Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cops shot in Ferguson

The first opinion response I saw to this news of two cops being shot in Ferguson, Missouri, was this, from the Netroots Nation Facebook feed today:

Sending solemn condolences today as our nation mourns the huge loss of community cohesion across the board with this incident. Send your hearts and minds to ‪#‎Ferguson‬ today, family.

"Emotions quickly ran high after the shooting. One Ferguson officer, standing among the protesters as things calmed down, said, “This is what they wanted to happen.”

When a protester told him that no one wanted this to happen, the officer was adamant, saying that that was his opinion and that the protester could differ if he wanted."
The quotes are from a New York Times story, 2 Police Officers Shot in Ferguson ‘Ambush’ Are Released From Hospital by John Eligon and Richard Pérez-Peña 03/12/2015.

The next one was from Steve M, a staunch progessive at No More Mister Nice Blog, Cop Killers are the Neocons of the Social Justice Movement 03/12/2015, "Nice work, knuckleheads. There's finally a glimmer of acknowledgment in the broader society that something is rotten in governments like Ferguson's, and now you do this."

Without even knowing what the details were of the cops being shot, this made me think about how limited the American political vocabulary is when it comes to talking about political violence.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has this article on the incident, Police search for those who shot 2 officers in Ferguson 'ambush' 03/12/2015, last updated at 10:15 PDT as of this writing:

The two officers shot early Thursday are expected to survive, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said. They were treated at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and released Thursday, though one still had a bullet lodged behind his ear.

Belmar called the shooting as protests outside the department dwindled an "ambush" on police. At least three shots were fired at police just after midnight as police faced protesters who had gathered outside the police station, police said.
None of the news reports I've seen so far say whether the cops shot are white. But, hey, what are the chances of someone described by the phrase "Ferguson cop" is not white?

Actually, the Post-Dispatch describes one of them as being from St. Louis and one from Webster Groves.

The shootings took place during a protest. But as of now, nothing I'm seeing in the public record provides any actual evidence beyond that circumstance that the shooter(s) were protesters. Maybe the shooters were attempting a hit on behalf of the Mob. Maybe it was a rejected gay lover.

But officials and the press don't ask those kinds of questions when cops are shot, do they? From the Post-Dispatch:

Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement Thursday offering the Justice Department's "full range of investigative resources." He noted that "Such senseless acts of violence threaten the very reforms that nonviolent protesters in Ferguson and around the country have been working towards for the past several months."

Politicians responded with messages about the shootings Thursday.

"Violence against police is unacceptable," President Barack Obama tweeted from the @WhiteHouse account. "Our prayers are with the officers in MO. Path to justice is one all of us must travel together."

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger also tweeted out a message: "Our prayers are with the two officers injured in the line of duty overnight."

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he had been notified of the shooting overnight, and that he had talked with bothBelmar and with Department of Justice officials about the shootings Thursday morning.

He said the shooting showed the dangers confronted by police, and Blunt used that point to assert that police had not overreacted initially after the Aug. 9 shooting. Blunt said claims that there had been police "militarization" in Ferguson were "totally fact free."

"The police are trying to get home to their families alive," Blunt said. "They have a hard job to do."

And U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., called the shootings "a criminal act that jeopardized the lives of police officers and protesters both. I hope the officers have a full recovery and pray for them and their families. It's time for healing and reform, and acts of violence have no place in this process."

Gov. Jay Nixon also released a statement. "My thoughts and prayers go out to these brave officers and their families," the statement said in part. "Each day, our law enforcement officers risk their lives to protect the public and the fact that these officers appear to have been intentionally targeted is deeply troubling."

He said the Missouri Highway Patrol has been in contact with St. Louis County Police and troopers stand ready to help.

"It is imperative that anyone with information about the shooting immediately come forward so that those who perpetrated these senseless crimes can be apprehended and brought to justice,” Nixon said in the statement.

Ferguson Councilwoman Kim Tihen, woke to the news that two officers had been shot.

"I'm concerned about escalating violence, especially against our officers," she said. "They've endured so much stress already."

Tihen, who spent four years as a Ferguson police officer, now works as a detective in another municipality. She represents the First Ward in Ferguson, which is on the northeast side of town. She has been on the council about three years.
Impressive, no?

Do black lives matter that much in the United States today?

And these two cops are still alive.

How many white people in the US will automatically assume the shooter(s) were protesters as soon as they hear about this? How many will assume the shooters are black. How many photos will we see of the two cops looking thuggish? Will other cops say the two shot were in a mad rage and looked like demons just before the shooting? Will the prosecutor present a case to the local grand jury with the obvious purpose of exonerating the shooters if anyone is arrested? Will anyone bother to ask if either of the two cops were public in their support of Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown?

No, the lives of cops are valued in Ferguson far, far more than those of citizens of the black majority in that municipality.

And I understand that everyone even moderately to the left of center wants to show they're not part of some new Weather Underground.

But, come on, people, shouldn't you wait until there are more facts in the public record before you assume it was an act by adherents of "the Social Justice Movement"?

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