Similar to the aftermath of the one-night Pumpkin riot in New Hampshire last fall, the Ferguson Twitter Brigade has been on a tangent today trying to contrast the tactics and media coverage of police in Lexington, KY responding to post basketball riots, with that of Ferguson. A few of their specific claims include:
- 1.) That chemical munitions were not used.
- 2.) That rioters were not arrested.
- 3.) That the media is refusing to call the events “riots” but other more forgiving terms.
In reference to #1, see above image of pepperballs being fired.
In reference to #2:
References 31 arrests
In reference to #3:
The obvious implication from the claims is that the reaction to Ferguson related rioting was unjustified and clearly race based since the bulk of the Ferguson rioters have largely been black and the Lexington rioters were largely white. Unfortunately, the pesky facts run counter to the established Ferguson Twitter Brigade narrative.
The FTB made similar claims in reference to the NH Pumpkin Riot last fall. Naturally, these claims and comparisons were also disingenuous. The reality of what happened in that case below:
In spite of the above specific claims that I have discredited, a few other significant differences separate the events in Ferguson to the riots in Lexington last night.
1.) The duration
Ferguson protests went on for months. While every night was not marred by violence raising to the level of what could be objectively considered a riot, that activity was more or less widespread for the first two weeks. Then it popped back up in September, first in reference to the Mike Brown memorial burning down. Then again, in reference to former-Chief Tom Jackson’s idiotic apology tour. Then again, in reference to the Grand Jury decision for several days.
Other consistent activity has persisted off and on regularly straddling the line between acceptable and unacceptable with individuals committing crimes and running off into the crowd to be hidden by other individuals who are committing crimes themselves just by doing so. The most notable example of this is obviously the recent shooting by Jeffrey Williams, the facts of his actions now seeming to preclude the initial claims that would require more than one unlikely 125 yard accurate shots with a pistol, the likes of which would be nigh on impossible for an Olympic level marksman.
The fact is that the scope of Ferguson far eclipses the events of these other examples of “white” riots. For the record, the distinction of “white” vs. “black” is one that has been made by the Ferguson protesters to make their incorrect point on that topic and not me. I remain firm in my perspective that one can find fault with the Ferguson Protesters as individuals instead of with black people in general. Despite claims to the contrary the Ferguson Twitter Brigade does not speak for an entire racial demographic. It doesn’t even speak for the community.
2.) The Threat of Future Violence
One of the staples of early protests and riots, as well as statements from local leaders indicated that if certain demands were not met that the riots that followed would be even worse. This was the mantra leading up to the Grand Jury decision and was seemingly legitimized by the violence on 11/24/2014. As a reminder, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch was threatened by State Senator Jamillah Nasheed stating in a letter, “If you should decide not to indict this police officer, the rioting we witnessed this past week will seem like a picnic compared to the havoc that will likely occur.”
To be sure, Senator Nasheed was by far not the only one to make such threats. However, the magnitude of threats of this nature led to an oppressive environment of fear in the region for months, which still continues to a lesser extent today even after the Grand Jury riots have ended. People prepared evacuation plans. Many stockpiled canned food, batteries, ammunition, and other miscellaneous emergency supplies. Schools prepared to close early and sent home notes to parents about district wide plans for the unrest to follow. Businesses boarded up store fronts reminiscient of Hurricane disaster mitigation efforts. Everyone waited with bated breath for news that a decision had been reached and then braced for the worst.
One person was reported to have been shot in Lexington. There do not appear to be any other reports of individuals taking fire as occurred in Ferguson regularly during the early days, during the Grand Jury aftermath, and of policemen being shot while standing on a skirmish line.
Obviously, riots in any context, murder in any context, is wrong regardless of the racial demographics associated or the scope of the event. It’s not acceptable in Lexington. It’s not acceptable in Ferguson.
However, once again, the Ferguson Twitter Brigade is caught redhanded seeking to dishonestly minimize the violence committed by members of their movement which has a dual purpose of demonizing the response to their behavior. Regular readers of this blog will find such associations assinine, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to rehash recent history. It’s a reminder of how far we’ve come since August. Unfortunately, it’s not entirely clear at this point in what direction we’ve traveled. On this Easter, I am hopeful that I’ve reached my person-shot-in-the-face quota for a long time to come, if not longer.