Saturday, December 13, 2014

Vigorous protests against "police violence" and racial profiling in Washington DC today

Today I did indeed attend the National March Against Police Violence in Washington DC, arriving on Pennsylvania Ave about 1:00 PM. Organizers want to see a "Week of Outrage" in major cities. 

I heard Joe Brown (radio talk show host) speak, praising young people, followed by a long pastoral prayer.  We were asked to join hands.  I was actually packed into the crowd by a portion of the march that had grown dense on the south side of Penn. Ave.  There was no choice but to join in.  There was actually a scroll to sign on the street, rather like an AIDS quilt. 

This time, the crowd was much more African-American, compared to the march on Nov. 25. 
Earlier, I had gone to the train exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden.  People there, many of them “liberal” white families with children, said they intended to take their kids to watch the march, from distance. But there would be a line drawn at participation.

There is a site for the march from some black pastors in DC, here.

Prof. John McWhorter has an interesting piece in the Dec. 15, 2014 issue of Time, p. 26, “Ferguson is the wrong tragedy; the facts are 6oo muddy to rally Americans, but the underlying problem is crystal clear.”  Like Tom Cruise’s line in “A Few Good Men”.  McWhorter asks, “what is the situation that makes two young black men comfortable dismissing a police officer’s request to step aside?”  Later, “the Ferguson episode… to serve as a rallying point --- requires a degree of elision .. turning away from Brown’s criminal act just before the incident and his conduct toward a police officer a few moment’s later, based on the tricky proposition that these things must have no bearing whatsoever on how we evaluate the succeeding sequence of events.”  Then “people don’t like to be told to ignore facts; even fewer find ambiguity a spark for indignation.” I would add that white people get caught in politically motivated police and prosecutorial abuse, too, but just with respect to different problems, often involving weapons.  Look at the Cato forum I attended Thursday. 

I do resist calls for my own emotional solidarity (hand holding when "trapped" in the mob, etc).  It isn't "my problem" tactically right now.  But I only have to look back a few decades.  Remember the police abuse of gay bars in Dallas in 1980?  Look at prosecutorial abuse in Internet cases, as well as 2nd Amendment cases.   Still, solidarity can demand personal sacrifice, and sometimes there is no immediate choice. 

Update: Dec 14

CNN has a major story about witness credibility with the grand jury in Missouri, here, by Josh Levs and Danny Cevalos.  

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