Saturday, August 1, 2020

From the Archives, 1965: Use of tear gas on criminals defended in Selma

The Boston Globe, March 8, 1965

Editors' Note: Over 150,000 dead from and 4,500,000 million infected by an out of control virus, not to mention 30-40 million unemployed facing loss of all benefits.  The reaction of the ruling Trumpublican Party was predictable: (1) go home for the weekend and (2) recommend a course of treatment with demon seed.  We had to find something to distract us.  Fortunately, the Pres Super Spreader Flaming Clown Car of Disaster always provides a superfluity of great material.

Just to take one example, this week one Bill Barr, the Attorney General of the United States, told the House Judiciary Committee with a straight face that protesters who defied police orders deserved what they got, including being shot, gassed, and beaten by unidentified goons who may be federal law enforcement officers, jail guards, or untrained mercenaries, according to the illegal whims of an “acting” Cabinet Secretary whose authority has lapsed.  We wondered if this was just another gem that the Attorney General pulled out from his capacious ass, or if he had, as lawyers say, precedent for this view.  Whaddya know?  He did, as this piece from March, 1965 proves:

By  Blanche duBois
Deep South Correspondent of The Spy with
The New York Times and Boston Globe News Services

The FBI this week forcefully defended the conduct of the Alabama State Police in response to the violent confrontation provoked by outside agitators and radical anarchists on the Edmund Pettus Bridge last week.

In Federal Court testimony this week, according to the New York Times, FBI agent James M. Barmy said that “in the interest of public safety” Alabama Highway Patrolmen “were justified in using tear gas” and presumably cracking skulls to stop Negro marchers from continuing their illegal march from Selma to Montgomery and insure adherence with lawful police orders.

Meanwhile, in Selma, organized gangs of protesters bused in from out-of-state continued to resist lawful police orders.  Under the guise of attending a memorial service for a Boston man who died in unexplained circumstances having been found in the street with a head wound. Negro provocateurs demanded that the Selma authorities drop their ban against inflammatory marches, which the city elders wisely decided not to do until they could be assured that the threat of violence against law-abiding white citizens in Selma had abated.

The tense situation in Selma continued despite the pleas of Alabama Gov. George Wallace for outsiders to go home and stop stirring up discontent among Selma Negroes.  He stressed that he would insist on preserving law and order no matter what the provocation.

Informed observers blamed both sides for the continuing confrontation in Selma. President Lyndon B. Johnson urged both Negro marchers and Gov. Wallace to maintain law and order in a tense time.

Experts pointed the finger of blame at the dearth of suitable moderate Negro leadership in Loundes County, where Selma is located.  Writing in The Boston Globe on March 10, syndicated columnist Charles Bartlett said the efforts of Negroes in Loundes County to register to vote would be aided if they were as “urbane and educated” as those in Macon County, home to the Tuskegee Institute.
UPI report from Selma

As out-of-state Northern fake-news journalists continued to inflame the situation by pouring into Selma to generate favorable propaganda for the Negro agitators led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Sheriff Jim Clark took stern measures to control the spread of liberal lies.  He demanded that all outside reporters register with his office if they wanted to walk the streets of Selma.  Incredibly enough, some foreign reporters, including The Boston Globe's Edward McGrath, dared to defy the orders of duly appointed law enforcers.  Then these whiny snowflakes had the temerity to complain when area hotel-keepers refused to rent rooms in which they could generate even more detrimental falsehoods!

Some of America's most brilliant thinkers and writers had more important things on their mind.  While tensions continued to rise in Selma as President Johnson sought to negotiate a peaceful resolution, distinguished thinker William F. Buckley, Jr., bemoaned the ignorance of college freshmen, some 46% of whom were unable to identify Sir Alec Douglas-Home [Who he? – Ed.]

The brightest light of the American conservative movement blamed the dismal showing on the lack of selectivity in American higher education which cuts down on “the opportunities of those whose genes urge them on to excellence.”

Speaking of genetic selection, Negro leaders in Selma reported that young provocateur Jim Lewis, 25, was recovering from inconsequential head wounds received after defying the lawful orders of the Alabama State Police.  There being nothing much of value inside that hard Negro head, we can be sure that Mr. Lewis will able to resume his genetically suitable calling as a janitor or sharecropper soon.  Either way we'll never hear from him again!

Although some bleeding-heart Northerners were heard to express sympathy with the Negro agitators in Selma, most viewed the faraway fracas as not especially relevant to their own lives.  Man-about-town Donald J. Drump, coming out of the Playboy Club with a young beauty on his arm who gave her name as “Zhleb,”  said he didn't care if Negroes march from Selma to Sylvia to Denise as long as they didn't try to rent any apartments from his father.

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