TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Standing Rock … The Last Stand

The Army Corp of Engineers has told the Tribes that they must leave federal property on which they are encamped by early December. Then, to complicate matters, the Corps said it will not forcibly remove those individuals whom they claim unlawfully occupy the land.

Further complicating the situation is this week’s emergency declaration by Gov. Jack Dalrymple to remove said individuals because of weather safety concerns.

A large group of activists creating and participating in unlawful acts have gotten their way. Outlaw (my term) video crews are on scene and filming activities in such a way that the focus is on perceived law enforcement violence. The commentary provides a background that supports the same impression, even though the films do not show what they describe as unnecessary violence by law enforcement.

I was and remain a supporter of Native rights. I remain convinced that the absence of leadership at the North Dakota state level did not just contribute to the situation … it caused it. The simple act of recognizing the Native tribes, meeting with them on Native grounds and discussing a resolution could not have hurt the situation, but could have led to a peaceful ending, with each side giving a little.

But nope, the white man wouldn’t lower himself to talk to the Indian. Hell, that would have resulted in creating a situation that just might focus attention on all of the hideous wrongs the whites visited on them.

It’s hard to envision a life where visitors came to my own country, then invaded and — through various means, including willfully spreading disease — conquered, enslaved and murdered my people and then, after all that, herded my ancestors onto reservations with promises that were never kept. The situation also reminds me of all the treaties that we signed … and then, in most if not all cases, the white man violated the terms.

Having created this environment, the white man can’t understand why the Natives don’t “know their place” (as defined by the whites).

I have nothing but respect for the courageous individuals who want their lands and waters protected and who have suffered through the ages.

Today, however, large groups of agitators have taken over. The Native leadership has been unable to stop them. The bad asses wanted attention, and the national media, hell-bent on making news rather than reporting it, thereby contributing to the dangerous situation by giving them what they want.

In watching the news, one would think that all the protesters are innocent victims of overzealous law enforcement. That’s not only not true; it’s a damned lie. Those law enforcement folks are greatly outnumbered. They are our neighbors, men and women who are following lawful orders, and are there for the good of all, notwithstanding the North Dakota leaders themselves who didn’t have the guts to even go to the protest site. It was so much easier to send the law enforcement officers to try to keep a lid on.

The mayor of Bismarck made it clear that one of the reported facts is not true. He said that the city itself at no time was contacted by or contributed to the change in the pipeline location. Others made that decision. Yet from the reporting, he said, one was left with the impression that happened. This is just one example of the media, including social media like Facebook, spreading false and misleading information that painted both the lawful protesters and the law in a bad light.

Of course, the Law took a deserved hit last week when the Cass County sheriff and one of his sheriff partners, who were eating in a Mandan restaurant, called two female protesters who were also finishing their meal to their table. The two officers asked the women, “When are you leaving town?” After setting the bait, the two lawmen ordered the women to leave … or be arrested.

Had the two lawmen minded their own business and kept their own mouths shut, they would not have made the ugly, negative headlines that followed — locally, nationally and in social media. Even the village idiot should know that, if you are in a public eatery and ask an inflammatory question at that inappropriate time and place, the person whom you are addressing may just respond in kind.

Having created the public nuisance environment themselves, it is the two sheriffs who committed the disorderly conduct, not the women they threatened. Boy, I wish I could throw women out of a restaurant whenever I wanted, using my badge and authority. Yup, that would make me feel like a real man!

In fairness, however, both of the men involved have been facing stressful situations that would wear out most people. Lack of sleep creates stress and, of course, contributes to lack of sound judgment … which is why I wish our local men and women didn’t have to travel to Standing Rock.

The failure of the federal government to take action has mystified me almost from the start. The Army Corps owns the land where the encampment is. It says anyone who remains there is subject to arrest — and then says it isn’t going to enforce their rights.

What is wrong with this picture? All sides in the protest should obey the rule of law. I don’t agree with the president’s failure to intervene, whether by permit withdrawal, cancellation of the route if possible, or sending in the military to control military lands.

In 1957, when President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Unit to Little Rock, Ark., to enforce my father’s order to “integrate [Little Rock schools] forthwith,” he nationalized the response and removed the local National Guard. Dad told me how that changed things immediately. He said that when the local Guard was in place to protect the black students, some local hooligans would come up and place flowers on the tip of their fixed bayonets. The hometown troops just smiled.

