But despite the large presence of firearms in the possession of the protestors, the state police in Michigan were extremely disciplined during their confrontations. Even when protestors tried to force their way onto the House floor or screamed at the police from inches away, challenging them to fight.

Contrast this with—to pick just one example—the Monday night crackdown on protestors in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. In this explosion of police violence, law enforcement attempted to justify its actions after the fact by first claiming that the protestors had turned violent (there is no evidence to support this claim) and second by claiming to have found weapons among the protestor, including “frozen water bottles” and “metal poles.”

Of course, carrying a frozen water bottle in Washington is as legal as carrying a long gun in Michigan. But in one case the “weapon” was tolerated and in the other it was used as a pretext for government assault.

This might be the most depressing example of realpolitik I’ve ever seen.