This is a political post.
I've heard a number of arguments as to why the outrage in Oregon is different than Baltimore or Ferguson, and I really don't think they hold much water. I'll get into that in a moment, but I seriously want to suggest a non-violent solution to that situation.
1. Shut off the heat and water.
2. Cordon off the area - allowing no one in, but allow them to peacefully depart - After getting fingerprints and pictures.
Considering that the protesters didn't pack any supplies, and actually had to ask folks to bring by snacks on twitter, this is about as disorganized a protest as you can get. I think more than a little cold and quite a bit of hunger will weaken this wide eyed resolve and get this Federal land issue back into the courthouse or the statehouse where it belongs. I figure about ten to twelve days, three weeks at the outside.
Now that I've saved the day (again) let's get to why we shouldn't listen to the weak arguments as why armed white protesters should be treated with kid gloves while unarmed black protesters merit a calling out of the National Guard. Slate, I site actually like, proffered as a defense the argument that the Oregon situation really doesn't lend itself to soundbites or instant reactions, and that the issues are hyper-regional. I'd like to remind it's author, Jamelle Bouie (black), that really nothing lends itself to soundbites or instant reactions, not this situation OR the what occurred in Baltimore or Ferguson. Although we live in the age of instant news, very little outside sports scores lend themselves to ten second sound bites or three hundred word articles to which we've reduced our awareness. Just as this is a very nuanced situation that could probably be discussed for hours, so to are the police brutality situations all across the country. Oregon isn't special.
Bouie goes on to explain the situation's origin's are hyper-regional, concerning the use of federal lands in areas with huge national forests. But this is the same as the actual acts of police violence oppression in specific urban areas like Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, New York....etc,. Similar because of the participants dissatisfied with treatment by the government, these also are hyper-regional in nature while being part of a larger national issue, but none of them gave rise to idea the armed takeover of government property and nor should this situation.
And the idea that these are long standing issues is almost laughable, because unless I've got my history wrong black people have issues in this country since there was this country. By comparison, this outrage is mere thirty or forty years old.
The only real difference between these matters seems to be that this is a Federal matter, and the incidents of black protests are taking place more on the local level, which Bouie points out very, very late in his article. But just pointing out the debacles at Ruby Ridge and Waco, and the eventual horrible results they initiated, as the reason for restraint isn't the best argument either. Disgruntled readers can far too easily draw the misguided conclusion that more violence and not less is the answer if that violence leads to future restraint on the part of authorities. It won't. This more detached Federal approach to intervention doesn't need a testing to see if it's equal.
And I believe the treatment is not racial. Or I really want to.
Because that is hard to do once you get to the part where the sheriff pretty much just asked local folks to avoid the area and told the protesters to just "Go Home." No armored Humvees, no shock troops, nothing even remotely threatening. Okay, great but, for the last few days there hasn't even been as much as a single guard - local or federal - and the "protesters" come and go as they please. Really? There is handling it and then there...nothing? Wow.
Someone gets sent to jail for something they admit they did, and you can seize a federal building. But innocent unarmed black people are shot in the street and we aren't even supposed to even say anything. I'm just saying.
As much as we don't want this to be about race....it's still kinda about race. Sorry.