The cattle-ranch protest in Nevada was an armed insurrection by the Tea Party. One thousand Tea Party, so-called “patriots,” came to Bunkerville, NV, brandished weapons and the government backed down. Other mass protests in America have either ended in arrests or violent clashes between authorities and protesters.
There is an obvious double standard here because the government relented and turned away. Why did the government do this? The main difference between many other mass protests and the cattle-ranch protest is that the cattle-ranch protesters were armed with handguns and assault rifles.
Is American in such a state where the new formula of effective protest comes in the form of armed insurrection? Let’s hope not. It shouldn’t be.
There have been many past instances where standoffs ended in violence and injustice. The Wounded Knee incident in 1973 is a strong example of such injustice. The American Indian Movement (AIM) was a standoff with the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The standoff started when AIM leadership and hundreds of activists representing the Oglala Lakota tribe stood in protest in the town of Wounded Knee against the corrupt tribal president Richard Wilson. The siege lasted for over two months, and after an armed standoff with government officials, the protest was destroyed, the government reclaimed control of Wounded Knee, and Wilson retained office, despite charges of voter fraud and intimidation. Two protesters were killed and 13 others were injured.
Once again, the federal government failed the Native Americans.
Then there’s the Kent State shooting where the Ohio National Guard killed four students and injured nine, some suffering from permanent paralysis as a result of their injuries. The most tragic thing about Kent State was that the students were unarmed and protesting against American occupation in Vietnam.
The result was the same at Kent State as it was at Wounded Knee. People protesting for a popular and just cause were gunned down and silenced by the government. Uncle Sam got his way.
Fast forward to the Occupy Movement. Thankfully, no shots were fired and no one was killed. However, an unarmed mass of young protesters were dismantled by government intervention and many Occupy protesters were hauled away to jail. Another mass assembly for a popular cause broken down by the federal government.
So, why in the hell does the Tea Party get a pass? Is it because they’re white Americans with guns? The federal government certainly didn’t back down against the MOVE Organization in Philadelphia. Local law enforcement even went as far as to drop a bomb onto the West Philadelphia MOVE headquarters in 1985. The FBI supplied the bomb to the Philadelphia police.
There is an obvious double standard here. But what’s the x-factor? Is it race? Guns? Demographics? Ideology? Or a combination of many things?
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.