We didn’t see MRAPs during this riot–is that because of racism, or something else entirely? Once again, Hernandez provides an excellent breakdown for you in today’s op-ed. Mad Duo
The NCAA championship is currently happening. Apparently Kentucky was just eliminated (I’m not a sports guy and couldn’t give a rat’s ass what team wins). So students at the University of Kentucky rioted over the loss, just like they rioted last year.
The rioters threw bottles and burned sofas in the street, police used tear gas on them, and people got arrested. But there are no reports of looting, or businesses being destroyed, or gunfire, or murders. It seems like a bunch of spoiled college morons acted like spoiled college morons, and the police treated them the way they deserved to be treated. No big deal, right?
Of course it’s not that simple. There’s a serious problem with the Kentucky riot: there were no National Guard troops, “tanks” or militarized police like there were in Ferguson. Police responded to the Kentucky rioters differently than they did to Ferguson rioters. Wanna know why? The Kentucky rioters were white. It was all about race. I know this because the Daily Kos says so.
Unfortunately, as a cop and card-carrying member of the Official Oppressed Minority community, I kinda see it differently. I’m probably the only person in the world who realizes this, but there are actually little tiny differences between the Kentucky rioting and the Ferguson riot. Differences like, “the Kentucky rioters didn’t loot, burn down businesses, throw Molotov cocktails, shoot at cops or murder anyone, but the Ferguson rioters did.” (As an unimportant side note, the Daily Kos mentioned looting in their headline but made no mention of it in their article, and I can’t find any other reports of Kentucky students looting.)
A few brave warriors against racism have also made much fuss about Kentucky students posing with police officers before the riot.
Those pictures lead to one inescapable conclusion: “That’s racism! And it shows white privilege!”
I guess they have a point. A police officer would never, ever have taken a picture with a protester in Ferguson.
But actual evidence has no place in this discussion. So let’s not bicker about who killed who, or who burned businesses instead of sofas, or the fact that protesters in both places took pictures with cops, or any other minor unimportant details. A riot is a riot. Dang it, there was a different response in Kentucky because of racism!
So let’s look at the results of the Ferguson riot:
Twenty-five business destroyed
Two police cars burned
Twelve civilian cars burned
Hundreds of shots fired by rioters
Thirteen people injured
One person murdered
And now the Kentucky riot:
Unknown number of couches set on fire
And in Kentucky there was also… well, actually, I guess that’s it.
Sure, it seems like the Ferguson riot was much worse than the Kentucky riot. But look closer. In Ferguson rioters merely murdered someone, attempted to commit multiple capital murders and torched over two dozen businesses. In Kentucky they didn’t murder anyone, or try to kill cops, or destroy businesses. But they burned some couches (this is apparently a wasteful and stupid college tradition, which is exactly what I expect from spoiled, dumbass college kids who don’t think twice about destroying something their mommy and daddy paid for).
Burning couches doesn’t sound like a big deal, but ask yourself this: where are people going to sit now? Did you think about that, smartass?
So the Kentucky riot was nowhere near as large or destructive as the Ferguson riots, but that unimportant fact should be dismissed. The only difference between the riots was racism. In fact, the Daily Kos and its adherents have suggested authorities dismissed this as “kids blowing off steam” because the rioters were white, which has led some people to believe no rioters were arrested in Kentucky. In fact, thirty-one rioters were arrested. Again, I apologize for confusing the issue by introducing facts.
But sixty-one people were arrested in Ferguson. That’s thirty more than in Kentucky! Maybe I should apply Daily Kos logic and conclude that the thirty more arrests in Ferguson had nothing to do with the mass violence or destruction there. It was racism, because racism is everywhere. And if, god forbid, a situation arises that doesn’t involve racism, I’ll find a way to make it involve racism.
