Would Michael Brown be alive if he had been stealing public grass?

Cliven Bundy is free. Michael Brown dead. Justice?

Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown was shot six times and killed nine days ago by officer Darren Wilson. Brown was shot because, perhaps, he was resisting arrest for jaywalking or stealing cigars.

Unarmed local residents gathered to protest his death. They were met by local law enforcement dressed for heavy armed resistance and accompanied with vehicles with amour superior to that in past wars. There was some rock throwing and vandalism from the protesters or people who were on the margins of the protest. They were met by tear gas, non-armed physical force, and arrest. Protest continues and grows, although there was one night of peace when the armour and tear gas was withdrawn. Now the national guard has arrived.

Last May, rancher Cliven Bundy escaped unharmed, property intact after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management tried to enforce a federal judge’s order to capture, remove and impound his cattle which he had been trespassing (stealing forage) on public lands for about twenty years.

BLM law enforcement was present at the roundup, and they closed the roundup area to the public. A few local people were shoved and tasered. A heavily armed crowd of non-local people gathered in the course of a week to confront and stop the cattle roundup. They were successful when en mass they aimed their guns at law enforcement and to all accounts were on the edge of an armed battle.

The BLM abandoned the roundup, released the cattle that had been captured and left the area. Despite talk that the matter is not settled, law enforcement seems to have lost interest in enforcing the court’s order. Bundy’s cattle continue to scavenge the harsh desert for forage, damaging its meager productivity and the wildlife that live in it.

Journalists and columnists are beginning to write about the differences between the two situations. Would Ferguson protesters have done better if they faced law enforcement well supplied with light arms? Why didn’t Ferguson law enforcement go home as they had with Bundy rather than exacerbate the situation? Alternatively, why didn’t the BLM shoot it out with Bundy’s supporters to uphold the law? Did Bundy’s occupation have something to do with the difference? Did Brown or Bundy’s race have something to do with it? What about the race of the supporters of the two men?

A brief web search brings up a growing number of articles comparing the incidents. For example, Ferguson Shows a Nation at War With Itself. Daily Beast, or 2 confrontations highlight very different police responses.  By Bruce St. James


  1. MikePost Avatar

    Bob, first off both of these situations were badly mishandled so I think it is not productive to compare two failures and ask which one is the better outcome. If Ferguson PD had backed down and the BLM had shot and killed 20 “protestors” the outcomes would be no better for the resolution of the related problems.

    The point of interest is that the Feds (FBI) are now stepping in to the Ferguson situation but ignoring Bundy. That is in part, I believe, because BLM is not really a law enforcement agency at heart and thus lacks the leadership, self-confidence and political will to do what needs to be done.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      Mike Post,

      I surely agree with your comment about the BLM suffering as a law enforcement agency. The public lands as a whole, I think, suffer from failure to enforce many important rules, regulations, standards, especially regarding livestock grazing. Letting Bundy go, however, has diminished compliance across the board on grazing.

  2. WM Avatar

    I tend to see the Bundy incident a bit differently. The mid-term elections for the Obama Administration are crucial – particularly in the West where a few seats are up for grabs- including the precarious balance in the Senate. “Don’t do anything to rock the boat before Nov 4,” might play into the feds consciously trying not to do much of anything (that and they don’t want a bunch of dead federal law enforcement or wacko guns rights civilians, some with military training). And, afterall this is about somebody’s cows eating grass that some would say would go to waste anyway (I am NOT one of those by the way, because I want Bundy behind bars for violating two federal court orders, and his cows gone.)

    The other aspect has to with the Clark County Sheriff. The current sheriff will not stand for election, but a guy he is endorsing will. So, Sheriff Gillespie has his own political reasons for not arresting Bundy and some of his followers for what I am pretty sure is a long list of misdemeanors and felonies associated with the “standoff” of removing Bundy’s cows.

    The comparison to the Bundy matter, and some cop shooting a black kid in MO, is just different. And, while it is sad, it doesn’t really ring with the same kind of political shadow despite those two-bit journalists at third tier internet newspapers maybe trying to make it so.

