A most interesting message appeared on the announcement email list for my little city. It was titled “Halloween.” Please, allow me to reprint it here, with names and location removed:
When I drove into the city last night about 6:15, I could hardly get down Spruce Dr because of the line of cars disgorging kids into the neighborhood. I had what I thought was a huge supply of candy, but it was gone in less than an hour. I asked each child (sweetly) what street they lived on, and not ONE was from our city. When the candy was gone, I turned out all the lights and sat in the living room. Just before 9PM I got into my PJs and started watching TV. It was then that several children approached my dark front door and knocked. My dog charged the door and pushed back the curtain. At that time an adult AA male put his hand against the pane of glass and pressed his face to the door, looking at me sitting on my couch in my jammies. I am old, alone, and not scared of the devil, but this was very unnerving. When did our city become the discharge area for non resident kids and their pushy parents??
I’m sure I’ll get pious PC feedback from this, but I am seldom scared, and I felt used and afraid last night. This probably won’t even get posted, as anything negative never seems to get past the censors.
Just another fine night in our city.
This is a story about someone who didn’t like all those outsiders coming in and eating up all the candy (disgorging was a quite interesting choice of words). And yes, all those outsiders were black — our little city, while fairly diverse, is still majority white, surrounded by a heavily black area. Why else ask, “sweetly,” where each child lives? And if that wasn’t bad enough, one of those black adults was rude and scary well after the lights were out — the universal Halloween signal for don’t knock here. Would our frightened resident have told us if that had been a white man? Maybe, but the “pious PC feedback” bit makes me doubt it. And way to deflect justified criticism you know you’re gonna get before you even get it. And then, of course, there’s the used and scared part. Used? Why? because kids from outside our neighborhood came trick-or-treating? We live in a safe, welcoming, and generous community. I’m not the least bit surprised parents want to bring their costumed kids here.
“This probably won’t even get posted” is a bully tactic. It was posted, probably because the “censors” didn’t want to get criticism themselves, but the truth is that this particular email list is an ANNOUNCEMENT list. It’s not meant for prejudiced complaints about the people who live outside our city. Oh, and no, Halloween is not “just another night,” fine or otherwise in our city, or any city. Seriously?
I’ve taken the liberty of removing the bullshit from the post.
When I drove into Pine Lake last night about 6:15, I could hardly get down Spruce Dr because of all the parents bringing their costumed kids. I had what I thought was a huge supply of candy, but it was gone in less than an hour. When the candy was gone, I turned out all the lights and sat in the living room. Just before 9PM I got into my PJs and started watching TV. It was then that several children approached my dark front door and knocked. My dog charged the door and pushed back the curtain. At that time a man put his hand against the pane of glass and pressed his face to the door, looking at me sitting on my couch in my jammies. I am old, alone, and not scared of the devil, but this was very unnerving.
Now, how hard was that? Helpful hints: If you don’t want “pious PC feedback,” don’t whine about non-residents bringing their kids into our town for Halloween, and don’t make the race of a rude and scary guy an issue. It doesn’t matter.
Unless, of course, that was your point. But if that’s the case, expect to be called on your racism.
I watched in horror last night as an overly militarized county police force overreacted and over-responded to protesters grieving the shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old at the hands of a police officer just a few days ago.
Folks in Ferguson are unhappy, and rightly so. A young man — a young, African-American man in a community that is almost 3/4 African-American — was shot and killed by a member of the community’s police force, a police that has but three African American members. The circumstances are under investigation, and conflicting reports of the how and why are, as one would expect, out there.
There’s plenty to be said about that, plenty to be said about an American justice system that has biases clear to anyone who doesn’t benefit from them. I’m not gonna wade into that morass just now though. I have another morass in mind.
Mike Brown was killed on Saturday. On Sunday, protesters gathered, and later in the evening, some of them went into riot mode, breaking store windows and looting and damaging police cars. On Monday, tactical officers with the St Louis County Police Department were on hand from the start, wearing more body armor than some American soldiers get in war zones and carrying weapons that would make the Bundy crew green with jealousy. Needless to say, things didn’t go well.
Michael Brown’s body (after being unlawfully shot) was left in the street for four hours…. pic.twitter.com/JBq9FuKcZw
— jayme (@JaymeThacker_) August 14, 2014
Angry protesters challenged police, and the police fired tear gas at the protesters. It happened again on Tuesday night. And then on Wednesday, an even larger police presence took to the streets. As on the other days, the protest during the day was peaceful, but tactical officers were an ominous presence in helmets, body armor and armored vehicles. The Ferguson police chief asked but did not order protesters to confine their protests to daylight hours, but he repeatedly said there was no curfew in place. Two reporters — national reporters — were temporarily detained that afternoon when they didn’t move quickly enough to leave a McDonald’s when police barged in and ordered everybody out. They were released when the police chief called and asked what the hell was going on.
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) August 14, 2014
Somebody, somewhere threw a rock, or a bottle, or a brick. Somebody else tried to light a wick for a Molotov cocktail. Somebody else saw a gun. And it was on. Police went all out with crowd control, using sound bombs, piercing sirens, flash bangs, tear gas and bean bags.
— David Carson (@PDPJ) August 14, 2014
— Cassidy Moody (@CassFM) August 14, 2014
It was the Middle America equivalent of Israel’s response to Hamas’ homemade missiles. Wanna further piss off angry people? Respond to them angrily and with excessive force.
Today, it’s early yet but there’s been a sea change in Ferguson, Missouri. Gov Jay Dixon finally came to town, after, I suspect, federal officials told him to stop ignoring a serious situation and be the governor he was elected to be. He relieved the St Louis County Police Department and its chief, Jon Belmar, from command of the security in Ferguson, replacing them with the Missouri State Patrol and a captain, Ron Johnson, who grew up in the area.
Johnson promptly ordered no tear gas, no gas masks, no excessive body armor, no tanks, and, while we’re at it, let’s escort a march and I’ll walk with it.
Highway patrol captain Ron Johnson is leading protesters on a march through Ferguson. A corner turned? pic.twitter.com/ewytjhz2uP
— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) August 14, 2014
This is how it’s done. I have no idea what will happen as the sun sets in Ferguson tonight. I hope this one powerful move will make a difference. This country has more problems we think aren’t problems than we can shake the proverbial stick at, but there’s just no sense in antagonizing an already agonizing situation. And that’s what went on in Ferguson for the first part of the week. There’s plenty that needs to be discussed around this, but the kind of adversarial response that officials obviously thought was a good idea is precisely the wrong idea. People need to be heard, they need to be respected, especially when they’re grieving, when they’re scared and angry and hurt.
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 14, 2014
They don’t need a paramilitary police force staring at them down the scope of an assault rifle. That’s a sure fire way to tell them they don’t matter, which, of course, only confirms what they already knew.
Completely dark in #ferguson now, no choppers, no major police presence. Still a crowd and lots of honking from cars passing by.
— Conetta (@BmoreConetta) August 15, 2014