Welcome to the confluence of every damn thing that's wrong with my hometown, Baton Rouge, La.:
- Banana-republic policing,
- Ineffective, dysfunctional state and local government,
- An angry, ignored and historically severely damaged (in every way) inner-city population,
- A critical mass of stone-cold white racism locally, and
- Systemic breakdowns in education, the justice system, public health care and social services.
You tell me how this ends well. I got nothin'.
I KNEW this would go south Friday night when the protest outside police headquarters -- I've been obsessively watching The Advocate's live streams -- began to turn ugly and the local "community leaders" tried to talk to the crowd and restore order. They were all shouted down.
One state senator from inner-city Baton Rouge kept talking about legislation she was going to introduce to deal with the situation, and how she needed the protesters to get politically involved, blah blahblah blahblah blahblah.
The hotheads may have been beyond reason, but they're not stupid. Any legislation she were to introduce to "deal with the situation" would pass the Louisiana Legislature how, exactly?
The kind of breakdown of public order that the hotheads among the demonstrators would like to achieve in the streets of Baton Rouge, because outrage, is what the GOP-dominated legislature already is achieving politically, because . . . Louisiana. And "conservative" ideology.
BATON ROUGE HAS TURNED INTO SYRIA #AltonSterling #BlackLivesMatter #BatonRouge pic.twitter.com/LCwAyP1AJA— liz (@lizzkatherine_) July 11, 2016
TELL ME how this gets better. Tell me how this gets better when officialdom is urging everyone to lower the temperature of their rhetoric, but then the comments sections of Baton Rouge media outlets -- both on their websites and on their Facebook feeds -- more or less look like so many Ku Klux Klan message boards, with some outraged black folks responding in kind here and there.
Suggest that -- in the public interest and to promote reasoned dialog -- they either shut down comments or actively moderate them and you get lectured about the First Amendment and not wanting to stifle people's "freedom of speech."
I got that line from some 20-something Channel 2 talking head. Having gotten A's in media law at the LSU journalism school a decade before this lightweight was born, I explained to him that freedom of the press belongs to the owner of the press. Which ain't the amazing number of racist trolls taking over these outlets' comments sections.
So, given all of the above, tell me . . . how is Baton Rouge not even more screwed than it usually is? How is someone, or several someones, not going to end up as dead as Alton Sterling before all this is through?