No doubt some of you will recall my post back in January on this subject. Only back then, it dealt with those who were upset with the prospect of more gun control legislation.
The latest riot threat du jour is contingent upon an acquittal in the George Zimmerman trial, and these urgings are none too pretty to say the least. Law enforcement continues their preparations for the possibility as well.
I have intentionally avoided talking about this much, in large part because it pains me to do so. As I said back in January to those who were calling for violence if gun control measures were implemented, we must respect the Constitution and the legal process. There's nothing in the law that permits us to run out and firebomb businesses and kill people if we don't get our way in the legislatures or in the court houses.
Time Magazine takes a different tack, claiming it's racial fear mongering for law enforcement agencies to prepare for riots in wake of a verdict in the case. Ironically, the author of the article, Mark Polite, claims "the black community has become more sophisticated in protesting injustice, and there is talk already of using economic boycotts and other means that are more effective than upheavals that would only result in heavier police repression." Nothing like patting folks on the head and telling them they've become "more sophisticated" in their protesting whilst throwing stones at law enforcement for preparing for unrest for which, sadly, many are calling.
The more ominous fear I have has little to do with the Zimmerman trial specifically, but rather the growing culture of generating conflict for conflict's sake we have in our country. The media was quick to crucify Zimmerman for allegedly making racists comments during the now infamous 911 call; the media and the prosecutors have now backed off of that claim, as there was no credible evidence to suggest that he did.
We now learn that the Department of Justice sent a team to Sanford in the days following the shooting "to provide technical assistance for the preparation of possible marches and rallies related to the fatal shooting of a 17 year old African American male." According to the Orlando Sentinel, "[the Department of Justice employees] in their Navy blue windbreakers, polo shirts and dark sunglasses, [ ] look like federal agents. Their caps are embroidered with the Justice Department's seal. They watch and listen silently. But they say little publicly." Ostensibly there to help keep the peace, it's clear they were there to apply pressure to remove the police chief and to bring charges against Zimmerman - and not to encourage citizens to let the local government work through the investigative process.
And then there's the growing militarization of our state and local law enforcement agencies. The Huffington Post reports that the ACLU is investigating this growing trend, which increases tax burdens and conflict between law enforcement agencies and law abiding citizens.
And of course, the spending on such resources for law enforcement - like large scale purchases of armored personnel carriers, drones, and hollow point ammunition - have to be justified. The media is all too happy to do their part to create the necessary conflict to justify such expenses, fanning the flames and creating the conflict where none ought to exist. The cycle continues.
I will be traveling some in the coming days, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't taken the possibility of civil unrest into my calculations. I will be following the conventional, common sense wisdom you would expect while traveling. I may be packing a few extras in case I get stuck somewhere, but that's about it.
I'll conclude by concluding the same way I did back in January:
So, in summary:
- Respect the Constitution.
- Pray for our leaders, even if you don't agree with them. Pray for God to heal our collective souls. Pray for wisdom for yourself.
- Educate yourself and others.
- Remember you get more flies with honey than you do vinegar.
- Be vigilant about what's going on in the news and in politics. Stay on top of current events.
- Reach out to those who disagree with you. Build relationships with them. Let them see you are not a bad person or a nut job.
- Value truth. Don't hide from facts.
- Prepare for the possibility of more difficult times ahead, for you and your family.
- Support candidates who espouse your values. This means supporting their campaigns financially. It also means reaching out to them to let them know what's on your mind.
- Be a nice person. Don't be a jerk, even if someone else is being a jerk to you. Set a good example.