Beyonce, Black Panthers and misguided ‘outrage’ on the right

Something of a kerfuffle has bubbled up among the “law and order”  right over Beyonce’s Super Bowl halftime performance, which was an apparent tribute to the original Black Panther Militia and ended with a performer’s raising of a sign with words “Justice 4 Mario Woods” inscribed thereon.

According to the Washington Examiner,  members of the National Sheriffs’ Association meeting in Washington, “turned their backs on Beyonce during a Super Bowl  halftime party, angered the NFL allowed her to sing a song they consider anti-police.”

“Law and order” champions Rudy Giuliani and N.Y. Representative Peter King both claim to have been offended by the show. “I think it was outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers, who are the people who protect her and protect us,” Giuliani said.

“I found the entire show objectionable. It was extolling the Black Panthers who were a terrorist organization, killing police officers in the 60s and 70s,” King said.

Of course they would. Neither cares much for the Bill of Rights or such trivialities as freedom of speech and expression, and neither ever met an unconstitutional, 4th Amendment-violating surveillance law they didn’t love. As New York mayor, Giuliani hired William J. Bratton as his police commission in order to institute a “stop and frisk” policy which quickly degenerated — if one assumes that wasn’t its original intent — into a policy of “guilty for walking while black or Hispanic” particularly, or even if white and just seemingly out of place.

In other words, under Giuliani’s policy,  prudence demanded that police stop and frisk anyone and everyone for any reason or none at all, just to “keep us safe.” Phrases like “keep us safe” and “for the children” are code words for stealing liberties.

For his part, King has endorsed every massive surveillance policy enacted  and some only dreamed of by the federal police state  — again to “keep us safe” from “terrorists” created and imported by the federal regime.

As for the aforementioned Mario Woods, he was gunned down by a hoard of police officers just miles from the Super Bowl’s location in a shooting ruled “justified” because Woods was said to have “made a threatening move” toward officers. Video and witness reports show and say otherwise.

Beyonce-style performances and NFL halftime extravaganzas are not my cup of tea. But after learning about the dust-up, I went back and watched a recording of it. I’ll admit I’m old fashioned. I found Beyonce’s music grating to my ears, the words mostly indecipherable. To me, her dance was vulgar, her dress immodest. But I saw no cause for offense in her message. And in what world is it ever wrong to ask the police to stop shooting people who pose no immediate threat to anyone?

The original Black Panther Party for Self Defense formed in 1966 in response to widespread police brutality and overt institutional racism and abuse against blacks in California (sparked particularly after police killed an unarmed 16-year-old  Matthew Johnson in San Francisco, who was shot in the back as he ran away from a police officer).

Leaders of the group began to openly carry firearms — as was their right under natural law and as is guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment – and to patrol their neighborhoods and follow police around to document instances of abusive behavior. Police and agents of the state didn’t like the scrutiny.

In February of 1967, Oakland police stopped a car in which were several armed Black Panthers, including leaders Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. When officers asked them to turn over their guns, Newton gave a reasonable (and constitutional) response.

“I don’t have to give you anything but my identification, name, and address,” he insisted.

“Who in the hell do you think you are?” an officer responded.

“Who in the hell do you think you are?,” Newton replied indignantly. He told the officer that he and his friends had a legal right to have their firearms.

Newton got out of the car, still holding his rifle.

“What are you going to do with that gun?” asked one of the stunned policemen.

“What are you going to do with your gun?,” Newton replied.

By this time, the scene had drawn a crowd of onlookers. An officer told the bystanders to move on, but Newton shouted at them to stay. California law, he yelled, gave civilians a right to observe a police officer making an arrest, so long as they didn’t interfere. Newton played it up for the crowd. In a loud voice, he told the police officers, “If you try to shoot at me or if you try to take this gun, I’m going to shoot back at you, swine.” Although normally a black man with Newton’s attitude would quickly find himself handcuffed (or dead –BL) in the back of a police car, enough people had gathered on the street to discourage the officers from doing anything rash. Because they hadn’t committed any crime, the Panthers were allowed to go on their way.