Then again… is it possible that accusing people of racism always, everywhere and at every opportunity actually hurts efforts to fight racism? Is it possible that Crying White Wolf desensitizes people to attacks by real wolves? By claiming a racist is hiding under every rock, might you simply convince people to stop looking under rocks?
Here’s a message for the “It was racism!” crowd: If you really want to fight racism, stop claiming everything is racist.
Real, actual racism does exist in America. But then there’s the police response to the Kentucky riot which, despite the fantastically stupid (and deliberately untruthful) report from the Daily Kos, doesn’t show racism. And there’s the non-racist shooting of a certain robber who attacked a police officer, which spurred a story so false even a black liberal reporter felt compelled to admit “hands up don’t shoot was built on a lie”. And there’s Boston police officer John Moynihan, shot in the face by a black career criminal who was then non-racistly killed by other officers; even though Moynihan didn’t even have his weapon in his hand when he was shot, even though the career criminal is on video shooting Moynihan without provocation, a crowd still gathered at the scene chanting “hands up don’t shoot”
If you claim racism every chance you get, reasonable people are just going to stop listening to you. Think about how much Rolling Stone hurt the fight against campus rape with its false rape accusations. If Rolling Stone someday tries to report on a real rape, is it possible they’ll be ignored? Those on a desperate quest to find rape when it didn’t happen, and those desperate to find racism where it doesn’t exist, are doing damage to their own cause.
No, racism isn’t everywhere. And it damn sure had nothing to do with different police responses to two very distinct riots. Ferguson and Kentucky were handled differently because they were different, not because of racism.
Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!
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Chris Hernandez Mad Duo Chris (seen here on patrol in Afghanistan) may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LIGHT writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles – the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley and Proof of Our Resolve. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog, Iron Mike Magazine, Kit Up! and Under the Radar. You can find his author page here on Tactical 16.
I agree with the belief that all riots are not the same just like no two people are the same or that you cannot generalize about a racial group. I think one of the differences is the way police are viewed by the various groups. In ferguson the police were the enemy and at UK they were not but that is not to say that there were not boneheads throwing things at police but the rioters were not taunting the police. The rioters in ferguson were looking for a fight and even when the results came back that cleared the officer, well that must be wrong and they were pissed because it was not the result that THEY wanted. The UK kids made bad decisions but with the exception of a small group there did not seem to be malice associated with their actions.
Yep, when they have long blonde hair and high cut denim shorts!
There’s too much sense and logic in this article. Clearly the author is a racist.
Good article, well written, understandable points. On a tactical, blow-by-blow, tit-for-tat, level I think you’re right. On a larger level, the same report that cleared Brown’s shooter mauled the Ferguson police department’s interaction with the community as a whole, over years and years. Brown’s shooting was a trigger reaction to something larger. The U of K doesn’t have the same history with its police. Possibly because spoiled rich kids have better lawyers, more connected parents, and the University more sway with local government. This issue plays out on the street, but it’s not street level in its construction.
Facts are racist. Didn’t you know that?
I usually agree with y’all, but here I’m not. Its a riot. It’s not as severe a riot as the ones in Ferguson, but it’s a riot.
I wasn’t in Ferguson (actually I was out of the country) but part of the allegations about Ferguson was that the police over-response escalated the riots.
chris if you were out of the country you must’ve been under a rock the police escalation of response at ferguson was elevated due to the fact. That rev al sharp ton and Michael Browns stepfather were on national TV and said “burn this motherfucker to the ground!” Fact!
Oh I heard that. I also heard Ferguson police were arresting journalists for the crimes of filming protests and sitting in restaurants.
So Chris you are actually saying the Ferguson riots were so bad BECAUSE of the police response????? Are you a cop? Have you ever stood on a police line? The Furguson police used incredible restraint.
Maybe, just maybe the difference is we have one group that has grown up in, for the most part, decent, reasonable homes where there were two parents and they taught their kids a general respect for private property and to work for what they get. I don’t know but this might have something to do with why things didn’t get as out of hand as they did in Ferguson.
