By John Ruberry

I was out of town in July when Detroit, the movie about the destructive 1967 riot and a police attack on a small group of guests at the Algiers Motel, hit the theaters. Directed by Kathryrn Bigelow, who is best known for Zero Dark Thirty and the Academy Award-winning The Hurt Locker, is again teamed with scriptwriter Mark Boal. It stars John Borega, renowned for his role in the Star Wars reboot, as a torn African-American, who despite good intentions gets pulled into the carnage and the aftermath of the upheaval.

But by the time I got back home and found the time to see Detroit it was gone from theaters. Even before the Harvey Weinstein-ignited sex scandals, 2017 was an annus horribilis for Hollywood. Yes, Wonder Woman and Beauty and the Beast were tremendous hits, there were many notable flops, and among them was Detroit. That’s a pity because it is a masterful piece of filmmaking.

Last night I watched it by way of OnDemand on Xfinity.

The 1967 Detroit Riot is the demarcation line in history for that city, just as the Potato Famine is for Ireland and the defeat of the Armada is for Spain. It’s the Motor City’s before-and-after moment. “Ah, but that was before the riot,” or “riots,” sometimes the plural form is used, is something all Detroiters of a certain age say. Prior to the riot Detroit was America’s fifth-largest city, but now, for the first time since 1850, Detroit is not among America’s twenty-most populous cities. In 1950 Detroit was America’s most prosperous municipality, now it is one of its poorest. True, Detroit’s problems were evident in the 1950s and early 1960s, but at the time the few people paying attention to such things viewed that period as a rough patch or perhaps nothing more than a modest transitional period.

Fox Theatre one month ago

The world premiere of Detroit took place at the Fox Theatre two days after the 50th anniversary of the start of the riot, the old movie palace is the setting of one of the scenes in the movie. The film begins with an undermanned police raid of a black-run speakeasy–called a “blind pig” in Detroit–that quickly turns into a widespread tumult of looting, arson, and death. Archival news footage shows the devestation followed by a clip of Governor George Romney, Mitt’s father, announcing that the Michigan National Guard has been called out. By the end of the five-day riot Michigan state troopers and federal troops had been dispatched to Detroit as well.

Among the riot scenes is one with now-disgraced US Rep. John Conyers (Laz Alonso) urging a crowd for calm–they ignore him. Five months ago Conyers was still a civil rights icon. Now Conyers is shunned.

But most of the movie is centered on police tormenting suspects and witnesses at the Algiers, the reputed site of a sniper attack. After a performance by the Dramatics–who later gained fame for the hit “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get,” one of the group’s members, Larry Reid (Algee Smith), along with his personal assistant, take refuge at the Algiers, which is located just outside of the Virginia Park neighborhood, the heart of the riot zone. For a while it seems that despite the haze of the smoke from the arson fires and the constant sirens, the Algiers is the smart choice to have a party while Detroit burns. That is until an evil Detroit police officer, Philip Krauss (Will Poulter), his two racist partners, troops from the National Guard, and Melvin Dismukes (Borega), a security guard, storm the Algiers in search of a sniper, who we know is Carl Cooper (Jason Mitchell), who simply but recklessly fired a track and field starting pistol. What follows is a series of intense torture-filled series of interrogations. Two young white prostitutes, one of them is portrayed by Hannah Murphy, who plays Gilly in Game of Thrones, are among those brutalized.

“I’m just gonna assume you’re all criminals,” Krauss tells them. One of those “criminals” is Robert Greene (Anthony Mackie), a Vietnam veteran who came to Detroit like hundreds of thousand of others before him–he is simply looking for work. Don’t forget, the blind pig raid busted up a party welcoming two other Vietnam vets home. Krauss denigrates Greene, says he “probably just drove a supply truck” while serving and accuses of him of being the pimp for the prostitutes.

Later Krauss asks the women, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves, having sex with n*ggers?” The other prostitute replies, “It’s 1967, a**hole.” But the mixing of blacks and whites was still a problem for many 50 years ago.

Blogger at the site of where the riot started

Finally and tragically the Algiers incident ends but the legal ramifications please few. Conyers appears again. And one of the characters finds deliverance.

Like Zero Dark Thirty, the feeling of Detroit is claustrophobic, which of course is intentional. The lighting isn’t perfect, that approach undoubtedly was chosen to enmesh Bigelow’s scenes with the archive footage.

