A Tale of Two Riots: 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' Vs. 'Bring Out The BearCat'

from the a-broken-system-controlling-a-fractured-population dept

There was another large riot recently, one that resulted in a large police presence. Maybe you heard something about it. Maybe you didn't. Maybe the media portrayed this riot as "rowdiness" fueled by alcohol that just "got out of hand." Maybe it didn't. The annual Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire, somehow devolved into overturned cars, smashed windows and lit fires, but there's been no extensive handwringing about the police response to that situation -- one composed mostly of white, college-age males. [h/t to Techdirt reader WulfTheSaxon for the NBC News link]

The media handled this riot differently. There will be no #Keene hashtag activism. No one will bury the local cops for their response. The media -- some of the media -- soft-sold the damage and whitewashed the damage. But... the media is not a single entity. Scott Shackford at Reason posted the following image macro that breaks down the perceived difference in coverage. It's generally illustrative but of limited usefulness. As Shackford points out, this image vastly oversimplifies the media's reaction to both situations.

However, there was a major difference in the police response. In Ferguson, the response was full-force from day one. Decisions -- terrible decisions -- were made almost immediately. These decisions, like the one pictured below in another convenient image meme, inflamed the situation.

The last thing anyone wants to do is draw parallels to the racially-charged riots of the 1960's. And yet, talking heads couldn't seem to keep themselves from siding with The Man bringing Fergusonians down.

Yeah, because that doesn't have any negative connotations.

Here's where the actual disparity sets in. In Ferguson, the police rolled out in full military gear, using every piece of equipment at its disposal. Flak-jacketed SWAT members sat atop armored vehicles training weapons on protesters. Tear gas was heaved indiscriminately into crowds and onto people's front yards. Civil liberties were suspended without notice.

Moving on to Keene, New Hampshire. A full-blown riot breaks out because of widespread drunkenness and the police respond with massive numbers and teargas. So far, so equal. But then the narrative splits and shows that there's a latent strain of discrimination running through law enforcement.

To get to the root of this disparity, you have to step back to 2010, when Keene, NH, a town of 23,000, requested a DHS grant to obtain a BearCat, an armored SWAT vehicle made by Lenco. In both of its requests (2010-2011), it cited "domestic terrorism" as one of its major concerns, specifically noting the annual Pumpkin Festival's ability to draw "70,000 people" to the small Northeastern town.

"Keene currently hosts several large public functions to include: an annual Pumpkin Festival, which draws upwards of 70,000 patrons to the City."

The threat to the festival, the application noted, could "include the use of Radiological Dispersion Devices by terrorists," adding that such “dirty” bombs are "much more likely than the use of a nuclear device." The BearCat has radiation and chemical detection devices, and the application argued that no other vehicle in the county was capable of protecting, transporting and measuring such radiation.
This acquisition made Keene a laughingstock. The mayor and city council tried twice to return the vehicle and grant money to the DHS without success. A city council member tried twice to return the vehicle and grant money, but was shot down both times by the mayor and the rest of the council. So, the BearCat has been in storage since 2011. And it's still there, despite an incident occuring that was exactly like the one cited in the hilarious grant request form. A riot… at the Pumpkin Festival… requiring an all-hands-on-deck police response… featuring tear gas and pepper spray bullets…. and yet, the BearCat stayed safely housed in its garage.

The rioters knew Keene had a BearCat. For them, this drunken display of violence and vandalism was a game -- a way to safely dip a toe into the police state without worrying about being beaten severely or shot multiple times. Sure, there was a chance things could go horribly wrong, but the rioters knew the local police weren't going to break out the military gear. They knew their white, drunken, frat boy destruction would never result in a full-fledged response. So, they taunted the Keene cops.
As black-clad police moved in on a group of students Saturday during beer-soaked riots that disrupted Keene, New Hampshire’s annual Pumpkin Festival, the students began to chant, “Bring out the BearCat! Bring out the BearCat!”
Taunting the police. Contrast that with "Hands up, don't shoot!" Look at a drunken frat boy daring the cops to take their militarized toy out of the shed. Compare that to Ferguson cops taking every militarized tool out of the shed preemptively. Someone cries about a sniper or two on the rooftops in Keene. In Ferguson, the guys with guns point weapons at protesters whle sitting atop a PD assault vehicle. No one had to dare the Ferguson cops to get their DHS-supplied toys. All they had to do was go outside.

