Tuesday, July 28, 2020

I Give Up

     No matter how carefully I explain it, I still get comments that amount to, "But why can't the police just stamp on anyone who disagrees with them violently enough, along with everyone else in the vicinity including the Press?"

     Did you feel that way during the Obama administration, when a routine Federal bulk-buy of ammunition via a long-term contract had many of my Right-wing gun-owner friends running around, waving their hands and talking about the Feds ginnin' up for a war on the Heartland?  Every power you let the Feds exercise unchecked is available to whoever is running the show, and we've been alternating parties in power pretty regularly for quite awhile now, with no sign of it changing.

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     I also keep getting told how the "major media" is "100% behind" all the destructive civil unrest.

     So, first off, nobody reads National Review or Breitbart?  Fox News is not "major media?"  Because the last time I checked, they had slightly better viewership ratings than CNN.

     And second off, even CNN was decrying indiscriminate destruction and looting.  When protests here in Indianapolis gave way to graffiti, fire-setting and window-smashing, every single one of our local TV news operations -- we have five -- condemned it, along with the shambling remains of our local newspaper.  Four of those newsrooms are run by major network affiliates; the fifth is an interesting also-ran, the former CBS affiliate, and if there was anything extra to be had from siding with the destructive elements, they're hungry enough to try it.  They didn't. 

     Locally, there appeared to be very little personnel overlap between daytime protestors and nighttime wreckers.  After IMPD decided to be less confrontational and more interested in making sure everyone went home okay, it looked like the protesters displaced the would-be rioters and looters: there were still as many police officers around, but they were guarding the people waving signs and chanting slogans instead of staring them down.  The officers were guarding the city, too.  We had a few marches that went on well past curfew after that change in tactics -- but we didn't have any more smashed windows and eventually, things wound down.

     If you meet strongly-motivated protests with force, you just get more force; and once those gloves have come off against one group of protesters, there's no reason to not take them off against another.  Unless you're eager to see a Second Amendment activism day or weekend at some state capitol go very badly, you should be concerned about police use of force.  It's certainly not always wrong -- but it is far better to avert a riot before it starts, and in a way that defuses escalation.

     Our governments operate with the consent of the governed.  You cannot manufacture consent with tear gas, pepperballs and less-lethal weapons.  You cannot beat or shoot people into embracing the virtues of our system of government.

     And I can't thump any sense into the heads of people who are so mired in the rah-rah excitement of the Red vs. Blue contest that they cannot remember any history or conceive of any future.  Go get yourself another beer, and keep swearing at the TV screen.


Anonymous said...

Yeah I am sure if you discipline your misbehaving children you'll be met with more defiance, strong arm tactics and firebombing.

Roberta X said...

Anon, you seem to have mistaken the State -- the government -- for parents. And you appear to have mistaken protesters (generally doing lawful things), rioters (usually not so lawful) and people assaulting police and trying to damage buildings (almost always crimes) for children.

That's not how it works. This here is grown-up land, and most adults learn a modicum of self-discipline, one way or another. Some lessons are more painful than others, and they are very rarely neatly contained.

One of the best way to help adults learn to be adults is for the consequences to be seen -- and the only way for that to happen is for the Press to lay eyes on it, just as much and varied Pres as we can get. Over-reaching cops, supposed "demonstrators" getting up to acts of violence, examples of peaceable assembly and sign-waving, measured and intelligent crowd-control by LEO's, politicians that listen, politicians off in their own bubble -- all that and everything in between are learning experiences.

A boot stamping on a human face forever is not a learning experience, no matter if it's a policeman's boot or some half-ass rabble-rouser's Doc Martens.