  3. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    I haven’t formed an opinion yet, I haven’t considered all the facts. It is excessive, a unarmed kid shot six times, I will say that.

    Ranching interests hold too much power (that we have given them)for anything seriously to be done about Mr. Bundy and his cattle, I think. The grandstanding approach was a big fail.

  4. Marc Bedner Avatar

    I believe that it is not merely Bundy’s race, but his racism, which shows the difference between the two situations. Like many of his Sagebrush Rebellion supporters, Bundy is open about his racism and his desire to return the country to the way it existed before the Civil War. Imagine the reaction of law enforcement if there were an African-American militia coming to the aid of the Ferguson community.

  5. Nancy Avatar

    “Imagine the reaction of law enforcement if there were an African-American militia coming to the aid of the Ferguson community”

    Or an all white militia coming to the aid of the Ferguson community’s right to protest?

  6. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    But the government(s) have had 20+ years to settle this in the courts, and they have not. Why?

  7. HoofHugs Avatar

    Your article does not reflect what actually happened. The BLM went to the Bundy ranch to remove (?) the trespass cattle. Under the 1992 UN CBD Article 8 (h) combined with the and drafted as part of the 1997 International Plant Protection Convention ratified by US Senate in 2000, in force October 2005, the government has the power to prevent, control, and eradicate any species of plant or animal from any private or public land where the government determines that it does not the species in question to be.

    The BLM shot Cliven Bundy’s bull and some of his best mother cows. They bull dozed some of them and buried them. How can you say that Bundy escaped with his property in tact? The BLM came to enforce a part of an international treaty that originated here in the US to control land use, particularly in the West. All livestock, wild horses, many species of wildlife, plants etc. are on a long list of organisms to be prevented, controlled, and eradicated as non-native species. Much international research has focused on reasons for species extinctions, and though most of the research I’ve followed is on mammals, the scientist that are studying the reasons mammals appeared to disappear in North America have also identified the plants that the species were relying on at the same levels of sediment. It turns out that during climate extremes many species traveled from Europe to North America to Asia and back again during times when sea levels were low enough to expose land bridges that connect the continents. Animals brought seeds and spores from other continents with them. Therefore, the idea that species could not get here on their own is inconsistent with natural history. Scientists know this, but then not all scientists in the US are interested in evidence.

  8. CodyCoyote Avatar

    Ralph, and All— in the middle of the Ferguson MO run of events last week, the cops in Salt Lake City UT shot and killed an unarmed white man, 20 year old Dillon Taylor, at a 7-11 Convenience Store. His crime? —was wanted for probation violation . His actions before being shot ? None—he was wearing headphones and listening to music and did not audibly hear the police yelling at him to put his hands up. When Dillon kept walking unaware of the cops, he got laid low on the spot.

    That was five days ago. To date , no mobs of Mormon white boys are rioting or looting in south Salt Lake City.

    – just sayin’


    1. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue

      You’re usually better than that. There’s been no real history in this country of racial animosity directed toward whites as there has been historically directed toward blacks. Profiling issues, real estate misdirection, prevention from union jobs…

      The onus of racial discrimination is so ingrained that it will take generations to dig out of it, if ever.

      1. CodyCoyote Avatar

        I think I didn’t make myself clear enough here. It’s obviously not about race in Salt Lake at all, but nevertheless a young man was gunned down in cold blood by a uniformed badge officer. The commonality is the excessive and overt use of deadly force by the police . The allusion I made to riots and looting was a fly ball. It’s obvious to me that Ferguson MO was a latent bomb whose dangling fuse caught a spark and ignited. Tell me about the bomb before it went off. We see the ‘ after’.

        I would ask why the Salt Lake City incident has not been picked up and dovetailed into the Ferguson fiasco reporting, or at least compared and contrasted. If the larger issue is one of excessive use of force by local law enforcement, coupled with a militant SWAT mentality replacing the community policing of yore, isn’t that the discussion we should be seeing ?

        1. Immer Treue Avatar
          Immer Treue

          Read Brian’s response below. Eloquent and thorough about how the two, Ferguson and SLC are different.

