Thursday, June 11, 2020

How Times Have Changed. Or Maybe Not.

Some things have changed a lot. Some things haven't changed at all.

August 1992. 

A reclusive white guy and his family live deep in the Idaho wilderness. They aren't bothering anyone but the Feds decide they can use him to infiltrate a white supremacist group so they entrap him into sawing off a shotgun. He is later acquitted of this "crime" but in the meantime the Feds decide to go after a man who is basically a hermit. In an ill advised operation, Federal agents approached his cabin and in a confused exchange in the woods, his 14 year old son was shot in the back and killed and a U.S. Marshall was killed. A siege was laid and during this siege an FBI sniper shot and killed an unarmed white woman holding a baby in her arms. For his "crime" of being a recluse with unpopular political opinions, a man was shot and wounded and lost his wife and his son to Federal agents. The man was Randy Weaver and the event has become infamous: Ruby Ridge.

February-April 1993

Another reclusive white guy forms a fringe religious group or cult depending on your perspective. The leader of this group had messianic pretensions mixed with an imminent apocalyptic eschatology. Rumor had it he was practicing a form of polygamy and this included sexual relations with underage girls. The group also had a number of firearms stockpiled but mostly they weren't bothering anyone. The leader could have easily been arrested when he was away from their compound where a large number of women and children lived if the goal was to charge him with child abuse or possessing illegal weapons but instead the Feds decided the better option was a full out assault on a building full of non-combatants. A firefight ensued with both sides claiming the other fired first. I assume the Feds did. After a lengthy siege creepy Janet Reno ordered a final assault including the use of tear gas to try to flush out the people in the compound. Several fires started in the compound and again the accounts differ as to how they started. Over 80 people, many women and children, died during the initial assault and final attack. The man was David Koresh and this event likewise became famous as the Waco siege.

In both cases, the individuals involved were mostly out of the way and wanted to be left alone. In the case of Koresh there may have been sexual abuse going on but we will never get to a trial because he died in the attack. Both incidents involved people highly suspicious of the government.

June 2020

In Seattle and Portland, antifa groups have seized sections of the city, declared themselves autonomous and have a lengthy list of ridiculous demands including the abolition of the police. In Seattle at least, these people have requested armed assistance to hold these areas, presumably against the police. President Trump has gone to Twitter to spew more impotent and empty threats, just like when he threatened to declare antifa a terrorist organization which clearly did nothing to concern them.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of "Black Lives Matter" in New York, Hank Newsome, said in an interview last week that his organization considers itself at war with the police and that they are arming themselves for that purpose. Newsome's whereabouts are pretty public knowledge and he isn't off in the woods in Idaho, he is actively organizing armed "resistance" to the government and fomenting civil unrest in cities around the country. He has claimed the mantle of the Black Panthers, a group that actually was involved in a number of shootouts with police. No one is daring to arrest him.

Who is a greater threat? A man living on a mountain in Idaho waiting for the end of the world and bothering no one or a man declaring armed conflict with the police? A group of people living in a compound on the Texas prairie or armed agitators occupying parts of American cities by force and threat of violence?

Or imagine this. Me and a couple dozen other white guys grabbed some guns, went to Indianapolis and seized six city blocks, declaring it an autonomous zone, threatening violence and calling on like-minded right-wing guys to grab their guns and come join us. What do you suppose the response from the government would be? One white guy drives into a crowd, probably out of fear and done accidentally, in Charlottesville and becomes a political prisoner sentenced to life in prison plus 419 years. Months of Congressional hearings followed railing against the phantom menace of "white nationalism". Yeah, me and my buddies occupying those city streets in Indianapolis would be removed by force by the police in about 30 seconds and if any of us survived we would be tossed in jail forever.

Long gone are the days when the police put the hammer down on the Black Panthers and Weather Underground. Now far left groups can operate with impunity, openly organizing online and often with the aid and cooperation of the media. They can loot and riot in the streets and the police mostly stand aside.

Right-wing groups? We can't even have quiet little meetings where people give talks without threats of violence. A simply protest march in Charlottesville ended up in violence because the police, rather than controlling the situation, pushed the groups together. Violent leftists were let off while James Fields rots in prison for life. We are banned from social media while antifa and "Black Lives Matter" are given unfettered access, even after a man linked to Black Lives Matter assassinated five cops and wounded 9 others in Dallas in 2016.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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