Keene's police chief defends the BearCat in 2012:
“Do I think al Qaeda is going to target Pumpkin Fest? No, but are there fringe groups that want to make a statement? Yes, and we should prepare for that.”
No terrorism at Pumpkin Fest, but a riot broke out… and still, the BearCat continued to collect dust.

There are no threats in this town, none that demand the purchase of an armored vehicle. That much has been proven. There are no threats of that seriousness in Ferguson, Missouri, and yet every single piece of militarized gear made an appearance.

There's a huge difference between how the police treat black men and white men. The media knows it, but will only rarely address it. Cops know it. Their actions betray their inner thoughts. But worst of all, the drunken assholes who turned Pumpkin Fest into G20-via-beer-bong know it. This is why they can taunt the local cops. This is why they view this brush with riot gear-clad officers as a rush indistinguishable from taking the crotch rocket up to 180 mph on the nearest highway. Just another empty experience for a bunch of privileged assholes. Not "privileged" as in "rich" or "upper class." "Privileged" in the sense that not one of these mooks ever felt their lives were in danger, even though they were surrounded by cops. "Privileged" as in not being greeted by a phalanx of men in military fatigues, guns at the ready.

Is it just overt discrimination from all involved? Not quite. What's happening here has happened for years. A lot of it is latent. Even those supposedly colorblind and highly conscious of their own motives find themselves just as susceptible to the normal narrative: African-Americans, especially men, are inherently dangerous.

Lawrence Block, novelist and native New Yorker, has this to say in Eight Million Ways to Die, and it tells a nuanced story in a couple of lean sentences.
I walked over to 125th Street. It was wide and busy and well-lit, but I was starting to feel the not entirely irrational paranoia of a white man on a black street.
So, it's pervasive, institutionalized and, sadly, sometimes not entirely without merit. More crime is committed by black men, the stats say, failing to note that a cycle of violence and criminal activity is rarely righted by depressed living conditions or repeat incarcertation. The prisons fill with black men. White flight subverts integration. Black men are inherently suspect, inherently frightening.

This view seeps into the system and sets up a neural network of involuntary responses. African-Americans in Ferguson walk with their hands up and are greeted with wooden bullets, tear gas and the assumption they're only outside to loot, fight or otherwise make things worse.
"Hands up. Don't shoot."
Caucasians in New Hampshire flip cars and smash windows. They too encounter a police response consisting of pepper spray bullets and tear gas canisters. But it's all just a game, both for the participants and the responding force.
"Bring out the BearCat!"
That's America: one nation, still heavily divided.

Filed Under: michael brown, police, pumpkinfest, race, racism, riots


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  • identicon
    Nim the Invincible, 23 Oct 2014 @ 1:45pm

    So your saying

    People with power will use it for violence and murder? but will not use it against there own people I am shocked.

    The problem here is the existence of the state period.

    That we ever gave anyone power in this way is a mistake and really wrong.

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    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 23 Oct 2014 @ 3:53pm

      Re: So your saying

      And what would you suggest doing with that power instead?

      This is the blind spot that small-government types never seem to "get": power exists. Power derives from resources, and the more resources that exist, the more power will exist. It can be economic, social, or force-based in nature, but in the end, power is power.

      The question is, given a certain amount of power concentrated in a certain area, who will control this power? History tells us that someone always does end up controlling it; the only meaningful questions are "who?" and "under what organizational structure?"

      Take power away from whoever currently holds it, (the state, in this case,) and it does not evaporate into a happy, magical shower of sparkles, rainbows, and more liberty for everyone. History tells us that one thing consistently happens when the current power-holder loses power without a well-defined mechanism for transferring it: you get a power vacuum, and that's an unstable mess, uglier than even the worst of tyranny. (Just look at Somalia, or a good part of the Middle East.)

      For all the problems it can bring, "the existence of the state," particularly a state of the constitutional republic variety, is the lesser of a few dozen evils.

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      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 27 Oct 2014 @ 6:57am

        Re: Re: So your saying

        Thank you, Mason Wheeler. As I've said, I don't know how many time before, ANY philosophy that relies on a best case scenario in which everyone behaves well is utterly doomed to fail because people don't always behave well.

        And the worst thing is, the idealists who invest so much of themselves in their beliefs can't and won't understand why everything's gone horribly wrong with their perfect Utopia because they never factored potential douchebaggery into the equation.