        2. jdubya Avatar

          Cody, you left out the important event that led to his shooting. As he turned to the cops and responded to their commands to lie down, he reached down to pull up his pants which in true gang tradition were down around his knee caps. They thought he was reaching inside his pants for a weapon.

          Moral of the story, when cops in Salt Lake tell you to raise your hands and lie face down, don’t instead shove you hands into your pants.

          1. Immer Treue Avatar
            Immer Treue

            Not condoning it at all, but if you approach a police officer with your hands in your pockets, you might not be long for this world. That said,if what you say is correct, I wonder if he was given a warning?

        3. Nancy Avatar

          “I would ask why the Salt Lake City incident has not been picked up and dovetailed into the Ferguson fiasco reporting, or at least compared and contrasted. If the larger issue is one of excessive use of force by local law enforcement”

          IMHO, its excessive force CC (again?) that led to frustration, acting out(riots)

          Recalling the Rodney King incident, still fresh in my 60 plus year old mind, when it comes to police force (mostly white police force)

          And as a rule, and I could be wrong here… white people don’t usually “take” to the streets to protest injustices (unless of course its Black Friday 🙂 and that kind of injustice, sanctioned by retail outfits all over the country, all takes place, in lines waiting to get in or in store and not on the streets, in the form of what I like to refer to as “retail riots” – fine if you’ve got cash or credit cards 🙂

          A few are injured (and disenchanted about the stock available)

          But lets face it, what’s been going on in Ferguson MO is a warped sense of entertainment for the rest of the country via the media who can never get enough news (bad or otherwise 🙂

          Like Columbine and a host of other gun related shooting incidents over the past years – good guys, bad guys, misunderstood guys, angry guys, poor guys, entitled guys. depressed guys – getting my drift?


    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      Thanks Cody. This, on top of what I have read lately, leads me to think the process of arrest has become a big mortality threat. Perhaps it is only a matter of better reporting, but there have a lot of mortal or injurious arrests, often recorded by cell phone video.

      1. jdubya Avatar

        And one big difference in the two cases…a body camera.

  9. Brian Ertz Avatar
    Brian Ertz

    Bundy is a white rancher, Brown was a black child.

    Bundy was afforded extensive due process, found to be violating the law in a judicial system that is overtly sympathetic to his identity as a rancher. Brown enjoyed no such due process, Brown was gunned down in the street, shot multiple times while unarmed, apparently for jaywalking – perhaps because the officer involved did not like that this child was flouting the officer’s authority.

    Bundy openly flouted the BLM’s authority – outright denying it, threatened the authorities – and made good on his threat with numerous supporters’ paramilitary antics at his back. Brown was all but alone, walking down the street. Brown’s supporters protest in the street with their hands up.

    The authorities backed off with Bundy, in response to Bundy’s openly militarized threats. The authorities militarized in response to Brown, occupying the community as if the streets of Ferguson are a foreign war zone.

    CodyCoyote says:

    That was five days ago. To date , no mobs of Mormon white boys are rioting or looting in south Salt Lake City.

    Why this is an unfair analogy:

    (a) there is little inference nor indication that the white mormon community in SLC has been systematically alienated, subject to wildly unfair treatment on the street, wildly disproportionate representation throughout their civic institutions, and otherwise held under the boot of their justice system. Do you suspect that white mormons within the community have anecdote after anecdote of police encounters where they can relate to being subjugated by their police department ? Do they have verifiable data where they can relate that mormon’s are appallingly underrepresented in their civic institutions (including police department), pulled over more, found with incriminating evidence proportionately less, and subject to wildly disproportionate consequences than that of non-mormons ? I suspect not.

    What do you suspect would be the socio-political response if despite majority community being white mormon the SLC civic institutions were loaded with blacks, the police force were 90% black, that black police force routinely harassed, abused, and subjugated the white mormon community in SLC – for being mormon – and it was a black officer that shot this boy ?

    That wouldn’t happen. It doesn’t happen anywhere. That’s not just ‘luck’ or ‘chance,’ it’s the result of a very real power dynamic. That power dynamic must be rooted out.

