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Some are more equal than others

I dunno. I was always pretty much pro-police before I started blogging. But it really is not looking good.

Kalispell, Montana. Peaceful pro-lifers involved in the 40 Days for Life vigil at an abortion clinic. A man (apparently a man) comes by and throws some sort of incendiary at one of the pro-lifers. It goes off with a loud pop and bursts into flame just behind her. Pro-lifers call the police. Police Officer Hoover takes his sweet time about coming. When he arrives, he says he can't get any evidence from the debris and will call the city garbage folks to clean up the mess. He also charmingly tells the would-be victim that pro-lifers "should expect this kind of reaction if they’re protesting at the abortion business." Pro-lifers call his desk sergeant to complain about the lack of action and the obvious intention not to investigate and get a shrug from the desk sergeant. Desk sergeant refuses to do anything further. Thomas More Law Center is making a stink.

Boys in blue, you're using up your blue sky.

Go Thomas More.

Comments (24)


I saw mention of this incident earlier. This is one of those situations where you know how it would have ben handled had the parties been reveresed. Good for Thomas More. Last fall, when the TSA was in the middle of its "groping girls in skirts" phase, I contacted three public interest law firms, and Thomas More was the only one that responded.


This is one of those situations where you know how it would have been handled had the parties been reversed.

Yes, that occurred to me. Or had the people on the receiving end of the incendiary been Muslims.

Lydia, other than in Michigan and maybe some isolated other enclaves, do you really think that the general run of the mill police have been successfully indoctrinated into the Muslims-can-do-no-wrong mantra? It seems really odd to me that this would have happened generally, even in out of the way places like Kalispell, MT. It's not like the liberal worldview embraced Muslims as the next new victim group to be used to beat all rednecks into submission for all that long a time, has it?

One law for them, another for us. This is the mile marker, which generally passes unnoticed by most, where the handcart accelerates uncontrollably.

I used to be pro-police until I started reading Radley Balko at al. Now I agree with Kathy Shaidle. Police are bureaucrats with guns more concerned about their pensions than your rights.

Well, Tony, I think the police even in a place like Kalispell _might_ believe not that Muslims-can-do-no-wrong but that they can make things really hot for you if you don't take their complaints seriously, that they are a victim group to be reckoned with, and that you had better not be dismissive to them.

I think the "shock, horror, someone did something to a Muslim" attitude is just pretty pervasive and that police departments are pretty scared at the thought of being portrayed as not protecting the civil rights of Muslims. Therefore, if someone had thrown this thing at some Muslims holding signs, yes, I think they would have taken it _super_ seriously, might even have called in some higher-ups to see if it should be extra-charged as a hate crime, and hustled around making sure to be seen knocking themselves out to catch the person who did it. Never, never, would they have spoken the way they did to the pro-lifers.

Here's an example. (I don't have time to look up the link right now.) Someone in I think a non-Dearborn Michigan city left a burned Koran on the steps of a mosque. He was tracked down and arrested. Just for burning a Koran and leaving it on the steps. It was treated as a big deal, as prima facie a threat. I even had conservative friends (_very_ conservative friends) to whom I sent the incident arguing with me that it _should_ have been taken as a threat, that leaving a burned Koran on mosque steps contained the tacit idea that one would be burning the mosque next.

Now, I'm not at all sure I agree, but just think about that: Apparently nearly everybody agrees that the police should knock themselves out catching the supposedly threatening person who left a burned Koran on mosque steps.

If that's how conservatives think about that act, how would your average policeman in Kalispell, MT, worried about the bad CAIR press, think about somebody's actually _throwing an incendiary_ at a Muslim? He'd think, "Oh, my gosh, we have to get on this pronto and catch this person or we're going to hear it!"

So, yes, I do think this would have been way different if the victim had been a Muslim.

(Not to be misunderstood: I think police should be energetic about finding and arresting someone who throws a firebomb at a Muslim as well. I'm just saying they would have been _sure_ to be energetic in that case, whereas they obviously weren't here.)

OK, but would the Kalispell MT police get all heated up in trying to investigate the molotov cocktail, and then just turn around and walk away if it kind of looked like a Muslim did it? Somehow I don't think so. Somehow I think that assault with a deadly weapon, or reckless endangerment, charges would be forthcoming even for a Muslim perpetrator. I could be wrong, what do I know about Montana?

My wife follows the pro-life movement very closely and this sort of thing (both the act and indifference by the police) is quite typical. The abortionists are vicious creatures.

I used to be pro-police until I started reading Radley Balko at al.

Same here and Balko is actually a "moderate," just-the-facts-maam kind of civil liberties reporter. Every conservative should read over his blog and Reason article archives if they want an education in how corrupt the legal system is today.

OK, but would the Kalispell MT police get all heated up in trying to investigate the molotov cocktail, and then just turn around and walk away if it kind of looked like a Muslim did it?
Probably not. It would be embarrassing if they'd gotten het up to begin with. But you see right here that they are pretty capable of turning around and walking away when it kind of looks like the perpetrator was a pro-abortionist, so turning around and walking away on political grounds is at least in the cards. Suppose for example that the would-be victims were holding signs saying "No sharia" and standing on a public sidewalk in the vicinity of a mosque. Somebody throws exactly the same type of device at them as in the story. My guess is, story might continue exactly as in the main post. "Oh, sorry, ma'am, we can't get any fingerprints off of that. Nothing we can do, no ma'am. And you know you have to expect this kind of thing carrying those offensive signs in this area..."