        So Libertarians, Liberals, Socialists, free market enthusiasts, and religious right-wingers, that's why I'll never agree with you.

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        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Oct 2014 @ 11:56am

          The worst form of government except for all the others that we've tried.

          Feel free to suggest your own ideas of douchebaggery-resistant government.

          There's always the natural order, in which we resign to let the douchebags have their way with everyone else. But that's giving up the human compulsion to organize.

          The good news is, as freeway behavior indicates, most people douchebag out of desperation. Our current systems are ones in which the only way to make it (e.g. make enough money to be comfortable) is the find a way to exploit the system, and our society respects that, which is why Romney's history of running a company that does nothing but fuck money out of the economy didn't count much against him in the election. But if it were possible to make it legitimately, or even sustain ourselves while we try, people wouldn't be inclined to cheat (e.g. litigate over any little thing that might return a punitive payment).

          Right now, douchebaggery prevails, and this is, in my opinion an intolerable situation.

          With the rising potential for a post-scarcity economy, we can make something that has low douchbaggery, and just be vigilant. But it will take many, many steps to get there because all the people holding the cards are hoarding and deathly scared of douchebaggery, largely because they douchebagged to get where they are today.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 1:46pm

    Those idiots in Ferguson, and I'm referring to those idiot morons who walked down the street holding their hands up shouting "DON'T SHOOT" is like a bank robber running away form cops shouting "DON'T SHOOT". What morons.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 2:04pm

      Re:

      Well, it's good to know that there are no brain-dead, knee-jerk racist posting here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 5:36pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah - because walking down a street holding your hands up shouting "DON'T SHOOT" is exactly the same thing as robbing a bank, running away while holding your hands up and shouting "DON'T SHOOT" ...... if you are black.

        This is in every one of those episodes on COPS where someone robs a bank, they look exactly like protesters in Ferguson. It really is uncanny.

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    • identicon
      jackn, 23 Oct 2014 @ 2:36pm

      Re:

      man that's a wacky two sentence post.

      Well, almost two sentences. Look at the second sentance - "What morons."

      Ask yourself, where is the verb and should it end with a question mark?

      Are you saying that it is moronic to hold your hands up and say don't shoot, and then expect not to be shot? does this apply to everyone, or just the idiots in feruson, or the idiot morons?

      We can tell you are a racist mental midget, but do try and proofread your posts in the future.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 2:03pm

    I heard of a study where various people were shown pictures of streets with pedestrians of varying numbers and races and asked to rate the safety of the streets in the pictures. There was an almost uniform response - the more black faces on the street, the more dangerous the street was rated.

    The really sad part was that african americans rated the streets almost identically to white americans. Anti-black racism appears to be endemic and deeply entrenched in the US, in all American races, including the victims of that racism...

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    • icon
      shane (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 8:27am

      Faux Racism

      What's sad is not that people recognize that a street full of black people is statistically likely to be more dangerous than a street with few black people. What's sad is that it is a statistical fact.

      Being against prejudice means you judge each person on their own merits. It does not mean you refuse to acknowledge cultural differences.

      The REASON these streets are more dangerous is that there were a couple of centuries of slavery coupled by a century and then some of legal oppression, then finally period we are in now where the oppression is cultural. We have decided we do not owe the descendants of the people whose culture we raped and pillaged as a nation entry into our better neighborhoods and schools, let alone our lives and our personal sphere of friends and acquaintances.

      Even churches of the same denomination are to this day divided along racial lines in America.

      We have a long way to go, but the problem is not helped by supporting riots pitched because a man in the process of committing a crime was shot while resisting arrest. I have little doubt the officer in this case made some egregious errors, as there just seems to be no excuse for him hopping out of his car solo to chase down the perpetrator, but the fact is that what he achieved at the end of the day was to mete out the death penalty for assault and petty theft, which is just ridiculous.

      Defending the illegal mob mentality carnage though that occurred after the fact as if this were somehow the equivalent of Rosa Parks taking a seat on the bus is dishonest to the point of evil though. I am really sick of this tactic. It does nothing but provide excuses for the continued cultural divide, and give Democrats another few years of dominance of the black vote by deceit.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:30pm

        Re: Faux Racism

        Peaceful protesting is now considered illegal mob mentality - got it.

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Oct 2014 @ 12:04pm

        Re: Faux Racism

        What's sad is not that people recognize that a street full of black people is statistically likely to be more dangerous than a street with few black people. What's sad is that it is a statistical fact.