    Brown’s shooting was violence. Enfranchised violence. The disproportionate police encounters that blacks are subject to is violence. Enfranchised violence. The disparity in sentencing is violence. Enfranchised violence. The disparity in police response (i.e. backing off vs. bringing in a militarized occupying force) is violence. Enfranchised violence. Why are people so critical of the violence of “rioting and looting” but so accepting of enfranchised violence ?

    What’s happening in Ferguson is not merely “rioting and looting.” It has a socio-political edge. Characterizing what’s happening in Ferguson as a response to “rioting and looting” sterilizes the situation of the social and political implications which are due the circumstance and which are legitimately considered given the gravity of the conditions that have been simmering under the surface for a very long time. That characterization further disenfranchises the people who are fed up.

    (a) The problem is the enfranchised response. The police are treating the streets of Ferguson as if it were Fallujah. The people of Ferguson as if they were ‘other,’ not just ‘other’ but ‘enemy.’ The police’s conduct, at every step of this process, has been hostile to the community. They have alienated themselves from the community and then confronted the community in a militarized fashion as if to occupy the community.

    What’s happening is protest, revolt, rebellion. And it is a rational and legitimate response to a community’s credible and legitimate experience of a system of Justice that has ignored and abused them for decades and provided them inadequate/ineffective alternative avenue through which to pursue their grievances in an empowered way.

    The people should just submit to that very system of Justice and pray that it will benevolently right the systemic wrongs that they have been subject to all this time ? No. The people have credible and legitimate reason not to trust the police, credible and legitimate reason not to trust that they can just collect enough signatures, credible and legitimate reason to treat the system of Justice in Ferguson as if it has been hostile and unresponsive to their legitimate grievances. Citizens in Ferguson ought have every opportunity to do what they need to do to confront the systemic violence they have been subject to for decades in the way that they choose. Most are doing so peacefully, nonviolently. But those few who respond otherwise, whether purposefully or reactively, by bringing social unrest are contributing a great deal of leverage to the efficacy of the non-violent voices. They ought not be disproportionately criticized for their violence. The police have, and continue to dole out a whole lot more unjustifiable violence.

    There would be no protest, revolt, and community rebellion if the feeling of the community were that the system of Justice and political apparatus that exists in Ferguson were fairly responsive to the community – if that legitimate distrust was not shared among a significant swath of the community.

    The difference in SLC is that the community in SLC does not have a credible distrust of the system of Justice. The people are enfranchised within that system.

    The difference with Bundy is that Bundy is hyper-enfranchised within his system of Justice.

    The propriety, the fairness, with which justice is afforded is not supposed to be contingent on identity. It’s supposed to be impartial. It is not.

  10. CodyCoyote Avatar

    I have some difficulty stitching Cliven Bundy and Ferguson MO together using any rationale. So let me ask the same basic question of each scenario:

    Was the Cliven Bundy fiasco a unique one-off given the personalities and the 20 years of run up where Bundy ignored the law and twisted the circumstances to a point where something had to be done ? Unique to Bundy , or symptomatic of too much of western public lands grazers vs. BLM ?

    Was the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson a result of community wide pressures built up over a long time in that community like a pressure cooker , or is Ferguson a petri dish or test tube where we are examining the culture of modern day race relations and civil rights ( not the same thing ). Is what happened in Ferguson unique to the St. Louis macroclimate, or is it a harbinger of a whole lot of modern America ? Could this have happened in any one of a number of places…tick, tick ?

    The only common denominator apparent to me is the threat/use of violence with guns to resolve something.

    Riddle me this , social scientists .

    1. JB Avatar

      “Riddle me this, social scientists.”

      I think I’ll leave this one to the philosophers, activists, and politicians. Great injustices were done in both cases.

      1. timz Avatar

        “Bundy is a white rancher, Brown was a black child.”

        “Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer whose fatal shooting of Michael Brown touched off more than a week of demonstrations, suffered severe facial injuries, including an orbital (eye socket) fracture, and was nearly beaten unconscious by Brown moments before firing his gun,”
        “the 6 foot, 4 inch, 292-pound Brown”

        Sorry Brian have to disagree on this one about Brown being a child, at least physically.

