Tuesday, December 02, 2014

First Amendment Remedies

What have we learned from the Ferguson riots -- or, perhaps more meta-importantly, the coverage of the Ferguson riots? The most critical thing (imho), and therefore the one that has not been and will never be brought up in the incessant media navel-gazing is to me the most obvious one:  that people will go completely batshit about five football players expressing their opinion with a harmless gesture, while the financial industry screws the country out of more money every single day than most of these ofay crackers will ever see in a lifetime.

(And it shouldn't need to be said, but just in case, of course any violent crimes committed during these riots need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.)

Oh dear, where is the moral outrage? Where are the armchair stat monkeys mustering their hastily googled nuggets of research on the prevalence of suit-on-everyone-else crime rates, of how decades of outsourcing and gutting the manufacturing base has left the hallowed small-town 'murka a meth-addled husk of dollar stores and welfare families? So much analysis, so completely devoid of context, of perspective.

Ferguson is about much more than whether or not Michael Brown stupidly instigated his demise. I think most people will agree that if you punch a cop and try to grab his gun, you can reasonably expect to get your ass shot. The problem is, it's not a slam-dunk whether that's what actually happened. But again, Ferguson is not about that anymore, if it ever really was. It's about the larger context of black men and kids being shot by trigger-happy cops, of militarized police forces acting like they're raiding Fallujah, and not dealing with a dumb kid doing a dumb thing.

If being young and irresponsible was something that should get you shot, it's a safe bet that most of us wouldn't have made it past twenty years of age. But even the dimmest, most reactionary bulb should be able to suss the pattern here.

It's about whites literally not understanding what black males are routinely taught by their parents and friends about walking with their hands in their pockets, about running for any reason that is not obviously jogging, about wearing a hoodie. It's about how a black guy buying a pellet gun -- in an open carry state! -- can get turned into Swiss cheese, while any fat white slob can strap up for some Oreos or to menace people with their penis substitutes, and it's just understood that it's a Second Amendment thang. It's about how we're not as far removed as we think we are from a time when black people in some areas had to go in through the back door at the veterinarian's office to get a tooth pulled, despite what the "slavery was 150 years ago, get over it" crowd think they know.

That is the problem, that is the injustice. That is the source of frustration for protesters, much more encompassing and pervasive and commonplace than whatever actually transpired between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson. The only thing that will sway the reactionary crackers' minds is when one of their own gets shot by a shoot-first-ask-questions-later idiot.

Even then, there will always be the ones who will indulge in victim-blaming, because that's all they know.

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