Menckles and I went down to see the National Moment of Silence vigil in Lafayette Square. Pat was there. So were a few other people I recognized and talked with a bit. The Advocate was there. I didn't talk to them. There were probably between 250 and 350 people there once the crowd filled in.
Mostly it was just people milling about with their hands in their pockets (or taking pictures of one another.) The organizing group wanted people to sign in and give them contact information but that didn't strike me as the best idea.
There were a few minutes of speechifying. Then someone read off some names of "victims of police brutality" and then there was a... well... a moment of silence.
During the moment of silence, attendees were encouraged to raise their hands the way people have been doing in Ferguson. But, as you can see from this picture, they all looked like they were at a Christian rock show. It was pretty cheesy.
After the moment of silence the crowd broke up. A portion of them broke into a march and weaved their way downtown.
I saw later that they went inside the 8th District Police Station and hollered. We had already ditched and were having dinner at Lucky Rooster while this was happening but, thanks to the internet (and in particular thanks to Twitter user @Small_affair who gets around to these sorts of events pretty often) I was able to locate some video footage.
This kind of made me feel bad for the poor cops who had to sit behind the desk and listen since they were just.. you know.. at work and had nothing to do with any of this but whatever. Looks like they were in good humor anyway.
@KNationStB @julesbentley NOPD stood behind desk; gray-haired officer gave thumbs up to peaceful drmonstrators pic.twitter.com/pMm9JdzJUR
— small_affair (@small_affair) August 15, 2014
Anyway, I got pictures of the part I saw and put them on the internet since that is what one does.
It's times like these when it's good to remember just what a valuable luxury the ability to do that is.
But I’m not quite sure that without the neutral side of the Internet—the livestreams whose “packets” were fast as commercial, corporate and moneyed speech that travels on our networks, Twitter feeds which are not determined by an opaque corporate algorithms but my own choices,—we’d be having this conversation.
So, I hope that in the coming days, there will be a lot written about race in America, about militarization of police departments, lack of living wage jobs in large geographic swaths of the country.
But keep in mind, Ferguson is also a net neutrality issue. It’s also an algorithmic filtering issue. How the internet is run, governed and filtered is a human rights issue.