The violence in Ferguson is still happening. Another journalist was arrested today. The National Guard is coming in. By all appearances, the local PD seems to be invested in fanning the flames and working against the Missouri Highway Patrol (who briefly had things under better management) and the DOJ/FBI. Follow the links from my previous post for coverage.
I want to say something about what’s happening here. It’s not as important as what other people are saying — go read them — but I want to say it.
There’s a fairly vocal subset of the US-based Internet who seems to like to cry, “Free speech! First Amendment!” at the drop of a hat. Even when it doesn’t apply. Like when people’s words get criticized (not a free speech violation). Or when people lose the platform that was previously provided by another free person (also not a free speech violation). Or when people are banned from privately-owned spaces (seriously, NOT a free speech violation).
You know what qualifies as actual First Amendment violations? Gross, extreme, no-American-should-be-okay-with-this First Amendment violations? What’s happening in Ferguson right the fuck now.
Journalists being arrested. Press and citizens being told by authorities to stop recording. Police aggressively preventing citizens from engaging in peaceful assembly or protest. News helicopters being banned. People having guns pointed at them or handcuffs slapped on them because they were standing or walking or talking or shouting or protesting or recording or associating in a manner a police officer didn’t like. Curfews. Snipers. Tear gas.
IF YOU BELIEVE IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS, IF YOU BELIEVE IN THE FIRST AMENDMENT, THIS IS WHEN YOU GET MAD. THIS IS WHEN YOU GET BEYOND OUTRAGED. THIS IS WHEN YOU THROW A FUCKING SHITFIT.
The people of Ferguson are my fellow Americans. And this is what it looks like when Americans’ rights are being violated.
For God’s sake, get angry.