Monday News: Tinderbox

NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYS TO RALEIGH DURING SECOND NIGHT OF UNREST: Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Wake County Courthouse on Sunday; more filled the streets around the Capitol. Confrontations between police and protesters began early in the evening as police fired tear gas to scatter a crowd, and continued until well after midnight. At almost 12:30 a.m. Monday, the Raleigh Police Department announced that the National Guard had been deployed. From 7 p.m. until midnight, downtown Raleigh was a running series of confrontations between protesters and police that eventually deteriorated into widespread vandalism and street fires. Around downtown, windows were broken at more offices and businesses — at least a few of the same ones that had been broken into on Saturday. Several young men broke in to the Reliable Jewelry and Loan shop on Wilmington Street. Throughout the evening, protesters diffused confrontations and de-escalated situations among themselves. Some protesters knocked down a metal barrier outside the governor’s mansion, others put it back upright.

GOVERNOR COOPER CALLS FOR RESTRAINT, BUT ADDS "BLACK LIVES DO MATTER": "We must stop this destruction," he said. "But I want to remind everyone of something vitally important: We cannot focus so much on property damage that we forget why people are in the streets in the first place." "Black lives do matter," he said. The governor said Floyd's death "broke open painful wounds" and that racism, white supremacy and the litany of inequalities that stem from them are very real. He said scars "mark generations of trauma that black people and other communities of color continue to suffer." "We have to have these hard conversations, then move beyond them to do the work of fighting racism, building safe, thriving communities for everyone," Cooper said. The governor said he wants to give people "room and space and time" to make their points in protest, and that "people are more important than property." He encouraged local leaders to meet with protesters. He said guard members being deployed are trained in the "protection of public structures" and "that is how they will be used."

GOVERNOR ORDERS 3-WEEK MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS AND 60 DAY EXTENSION BANNING UTILITY CUT-OFFS: Gov. Roy Cooper has issued a three-week, statewide moratorium on evictions effective Saturday, his office said. The executive order also extends the prohibition of utility shut-offs for another 60 days. It’s meant to relieve residential tenants and businesses who lost income and struggle to make rent during the COVID-19 pandemic and to reduce the risk of homelessness, Cooper said. “North Carolinians need relief to help make ends meet during the pandemic,” Cooper said in a statement Saturday. “Extending housing and utility protections will mean more people can stay in their homes and stay safe as we all work to slow the spread of this virus.” The order also prevents landlords from assessing late fees or other penalties for late or nonpayment, prevents the accumulation of additional interest, fees or other penalties for existing late fees while the order is in effect, and requires landlords to give tenants at least six months after the order ends to pay outstanding rent.

TRUMP MOVES TO DECLARE ANTIFA AS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION: The Trump administration on Sunday intensified its effort to pin blame on the far-left “antifa” movement for violent demonstrations over police killings of black people, as the president vowed on Twitter to designate antifa a terrorist organization and Attorney General William P. Barr asserted that it and other groups’ activities constituted “domestic terrorism.” Trump cannot, for practical and legal reasons, formally designate antifa a terrorist organization, and neither he nor his attorney general has made public specific evidence that the far-left movement is orchestrating the fiery protests that have erupted in dozens of U.S. cities. In Minnesota, where the unrest began after 46-year-old George Floyd died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, officials have alleged the violence was fueled by different external forces, including white supremacists and drug cartels. They, too, have not offered detailed evidence to support those claims. Protests — especially those of the scale seen in the United States in recent days — are complicated affairs, often drawing participants with a range of political ideologies and motivations, including some with bad intentions. But some observers said they see in Trump’s targeting of antifa an attempt to shift focus away from what sparked the demonstrations: outrage over killings of black people by police. “The idea of antifa ‘masterminding’ what’s happening over the last few days — if you know anything about the subject — is ludicrous,” said Mark Bray, a historian and author of the 2017 book “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.” “There’s a real investment on the part of the administration and their allies in portraying these recent protests as organized from the top down, and not a spontaneous outpouring of rage.”

NEW YORK POLICE DRIVE SUV'S INTO PEDESTRIAN PROTESTERS: The brief video clip, widely circulated on social media and on the national news, seemed to capture a wanton act of police brutality: One police cruiser, and then a second, jolting into a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn, sending people sprawling across the street. At a news conference on Sunday, the mayor called for an investigation, but also took pains to try to explain the officers’ actions, saying that the situation “was created by a group of protesters blocking and surrounding a police vehicle, a tactic that we had seen before in the last few days, a tactic that can be very, very dangerous to everyone involved.” He added: “And we’ve seen direct attacks on police officers, including in their vehicles.” Several of his former aides took the remarkable step of voicing their displeasure publicly on Twitter, in addition to privately discussing the mayor’s actions in a separate thread, according to two people involved in those conversations. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the nation’s best-known progressive leader, said “defending and making excuses” for the Police Department was wrong, and that the mayor would be better served by trying to de-escalate tensions in the city. “Running SUVs in crowds of people should never, ever be normalized,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “No matter who does it, no matter why.” By Sunday evening, more than 786 people had been arrested in New York City, according to John Miller, the city’s counterterrorism chief. Early Sunday morning, the police said 33 officers had been injured and 47 police vehicles had been damaged or destroyed, several of them set on fire. More than a dozen stores in Lower Manhattan were also looted.



Enough is enough.

What's going on is no longer a protest or a movement with defined goals, it's an open invitation for anarchists and arsonists. White supremacists have joined the club, taking advantage of the lack of organization to pursue their own goals, whatever they may be. Suffice it to say their goals are not good for our country, and providing them with an environment where they can thrive is beyond reckless.

