Each individual in the crowd of protesters, or mob of rioters as the case may be, sees himself as an individual actor, responsible only for what he does and not for anyone else in the crowd. Should he choose, for reasons that are exceptionally unclear and moronic, to stand before an SUV, he certainly isn’t the person who made the choice to bring a gun to the protest, to pull it out, to aim the gun and fire it at the person in the SUV.
He’s just a nice guy trying to protest police brutality, or a statue of U.S. Grant, or whatever pops into his mind at the moment he decided that whoever is inside the SUV somehow deserves to be stopped, swarmed by the mob, for the offense to race of driving home for work, or maybe driving to the market to buy a quart of milk. What did he do to deserve getting run down?
According to a statement released by the city of Provo, the driver of the SUV pulled into the right turn lane to turn onto Center Street when “several protesters began crowding around the vehicle.” The statement from Deputy Police Chief John Geyerman does not mention the SUV driving into several protesters, but adds that the driver “hit the gas trying to leave the situation.”
According to Geyerman, “The same protester ran after the vehicle and shot a second round that went through the rear passenger window” before concealing the weapon. He “later approached another vehicle at 500 North and University Avenue, striking and breaking the window with the handgun.”
The guy who chose to put himself in front of the vehicle wasn’t the shooter. He probably didn’t even know the shooter, or that the shooter would shoot. The shooter was masked. Not so the guy in front of the SUV.
— Lisi Merkley (@elisynkay) June 30, 2020
There were two groups on the street at the time, one protesting police brutality and the other supporting the police. But the guy in the SUV? I didn’t hear any pop of a gun on the video, but since the driver ended up with a bullet wound, I accept the representation that he was shot.
The driver’s wounds were not life-threatening and he was able to drive himself to Utah Valley Hospital, according to police.
The Provo police arrested two people for the shooting.
Jesse Taggart, a 33-year-old Salt Lake City resident, and Samantha Darling, a 27-year-old from Ogden, were taken into custody at the Utah County Jail, Provo Police reported on Twitter.
Who owns the streets? One of the chants of protesters is they do, they own the streets. They no more own the street than anyone else, including the driver of the SUV. Protests are peaceful until they’re not. When someone shoots a gun at a guy for being in an SUV, it’s no longer peaceful.
While peaceful protest is a constitutionally protected right, it’s not without limits. Time, place and manner restrictions are permissible, even if they fly in the face of the notion that the protesting is an act of disobedience toward such control. But dilemmas are created, such as who gets to use those streets that exist for all of us?
The police don’t seem particularly interested in exercising any control over the time, place and manner of protests. Indeed, efforts to do so don’t go well, and are at the core of the justification for the protest in the first place. Their methods are limited. If the cops tell the protesters to do, or not do, something, the protesters tend not to comply.
What mechanisms do the police have to compel protesters to comply? None that look good on video or are healthy for people to endure. But if protesters won’t heed commands, and don’t want cops to force the issue, the only alternative is to give up the streets to the protesters and hope they will tire out and not do any harm along the way.
If you happen to be a guy in an SUV and suddenly find yourself surrounded, swarmed by protesters, what do you do?
But I have heard 911 calls where dispatch tells the person they can’t run through them but police aren’t coming.
I haven’t heard these calls, but they make sense. What’s a dispatcher to do? The cops aren’t coming to save one person in the midst of hundreds, both to risk the cops’ lives and inflame the rioters. But the dispatcher can’t authorize anyone to run down anyone else. YOYO.
There’s no question that the preservation of property is not worth the taking of a life, so the fact that protesters might be banging on, jumping on, smashing windows on your SUV would not, under a strict legal regime, provide justification for pushing the car forward while there are people, human bodies, blocking your way.
If there’s time, as the car is swarmed, to call 911, it will prove unavailing. You know that property damage is happening, because it’s happening to you and before your eyes. What you don’t know is what will happen when they break through the glass. Will you be pulled out? Will you be beaten in the name of love, kindness and tolerance, for driving in an SUV when the protesters chose to make a turn onto that road on your way home?
There is one choice to be made before the window crashes in. At that moment, you ponder whether you are about to die or all these people who profess that words are violence will suddenly stop. The latter seems unlikely, but it’s almost impossible to wrap your head around the former such that you, just a regular person trying to make it home for dinner, have to decide whether to potentially take a kid’s life by running him down or die.
But when you hear the pop of a gun, the sting of a bullet entering your body, there is nothing left to question. Someone is about to kill you. You hit the gas and get the hell out of there. If some poor, misguided child thought his body was going to prevent you from driving away, then there’s a good chance he will die. He made a choice to stand where he did. You didn’t ask to be shot by the mob. And as usual, the police won’t be there to help, so you have to save yourself.