“I was watching the Weather Channel because I was going to fly down south when Hurricane Floyd was out in the Caribbean and so this is what they said, the information: Hurricane Floyd would be hitting the coast of the United States in five days and that it would hit somewhere, somewhere between Miami and New England. Why did they bother… why the f*** open your mouth? Why not just say Hurricane Floyd is coming… we’re going to go to a commercial.” -Lewis Black
If you have a statement to make, what’s the best way to go about it? Do you throw a temper tantrum, complete with curing, kicking, and shrieking like a ban-sidhe to get your point across? Or do you calmly present your points, provide examples and counter examples, to win your opponents over to your way of thinking? In an argument, which type or person would you rather deal with?
Last Saturday, 9 August 2014, two young men in Ferguson, Missouri were stopped by police. A scuffle ensued, during which eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer. At the time of the incident, those were the only facts that anyone -media, family and friends of the deceased knew for certain. As such, those should have been the only facts reported on.
However, the media chose to seize on the fact that the deceased was black and the officer who shot him was white. Despite living in a post-racial utopian society brought forth by the election of B. H. Obama, a candlelight vigil for the deceased rapidly turned into a violent free-for-all in which many citizens felt free to riot in the streets and loot and destroy local businesses in the name of “justice”.
In case anyone had forgotten, rioting and looting are crimes. Yes, we have a Constitutional right to protest, but it must be done peacefully. I’m failing to see anything peaceful about arson, robbery, destruction of private property, et cetera. The gentleman pictured above must have an inkling of that as well, as he has covered his face from the security camera. The police responded in kind, using smoke canisters and tear gas to push back the crowds.
Here is the very, very simple reason why this post is entitled “You Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gunfight”. Ferguson is burning. These people, and for the ones doing the rioting and looting, I am using that term very, very loosely, are out for blood. We saw this in 1992 with the Los Angeles/Rodney King riots, and we saw it again in California in the 1990s when a group of bank robbers out-gunned local police departments. The robbers had Kevlar vests, AK-47s, grenades, mortars, you name it. The PDs had their regular side-arms and… that was it. They were hopelessly out-gunned by these bank-robbers. They were screwed. It took hours to get them properly armed. They needed that riot-gear, those heavier weapons, the armored vehicles. Those cops, because the local populace was afraid of their cops carrying an unnecessary show of force, were in serious danger when the bad guys (who don’t give a damn about unnecessary shows of force) showed up with a rather impressive show of force.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
I started this with a quote from comedian Lewis Black. It illustrates the absurdity of the news these days. Even when there is nothing to report on, they will report on it, often whipping the populace up into a frenzy. That is exactly what happened in Ferguson. Various news sources took what little information they had, added every rumor they’d heard and a few they just made up, and spit it out for public consumption. A week later, we have everyone from the POTUS to Al Sharpton playing the race card (again), two police units that are having a very hard time getting their job done, and a city aflame.
One can’t help but wonder if all this couldn’t have been avoided if the news media hadn’t just reported on the basic facts and let the police departments do their job?