Many have blamed the police for overreacting, and there is some validity to that. They were way too quick to toss teargas around in Raleigh, and if you've never been hit with it, consider yourself lucky. But this isn't just about George Floyd anymore, it's an open buffet. The larger the crowd, the more window-breakers and looters find refuge there, so regardless of your peaceful intent, or your desire for justice, your presence is fanning the flames.

I saw somebody post a comment, "The only reason I went was to protect my brothers and sisters." That's nice, but it just adds to the critical mass. Running down the street to see what that new shouting is about just adds to the aura of violence and lack of control, which in turn pushes law enforcement to even more desperate efforts to restore that control.

Oh, and if you find yourself protesting at the Governor's mansion, a Governor who has worked hard to protect the downtrodden in our society, you have definitely lost whatever righteous high-ground you had.

Go home.

I know this will tick off many,

so feel free to tell me what you think. If I'm wrong, it wouldn't be the first (or last) time that happened.

Doesn't tick me off

But I don't agree with the overall thrust. Taken to its logical conclusion, your approach would leave no place for justifiable outrage.

I suppose one could argue that is what elections are for, but we have 400 years of oppression under our belts with more and more institutional barriers in place.

I don't have an answer, but peaceful protests have a place. It's up to law enforcement to distinguish between protests and looting and direct their activities appropriately. I've read too many stories of undercover police officers being part of the problem. That shit's gotta stop.

It doesn't tick me off but you are wrong

The fear of looters hijacking a protest is not a reason to not protest. There are reasonable precautions that can be taken, even though police make some of them difficult. For one thing, try to assemble in the public square, not on side streets or in areas with a lot of retail businesses. But we sometimes see police blocking off the public square. Then, shut down the protests two hours before sunset, giving people plenty of time to disburse and go home. Having a mass protest after dark is useless. You cannot tell how many people are there or who they are, signs cannot be seen, and it does open the whole protest up to misadventure by agitators. Plus you cannot tell which police are beating people on the head.

Now, getting to the police. They can stop firing chemical irritants at peaceful protesters. And instead of massing hundreds of them in riot gear to sweep a public area, disperse some of them to nearby areas where looting may occur. Now, they would rather fire rubber bullets and tear gas grenades, then wade in with shields and batons in a packed crowd. If you notice, many of the videos showing what some people claim are protesters running wild in the streets are actually protesters fleeing tear gas, "less lethal" weapons, and assaults by the police. Not a rampaging crowd of looters and rioters. Police should definitely stop the practice of kettling, where they pop up on both ends of a street and push everyone into a mass in the middle, then start arresting people at random when they try to leave. Send those police out to the business district in regular uniforms. They don't because you really cannot run in the equipment the riot cops are wearing, so they couldn't catch a looter if they had to. But looking like Robocop is more impressive than actually controlling rioting and looting, and these peaceful protesters are much less likely to fight back. And stop having 5 command officers arresting a bicycle delivery guy carrying take out food, who is exempt from the curfew. They should know this stuff and be monitoring the regular cops, not making illegal arrests.

Again, there is no reason to avoid legitimate peaceful protesting because some people take advantage of the situation. Without these massive protests, nothing would ever change. And change in law enforcement is desperately needed. Silence is acquiescence. Instead of relying on brutal suppression of protests in an effort to prevent looting, how about preventing police violence, then there would be less need for protests, and therefore less chance of a riot. Suppression is only treating the symptoms. Racism and police violence is the disease. Cure that and the symptoms disappear. Looking at events this weekend, it seems like some police departments are getting the message, with more protest containment in safer areas and less protest disruption by police, sending hundreds of angry people fleeing in all directions, including the nearby Target or cell phone store, while police are busy arresting and processing peaceful protesters who were caught up in their sweep. A perfect opportunity for an agitator to bust out a store window and invite people in while the cops are blocks away and busy.

I know I am responding late and after much water has gone under the bridge. But I had the same opinion on June 1.

Thanks, a lot of good points

Especially about winding down the protest before nightfall, and the police being dispersed and not forming walls. When I wrote "go home" above, I didn't mean stay home and don't protest. I just meant do your thing and call it a day.

Meanwhile, ReOpen nutcases think ...

... that Covid-19 contract tracers are stealing children.

Anti-vaccine activists, the John Birch Society, and many of those participating in “re-open” protests over the past month have declared their intention to resist any attempts to force them to participate. One member of the Reopen Virginia Facebook group recently posted a job announcement from the state public health department looking for 1,300 new contact tracers, with the caption, “Evidently the Gestapo is hiring.” Just in the past two weeks activists in Texas have formed a new group, Texans Against Contact Tracing, to oppose a new $295 million contract the state recently issued to hire hundreds of public health sleuths. They rallied for a protest at the state capital on May 24. ...

Failed California congressional candidate and Trump supporter DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero warned in a livestreamed video that contact tracers should “scare the crap out of everyone,” adding, “President Trump, if you’re watching, you need to put a stop to this immediately.” A “dating, relationship and attraction coach” and author of Making Love Great Again, she is so suspicious of the ulterior motives of contact tracing that she says she’s going to get a job as one and go undercover and get to the bottom of things. “What kind of soulless, pathetic person would take a job as a contact tracer and sell out their fellow Americans?” she asked in a livestream May 19. “Who would do that? But then I realized, well, Antifa has been out of work for a while and so has MS-13, so maybe someone like them.”

And, by the way, the CoronaKarens had another race this weekend at the speedway in Alamance County.