        1. Ida Lupines Avatar
          Ida Lupines

          Well if true, that changes everything, doesn’t it. This is becoming shameful politicizing. And the rioting and looting is a sort of militia, isn’t it. Playing the race card is always a guarantee.

          I have to admit I am weary of the never-ending problems and needs of humanity, while other problems go begging. I do not care anymore. My issues are the environment and wildlife, there are myriad social agencies and resources available for human problems and needs, and yet very little is ever accomplished, and more and more is devoured. I get the image of the old Pac-man video game.

          Our current administration is abysmal, and damn right that it’s the worst since WWII. When WM mentioned in one of his posts to basically have a heart the D’s are trying to hold onto Senate seats, I have to admit I got an amusing thought about President Obama and his “D” Team of staff and cabinet, getting a grade of D by the voters. And an F in ecology and environment, not even a clue.

          On that pleasant note, I’ll say goodnight.

  11. topher Avatar

    A little early for comparisons. While the facts are pretty clear for Bundy its mostly rumor and speculation for Brown.

  12. smalltownID Avatar

    Regarding “there is little inference nor indication that the white mormon community in SLC has been systematically alienated, subject to wildly unfair treatment….”

    This is true as of late but very few people are familiar with the extermination order on Mormons of the 1800s, not coincidentally in MO. Such government oppression followed the Mormons to the Wasatch Front where the U.S. military nearly exterminated them. I am not suggesting that Mormons experienced a plight on par with native americans or the black community but it is a little known aspect of U.S. History and mormon history that undoubtedly influenced their culture especially in the early 1900s.

    1. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue

      Comparing what happened to the Mormons, as bad as it was, to what happened to the black man in this country is a fools errand.

      1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
        Ralph Maughan

        I liked Cody’s original comment except his quip about Mormons. A police shooting in Salt Lake such as this says nothing about Mormons. SLC probably less than 50% LDS. The deceased was obviously not a missionary or active Mormon. The cops? Some likely.

        In addition, Utah Mormons are not disempowered in SLC

  13. Yvette Avatar

    I don’t think one has to be a social scientist to offer an opinion on this comparison. We only need to be human. Each of us will have our own biases based on our personal life experiences. Some people learn to recognize those biases and attempt to reduce them. None of us can change our ethnicity, but attached to that ethnicity are the stereotypes that are ingrained into our society. Those things affect our perception of volatile situations like the Bundy incident and what is happening in Ferguson, MO. All of the comments on this topic, so far, bring something worth pondering. They all have provided me with a bit of a different view.

    I thought about the comparison between the Bundy response, and the response to the protesters (and the looters) in Ferguson before it appeared in news articles. What happened with the White militias pointing guns at federal officials and/or LE incensed me then and it still angers me. When it was happening I thought that no one in this country would ever have gotten away with what they did other than White people. I imagined if a crowd of African Americans, Native Americans or Hispanics were riding in on those horses or were the ones on the bridge pointing high powered weapons at federal LE. Had that of been the case, I felt that the response would have been much more like what we saw last week in Ferguson, MO. It isn’t all race, either. I doubt a large group of bikers could have gotten away with what we saw with the Bundy episode.

    When the Bundy incident was happening a lady posted a response to me on this blog. She was a supporter of Bundy and these patriot types, but did not post here regularly. She stated to me that even if it had of been Native Americans in Bundy’s place that those militias would have shown up in support. Though I did not respond to her, I thought, “bullshit, she suffers from the American equality illusion.”

    The military like response to protesters in Ferguson, MO was over the top, in my opinion. Michael Brown should not have been shot six times and killed. Period. It can be adequately argued that the Bundy situation is quite different than the one in Ferguson. I also believe the day you see a large group of Black or Brown people point weapons to federal law enforcement is the day you’ll see them met with a barrage of bullets. We would never be able to get away with what Cliven Bundy has pulled off.

