Letter: Brown, Bundy contrasts reveal much
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
If there any question of a racial divide in our country one just has to look in the difference in media coverage and attitudes concerning the recent shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and the actions of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy in Nevada.
While we may not know all the facts, we do know an unarmed black 18-year-old was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson. And a white cattle rancher had grazed his stock on federal lands for over a decade, refusing to remit payment to the government. After losing in both local courts and the state Supreme Court, federal marshals were sent to seize his cattle.
People sympathetic to their cause began to rally for the perceived violation of their rights. In Nevada, mostly white men, women and children came with signs protesting a tyrannical government. Many showed up with semi-automatic weapons. Self-proclaimed militia men threatened to put the women and children on the front lines and to shoot the government agents if they came closer or tried to retrieve any more of the cattle.
In Ferguson, the mainly black crowd marched in the streets, chanting with signs denouncing police brutality. In Nevada, officials threatened by men poised on highway overheads in sniper positions backed off, stating they didn’t want to escalate tensions or have civilians hurt.
The first night in Ferguson unarmed protesters were met with police in tanks, guns drawn, rubber bullets and canisters of tear gas shot into crowds containing children and the elderly. To be fair, on subsequent nights there was some looting, water bottles thrown at police and unconfirmed possible Molotov cocktails. In Missouri, most of those arrested were outsiders and labeled agitators. In Nevada, those from others states bringing weapons were called patriots by some.
The main contrast of the media and a divided America are obvious. On one hand the issue is cattle and states’ rights with loaded weapons. Then you have citizens marching over a dead young man and being met with military vehicles and tear gas.
While no one should meet injustice by looting neither should an AK-47 be tolerated. Regardless of opinions concerning either incident we must all be concerned at the inequality of the response taken by officials lest the next cause be your own.