This morning I awoke (like everyone else) to a flurry of News. Yet another killing of a Black Man at the hands of the police.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing is hardly new in the United States. In a country founded on 500 years of slavery and racism, the wrongful killing of Black People has been a fact of American existence, for a very long time.
The reaction however, has changed dramatically in the last few years. For centuries in this country (as a general rule), the deaths of Black People at the hands of the police would rarely even elicit a mention in the local news, but recently and suddenly – these incidents have literally become industry.
Overnight, the “social media” response to this event was overwhelming. Before the sun was even up, the “troops” were mobilized, the standard hashtag for every one of these shootings was instantly forced to trend (#AltonSterling), various organized protests were already underway, as well as the calls for the police chief, mayor, etc., to immediately step down. Law enforcement is already rightfully concerned protest will turn into ‘uprising’ as it has so many times before.
What has so dramatically changed in literally just a few years? Black people have always been outraged over these incidents, and have always ‘protested,’ and it has rarely amounted to anything at all. Now, like clockwork, after every one of these events a ‘virtual’ army marches on Social Media, and ‘protests’ designed to turn into riot are scheduled and executed with tactical precision. You can be sure, there will be concerted effort to turn this killing into reason for yet another series of violent protest across this country.
What has changed, is that the “#BlackLivesMatter issue, has been coopted and repurposed as yet another motivational meme for destabilizing this country. Anyone who has been paying attention at all has surely noticed that these days (regardless of the protest cause), at some point almost all ‘modern’ protests morph into organized ‘uprising’ and destabilization of the city they are protesting in.
Look at the evolution of ‘protest’ and violence over the last several years, compared to decades before.
- 1980 – New Mexico State Penitentiary riot, Santa Fe, New Mexico
- 1980 – Miami riot 1980, May 17–19, Miami, Florida
- 1988 – Tompkins Square Park police riot, August 1988. East Village, Manhattan
- 1991 – 1991 Washington, DC riot, Mount Pleasant riot, May 5–9, Washington, D.C.
- 1991 – Crown Heights riot, August 1991, Brooklyn, New York
- 1992 – L.A. Rodney King riots, April–May 1992, Los Angeles, California
- 1996 – St. Petersburg, Florida Riot 1996, October 1996, St. Petersburg, Florida
- 1999 – WTO Meeting of 1999, "The Battle in Seattle", November 1999, Seattle, Washington
- 1999 – Michigan State University student riot, April 1999, East Lansing, Michigan
- 1999 – Woodstock '99 music festival incident, July 1999, Rome, New York
- 2000 – Elián González affair, Miami, Florida
- 2000 – Puerto Rican Day Parade attacks, June 11, Central Park, New York City
- 2001 – 2001 Cincinnati Riots, April 10–12, Cincinnati, Ohio
- 2003 – Benton Harbor riot, June 2003, Benton Harbor, Michigan
- 2003 – Miami FTAA Protests, November 2003, Miami, Florida
- 2004 – 2004 American League Championship Series, October 21, 1 dead, Boston, Massachusetts
- 2005 – Civil disturbances and military action in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, August – Sept., New Orleans, Louisiana
- 2005 – 2005 Toledo riot, October 15, Toledo, Ohio
- 2006 – San Bernardino punk riot, March 4, San Bernardino, California
- 2007 – The Los Angeles May Day mêlée, May 1, Los Angeles, California
- 2009 – Riots against BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant, January 7, 120 arrested, Oakland, California
- 2009 – Akron riots, March 14, 2009, 7 arrested; and July 2009, unknown number arrested, Akron, Ohio
- 2009 – 2009 G-20 Pittsburgh summit protests, Sept. 24-25, 193 arrested
- 2010 – Springfest riot, April 10, 200 police disperse crowd of 8000 using tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and bean bag rounds, near the campus of James Madison University; dozens injured. 30–35 arrested; Harrisonburg, Virginia
- 2010 – Santa Cruz May Day riot, May 1, 250 rampage through downtown Santa Cruz attacking 18 businesses, causing an estimated $100,000 in damages. 1 arrested. Santa Cruz, California
- 2010 – BART verdict riot, July 8, in response to verdict in BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant. About 100 businesses were damaged and 78 people were arrested. Oakland, California
- 2010 – Oakland protest riot, Nov. 5, Police made more than 150 arrests as a crowd broke windows and knocked down fences, protesting sentence of former BART officer in shooting of Oscar Grant on New Years Day 2009; see BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant. Oakland, California
- 2011 – Pennsylvania State University, Joe Paterno riot. Students riot in protest of the decision of the Board of Trustees to fire head football coach Joe Paterno. State College, Pennsylvania
- 2011 – Occupy Wall Street (Brooklyn Bridge protests). Demonstrators blocked the bridge and more than 700 people were arrested. Brooklyn, New York
- 2011 – Occupy Wall Street Oakland protests riots. October. Protesters shattered windows, set fires, and plastered buildings with graffiti. Riot police fired heavy amounts of tear gas on the protesters.
- 2012 – NATO 2012 Chicago Summit, May. Conflict between riot police. Dozens of demonstrators clubbed and arrested.
- 2012 – Anaheim police shooting and protests, July 28. Violence erupted after multiple shootings in the neighborhood by police that included unarmed Manuel Diaz. 24 people were arrested
- 2014 – Ferguson, Missouri, August 10. Protests turned into violent riots and unrest after the death of teenager Michael Brown, who was shot by a Ferguson police officer.
- 2014 – New York, New York, and Berkeley, California – After prosecutors and a grand jury refused to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, many people protested against it in New York City and other cities, some of them causing unrest.
- 2015 – Baltimore, Maryland – After days of peaceful protests, rioting and looting began on Monday, April 27, 2015 following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.
- 2016 – Occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, January–February 2015. 1 killed and several dozen arrested. Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon
- 2016 - Locals attack police after the Shooting of Abdullahi Omar Mohamed.
- 2016 – 2016 Donald Trump Chicago rally protest, March 11. Five people arrested and two police officers injured during a demonstration at the UIC Pavilion.
- 2016 - Democracy Spring rally in April. March to Washington D.C. and sit-ins lea to arrests.
- 2016 - Donald Trump rally in Costa Mesa, California. April 29. 20 Arrested as crowd turns violent outside Trump Rally.
Those behind the repurposing of these incidents aren’t interested in the actual causes that people get upset about. The only things they care about is that people get riled up over an issue (any issue), that the issue can be used to mobilize people to ‘protest,’ and that those ‘protests’ can be used to launch destabilization operations.
As is always the case, you’ll get to see it for yourself. The authorities in Baton Rouge have already turned this investigation over to Federal Civil Rights investigators, in effort to stem the coming ‘outrage.’ It won’t make any difference. The State Authorities and the family of Alton Sterling are unified in pleading with people to remain peaceful. It won’t make any difference. Those who intend to use this incident to foment violence don’t care about these pleas at all, and will methodically try to turn this incident into another #Ferguson or #Baltimore level ‘uprising’ with the singular intent of weakening / destabilizing another American city. The wrongful killing of Black People in this country is always a tragedy. The fact that Black people are used and victimized like this, after already being victimized, makes it this new methodology of victimization – that much more revolting.