    A good comparison to the Bundy escapade is the ongoing battle of the Dann sisters. One of them, Mary has since passed, but the battle goes on. They are the two Shoshone sisters that have battled the BLM, and the federal government over grazing rights. There were no flag waving, bible thumping militias there for the Dann sisters. Appease me of one thing; watch this 25 minute documentary on what has happened with Carrie and Mary Dann. I think you will see the difference in response and treatment of them to the ilk of White militias and Cliven Bundys.


    1. Nancy Avatar

      Inn addition to the video documentary:


    2. Linda Horn Avatar
      Linda Horn

      The land from the Dann Sisters estate has been sold to Barrack Gold by a relative. All the horses have been rounded up, sold directly to a Killer Buyer, and are destined for slaughter in Mexico. Advocates who oppose horse slaughter advocates are trying to raise money to save some of them, but the Killer Buyer is demanding a big price in a very short time. The Dann sisters loved their horses. Their relative obviously loves money more than the land and horses who roam it.

      1. Linda Horn Avatar
        Linda Horn

        Sorry about double “advocates”, but I’m sure my meaning is clear.

      2. Ida Lupine Avatar
        Ida Lupine

        Oh no. 🙁 Disgusting. I wish somebody could step in to buy them out from under him and file an injunction. How terribly cruel and heartless.

      3. Ida Lupine Avatar
        Ida Lupine

        How can we help?

        1. Linda Horn Avatar
          Linda Horn

          They’ve set up a You Caring Fundraiser. There’s actually only one day left and they’re no where near their goal. Sadly the Killer Buyer has refused to extend shipment. Please donate if you can and share. If things don’t work out, the money will be returned to donors upon request.


          1. Linda Horn Avatar
            Linda Horn

            You don’t have to buy a horse. Donations in any amount will help.

      4. Yvette Avatar

        I wonder what is happening. Mary Dann died in an accident on the ranch a long time ago, but I haven’t heard that Carrie has passed.

        The entire sordid ordeal with the Dann sisters is typical of America’s dealings with Natives. From the supreme court decision on the Shoshone land (lost due to encroachment, but there are other details) to the BLM’s seizure of their horses. The tribe got robbed; the Dann sisters got robbed; the horses got robbed; and the wildlife got robbed. Not a surprise. It’s to be expected when it’s the U.S. of America dealing with Indians, Christian Nation that it is. Not one stinking treaty has ever been honored. Not a single one. God bless America. http://www.wcl.american.edu/hrbrief/10/2indian.cfm

        There’s an old joke from Indian Country: “Do you know why America was the first nation to put a man on the moon? Because they heard there was an Indian up there with 10 acres.”

        I have to laugh when people talk about good, old, Christian Morman, Cliven Bundy. There were no gun toting, flag waving militias present for the Dann sisters and I get angry every time the subject arises. I am certain had there been a mob of gun toting Indians there for the Dann sisters the outcome would have been wholly different. That is just life. It is the way it is.

        It may be easy for you to talk about the relative selling the horses, but do you know what is the situation? I don’t. I do know if the relative is selling he/she may be backed against a wall. Maybe not. I don’t know. It could be they don’t have money for many other options. If that is the case there are lots of wildhorse advocates out there. Feel free to step up and help out.

        If the Dann sister’s horses are being sold to a kill buyer I think that the horse advocates should step up and buy rather than criticize. If for no other reason than for historical. The Dann sisters fought a long and good fight. They lost. They said it never was about grazing fees and that it was about the gold. They were right.

        1. Ida Lupine Avatar
          Ida Lupine

          Those horses belong to the Dann sisters! Private property rights are so sacrosanct here in this country, but running roughshod over others’ rights is ok?

        2. Linda Horn Avatar
          Linda Horn

          Yvette, we’re trying to buy some of the horses. We’ve set up a You Caring Fundraiser (there’s actually only one day left). Although it’s no where near the goal, perhaps the Killer Buyer will part with as many as donations will cover. I’m sure he’d make more money than he’d get from a slaughterhouse and he wouldn’t have to haul. Sadly, he’s refused to extend the shipping date. If things don’t work out, the money will be returned to donors upon request.


