Thank God for former Texas Department of Criminal Justice officer Nathan Ener, the Sage of East Texas, and his video calling for violence against black protesters: it's just the kind of insightful, measured response that the senseless slaying of a Houston peace officer deserves.
For those of you who aren't aware of Ener's call to arms (specifically, Walmart slingshots and rocks), the former jailer posted a six-minute rant, expressing his rage over the murder of Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth, who was executed while gassing up his cruiser in a northwest Harris County Chevron station. Authorities say the killer is 30-year-old Shannon Jaruay Miles, a man with a history of mental illness whose skin color and alleged crime somehow, according to Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman and others, ties him to the #blacklivesmatter movement.
Ener's video salvo calls for an end to black demonstrators; he warns that police need to "step the hell aside" so that even elderly women can launch rocks at protesters in order to "light them up like they got mumps and measles when they go home, with all the bumps and knots all over their asses.”
Then, Ener pledges, "What's left of them – myself and some other people, we'll take care of that.”
We're half-convinced Ener is a performance artist. Either that or a central casting caricature of a Texas lawman conjured up by the laziest scriptwriter this side of the Rio Grande, right down to the cowboy hat and shotgun. The thing is, Ener's following a script that doesn't call for retribution against Goforth's accused killer — which would at least be in keeping with the rich tradition of lynching Ener seems to typify — but for black protesters in general.
Ener tells any law enforcement officer watching his video (which he quickly deleted) that "We're doing this shit for you," but he seems to be missing a crucial point: As a deputy, Darren Goforth actually devoted his life to protecting and serving the community, and to maintaining law and order. To assume that he'd be OK with, or even honored by, urging people to commit assault is disrespecting the uniform the man wore for ten years. The uniform he died in.
To borrow a quote from Sheriff Hickman, Ener's rant is not only extreme and cartoonish, it is indicative of the "dangerous national rhetoric that's out there today."
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We're not fans of protesters chanting about "pigs in a blanket," we're not fans of vigilantes, and we're not fans of police officers asking the FBI to investigate people who exercise First Amendment rights.
For once—just for once—we'd like to see a tragedy bring out the best in people. We've seen brief flashes of that — like the thousands who poured into the Chevron station parking lot in the days following Goforth's murder; the Houstonians who have donated thousands of dollars for the deputy's widow and children; and the thousands who filled Second Baptist Church Friday morning to show their respect during Goforth's funeral.
But, unfortunately, much of the rest of what we're getting falls too short of that mark.