        [Citation Needed]

        Seriously "statistical facts" are cited somewhere. Please show me where it says that black people correlate with more danger.

        And then I would argue that there's a number of additional correlations than the color of their skin, including more impoverished regions, more gang warfare (which comes when the cops don't bother keeping the peace -- someone's got to.)

        I bet that once you adequately filter for all the other factors that encourage violent behavior, black people are as well behaved as non-blacks.

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    • icon
      BernardoVerda (profile), 25 Oct 2014 @ 5:09pm

      Re:

      It's a real problem at animal shelters, too.
      Black dogs are harder to get adopted out, than white or tan ones (iirc, same goes for the cats).

      "Racism" might be an over-simplistic explanation (or at least, not the whole story).

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  • icon
    MikeC (profile), 23 Oct 2014 @ 2:06pm

    Double Std yes -- but there are reasons

    Amazing what Real Estate comparison sites can tell you...Now should there be more equal response and coverage yes, is there a double standard yes, are cops smarter in NH than MO, yes... are folks nicer in NH - maybe. Basically you gotta see that folks are scared of cops in Keene, Cops seem to react better in Keene, maybe that is the real problem here, no one died in Keene -- it's only interesting when people die.

    As to stats - cops really have a reason to not overreact in Keene -- Cops in MO don't really seem to need a reason to overreact.

    Stats....

    1. 3 murders in Keene in last 10 years...
    2. 20 murders in last 10 years in Ferguson
    3. White Frat boys might burn some stuff, might even rape someone but they don't shoot folks in Keene.
    4. Frat boys can pay for the damage in court
    5. 1 in 355 chance of being a crime victim in Keene
    6. 1 in 222 chance of being a crime victim in Ferguson

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    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 23 Oct 2014 @ 2:12pm

      Re: Double Std yes -- but there are reasons

      It's fair to make an urban/rural distinction here. Even though they have the same population, Ferguson is not some isolated small town. It's a suburb of a major urban city. That's not to say racism isn't a part of it, but it's not ALL of it.

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      • icon
        MondoGordo (profile), 23 Oct 2014 @ 2:17pm

        Re: Re: Double Std maybe-- but let's not forget

        That Keene happened AFTER Ferguson ... in the aftermath of a similar incident the Keene PD acted with the clear benefit of hindsight which is always 20/20.

        Maybe we can attribute their more restrained response to them learning a lesson from someone else's mistake instead of attributing it to a racial motivation.

        But hey if we did that ... it wouldn't be "news" would it ?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 4:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: Double Std maybe-- but let's not forget

          Living in a city Like Toronto, Canada will quickly teach you racism comes from everywhere, not just white people. Get the chip off of your shoulder for how your great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was treated.


          Maybe someone can answer this conundrum, who was ostracized first, whites or blacks? Remember. we all came from Africa and were originally black. Was the first person born without skin pigmentation revered as a God or did they need to be hidden away to be kept alive?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 5:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Std maybe-- but let's not forget

            "we all came from Africa and were originally black"

            Errr - what?
            lol
            Where did you get that gem?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 7:12pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Std maybe-- but let's not forget

              "Genetic studies and fossil evidence show that archaic Homo sapiens evolved to anatomically modern humans solely in Africa, between 200,000 and 60,000 years ago,[1] that members of one branch of Homo sapiens left Africa by between 125,000 and 60,000 years ago, and that over time these humans replaced earlier human populations such as Neanderthals and Homo erectus.[2]"
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recent_African_origin_of_modern_humans

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 9:12pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Std maybe-- but let's not forget

                And this proves your earlier statement?

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 9:19pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Std maybe-- but let's not forget

                  No I can tell you are bored so I thought I would provide some reading material for you.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:29am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Std maybe-- but let's not forget

                    I am aware of such research and thought there were many details yet to be filled in. I had not heard that it had been all boiled down to your simplistic statement.

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                    • icon
                      Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:57pm

                      White supremacy of the gaps?

                      So you're arguing the details that define whites as a superior hominid than blacks is somewhere in those bits of the scientific model we haven't uncovered yet?

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2014 @ 5:29pm

                        Re: White supremacy of the gaps?

                        I do not recall using the word superior nor alluding to it. Perhaps you responded to the wrong post.

