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!
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.
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.