Black Lives Matter, not Black Friday!
If you took time out from holiday festivities with family and friends to watch the news at all yesterday (likely a bad idea to begin with) you are probably aware of the large scale Black Lives Matter protests which essentially shut down holiday shopping on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. (See edit below) It wasn’t as if they weren’t telegraphing their punches because organizers, including Jesse Jackson, had announced the disruptions days in advance.
Here are a few of the sights and sounds.
The crowds, understandably angry over the more than year long investigation of Officer Jason Van Dyke’s shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, locked arms in front of multiple stores, essentially closing them for business, and faced off with the police. Thankfully there were relatively few arrests and not much in the way of violence, but the city’s commercial center was pretty much shut down.
Thousands of people marched on Chicago’s most prestigious shopping street on Friday, disrupting business on one of the busiest U.S. retail days, to protest the shooting death of a black teenager by a white policeman and the city’s handling of the case.
About 2,000 protesters, some holding signs reading “Stop Police Terror” gathered in a cold drizzle for the march on Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile,” which closed the major city street of Michigan Avenue to traffic on the traditional “Black Friday” shopping day after the Thanksgiving holiday,
Organizers said the rally, led by activist-politician the Rev. Jesse Jackson and several state elected officials, was a show of outrage over the October 2014 death of Laquan McDonald, 17, and what they see as racial bias in U.S. policing.
Frankly, this is precisely what we need to see as far as I’m concerned. If anything, it needs to spread to every other major city in the nation which is run by liberal, Democrat, gun grabbing, heavy spending municipal governments. And it needs to be seen by every law abiding citizen in each of those cities as they try to simply get on with their lives. The portrayal of these protests which they get from CNN and their newspapers is so totally skewed on a regular basis that too many of them have no clue what they’re really dealing with. Cable news spokesmodels will continue to portray this as some sort of noble endeavor, justifying anything and everything that the BLM national network is up to. I saw it again this morning as CNN’s Victor Blackwell (normally a great anchor with an even, “just the facts” tone on most stories) described the activity as BLM “refusing to back down” and “fighting for justice” in the Laquan McDonald case. That’s obviously not what’s happening, but until the rank and file citizens get a first hand view of what’s being done in the name of “social justice” we’re not going to get anywhere.
Having watched the video of the actual shooting, the citizens of Chicago have every right to be demanding answers in the wake of that incident. As I said at the start of this episode, I have no idea what spurred Officer Van Dyke to do what he did. Perhaps he’s a racist. Perhaps he’s just an easily panicked individual who kept on firing long after he should have stopped and should never have been given a badge and a gun in the first place. Either way, after a taser was requested but not available, facing down a suspect high on PCP and armed with a knife who had vandalized some vehicles and was staggering away from the scene, if Van Dyke had stopped after the first shot or two he might have had a case to defend himself. But firing more than a dozen rounds into a suspect who was already down on the ground means he has to face the music over his actions.
But that’s the point which is missing from most of the coverage of the case. Van Dyke is already in jail facing murder charges. A reasonable amount of time for a thorough investigation and due process is understandable, but this dragged on too long. On these points I agree with many of the complaints of the protesters. But as usual, the response is going in exactly the wrong direction and once again discredits the entire “Black Lives Matter” movement. People who head out on Black Friday to go shopping have now been reminded of this and they need to be very clear on the key points here.
The clerks at Banana Republic did not shoot Laquan McDonald. The cashiers working at Neiman Marcus did not shoot Laquan McDonald. Nor did the shoppers looking to make purchases in those stores. The protesters were screaming through bullhorns that they were not only angry with the police officers on the scene of the shooting but that they also wanted the Police Commissioner and Rahm Emanuel indicted. Trust me… I can relate. There’s more than a few times I’ve wanted to see Rahm indicted on one thing or another myself.
But Rahm Emanuel doesn’t work at Neiman Marcus.
If you want to protest, go to City Hall or the Mayor’s residence. Heck, if I lived in the neighborhood I might show up to join you. But that’s not what happened. Once again the Black Lives Matters protesters decided to take out their anger on their fellow citizens who have no involvement in government or law enforcement, choosing the usual activity of “disrupting white spaces” because this isn’t a fight against the police: it’s a fight against the rest of society. They are shutting down the businesses which employ the few of their neighbors who can still manage to find jobs. Rather than trying to fix an ailment of society, they are helping to tear it down.
That’s the message that the rest of the country needs to understand, so I hope these protests in this exact form spread to the rest of the cities around the country. Black Lives Matter is a misguided, destructive force which all too often incites violence of their own, particularly against police officers who have nothing to do with the handful of high profile police shootings which dominate the news. Rather than picking up wider support, the public should judge for themselves how they view the tactics of this group and respond accordingly.
The original version of this article incorrectly identified the Chicago commercial district as the Miracle Mile, not the Magnificent Mile, because the author is still suffering from tryptophan shock.