                        Simply questioning the quite ridiculous prior statement.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 5:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Std maybe-- but let's not forget

            It seems everything goes in cycles. Two thousand years ago, Jews persecuted and murdered Christians. In more recent times, Christians got their payback (and then some).

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 4:13am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Std maybe-- but let's not forget

              As I recall, the accusation was that they killed Jesus, not Christians. That accusation was repeated many times starting in antiquity, became quite famous, and forms a part of the historical development of anti-Semitism. As for oppressing the Christians, you may be thinking of the Romans.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 4:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Std maybe-- but let's not forget

            This was all thoroughly documented by Jean M. Auel in a series of anthropological studies in the 80s.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 2:07pm

    Holy crap, Tim, this is an amazing article. I wish I held an audience so we could all applaud you.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 2:22pm

    I won't mention names nor places but I heard from one of people that had planned to go to this pumpkin fest. They had stated they planned to go a week or two before the event.

    Later I read some stuff about some outsiders were planning to disrupt the event if they could. They came solely to create an uproar.

    This reminded me of someone else who is into ballroom style dancing. He has stated over time that he was the DJ most of the time for this event and it was held normally once a month, where the townsfolk and others from outside all come to a park to do this style of dance. It's their thing.

    But recently after a lot of outside rabblerousing they had to move to a public building with lots of floor space to limit this sort of behavior from people coming in to create problems. He also stated they had to hire off duty cops at $90 an hour to maintain the peace.

    So what is it? Is this about social unrest or maybe cops putting those up to this sort of thing for more income or what? It seems to be happening way more than I remember when I was that age growing up.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 2:52pm

    Keene's police chief defends the BearCat in 2012:

    “Do I think al Qaeda is going to target Pumpkin Fest? No, but are there fringe groups that want to make a statement? Yes, and we should prepare for that.”


    (raises hand): Who are these "fringe groups" exactly and why do their alleged statements require military level preparedness? Apparently Keene is a hotbed of fringe-type-group-activity.

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  • identicon
    weneedhelp - NSI, 23 Oct 2014 @ 3:01pm

    Ha ha ha... Look at the black dude in the news picture... as if he's saying... What'd you say bitch?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 3:05pm

    but Tim, aren't we all niggers now?

    A key point from the Boston Globe article was that the police in Keene, New Hampshire used substantially less force against "rowdy college students" than police in nearby Amherst, Massachusetts wielded a few months earlier against similar "rowdy college students" and were widely criticised for their use of excessive force.
    The University of Massachusetts Amherst has faced a similar situation centered around the annual Blarney Blowout, which resulted in 58 arrests this year. A recent review by former Boston police commissioner Edward F. Davis called for the police there to adopt less aggressive tactics. “The donning of riot helmets and the use of chemical munitions had the effect of creating confusion and perpetuating the unruly behavior of the crowd,” the report found.

    I disagree with Tim's narrative. One of the lessons of the Occupy protests was that middle-class white people (including women & elderly) can indeed be treated just as brutally as black people have historically been treated by police. Consider it a victory for racial equality if you will, that basically, we're all niggers now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 3:19pm

    I know Ferguson

    I grew up on one side of it. I own a house on the other side.

    And one of the major factors contributing to the tension there is a peculiarity of St. Louis County: there are many tiny towns -- a lot of which were created 50+ years ago in transparently racist attempts to keep the black population of St. Louis City from moving into the county. Of course that effort crumbled in time but those towns still exist, they have their own mayors and police and courts (largely white) -- and they subsist, financially, by preying on their own communities (largely black). I urge you to read http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/03/how-st-louis-county-missouri-profits-from -poverty/ and http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/10/16/why-we-need-to-fix-st-louis/ by Radley Balko in the Washington Post to understand how this has turned into a system that impoverishes people and keeps them that way: poor, desperate, and fearful.

    Of course the actions of the police since Michael Brown's death haven't helped: from letting his body lay in the street for hours, from deploying with military weapons, from Officer GoFuckYourself, to pepper-spraying and teargassing livestreamers, to threatening journalists, to arresting legal observers, to refusing to wear their nametags (in violation of DoJ directives), to strategically leaking information about the grand jury proceedings (a crime, incidentally), to making up and trying to enforce a "five second rule", to smearing Brown by releasing an edited video, to failing to produce a use-of-force incident report (which is mandatory), to hiding Darren Wilson (who, by the way, was previously on a police force so corrupt that it was disbanded: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/darren-wilsons-first-job-was-on-a-troubled-police-force-disba nded-by-authorities/2014/08/23/1ac796f0-2a45-11e4-8593-da634b334390_story.html). He's not the only Ferguson police officer with issues either: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/at-least-6-ferguson-officers-apart-from-brown-shooter-have-be en-named-in-lawsuits/2014/08/30/535f7142-2c96-11e4-bb9b-997ae96fad33_story.html The situation was never going to be good, but Ferguson police have made it MUCH worse -- and in the couple of months since, they seem to have learning nothing.

