes” do so many play the part of the fearful, greedy, power and wealth lusting souls who only see distortion rather than goodness?
    Why do those many not realize they are being used? Used by the over-ambitious, power hungry, plotting scheming men who in person you could not trust to hold your camera…or your wallet?
    We need not look to far places like Missouri or Nevada. We have this right in our own backyard. This divide leading people to do what is not acceptable. We have our own local police problems. Agencies arming with fancy command centers, bigger and better weaponry, vehicles made and suited only for the military. Their presence becomes more and more para-military…instead of the friendly, helping cop we learned about in the kids books we had in grade school.
    Let people alone. Mind your own business. Enjoy, no celebrate our differences. Be helpful. Be kind. Be a good and nice individual.
    Be your own man. Don’t carry your weapons like some sort of storm trooper. Throw them away. Your just being an asshole. That is very well how you will be remembered.

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