When the Airborne unit arrived, as Dad put it, the agitators “learned the meaning of discipline.” One of the locals the large crowd surrounding the school advanced on one of the troopers in the protection lines carrying a flower in his hand. He was told to stand down. Instead, the dolt reached toward the bayonet … at which time the trooper brought the base of his rifle up, caught the racist white man in the chin, and knocked him out. According to my father, that’s when the racist folks learned what real discipline meant. They did not mess with those troops much thereafter.

If I were a lawman and were told to hold my ground to protect the property of others from those who’d damage it, I’d follow orders. Now place yourself in the dark, with hundreds if not thousands of protesting Natives. It’s dark, and they advance. You, the lawman, can retreat or advance; use lethal weapons or not; use mace or not; or, as a last resort, use firehoses (aka water cannons) to disburse the crowd.

It’s cold out, folks. It’s late at night, when people should be home in bed, and the Law opted for water. Yes, it was in fact cold … but the good old media turned the use of water into something horrible. I saw some of the video. Some protestors just stayed in the stream of water. Few retreated initially.

If the Law wants to break up a riot using water as a nonlethal weapon, is that bad? To compare this to the use of water by lawmen during the Civil Rights Movement in the South is not right. Back then, the people were sprayed, knocked down and had dogs turned on them because they were black — exercising their free speech rights under the law. What has been happening at Standing Rock is not the same, and the use of force cannot be compared.

If it’s late at night and you don’t want to get wet, go home or back out of range. To stand there, get sprayed, act macho and then complain because you got wet isn’t sensible. It questions your intelligence.

I’m wary now. In a few months, a new president will take office … a man who tweets every time someone does something he doesn’t like. A man who demands compliance, but who has already flip-flopped so much that we don’t know which of his many personalities is the real one.

To the protesters, I say: Do not take your chances with a President Trump. You don’t want any more injury. Your voices have been heard, and what happens now will probably be finally decided in the courts. You have won the media battle, and it’s time to go home before the weather does what Man hasn’t — killed or injured. Amen.

9 thoughts on “TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Standing Rock … The Last Stand”

  • Carl Kline November 30, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    There are several good points in what you write. However, the outside agitators claim was also used in the south during the civil rights struggle. The 500 clergy who gathered there at Standing Rock also stood at the bridge. For some reason, they didn’t face rubber bullets or tear gas. Why do Native elders and their children who come to pray face a militarized police force?

    Clergy came to burn the “Doctrine of Discovery” and highlight some of the moral issues involved in the land dispute. Many going to Standing Rock are young people (who don’t always listen to their elders) but nevertheless see their future at stake in this struggle. I’m with them! I want my grandchildren to have a livable planet, free of the toxic stews we continue to use to desecrate God’s good creation. When I ask my students these days if they believe in man made climate change, they all raise their hands. Ask those you know!

    1. Thomas A. Davies December 1, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      I can only agree with our comments. So many good people are there. But even in the South in the 50’s and 60’s there was not the specter of a President Donald Trump. He’s just unbalanced enough to use attack weapons and that really causes my heart to palpitate. I am still hopeful the protest will cause Obama and the Army Corp to change direction and re route the pipeline—before anyone dies. Thanks for your comments.

      1. Kelley Switzer December 4, 2016 at 5:42 pm

        Well said Judge Davies…I think Obama must have read this and listened to you

        1. Thomas A. Davies December 5, 2016 at 1:23 pm

          Don’t I wish

  • Leonard Conradson December 2, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Rerouting the pipeline would seem to be the solution.

    1. Thomas A. Davies December 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      It sure would

    2. Margery Daw December 3, 2016 at 5:24 am

      But what about the other pipelines we are told are already buried there?

  • Bob H. December 4, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    ReRouting the pipeline is NOT in the professional Terrorists agenda—–They are insisting on complete STOPPAGE of all Coal and Oil development anywhere. I can’t believe you haven’t noticed all of the vehicles at the camps ( pulled there by horses ?? ) They are also wearing CLOTHING and carbon provided shelters… The local tribes are being DUPED by the professional agitators.
    Haven’t you paid attention to the Tribal Elders who reluctantly lost control ????

    1. Thomas A. Davies December 5, 2016 at 1:22 pm



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