Understandably Detroit is still coming to terms with the ’67 riot. I visited Virginia Park last month, while there are still many abandoned homes–this is Detroit after all–there are some new ones too. The site of the long-ago razed blind pig and the neighboring stores where the riot broke out is now a park–albeit one that no children were playing in. To be fair it was a chilly autumn afternoon. In July a Michigan historical marker was erected at that site. On the flipside, sandwiched between New Center and the mansions of Boston-Edison, where Henry Ford, Ty Cobb, Joe Louis, and Berry Gordy once lived, Virginia Park’s future appears bright. Deliverance may be coming there soon too.

Besides Xfinity OnDemand, Detroit is also available on DVD. The trailer is viewable here.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

I understand the sentiment behind this post suggesting Amazon choose St. Louis for their second corporate HQ

A particularly compelling pick, according to my extremely nonscientific “what’s good for America” metric, might be St. Louis — a once-great metropolis fallen on hard times, the major urban center for a large spread of Trump country, the geographic center of the country and the historic bridge between East and West.

and I agree with the idea that it would be a good idea to get out of deep blue America and the mindset therein.

But why on earth would any company like Amazon decide to put itself in a city that is becoming riot cental and make it self a target for those from Mizzou to Ferguson in the Black Lives Matter mob who want to go after the system?

After the spasm of violence ended, a reporter for The Associated Press found at least half of the businesses on one side of the street with broken windows along a two block area.

Sam Thomas, who was helping his friend clean up the glass from the shattered windows of his business, OSO, a clothing and accessories boutique, said he understands why people are angry. The U.S. justice system is broken and needs to be fixed, he said.

“I’m not saying this is the right way to fix it,” he said of the damage.

Just as Mizzou and other colleges are discovering that people don’t want to invest tens of thousands of dollars to put their children in the middle of a social justice nightmare, no company with any sense will put itself in a city where the potential to be extorted or threatened with violence if they don’t play along with an agenda (even one endorsed by the owner) is present and no workforce will be all that anxious to head to the area when even the suburbs are being targeted:

Demonstrators shouted slogans such as “black lives matter” and “it is our duty to fight for our freedom” as they marched through West County Center mall in the city of Des Peres, west of St. Louis. A group also demonstrated at Chesterfield Mall in the suburbs and at a regional food festival.

Organizers took their grievances to the suburbs Saturday to spread the impact of the protests beyond predominantly black neighborhoods to those that are mainly white.

“I don’t think racism is going to change in America until people get uncomfortable,” said Kayla Reed of the St. Louis Action Council, a protest organizer.

Well Kayla your achievement is unlocked, your heckler’s veto will guarantee that the people at a company like Amazon will be too uncomfortable to move jobs an infastructure anywhere near you, particularly when there are other worthy alternatives that would meet the goals Mr. Douthat is suggesting.

Closing thought directed to the BLM rioters: While your attacks and riots will produce less jobs, less business less investment and consequently less of a chance for the young men in your community to overcome the disadvantages they have, you can be take comfort in the fact that your actions will definitely produce more votes for conservatives all around the nation in every level of government.

That’s our veto.


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There is a bit of a fuss about this piece at Esquire arguing that the rioting and violence by the left at Trump rallies is “is a bad idea

Jesus H. Christ on a satellite feed, stop making it so easy for them.

In this piece written before San Jose he describes the violence at a Trump rally in Albuquerque by the left by adverbs “pointless” , “stupid”, “dumb” and “counterproductive” He argues for different rules of engagement:

Stay across the street. Protest silently and, in the name of god, don’t be such easy marks.

But if you read his piece in all of his arguments against attacking police while waving Mexican flags there is one description of the violent acts of the protestors that I found conspicuously missing from his piece.

WRONG!

Maybe it’s just me but I would think rioting and violence on its face is wrong and doing so in response to a political speech one disagrees with is even worse being so counter to the principles of American democracy. But apparently Mr. Piece thinks otherwise.

Then again in fairness it’s perfectly possible that he being more familiar with his allies of the left decided to use a utilitarian argument as I once did with a woman who asked me for advice on pursuing a married man, knowing a moral argument would be completely ineffective.

That’s the best case scenario for Mr. Pierce.

I don’t know what this tell you about the anti-Trump left but I think what it tells me echos the reaction to Karen Powers narrative of the events in San Jose by the folks at Chicago Boyz:

Let’s be really clear about the implications of this report. These rioters were acting as an official arm of the Democratic Party controlled San Jose city government in suppressing the civil rights of Americans. The presidential election in November 2016 is no longer about “Trump” or “Hillary”.

It is about whether we will retain American political freedom.

And the fact that a moral argument, either did not occur to or was considered untenable by an arm of the MSM supporting left to stop such violence proves this to be the case.

Once this election becomes a matter of survival then everything changes.

Exit question, if law enforcement is not willing to restrain violence against conservatives now, what will their feeling be if the country rewards this behavior with a Hillary Victory?