I come at this from being a cop in flyover country. Our population is just about all white. (I should point out that I have a mixed race family, asian/caucasian variety so write me off as a hick racist.) The dirt bags I deal with are for the most part exclusively white but the same dynamics come about to produce the criminal element here as in any community, be it white, black, hispanic or asian. That dynamic being single parent homes with no parent being involved in the up bringing of the next generation. This allows children’s peers be the ones to develop their since of morals, this does not work. My views have been developed over 21 years in law enforcement. One thing I do want to make clear is that I have seen single parents raise perfectly normal well mannered good productive kids. But these are parents who have realized that they need to make their kids the focus and entire purpose for their lives and they realize that there is more to parenting than just providing.
I fear that until we wake up and realize that the breakdown of the family is the root to all that really plagues our society we are going to lose this country (if we haven’t already) and become a third world corrupt society as bad as any other banana republic around the world.
Sorry for going down this rabbit trail, but race has nothing to do with this problem, the kids in Kentucky had restraint based on a basic moral code. I am however not a sports fan either. I’d rather go to the dentist than watch basket ball and I have the attitude that students rioting is good enough cause to end what ever particular sport they are rioting over but hey that doesn’t bring money in for the universities. Just like the truth does not sell news anymore.
Oops, thought you were responding to me. Disregard.
The police in Ferguson may have overreacted, but considering the threats they were receiving that’s hardly surprising. But the police response didn’t cause rioters to shoot randomly shoot at police officers in Ferguson.
And not all riots are the same. Saying “a riot is a riot” is like saying “a fire is a fire.” Should ten full fire companies respond to a small grass fire in a parking lot? Should one volunteer firefighter be the only response to a fully engulfed apartment complex? Hell no. Different scale incidents demand different responses.
Should ten full fire companies… No. Although I did see five full companies respond to a report of smoke in an elevator room.
My point is I don’t know if the police in Ferguson overreacted. From everything I’ve seen, they tended to treat the people in town with less respect that we treated occupied Iraq. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had overreacted.
My only personal experience with riots was in Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, back in the mid-1990s. There it did seem police overreaction was predictable enough that it drew a crowd that just wanted to fight with the cops.
Lastly, prior to last year, most news accounts of things like the UK event didn’t use the word “riot” at all. They were “celebrations that got out of hand.” So at least some of the “whites get to riot” is an overreaction by the media to how they used to cover these things.
Hallelujah! I’m NOT the only American that pays no attention to sports…
Daring and on-target commentary about one of (if not THE)most sensitive and divisive topics in America today. Until mass media has a crisis of conscience (not likely) and starts looking at the issue with a pragmatic and fact-based lens, this will only get worse. The incessant stream of incendiary partial-truths by media outlets panders to the hate mongers and serves only to create the drama that bloats their bottom line.
The voice of reason, however faint, must never be silenced. To that end; This is a great start.
FYI: To the uninitiated, Basketball in KY is not sport. It is religion. And UK basketball is the holiest of Holy Meccas. It is THE topic of conversation at every barbershop, watercooler, and gas pump in the state. Apparel with the UK logo and blue color is state uniform. Elementary school teachers make students write essays about it. It is not followed, it is worshiped. When UK played for the Nat’l championship a couple of years ago, my wife and I went grocery shopping during the game and we literally had the store to ourselves. We could have carried off whatever we wanted because even the employees were (and they were PISSED they had to work) huddled around the TV’s in the electronics section. The day after this years loss was like the day after Kennedy’s assassination. There was an aura of despair that hung everywhere you went. So the rioting at UK, while definitely the work of “spoiled, dumbass college kids who don’t think twice about destroying something their mommy and daddy paid for”(I couldn’t have said it better), was microscopic in scope when one considers the perceived gravity of the nights disappointment. With the right tinder and the wrong folks fanning it, the night could have gone south in a hurry.