    And of course the contrast with Keene has been discussed at length, e.g.: http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/10/20/pumpkin-riot-ferguson-the-white-privilege-to-turn-down-f or-whatever/ and http://www.boston.com/news/local/new-hampshire/2014/10/20/keene-not-ferguson-despite-the-police-fire s-and-tear-gas/mqRDgwIPsl3x1gok1fqHlM/story.html among many other places.

    I can drive through Ferguson quite safely. That's because I'm white. I won't get pulled over for failure to signal and I won't get my car searched. And if I walk around, I won't be followed by a cop car half a block behind and I won't be asked what I'm doing there. The institutionalized racism in the police force pretty much guarantees that even if I encounter police for some reason (say, a fender bender) I'll be treated with a modicum of respect. But change me to black and it'd be a different story. I might well face those military weapons (see http://www.thenation.com/article/181315/catalog-ferguson-police-weaponry for an interesting article about them) even for something routine and innocuous.

    As you might guess, I've followed this story very closely. I think the protestors made some early mistakes (the infamous QuikTrip destruction being one of them) but since then, they have tried very hard to engage in peaceful, nonviolent and creative protest. The police should be protecting them, that's the part of "serve and protect" that comes into play here. But that's not how it's gone down, and so I wake up every morning and check the news early, while it's still dark, hoping that I don't read that a street I rode my bike down as a child has become the scene of a terrible tragedy.

    It really is about race, people. And those of us who enjoy white privilege as an accident of birth need to stop denying that. I had hoped to live long enough to see Martin Luther King's dream come true, to see my grandchildren grow up in a world where race is noted, but disregarded as an archaic relic of a past unenlightened age. That's not going to happen: there is a still a need for John Lewis at the barricades. (Look him up. He is a giant of a man, a living national treasure.)

    I hope for the best. But I fear that the answer Kosh gave when asked "how will this end?" is apropos: "in fire".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 3:30pm

    Give it a few more years and it will be everyone that is not a cop or the people that view themselves as the elite will be treated as 2nd class citizen regardless of the colour of their skin.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 3:54pm

    Tried? or Rejected?

    The mayor and city council tried twice to return the vehicle and grant money to the DHS without success.

    The google searches I've tried, and the title of the linked article say "rejected attempts to return..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 4:49pm

    I've certainly been the beneficiary of white privilege before (and will be again, probably tomorrow if not sooner). However, over the past few years, I have consciously and knowingly altered my behavior simply to avoid police interactions because they scare they shit out of me. I always hoped that when we finally achieved racial equality in this country, it would be because we finally treated blacks as well as we treat ourselves. At least as far as the police are concerned, I suspect we're going to get to equality in the other direction, and we'll all be worse off for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 5:44pm

    Some people are more likely to brutally murder others during their little riots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2014 @ 6:57pm

    I'm surprised antidirt's private cocksucker hasn't posted his usual "cop-hating Techdirt" diatribe. Miracle?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sketch, 24 Oct 2014 @ 4:10am

    To the bleeding heart cowards.

    Having grown up as white kid in the hood, I'm getting a kick out of these replies. 'white privilege' my ass. In my experience, the only people who complain about some imaginary 'privilege' are the wonder-bread-mayonnaise-sandwich-eating metro-sexual-hiptster-biatches who like to drone on about apple, gluten, paleo and turtleneck sweaters. People, who's parents paid for school and got ribbons for participation. so take YOUR 'white privilege' back to whatever limousine-liberal bullshiat town you came from and STFU, because you wouldn't last a night in SE D.C., Richmond, Baltimore or cities of the like. Racism is capable from EVERYONE.

    /all that looting and no one saw fit to steal a belt?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 4:23am

      Re: To the bleeding heart cowards.

      Love it! Would you like to come to the reunion? You could bring some spice to the event.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 5:54am

      Re: To the bleeding heart cowards.