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Michael Corleone:  It’s not personal Sonny, it’s strictly business

The Godfather 1972

Yesterday on the Rush Limbaugh show he noted that Bill & Hillary skipped Michael Brown’s funeral and teased the question:

So why not?  Why are the Clintons not there?  Oh, there’s an answer.  It’s a simple answer.  But since I’m kind of in a teasing mode today, I’ll leave that hanging while you ponder it.  

Well since Rush is unwilling to tell you I figured I’d jump on in ahead of him:

It’s because Hillary is running in 2016 & Bill Clinton knows how elections and human nature works.

Bill understands the  low information voter & swing voters think.  They weren’t interested in the Michael Brown shooting and the breast beating it produced but were very interested in the rioting and saw the loop of  a 6′ 4″ Brown shove that little clerk in the last hour of his life.

There were very few if any potential 2016 voters watching the coverage of Michael Brown’s funeral or in the church that’s already aren’t in Hillary’s pocket if she wins the nomination, being seen there wouldn’t earn her a single vote.

On the other hand Images of Bill and Hillary standing with Al Sharpton in Ferguson at Brown funeral would have a definite effect on swing voters in key states whose primary takeaway of Ferguson were the riots and don’t think for one second police unions would forget if Bill & Hillary were standing proudly with the people out for the blood of one of their own.

That’s what it comes down to.   Hillary and Bill were not in Ferguson for Michael Brown’s funeral because they didn’t dare be seen there if she wants to be President of the United States.  That’s reality.

And when it comes to politics, Bill Clinton is the ultimate realist.

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by baldilocks

Earlier today, I wrote this on Facebook:baldilocks

Conservatives need to learn the difference between constrained and unconstrained vision of politics, political struggles, and life philosophy in general.

I see all too many conservatives in my time line who think that some of us are advocating anarchy because of our wariness of the militarization of police forces around the country (as recently demonstrated in Ferguson MO).

Seriously, are some of you so limited in your thinking that you are unfamiliar with moderation? Or is everything one extreme or another?

One can be for law and order while being, at the same time, alarmed by local police forces taking over the role and equipment of state and federal armed forces.

The same persons are often unable to grasp the magnitude of institutional and societal mission creep–the magnitude of change, a change in the works long before heralded by change’s most infamous booster.

As a kid, you’re (possibly) taught a simple concept: obey the law, and you won’t get arrested. And the law is usually clear and easily-learned. If the sign says “no parking”, you can’t park there. You can look up the legal code; to avoid getting arrested, you just have to follow those written-down rules.

But the “failure to obey a lawful police order” misdemeanor on the books in most places seems like a formula for trouble. The law is largely intended for situations like, “back away from the accident scene” or “don’t touch that” or other circumstances where a civilian could interfere with police business.

It’s the only law that Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly could conceivably be charged with breaking when they were handcuffed and taken into custody Wednesday night; both were released without any charges. Suddenly the law isn’t necessarily what’s written down or posted; it’s whatever the guy with the badge, gun, and handcuffs says it is. To avoid getting arrested, you have to obey the guy with the badge, and his definition of a lawful order is up to him and his colleagues.

What many cannot grasp is that nearly all of our government institutions–from federal to local–have embraced the unconstrained vision, as demonstrated above. This is also known as chaos, and I can’t see any difference between the institutionalized chaos ticks infesting our system(s) and the rioters, looters and arsonists of Ferguson, MO–except that practitioners of the latter are more honest in their barbarism than the former.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

 

There are some thing that simply defy description:

A 13-year-old boy has walked free from court after admitting smashing up a shop with a stolen golf club as his mother said the riots are because the government does “f*** all” for children.

Yeah society has treated this woman poorly, how poorly? Lets see:

She is on benefits, does not live with the boy’s father and has 10 other children, the court heard.

That sounds worse than the old feudal system. And Theodore Dalrymple points out how much worse:

The rioters in the news last week had a thwarted sense of entitlement that has been assiduously cultivated by an alliance of intellectuals, governments and bureaucrats. “We’re fed up with being broke,” one rioter was reported as having said, as if having enough money to satisfy one’s desires were a human right rather than something to be earned.

“There are people here with nothing,” this rioter continued: nothing, that is, except an education that has cost $80,000, a roof over their head, clothes on their back and shoes on their feet, food in their stomachs, a cellphone, a flat-screen TV, a refrigerator, an electric stove, heating and lighting, hot and cold running water, a guaranteed income, free medical care, and all of the same for any of the children that they might care to propagate.

Sounds pretty tough to me, except they’re up on me by one flat screen. But that $80,000 education much teach them something:

Discussing the difficulties of imposing sanctions for misbehaviour or idleness at school, he described the case of a girl pupil he scolded for missing all her homework deadlines.