          1. Yvette Avatar

            Good to know. I’ll do what I can. Keep fighting, Linda.

        3. Linda Horn Avatar
          Linda Horn

          People don’t have to buy a horse. Donations in any amount will help.

  14. Peter Kiermeir Avatar
    Peter Kiermeir

    In the Bundy case law enforcement withdrew, fooled, defeated. The show filmed and youtube´d, but mostly ignored on global news. Now the world watches in disbelief the pictures for Furgeson. What do we see here? We see, a guy lies dead in the street – officers watching, not knowing what to do next, helpless, endless minutes on tape. We see the U.S. Army riding into a IS infested Iraqi city? Nope, we see the police department of your average American suburb in full armor and combat outfit, ready to take on any protesters! We note, that journalists are detained by the number – “(press-)freedoms way, USA”? America, where are you going to?

    1. timz Avatar

      “USA”? America, where are you going to?”

      We a like a big turd circling the bowl in a recently flushed toilet.

  15. Gail Avatar

    I love this blog!

    It would be interesting to learn more of the perspectives from the law enforcement point of view. Is there anyone from LE on this blog?
    It is my impression that most/all LE officers are trained to essentially empty their guns if they feel their lives are in imminent danger. In the courtroom, experts are brought in to show what HAS happened to officers that don’t … and it’s not good. If they put their lives on the line on a DAILY basis, shouldn’t they be afforded the absolute best self-protective, MODERN equipment available even if interpreted as “militaristic” in appearance? If they were my sons or daughters I would say it’s a far cry better than sending them in wearing business suits and bow ties.
    Last night I watched the news unfolding in Ferguson. One man couldn’t understand why water bottles thrown at police was such a big deal. IS ANARCHY on their agenda?? The crowd barricaded off a street and held up a DO NOT ENTER sign in front of poilice. Tear gas and smoke bombs were used and it wasn’t long before the crowd dispersed. The method was effective and there were no mortalities to the best of my knowledge.
    I am not oblivious to the fact that there are some individuals in LE who are quite full of themselves and should NEVER be hired for law enforcement…ever.
    Perhaps agencies need to be more selective with who they recruit.
    Perhaps they need to weed out the bad apples….revamp their training methods to be more public friendly….change their image. I don’t have the solution. But it’s apparent that large public gatherings can be quickly infiltrated by some troublemakers. It works both ways: Each has to show more RESPECT for the other. While law enforcement officers have a job to “serve and protect” they should not be required to be martyrs.
    Hopefully the missing link will soon be discovered and put into action so that the public once again is safe but respectful of police authority and that the police will not feel compelled to wield that authority inappropriately or unnecessarily on the public. No small task.
    Almost forgot! As far as Cliven Bundy is concerned, I find it an outrage that he has apparently so far been successful at securing his squatter’s rights and thumbing his nose at anyone who has a stake in the protection of Federal (our) lands. There is a good chance the reason he has not been compelled to obey the laws is due to the fact that he and his supporters represent two factions, the ranchers AND gun advocates…two very powerful lobbies. It’s definitely not right to let the old geezer get away with this and I hope that through litigation he eventually will be paying the country what he owes.

    1. Brian Ertz Avatar
      Brian Ertz

      The restoration of the “order” those of us in privileged communities, who are afforded due process of law, would like to see in Ferguson = persistent systematic violence perpetrated against the black community in an “ordered” fashion. “Order” as-is = injustice, violence, and a thick white thumb pushing down on the scales of justice.

      We cannot understand why people wouldn’t just let the investigation play out, let the system “work.” That’s because we, in our position of relative privilege, have always enjoyed a Rule of Law that includes relative fairness, impartiality, and a chance to be heard by arbiters of justice who take our word seriously and are responsive to our grievances. The system “works” for us. Not so for a huge number of people in America.

      [I]t is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.

      And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.

      Martin Luther King: The Other America, Grosse Pointe High School – March 14, 1968

  16. Nancy Avatar

    It’s getting harder and harder to explain away why our species (human) can’t just find ways to get along with each other.




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Ralph Maughan