Monday, November 17, 2014

Or Does It Explode?

Today is the day Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency, even though the Darren Wilson grand jury hasn't finished its work. Saint Louise has stocked up on $200,000 worth of tear gas and plastic handcuffs. They've mobilized a thousand National Guard members.

It's four days after our local ABC affiliate, KSTP channel 5, insisted it was right to air a story saying the mayor of Minneapolis was flashing gang signs because she was pointing at a young black guy.

It's three days after the city of Saint Paul's police civilian review board decided there were no procedural errors, let alone crimes, by the cops who tased Chris Lollie for sitting in a public skyway.

Add just those three things up and it's hard to claim black people are full citizens in this country.

A state of emergency means Nixon can ban public gatherings, that police don't need probable cause, that journalists can be excluded from anywhere the government or police decide they shouldn't be.

Even without a state of emergency, Saint Paul's mayor and police stripped citizens of their rights during the 2008 Republican National Convention, carried out raids on people they thought might dare to block an intersection, limited our marches to places where convention attendees had no chance of seeing them, and kettled law-abiding protesters until they could be arrested. And all of that happened despite the fact that protest organizers met with local police for over six months to make sure things went in a way that preserved First Amendment rights, and where the protesters were mostly white and middle class.

What will a major protest -- made up largely of black people -- look like when police or soldiers empowered by a state of emergency try to control it? It'll either be complete repression, with a Boston-bomber-style house lock-in, or a military action that makes the armored personnel carriers and tear gas of Ferguson in August look like a gentle warning.

How hard would it be for the grand jury (and the prosecutor) to treat this case as if the life of the kid who died mattered? That's all anyone is asking.


In case the title of this post is not familiar, here is the source.


Unemployed Dragon said...
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Unemployed Dragon said...

Thank you for this, DN3. Having read last year, The Warmth of Other Suns, as well as biographies of several prominent African Americans who grew up during the civil rights era,Richard Wrights' poem in your post, really "hit" me. Made me stop in my mental tracks to remember those stuggles and that they are not over.