The Amend Corner

America has a history of protests

Posted 6/23/20

Let’s face it: We Americans are a cantankerous bunch, so the demonstrations we are seeing now should be no surprise to anyone.

This nation was born demonstrating against the government. A …

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The Amend Corner

America has a history of protests

Posted

Let’s face it: We Americans are a cantankerous bunch, so the demonstrations we are seeing now should be no surprise to anyone.

This nation was born demonstrating against the government. A protest over taxation devolved into a street brawl, during which a British soldier, in fear for his life, opened fire, and by the time it was all over five American colonists had been killed in what came to be called the Boston Massacre.

Three years later, colonists boarded a ship docked in Boston Harbor and dumped over 300 chests full of tea into the water, turning the harbor into a giant teapot. Aside from over-caffeinating the local marine life, the main effect of this action was aggravating the British East India Company. This, in turn, ticked off the British government and led to the passage of some really severe measures to punish Massachusetts Colony, and as everyone knows, led to the ultimate protest against the government — an armed rebellion that led to independence.

It would take a book to cover all the demonstrations organized by one group of Americans or another since then. Demonstrations by various groups have protested low wages, dangerous working conditions, unjust laws, social problems, war atrocities and dozens of other issues over the years.

The current rash of demonstrations calls attention to the racism that the demonstrators believe exists in America, especially in the relationship between Black Americans and police forces. It stems from an incident in Minneapolis, when a Black man died due to the actions of four officers who arrested him. The man was taken to the ground by the officers, one of whom placed his knee on the man’s neck while handcuffing him. Once the man was cuffed, the officer continued to put pressure on his neck for several minutes while the man kept repeating that he couldn’t breath. The officer only removed his knee when the man was dead.

Now, I don’t like to criticize police officers. They have a tough job that sometimes puts them in dangerous situations. But in this case, I truly believe this one officer crossed a line. He did not have to keep his knee on the man, who was in no position to cause anyone harm after he was handcuffed. The only conclusion I can come to is that racism was involved, especially since I have followed Minneapolis news for some time and have read of other incidents that support my belief. 

The problem doesn’t stop with the Twin Cities, though.

A recent story from Virginia tells me that racism is a problem in other police departments, too. In this case, a Black pastor encountered a couple of white guys dumping an old refrigerator on his property. He approached them and told them they couldn’t dump the refrigerator there. They insisted that they were in the right and verbally attacked him. Then they brought three others to the scene and the five of them, all part of the same family, continued to abuse him both verbally and physically. At that point, the pastor went into his home and called 911. Then, fearing that the abuse would escalate, he exercised his Second Amendment rights and took his handgun with him when he went back outside. 

About that time, two officers arrived in a squad car. They got out of the car, approached the five white people and spoke to them for few minutes. Then they approached the Black man and, without a word, arrested him for displaying his firearm. They stuffed him in their car and left, while the five white people laughed and waved. 

Fortunately for the Black man, the officers’ supervisor thought something was fishy with the story the officers told, and in looking at what happened, he realized that, if he had been in the Black man’s shoes, he would have drawn his gun, too. He therefore threw out the arrest, disciplined the two arresting officers and issued warrants for the arrest of the five whites. They were arrested and charged, but even so, the incident can only be explained by racial bias.

With demonstrations such as those we are seeing now, people begin to call for law and order. When they do, politicians are usually happy to oblige. But law and order works both ways.  If it is applied to Black young people marching through a neighborhood or picketing an event, it must also apply to the police officers on watching over the demonstration and white men who try to intimidate the demonstrators by flashing their firearms.

The same is true of Second Amendment rights. If an angry white man has the right to bring his firearm to the demonstration, so does the Black man, and if trouble breaks out, those policing the event should not decide who started the trouble on the basis of race.

I hate to be cynical, but I don’t think that’s the way our society sees the issue. In the real world, the demonstrators will probably be blamed for any violence that arises. The excuse will be that they caused the trouble by demonstrating in the first place.

If you want to know why I think that way, go back and read the story about the Black pastor again.

The Amend Corner

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