A Tale of Two Cities

Paint swatches. Gray, black, extra white.

WHAT THE &$*!?

That’s all I could come up with as I facepalmed in utter disbelief. Although my disbelief was quickly booted aside by a recognition that this would, of course, happen.

Let me let the New York Times tell you. I will interrupt them occassionally with my analysis or maybe, more accurately, my rant.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Armed antigovernment protesters led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, charged in the takeover of a federally owned Oregon wildlife sanctuary in January, were acquitted Thursday of federal conspiracy and weapons charges.

[Armed antigovernment protesters!!??] What the hell kind of euphemistic bullshit is that? How about thugs with automatic weapons who charged into federal buildings and threatened law enforcement? Or maybe you can’t be a thug if you’re white and wrap yourself in a Christian flag?

And then, [acquitted??!!?] << This. I can’t even.

The surprise verdict in Federal District Court was a blow to the government, which had argued that the group used force and threats of violence to occupy the reserve, impeding the federal workers there. But the jury appeared swayed by the occupiers’ contention that they were protesting government overreach and posed no threat.

Wait. [they were protesting government overreach and posed no threat?!!??] Everybody saw a dozen or so armed cowboys forcefully occupying a federal wildlife refuge, blocking access of federal employees who were unable to do their work onsite. There were 30 guns seized after the standoff. An FBI agent testified that 16,636 live rounds and nearly 1,700 spent casings were found. The terrorists set up a defensive perimeter. They forcefully occupied the area for five weeks. The insurgents destroyed federal property, including archaeological artifacts. By the way, the staff felt threatened, and indeed the people in the county did, too.

In a sign of the high tensions throughout the trial, Ammon Bundy’s lawyer, Marcus R. Mumford, was restrained by four United States Marshals in courtroom tussle after the verdict on Thursday. He was enraged that the Bundys were not being immediately released.

Oh and then their friggin lawyer starts throwing punches in the courtroom? Yeah, like that would go over well in a Baltimore City court. Well, if he did that in Bal’more he’d be shot dead. Maybe not. He’s white.

All of them got off. Even the guy who acted as his own lawyer.

Meanwhile, almost 1,300 miles due east a different verdict is being played out. I can’t give you a link to the NYTimes, though, because they are not covering this other story. So let’s try the BBC. You know, the news source from across the pond.

Riot police have begun removing protesters from private land in the path of the Dakota Access pipeline…Dozens of officers in riot gear, some armed, moved in on Thursday assisted by trucks and military Humvees.

So police are taking down teepees that were erected just yesterday. They are rolling up in tanks, suited in full riot gear. They are shooting “bean bag” shotgun rounds “designed to incapacitate people without causing death or permanent injury” and using pepper spray against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters.

There were reports of rock throwing. After the police moved in, there was a report of gunfire and a woman was arrested. In addition, over 100 people have been arrested. This type of protest–you know the one that disrupts the oil or natural gas industries–must not be allowed to continue. And we can hurt these types of protesters.

To be clear, the protests are being led by Native Americans trying to protect their sacred lands. You know after the Trail of Tears and whatnot.

It’s the best of times for white terrorist ranchers who use violence and a warped interpretation of the constitution to justify stealing from the government to line their own pockets. And, as it has been historically, it’s the worst of times for people of color.

</rant>

What So Proudly We Hailed?

Ft._Henry_bombardement_1814

Are you a patriot? Are you a real American? What does that mean?

Different things to different people, of course. This is #Amurrica. Home of the free and the brave. And of the diverse set of opinions that make us so interesting–if not highly functional.

Back to the home of the brave, some are braver than others. So there’s this professional football player that sat out the Star Spangled Banner for the entire pre-season. And just recently, it was noticed. I decided against tracking down the source of this Nile, I think it’s not germane to the tale-but I bet there’s a story there, too.

So, anyway, the athlete, who gets paid bring-your-team-to-the-Superbowl-but-not-actually-win-it wages, gets in big PR (that’s public relations, also known as yelled at on TV, Facebook and internet newspapers. Likely also in print newspapers, but are you actually physically reading them? I thought not.) trouble. People are saying that he is disrespecting veterans who have fought and died for this country. And there’s some people saying they fought and died just for this type of protest. It’s been noisy. And full of emotion.

Tonight da Twitterz lit up with a hashtag (this is a way for people to coalesce around a topic or idea on Twitter. I respect that many people do not get Twitter, but please, humor me on this.). There are always trending topics on Twitter. It’s based pretty much on volume of a word or phrase that people are using and which pass through Twitter’s servers. For example, it’s pretty normal for #TheBachelor to trend when people are watching it on TV. It must be on now. The Doc has pretty much no knowledge about this hashtag but I see it weekly. [As an aside, why do they call that kind of show reality TV?]

But back to the point, thousands of people are tagging their posts with #VeteransForKaepernick. Like this one.

And this perspective on the national anthem >>

These are among the many moving and patriotic tweets from veterans across the country. People who served in different wars in different parts of the world and who represent the entire diversity of the U.S. And, no, there is not a consensus among veterans and active duty around the way the football player is protesting against racism in the U.S. That’s #Amurrica, too.

Last, there’s nothing that I could write on this topic that would be more meaningful than this tweet by a vet >>

Yes, that is how a patriot sounds. Thank you for your service, good sir. And thanks for the reminder that we all have a role in making our country better. #AmericansForKaepernick, and, as they say, “Hooah!”