Thursday, August 21, 2014
Pro-police demonstrations in Ferguson spin out of control
The pro-police demonstrations soon spun out of control. Nicely-dressed police supporters, many of them from out of town, took to the streets and, marching in neat rows, politely called on justice officials to take their time, conduct a careful, deliberative process to find out exactly what had happened, and added that these were just suggestions and that they were in no way trying to force their beliefs on anyone else.
The protests took a turn for the worse when several national religious figures arrived to show solidarity with the protesters.
Joel Osteen, taking time away from his church in Texas, grabbed a bullhorn and softly announced to the crowd, "God knows your value; He sees your potential. You may not understand everything you are going through right now. But hold your head up high, knowing that God is in control and he has a great plan and purpose for your life." He then urged everyone to join hands and sing "Kumbaya."
Nervous police in riot gear stood by with tear gas at the ready in case the shallow sentimentalism got out of hand. Several people reported seeing police in a canine unit having trouble restraining their dogs, who appeared more and more out of control with each succeeding life fulfillment principle.
The police were then pelted with what they first thought were rocks, but which turned out to be hundreds of "30 Thoughts for Victorious Living" tracts.
One protester reportedly confronted a police officer, yelling, "It’s vital that you accept yourself and learn to be happy with who God made you to be." The officer responded by threatening the man with his gun. The officer was immediately called back to headquarters and given a promotion. He has since been taken off the streets and given two weeks of extra vacation time.
Billy Graham too made a brief appearance. When the 96 year-old evangelist was wheeled up in front of the crowd, he slowly stood up from his wheel chair, raised a shaky fist into the air, opened his mouth, and then keeled over sideways.
Residents of Ferguson, many of whom had watched the earlier anti-police demonstrations with fear and trepidation, responded to the new demonstrations by quickly throwing a few essentials in their cars and permanently leaving town. "Molotov cocktails are one thing," said one fleeing resident, "but if I hear one more way to become a 'better you', I think I'll throw up." "Yeah," said an elderly woman in response. "Bring back the looters."
Police Chief Tom Jackson told the media that the new protesters posed a different kind problem for his force. "Within seconds of issuing a curfew," he told reporters, "Every single one of them left the area instantly, pausing only to pick up any trash they might have left on the ground." Many of the protesters, in fact, thanked the officers on the scene and apologized profusely for any inconvenience they may have caused. "No one can be this law abiding," said Jackson, "We think this is a trick."
Meanwhile critics of the new demonstrations, after having spent recent days criticizing Ferguson police for being too aggressive in dealing with anti-police demonstrations, called on local law enforcement to deal more aggressively with the pro-police demonstrators. "The cops need to start cracking some heads," said Al Sharpton to CNN's Anderson Cooper. He called for more military-style equipment for the Ferguson police force.
"This is a defining moment for this country," he said. "These demonstrators are going to give protesting a bad name."