      Were you wearing your Klan robes when you wrote that?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:13am

      Re: To the bleeding heart cowards.

      "In my experience"

      Then your experience is shockingly limited. You should try to broaden it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Sketch, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:08am

        Re: Re: To the bleeding heart cowards.

        when was the last time you spent any amount of time in the inner city? ANY inner-city? I've been a volunteer EMT for almost 20 years, at least one shift a week. You have no idea how broad my experience is - simply that you disagree with it. And your only defense is to imply that my experience isn't as broad as YOU think it should be? Build a bridge and get over yourself.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 8:28am

          Re: Re: Re: To the bleeding heart cowards.

          "when was the last time you spent any amount of time in the inner city?"

          Yesterday. And I grew up in the inner city (a place with plenty of fun things like gang violence), so I'm not lacking any experience there.

          "And your only defense is to imply that my experience isn't as broad as YOU think it should be?"

          I'm not making a defense. I'm simply pointing out that your experience is hardly a universal one, yet you seem to be saying that it is somehow indicative of a universal reality. Since it's obviously not -- there are plenty of people who have a very different experience. It's not that yours isn't as broad as I think it should be, it's that your view doesn't reflect the full reality.

          "Build a bridge and get over yourself."

          Physician, heal thyself.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Sketch, 24 Oct 2014 @ 10:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: To the bleeding heart cowards.

            yet, somehow - magically, YOUR view DOES reflect 'full' reality? something which you have yet to define - aside from gang violence. Is that all you equate to the inner-city? That's Sad - but that's just my "limited" experience talking.

            HA!....and as for "healing thyself", please show me how its done. I apparently lack the experience, and insight of "full reality" to do so on my own. But be sure to check your privilege at the door and I'm all out of Mayonnaise.

            /please turn off the Mumford & Sons

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 11:21am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: To the bleeding heart cowards.

              "yet, somehow - magically, YOUR view DOES reflect 'full' reality?"

              Nope. I never claimed that at all. We both have limited views of reality. The difference is that only one of us appears to be aware of that fact.

              All I'm saying is that the assertions that you've made a clearly not universal as there are plenty of people, including myself, who have different experiences. I don't have to have an all-encompassing perception of reality to know that what you said doesn't comport with my experience.

              "Is that all you equate to the inner-city?"

              Nope, never claimed that either. I was just trying to head off an attack that I was anticipating you would make, based on the highly insulting and bigoted tone of your original comment. Let me anticipate another thing here: by "bigoted", I don't mean "racist". I mean assuming the assumption that anyone who doesn't agree with you must be "bleeding hearts," "cowards," "wonder-bread-mayonnaise-sandwich-eating metro-sexual-hiptster-biatches who like to drone on about apple, gluten, paleo and turtleneck sweaters" and etc. That you think these things are true shows how deep your ignorance is of people who view the world differently than you.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 8:00am

        Re: Re: To the bleeding heart cowards.

        What I would agree with is that there are several types of divides in our culture:

        White/Minority
        Rich/Poor
        Male/Female
        etc.

        These many divides can turn our tribalistic brains into a confused goulash that usually leads to a lot of poor and unjust knee-jerk decisions, especially when the context is different.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:10pm

      Bleeding Hearts and Artists

      Ooooh, you cannot reach me now
      Ooooh, no matter how you try
      Goodbye, cruel world, it's over
      Walk on by.


      Sitting in a bunker here behind my wall
      Waiting for the worms to come.
      In perfect isolation here behind my wall
      Waiting for the worms to come.


      Waiting to cut out the deadwood.
      Waiting to clean up the city.
      Waiting to follow the worms.
      Waiting to put on a black shirt.
      Waiting to weed out the weaklings.
      Waiting to smash in their windows
      And kick in their doors.
      Waiting for the final solution
      To strengthen the strain.
      Waiting to follow the worms.
      Waiting to turn on the showers
      And fire the ovens.
      Waiting for the queens and the coons
      and the reds and the jews.
      Waiting to follow the worms.


      Would you like to see Britannia
      Rule again, my friend?
      All you have to do is follow the worms.
      Would you like to send our colored cousins
      Home again, my friend?


