Last night’s riots left their mark and have continued through today. I’ve been watching several livestreams and it’s obvious that local law enforcers have completely lost control of the situation. It turns out that the mechanism used by the State to oppress the masses is easily overwhelmed (surprising nobody). Governor Walz has called in the National Guard to reinforce the law enforcers, but what may go down as the single dumbest statement uttered by a Minnesotan has likely nullified whatever chance may have existed to get this riot under control:
#Breaking: During presser in Minneapolis, Hennepin County Atty Michael Freeman says #GeorgeFloyd video “graphic, horrific & terrible.” His job to prove “violation of criminal statute.”
Then drops bombshell:
“But there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.”
Even if Freeman has no intention of charging and arresting the officer(s) involved, there was no reason to add that last bombshell. That added a tremendous amount of fuel to an already burning firestorm.
Keeping track of all of the places in the Twin Cities experiencing looting or riots has become futile. The situation is changing too rapidly. As of this writing I know riots or looting have occurred in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Maplewood, and Woodbury. I’ve also heard mention of civil unrest in Cottage Grove and Burnsville. Stillwater’s law enforcers have apparently thrown up barricades, but those will do absolutely nothing if a determined group of rioters make it that far east. The sun hasn’t even set yet. If the last two nights are any indicator, what we’re seeing right now is the free sample. The main course will be served after sundown.
I’m not going to bother trying to deconstruct everything that is happening. Instead I’m going to provide some advice to help those of you living in the metro area increase your odds of surviving this shitshow.
- Don’t go to Target right now. Most of them in the metro have been closed already and for some reason Target has lived up to its name and become a primary target of the looters. Maybe this is a lesson on being more careful when choosing a company name.
- It’s easy to underestimate how fast riots move. Today was a good lesson in this fact as riots spread into St. Paul and some of its neighboring suburbs in a matter of hours. Just because a riot isn’t occurring near you doesn’t mean it won’t reach you soon. Treat the riots like a storm, follow their movements closely.
- There is no reasoning with a mob. If riots are coming to your neighborhood, run.
- If you don’t have a bug out bag ready to go, pack your shit now. By the time you realize you need to flee, you won’t have time to pack your shit.
- As a general rule hotels are cheaper the further away from the metro you are. Consider your flight a vacation for which you’re trying to get the best deal. Run as far as you can.
- Emergency services are going to be tied up. They will likely not respond if you call them. You’re on your own.
- If you work in the Twin Cities and your place of employment isn’t already a smoldering crater, call in sick. Fortunately, the COVID-19 scare makes this easier than ever.
- Go strapped or get clapped. You should have a gun loaded and ready to go. At a minimum you should have a handgun that you can carry on your person. Ideally you should have a long gun at home loaded and ready go to.
- Camping is great this time of year and the campgrounds in Wisconsin should be open for business.
- Last but not least, if you have a thin blue line sign or sticker on your home or vehicle, you might want to remove it sooner rather than later.
There’s nothing anybody can do to stop these riots anymore. They have to burn themselves out. The only thing you can do is take care of you and yours so concentrate on that.
Yesterday morning saw another unarmed black man added to the Minneapolis Police Department’s (MPD) body count. In a surprisingly short period of time it was announced that four officers were fired from the department over the situation. However, that failed to assuage the masses who are all too familiar with the cycle of law enforcers being fired only to be reinstated after their union argues that the firing was unwarranted. During the evening the inevitable happened. Protesters made their feelings clear to the law enforcers.
The protest, which I followed courtesy of the live streamers at Unicorn Riot, was larger than previous protests against MPD’s brutality. Eventually the protesters made their way to the Third Precinct in Minneapolis and went to town. The protesters surrounded the Third Precinct, tagged it with graffiti, smashed many of its windows, and messed up a couple of law enforcer vehicles. The evening festivities culminated with MPD reinforcements arrived and clashing with protesters for quite some time.
Not surprisingly online viewers were arguing about whether or not the protesters’ were villains or heroes. I think that argument missed the most important point. The morality of the protesters’ actions depends on your personal views, but what happened last night was inevitable.
MPD has a sordid history with unarmed black men dying in its custody. The decision makers in the MPD, City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, State of Minnesota, and federal government have blocked any justice for the families of those killed by MPD. The officers involved seldom receive any meaningful punishment and are almost never charged with a crime. When they are charged, they are almost always found not guilty because the law give law enforcers, unlike the rest of us, tremendous leeway in the use of deadly force.
If you take away all forms of recourse that we like to consider civil, wronged individuals will eventually resort to violence. What happened in Minneapolis yesterday evening was the direct result of government personnel continuously protecting MPD officers from punishment for their wrongdoing. The fact that such a situation hadn’t happened earlier is rather miraculous. Likewise, the fact that the situation wasn’t far worse is also miraculous.
The truth is MPD was damn lucky. The protesters massively outnumbered the officers in the Third Precinct. They could have easily overrun the building and killed every officer inside. They didn’t, but if the status quo with MPD continues, the next incident will likely be worse and eventually a spark will light the powder keg that is the city and a lot of people will die. I hope that last night’s conflict puts enough fear into the decision makers to convince them that the status quo is no longer viable. Unfortunately, I doubt it did. It may take citywide rioting before the decision makers are finally scared enough to stop shielding MPD’s officers from justice.
The ceaseless lock down that many states are experiencing has lead to the inevitable push back. Protests have already taken place in a number of states and more protests are being planned. Unfortunately, many of these protests are being organized on Facebook and Facebook has decided to remove them.
It probably doesn’t surprise anybody that I have friends interested or participating in the protests in Minnesota. When I saw them posting on social media saying that the latest protest event had been removed, I saw a number of people recommend other centralized social media sites such as MeWe and Minds. I have a tradition when I see such recommendations. I point out that jumping from one centralized social media site to another simply kicks the can down the road because they could decide to implement restrictions at any point and that the only long term solution is using self-hosted services to advertise events. The usual rebuttal I received is a variation of we have to post the event where the people are (falsely implying that many people use MeWe or Minds). Apparently there is a lot of misunderstanding about using self-hosted services to organize events.
When you use a self-hosted service, you don’t have to isolate it from everything else. You can advertise your self-hosted service on Facebook, Twitter, and other centralized social media sites. The point of a self-hosted service is to be authoritative and under your sole control. When you share a link to your self-hosted service, you note that the website you’re hosting is the place to go for official information. If Facebook removes your post, it doesn’t matter because the people who have already seen it will know where to go for updates to your event and because Facebook cannot remove your website. The official information still exists and can be shared with interested parties.