By Jaelithe Judy. Reposted with Permission by Cynematic.
I’m seeing Ferguson mentioned a lot in connection with the recent armed takeover by anti-government activists of a federally owned cabin in the woods. Which means of course that I’ve seen a lot of misinformation posted about Ferguson. Again. So let’s review some facts (citations in comments):
The initial protests in Ferguson following the shooting of Michael Brown were PEACEFUL PROTESTS by UNARMED CITIZENS in THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD. The first riot in Ferguson happened AFTER:
- Unarmed, peaceful citizens of Ferguson holding a candlelight vigil near the site where Michael Brown was shot, and a second group of unarmed, peaceful protesters who had gathered outside the Ferguson police department to ask the police to turn the investigation of the shooting over to an unbiased higher authority were surrounded by police wielding full riot gear, mace and police dogs, and
- A police officer encouraged his police dog to urinate on an impromptu memorial made of candles and flowers at the site of the shooting, and police officers repeatedly drove over the memorial with their cars, in front of the candlelight vigil attendees.
It was AFTER those events that some people (not all of whom were even actually from Ferguson– some came from neighboring municipalities) decided to burn down a convenience store and smash shop windows and steal things. The violence occurred after the police response. So yes, the police response to unarmed protests in Ferguson WAS very different from the police response to the armed protest currently in Oregon, but that is NOT because people in Ferguson were rioting when the police responded. When the protests in Ferguson began, they were not riots. They were not violent. They also did not involve the armed takeover of a federal building or threats against the federal government.
That is what I have to say about Ferguson (as someone who currently lives literally down the street from Ferguson, and who, as a child, attended the Ferguson-Florissant school district, and who has frequently shopped, visited parks, and volunteered in Ferguson, etc., for decades, and who currently has multiple friends who work and live in and around Ferguson, including some who were directly involved with events surrounding the unrest in Ferguson).
As for what I have to say about Oregon, well: My mother owns a farm in the PNW that has been repeatedly threatened by the wildfires which are such a serious threat in that region, so, if you want to talk about people who deliberately start large fires in the wilderness without proper permission or supervision and without taking proper precautions to ensure the fire doesn’t spread to other people’s land, maybe you should talk to her, but I personally think they should be put in jail, and I think a year is not long enough.
My stepfather grew up on a reservation in the PNW, so if you want to talk about who should “own” land there, I think maybe you should talk to him, but I personally think that if we are going to start demanding that the government give publicly owned land “back to the people”– which is a very odd way of putting the idea that land that is currently publicly shared as a wildlife preserve should be given over to private citizens for their private use — then we need to have a good long hard think about precisely which people have the strongest claim to publicly managed land up in the PNW.
Because I’m pretty sure my stepfather’s people lived in Oregon a long, long time before any current farmers did, and they probably have some ideas about how they’d like to see the land managed that probably do not involve a wildlife refuge in Oregon being taken over by white supremacists from Nevada.