Q:I've been following the situation in Ferguson as closely as possible. It is shocking. I've been wondering: where are all the anti-government pro-gun-rights people? For years, they've been predicting oppression of citizens through police militarization, and now that it's actually happening, they seem silent. Is this straight-up racism? Is this because it's not the federal government (e.g. Obama) being oppressive? Is this because the police aren't coming after them personally?
I’ve been thinking about what I want to say on this topic all day; it’s been discussed to comedic effect on Facebook and Twitter, amongst the people with whom I share similar feelings about the gun rights insurrectionists.
Obviously, we’ve seen a whole lot of hypocrisy in the silence of those who have seemingly been warning us about the police or the feds or plain old unspecified tyranny. What happened earlier this week in Ferguson should be catnip for these people, but they’ve been oddly subdued. None of the open-carry activists were talking about grabbing their guns and heading to Missouri … not even the ones who live in Missouri.
Clearly I don’t want to suggest that the insurrectionists or the open-carry activists are right, that the amassing of private handgun arsenals in order to scare off the police or walking around with guns to show everyone you’ve got ‘em are things that make any kind of sense. It’s not hard to imagine that the situation in Ferguson this week would have been about a million times worse if the protesters had been armed. Considering that this whole thing began with the shooting of an unarmed black kid, a whole bunch of armed black people facing the militarized St. Louis area police would have been a disaster of epic proportions.
A whole bunch of armed white people? Well, my friend Kim Yi Dionne happens to have a piece up at the Monkey Cage that addresses precisely this question using political science research:
Political scientists Christian Davenport and David Armstrong along with colleague Sarah Soule studied how the race of protesters affect how police respond to protest events in their paper, “Protesting While Black? The Differential Policing of American Activism, 1960 to 1990” (see ungated version here). In their research of more than 15,000 protest events that took place in the United States between 1960 and 1990, they find that:
… when compared with other groups, African American protesters are more likely to draw police presence and that once police are present they are more likely to make arrests, use force and violence, and use force and violence in combination with arrests at African American protest events.
So maybe those armed insurrectionists would have been just fine if they’d turned up in Ferguson this week. The police might have spoken with them and attempted to calm the whole situation down rather than escalating things by attempting to intimidate and silence them. And that would have thrown a whole wrench in their theory about government tyranny.
Which, by the way, if you’ve been following this story for the past few days, you’ll have recognized that mostly this is a story about racism and bad policing (as in incompetent) rather than a story about bad policing (as in tyranny over all Americans).
Politicalprof: Ari’s last point is extremely important. Ferguson (like Waco and the Branch Davidians, and Randy Weaver in Idaho, and countless other examples) was an example of quite terrible police responses to social crises. The subsequent state highway patrol response, like countless other examples, stands as an example of quite good police responses to social crises.
Leadership and choices matter. It’s not all because of any one thing.
A quick look at: the gladiators of Rome
“I turned in to the games one mid-day hoping for a little wit and humor there. I was bitterly disappointed. It was really mere butchery. […] Then men were thrown to lions and to bears: but at midday to the audience. There was no escape for them. The slayer was kept fighting until he could be slain. “Kill him! Flog him! Burn him alive” was the cry: “Why is he such a coward? Why won’t he rush on the steel? Why does he fall so meekly? Why won’t he die willingly?" (Via the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook).
The above passage is given by Roman historian Seneca (Epistles 7), offering us a vivid (albeit, aristocratic) eyewitness account of gladiatorial games in the age of Nero. A unique product of Rome and Italy, the sensation of gladiators has become one of the most famous aspects of Roman society, and epitomizes the Roman taste for blood sports.
There never seemed to have been a shortage of willing participants in Rome for this grim life. Candidates were originally found among captives and slaves, those with nothing to lose. However, as the popularity of the sport continued to grow, so did the need for other avenues of supply. During the empire, noblemen were sent by emperors into the arena for committing crimes. Freedmen and imperial citizens came to enter the auctorati, a class of people who sold themselves to gladiator schools. The auctorati gave an oath of service, by which they agreed to submit to burning, beating, and death if they didn’t perform the tasks required of them as gladiators. As we may imagine, it took a truly desperate man to enter into such a grim life of combat and death, a measure that was prompted in times of economic or political hardship. This was a way to escape debtors for those in poverty.
Shown at the top of the post are a series of Roman mosaics depicting gladiatorial scenes. The first is from the Villa Borghese, and on view at the Galleria Borghese in Rome. Note the names of the gladiators inscribed next to the figures, and the Θ symbol (it seems likely here that it is the Greek letter Θ for θάνατος, 'dead'), which marks those who have died in combat. The second mosaic is from Römerhalle in Germany, and the remaining mosaics are from the Roman villa in Nennig, Germany.
July 26, 1948: President Harry Truman Signs Executive Order 9981
On this day in 1948, President Truman issued an executive order abolishing racial segregation in all branches of the armed forces and establishing the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services. This major piece of legislation was a welcome victory for the African American soldiers’ “Double V” campaign, in which they fought both WWII abroad and racism at home.
Photo: The Chicago Defender announces Executive Order 9981. Library of Congress Exhibition
In World War I, military ships were often painted with “dazzle camouflage”: zany, complex patterns, glaring colors, and geometric shapes designed to confuse the enemy.
This summer, on the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, Dazzle ships have made a comeback on the rivers of Liverpool and London.
Americans do not like it when their politician are too smart. And they never have.
History, University of Iowa
On July 2, 1964, with Martin Luther King, Jr., directly behind him, President Lyndon Johnson scrawled his signature on a document years in the making—the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark legislation.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., others look on, 07/02/1964. (The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library)
The first and the signature pages of the act will be on display at the National Archives Rubenstein Gallery in Washington, DC, until September 17, 2014. These 50-year-old sheets of paper represent years of struggle and society’s journey toward justice.
The most comprehensive civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction era, the Civil Right Act finally gave the Federal Government the means to enforce the promises of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. The act prohibited discrimination in public places, allowed the integration of public facilities and schools, and forbade discrimination in employment.
But such a landmark congressional enactment was by no means achieved easily…
Plus more on the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
- Don’t miss the new Civil Rights Act of 1964 Exhibit in Google’s Cultural Institute
- Events at the National Archives in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act
- Teaching resources at The Struggle for Rights in America, via DocsTeach
- See all the pages of the Civil Rights Act in the National Archives online catalog
From the series: "Redbook" Photographs, compiled 1893 - 1918. Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985
American troops boarding transport ships during the Philippine Insurrection, 115 years ago.
During the Spanish-American War, U.S. forces in the Philippines and Filipino forces led by revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo had a common enemy in Spain. As hostilities came to a close and the United States emerged from the war victorious, Aguinaldo and his supporters were eager for Philippine independence. However, as a result of the Treaty of Paris, December 10, 1898, the United States gained the Philippines as a U.S. territory. Many in the islands were not eager to see one colonial power replaced by another. This desire for independence soon resulted in armed resistance against the United States, beginning with a skirmish on the night of February 4, 1899, just outside of Manila.
Why, then, was it all so apparently painless? Why, after decades of internal violence and foreign aggression, did the world’s first Socialist society implode without even trying to defend itself? One answer, of course, is that it never really existed in the first place: that, in the words of the historian Martin Malia, ‘there is no such thing as socialism, and the Soviet Union built it.’
Kids those days
Puritanism was popular with the young people. This can be proven by looking at America, which was new then.