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Bundys and NODAPL [Oct. 31st, 2016|10:58 am]
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So, I wanted to say a few things about the Bundy Bunch.
I have a lot to say about the legal issues and the court case, but that'll have to wait. I just wanted today to mention a few things about the juxtaposition between the verdict and the attack at the NODAPL camp. A lot of people have been pointing out the parallels between these two events, and not just because they happened at the same time.

And a lot of people have proposed various reasons for the differences. Why were the Bundy's mostly left alone and then, when finally arrested taken peacefully (except the one guy who was pretty much indisputably a case of suicide by cop.)

I think it's a variety of factors, of which I've seen the first and third mentioned a lot:

1. Race. Many, many people have claimed that had a bunch of Muslims, or Black people, or Native Americas, who had taken over a federal facilities with large amounts of weapons, it would not have been so peaceful. There's no way they would have been allowed to come and go at will for over a month, and almost certainly there would have been a lot more firepower on the part of the police, FBI and quite possibly the National Guard. And there never would have been a question about whether they intended to intimidate the staff.

2. Guns. Lots and lots of guns. If the FBI had just charged in and tried to arrest everyone, they would have fired back at them. The government would have had to shoot back and a bloodbath would ensue. Nobody wanted that. The protesters would all be dead, and the government would look bad for having caused another bloodbath, which would galvanize the right-wing extremists much the way Ruby Ridge and Waco did. So, yeah, the guns, in my opinion, actually served exactly what second-amendment proponents keep saying they do: Because the people had guns, the government backed off. The protesters at the DAPL protest, on the other hand were beaten, tear gassed, shot with "less lethal" rubber bullets, tazed, and had attack dogs (not police dogs) set on them, all with impunity because the thugs doing so knew they would be facing no retaliation from the unarmed protesters.

3. Ideology: The water protectors at Standing Rock are fighting *against* a destructive exploitation of a shared resource for the benefit of a very few people. Which is, at its root, what the Bundy gang were fighting *for*. Privatization of public resources has been something the most powerful people in this country are constantly fighting for, from their constant attempts to put social security into their hands to corporate sponsorship of national parks (or in extreme cases, abolishing national parks altogether and selling the land to private interests), to the private prison industry. A large part of right-wing rhetoric, starting even before the Reagan era but that's when it really took off, is the idea that government can't be trusted to run things or is incapable of running anything as well as private corporations. It is, on the face of it, nonsense, but they've managed to sell this idea to millions of Americans. These same people are the ones fighting tooth and nail against public health care as well, which I've gone on about here for many years.