A few day ago many sources reported on the efforts of the Missouri KKK to get in on the Ferguson action. The white-robed bubba contingent promised that “we will use lethal force as provided by Missouri Law to defend ourselves.” Some racist thugs propose to bring guns to counter the perceived threat posed by folks who are fired up by a long history of police brutality and are declaring that they won’t take it anymore. Anybody surprised by this turn of events?
On the same note, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports today that Ferguson protestors are gearing up for the furor that will probably erupt when the grand jury issues what many expect will be a white-washing of Darren Wilson’s role in the shooting of Michael Brown. According to the report, one faction is exhorting protesters to “pack side arms.” So, if anybody takes this advice to heart, more guns will be added to the lethal mix. I expect that the protestors, with considerably more justification than the KKKers, also claim that they’re concerned with self-defense – and given the over-reaction that the relatively minor episodes of violence in Ferguson have inspired, it’s hard to deny the force of the sentiment.
The KKK types are citing Missouri law to justify their rush to the shootout at the OK Corral. While the Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 563-031, that they cite does attempt to spell out when one may legally defend oneself with lethal force, it doesn’t – on my reading at least – seem to justify folks who are absolutely not threatened by the protests to show up, wave their guns, and fan the flames. But it’s easy for sanctimonious dimwits who want to assert their dominance and pretend that they speak for “the good people of St. Louis County of all races, colors and creeds” to misinterpret such laws with potentially disastrous consequences.
And as for any protestors who may “pack” sidearms, I think that concealed and open carry are now legal, right? While I suspect that Missouri’s very permissive gun laws were intended to enable white folks who have an exaggerated fear of African-Americans rather than angry African-American protestors, the law doesn’t make those distinctions.
Anybody who is surprised by these developments hasn’t been around the proverbial block too many times. The upshot is that we live in a state where laws have been written to encourage mayhem. The sad thing is that I suspect that these laws owe their existence in part to the fear and loathing that lots of white folks feel towards their black fellow citizens.
And it’s the various traditionally entrenched manifestations of that fear and loathing that has created the Ferguson situation in the first place. Now we’ve got Big Daddy Jay Nixon shaking his finger at protestors and telling us all to hell with police brutality, he won’t tolerate any rioting black folks. Nor should he, but, when he’s addressing the community shouldn’t he at least give a nod of the head to the abuses that left people so angry that they take to the streets? And shouldn’t he let folks like the KKK know that he won’t tolerate any ugly, self-proclaimed “sleeping giants” who want to use Ferguson as an excuse to sling their lethal cudgels? I was visiting in California when I heard Nixon’s speech on the topic and I, a white, middle aged woman, felt like he was waving a red flag meant to incite a currently quiescent bull. No wonder the KKK feels empowered.
And while I’m at it, I haven’t seen a thing in the Post-Dispatch about the KKK’s threats. Did I just miss it? Did they not report on it because it’s potentially inflammatory? But why then did they report on the protestors who “stated plans to ‘make a few fires to stay warm’ – but without the need for firewood.” That isn’t inflammatory (no pun intended)? That doesn’t excite people like the KKK? If the story is fit to print, print both sides.
[Editor’s note: This article was originally posted on Show Me Progress.]