After hearing complaints from police about the Black Panthers’ armed patrols, California Republican Assemblyman Don Mulford introduced legislation to repeal California’s open carry law — a law that stands to this day. As the law was being considered, about 30 armed blacks strode up the California Capitol steps and Seale read from a prepared statement: “The American people in general and the black people in particular,” he announced, “must take careful note of the racist California legislature aimed at keeping the black people unarmed and powerless. Black people have begged, prayed, petitioned, demonstrated, and everything else to get the racist power structure of America to right the wrongs which have historically been perpetuated against black people. The time has come for black people to arm themselves against this terror before it is too late.”

They then strode into the Capitol building. The point was made, and no one was shot.

Then-Governor Ronald Reagan was later heard to remark that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons” and that guns were a “ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.” In a later press conference, Reagan added that he Mulford Act “would work no hardship on the honest citizen.” Reagan signed the bill into law later that year. (Gun control laws in America  have historically been designed to prevent minorities – blacks in particular – from owning guns.)

Reagan’s words are an example of typical gun grabber-speak. “We are not the Wild West and no one needs to carry a weapon on his hip. No one needs a gun that can shoot 30 times. No one needs an ‘assault weapon’ to hunt. No one needs a 30-round ‘clip’ (I know the proper term is magazine). No one needs a gun that can shoot more than 15 (or 10) times.”

Deciphering Reagan’s comment, the Black Panthers’ (or anyone else’s) practice of openly carrying weapons intimidated police and other agents of the state to such an extent they were afraid to continue going about their jobs of abusing Californians, and only agents of the state should have the legal right to openly carry a firearm. Extending it further, agents of the state may openly carry in order to properly intimidate the citizenry, but the citizenry must not openly display their weapons because agents of the state are easily intimidated.

Perhaps that “fear factor” explains why police are wont to so readily shoot citizens – 1,205 in 2015, an increase from 772 in 2013 —  whether armed or not, who don’t immediately comply with their demands.

And while the state loves to surveil the citizenry, it opposes being surveilled itself. For evidence look no further than police assaults on people who photograph or video their activities and efforts by police organizations to make it unlawful to take video of their actions.

While the Black Panthers harbored a Marxist philosophy (though they advocated for nothing that most Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t clamoring for today), their aims in the beginning were initially an effort to stop abuses and racism they and their fellow blacks were suffering. Their movement was later infiltrated and co-opted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO operation and government-abetted agents provocateur who recruited some bad actors.

According to the FBI, COINTELPRO was designed to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of the Black nationalists.” The FBI’s activities were often illegal, as determined by a Congressional Select Committee. A compliant media covered up the program when evidence of it was leaked. The media also helped the FBI craft the image – often focusing on incidents instigated by FBI agents provocateur — that Black Panthers were dangerous criminal subversives.

The state uses similar ploys today, casting anyone and everyone who believes in the Constitution and rule of law and who opposes the Federal leviathan, calls for smaller government, who attempts to stand up to lawless government, who flies the Gadsden Flag, who stores food and water and other supplies, who opposes abortion, who supports Ron Paul and who opposes so-called “commonsense gun laws” as loonies, subversives and traitors who should be shot on sight or disappeared into the bowels of an NDAA dungeon for an “enhanced interrogation.”

Anyone supporting open carry, constitutional carry, Cliven Bundy’s actions in Nevada or the Oregon protestors should appreciate a tribute to the Black Panthers, who were doing exactly what Bundy and the Oregon protestors have been doing (and what many of their supporters claim to want others to do): standing up to a lawless and unaccountable government in the only way left to them after suffering years of abuse and seeing little or no progress while trying to work within the system. And the response by the state to the Black Panthers is similar to its response to the Bundys and the Oregon protestors – a propaganda program abetted by the MSM to paint them as enemies of the state coupled with a covert war of infiltration by agents provocateur to instigate an armed confrontation.

Anyone so offended by Beyonce’s “tribute” that they call for bans on  similar shows are no different than the race-baiters who claimed such offense at Confederate symbols that they began to be removed across the country.

And if members of the Sheriff’s Association, police officers, Rudy Giuliani and Peter King are so offended by a halftime show, maybe they should enroll in the University of Missouri where they are sure to find a “safe place” free of “microaggression.”


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