Initially, though, Kamilla and I were just saying how different things would have been had the victim been a member of a different, favored group--e.g., a Muslim or pro-abort. It wouldn't matter what signs the victims were carrying or whether they were protesting in front of a church or whatever. The police would have been all over it.

Perhaps folks should spend more time with the counterfactual rather than being incredulous.

Situation: No damage to property and no injury to persons. Political action. Generic incendiary device that is most often prosecuted as an ordinance violation. Suspect not apprehended at scene. No meaningful description of suspect.

Likely outcome: Police order magic discovery fairy dust. Sorry. Police say there is nothing we can do. Happens all the time to people whose interaction with police isn't an episode of CIS or Law and Order.

Generic incendiary device that is most often prosecuted as an ordinance violation.

So throwing it at a person is just like, y'know, letting off overly exuberant fireworks in your front yard. Um-huh. Trust MZ to give us the "move along, folks, nothing to see" liberal line.

When I was a kid I threw a lit sparkler into a neighbor's yard while they were having a family picnic. My dad found out and read me the riot act, explaining that I could have hit someone in the eye, or started a fire, or hit a child, etc. As I was a kid myself then I didn't think of these possible ramifications. As an adult, only an idiot or an ideologue (or a combination thereof) would do something like that.

Thing is, Rob G., they were clearly throwing it at the 40 Days for Life people with _at least_ the intent to intimidate. This wasn't a matter of happening to have the thing around and being thoughtless with it. People don't go around randomly throwing things like that on a public street in March that just _happen_ to land behind someone carrying a controversial sign! Moreover, my impression is that this was probably at least a grade up from a sparkler.

Agreed, Lydia. As a kid I didn't know any better. As an adult you have to know better, hence it's very hard to argue that it was unintentional, even if the thrower was an idiot.

I am aggressively pro-choice, but I do not believe that the law should be enforced selectively. The police should have done their jobs promptly. But I question whether this "peaceful" protest was actually peaceful. Were they preventing people from getting their medical care? One can hardly argue that most anti-abortion protesters have much ground to say that it isn't fair to use intimidation to try to get people to stop doing things that they don't like.

DRF, you're clearly unfamiliar with 40 Days for Life. They are _extremely_ careful about peacefulness and are not intimidating anybody nor preventing anybody from getting anything. They are the highest-class of high-class clinic protesters. They don't block entrances. They stand or walk on public sidewalks in front of abortion clinics and pray. Their signs are non-violent and non-graphic. This is all part and parcel of the set-up.

And--it isn't fair to use intimidation to try to get people to stop doing things that you simply don't like. There, I said it. And I'm an anti-abortion protester and have been on quite a few occasions.

DRF, let me add to what Lydia has to say about 40 Days for Life. We do not shout or rant, we do not interfere with anyone, we do not carry signs (at least in my neck of the woods) except a button pinned to the jacket sometimes. I'm not opposed to noisy protests against abortion clinics, but that isn't the 40 Days way. But then it doesn't take much to set off abortion supporters. Just the sight of rosary beads, hands clasped in prayer, or kneeling in mournful vigil has sparked some of the most contemptible behavior I have seen in people.

Much turns on what you mean by "intimidation", because the pro-aborts are relentlessly defining-down the very concept. Physically assaulting someone is intimidation. Threatening to physically assault someone is also intimidation. Praying the rosary within eyeshot of the door to the abortion mill is not intimidation, nor is standing nearby an abortion clinic while holding a sign. And, yet, I have heard both of the latter actions described as "intimidation" by pro-aborts. We all know by now that this is how how lefties like to play. They affirm that coercion is only justified in order to prevent harm to others. Then, when people they disagree with start to act in ways they don't like, they redfine "harm" so that it encompasses trivial matters such as psychological discomfort. See also Vaughn Walker's assertion that religious teaching about sex "harms" gays.

Thanks, Bill Tingley. When I signed up with 40 Days two years ago (I think it was), I did have a sign, but it was entirely inoffensive and simply read, "Pray to end abortion."

Untenured, you have a good point. What's notable here is the grotesquerie of the double standard: The person throwing the fireworks thingy was trying to intimidate in the _ordinary_ sense; point this out and one gets silly moral equivalence allusions to the supposed "intimidation" carried out by pro-lifers.

Hello everyone. I'm new to this site, so feel free to ban me if I go into a liberal seizure :P

Lydia, I don't quite understand the quotation marks around "intimidation". Obviously 40 Days is not an aggressive pro-life movement, however aggressive movements are quite prevalent - spreading pro-life by killing doctors, as my friend would say.

But these aggressive people are just bad eggs; they insidiously work their way into both sides, point in case your molotov thrower here. The only real weapon anyone has against pro-choice militant liberals, pro-life militant fundamentalists, and such insanity is to stop the generalisations.

I think it's asinine to claim the police have a liberal bent, or that this molotov thrower represents ANY contingent of pro-choice. We're not playing the O'Reilly game here, are we?

I don't watch O'Reilly. But the policeman's statement to the pro-lifers was outrageous and shows a bounden determination not to protect them from the molotov thrower nor even to investigate the incident or find out who did it. You can call that "bent" whatever you want to call it, but the pro-lifers aren't getting the equal protection of the laws.

As I was not there to witness the act, I'm just going to say that if the officer couldn't find anything at the scene, he probably couldn't find anything at the scene. Molotovs and similar homemade grenades are favoured in riots for being just that - homemade, impossible to trace. Of course, I know this as I'm a child eating liberal :P

Yep, he couldn't find anything. Except witnesses. Oh. Not even worth investigating. Nope. As I said above, it's naive nonsense to believe that this would have been the attitude had the would-be victim been Muslim.

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