The youngster’s mother, a social worker, telephoned him and said: ‘Threatening to throw my daughter off the A-level course because she hasn’t done some work is tantamount to psychological abuse, and there is legislation which prevents these sorts of threats.

‘I believe you are trying to harm my child’s mental well-being, and may well take steps . . . if you are not careful.’

Yup that’s a real lesson they’re learning.

You know on 2nd thought may this IS the old feudal system come back after all, expect that instead of being serfs to a lord or the land they are serfs to their check and dole with no desire to escape to be a yeoman or a freeholder. In fact if they want or need anything instead of the nobles taking the serfs, the modern serf taxes the yeomen and freeholders who dare work for what they can’t be given as the the elites stand back and comfortably watch and beat their breasts.

England has come full circle without even the Church to fall back on. Society IS to blame, England has done it to themselves.

The Doctor: (at the 4:00 min mark) Fellas, the guns, really? I just walked into the highest security office in the United States and parked a big blue box on the rug. You think you can just shoot me?
River Song: They’re Americans!
The Doctor: (Raising his hands over his head) Don’t shoot! Definitely no shooting.

Doctor Who: The Impossible Astronaut Part 1

England is now suffering through yet another day of rioting. (or as the BBC calls them “protests“) Looting and burning are rampant and many small shop-owners have likely lost everything.

Yesterday I was talking to a fellow born in England and raised in Fitchburg who goes back and forth between the pair. I asked him about the riots in England and he blamed it on the part of the London police force armed due to the terror threat. We discussed the trade-off. An Armed police force can react with deadly force as needed but will occasionally make a mistake or overreact. That is the danger and the trade-off that is made.

The other decision that we didn’t discuss is an armed citizenry. England has no 2nd Amendment and it’s citizens have been largely disarmed. An armed citizenry will occasionally lead to an accidental death or violence when a normally law-abiding citizen cracks or overreacts (I don’t include the not law-abiding because they will not of course obey laws on weaponry). The other side of the coin however is the disarming of the citizenry means when faced with a deadly threat, they can only run. You have people who not only have no way of defending themselves against rioters who wish to loot and burn but fear punishment for doing so. At Glenn Reynolds site there is an telling quote from a reader:

The problem with comparing London and Korean shopkeepers is two fold. First, all the property owners and law abiding citizens have been disarmed. So unless a man is going to stab all these felons to death, there really is no self defense. And it’s hard to defend against flying molotov cocktails. And Second, the British Government has made it perfectly clear that they’re willing to incarcerate anyone who defends himself. They have proven this time and again by prosecuting the law abiding citizens who are afraid for their lives.

So in essence, the British government has effectively defanged their first responders in favor of their own police forces who are obviously inadequate to deal with this circumstance.

It’s wholesale surrender on a French scale.

The reality is that thanks to the disarming of the average Englishman, London not only has a population helpless against this kind of thing, but the rioters know the population is helpless before them so why should they show any restraint at all? Especially with a police force and a press more sensitive to the rioters than the victims. (I wonder if this was taking place in the neighborhoods where the BBC producers live if the BBC would upgrade the “protestors” to “rioters”)?

Culturally it is not unusual for the English to look down on Americans as violent gun-toting hotheads, as per the Doctor Who Clip quote above but lets take a look at the climax of the 2nd part of the episode:

Apparently the Doctor Who writers don’t mind poking fun at trigger happy Americans but when the chips were down, there is River Song shooting up a storm. Ironic and telling.

England has made its choice to disarm law-abiding citizens and to furthermore punish those who choose to defend themselves. This is a cultural decision. (Although I’m sure the elites have their bodyguards) These riots and their spread are the cost.

Mark Steyn wrote years ago about the disarming of Englishmen saying that while the modern Englishman would be horrified at the idea of armed men going after a bank robber Englishmen of the Edwardian Era would instead be horrified by an armed bank robbery.

I’ve said many times that in a free country you get the government you deserve. England is discovering that a free society also gets the culture they deserve as well.

Update: Why am I not surprised to read this in the Washington Post:

“This is the uprising of the working class. We’re redistributing the wealth,” said Bryn Phillips, a 28-year-old self-described anarchist, as young people emerged from the store with chocolate bars and ice cream cones.

Phillips claimed rioters were motivated by distrust of the police, and drew a link between the rage on London’s street and insurgent right-wing politics in the United States. “In America you have the tea party, in England you’ve got this,” he said.

Because of course the Tea Party is run by self described anarchists. There is no crisis so horrible that it can’t be used to hit the tea party!