      All you need to do is follow the worms.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jim Anderson, 24 Oct 2014 @ 6:26am

    Where we going

    There were white faces in Freguson and black faces in Keene. The forbidden love that dare not speak it's name is class. Also in Ferguson repeated riots night after night allowed police mobilization. If the college age rioters in Keene kept coming back for more the response would have escalated night after night. The article is interesting and raises some valid points about the different responses by authorities in each case. But I wonder what the author of this article wants. Would a less firm response in Ferguson really serve the interests of Ferguson residents who were losing their jobs and commercial opportunities as stores were looted? In many other places in the world both of these situations would be handled by issuing live ammo and shooting till the disorder no longer existed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 9:00am

      Re: Where we going

      "Would a less firm response in Ferguson really serve the interests of Ferguson residents who were losing their jobs and commercial opportunities as stores were looted?"

      Not "less firm" but "more reasonable". And yes, I think it would have served the residents much better. The police response encouraged and promoted the rioting -- which was triggered by heavy-handed police action in the first place -- and made the entire situation far worse than it needed to be.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 7:03am

    One response is in the aftermath of a police shooting, the other response is to a pumpkin festival. Of course they are totally different situations.

    Riddle me this, when I go to bars, I don't expect trouble and don't carry a gun. When the receiver from a NY Football team goes to clubs, he carries a gun, and literally shoots himself in the foot (well, leg).

    My expectations are different because of my perspective.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2014 @ 8:01am

    look on the bright side, the cops in keene actually know how to handle a riot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheLoot (profile), 24 Oct 2014 @ 3:08pm

    Better spit out the shoe polish.

    Let's see: happened after heightened scrutiny of police actions began, including scrutiny of actions taken at a recent incident in a nearby town. Let's not forget that the locales most likely vary quite a bit relating to public safety and crime.

    If it hadn't been for the race-baiting image comparisons, I might have almost thought you weren't pushing a narrative without regard to facts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Oct 2014 @ 5:11am

    Somewhat unfair comparison. Ferguson was a riot against the police. Keene was a bunch of drunken idiots being drunken idiots. I can understand a differing response to the two incidents based on that alone, completely excluding skin color.

    Lets be honest, these two situations are completely different scenarios. The Ferguson response was certainly out of line, no question, but 'fuck the police' riots tend to get that response. Keene would have probably seen the armored vehicle used if it was a full blown 'fuck the police' riot as well.

    That being said, I'd have rolled the bearcat out in a heartbeat once they started chanting for it. You want a police state response? Have tear gas, will travel! Our tear gas canisters will blot out the sun! And...this is why I need to be a cop :(

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Oct 2014 @ 10:52am

      So a protest agains unjust police authority deserves worse?

      A cop gunned down a civilian with no justification for such an extreme response. They protesters weren't there to riot (not most of them) they were there to grieve and demand justice. Justice that they still cannot get.

      That protest was the expression of a grievance and a demand for redress. That "> sounds familiar to me.

      You're not meaning to imply that it was appropriate for the police to escalate the situation because their authority was challenged, are you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jeremy, 25 Oct 2014 @ 7:23am

    Multi-night rioting vs a few hours

    In Ferguson did the armored vehicles come out the night Brown was killed? Or did they first come out in later nights? If they came out in later nights, was there property damage in nights or the night before?
    In New Hampshire, how many nights in a row was there property damage due to students rioting?
    Multi-night event with escalating force compared to a few hour event. Hmmm...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Oct 2014 @ 10:45am

      Re: Multi-night rioting vs a few hours

      They came out night one of the protests.

      The cops were in full battle armor and freaking camo. (And missing their badges.)

      The cops were pointing their guns.

      When the cops decided it was closing time, they just started lobbing tear gas and using the sound canon and shooting people with rubber bullets.

      The cops, in full battle armor had already seized and detained journalists for taking too long departing a McDonalds they decided to arbitrarily close.

      I have photos. The police marching through the tear-gas look like something out of a dystopian movie, or zombies in the fog.

      And that's the night the flag-shirt guy threw the tear-gas canister back, according to him to get it away from children in the protest.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Apeon, 25 Oct 2014 @ 4:47pm

    comparability

    These two events are not comparable for the purposes evaluating press reporting or societal attitudes---unless you have an agenda

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Oct 2014 @ 5:57pm

    Whose is the perceived difference in the macro images?

    I see both left and right images as thugs, only the right side in the middle as animals (the left is peaceful), and both at the bottom as destroying their community.
    (I'm white)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2014 @ 6:19pm

    It's not one nation, or at least it shouldn't be one nation. The difference between how things went down in Keene and Ferguson should highlight that fact.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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