What are our nation’s values? A couple of dozen of heavily armed white men tell the world they are rebelling against the U.S. Government. They seize property belonging to the American people and cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage which we all have to pay to repair — to say nothing of the cost of law enforcement. Although one of them is shot when he appears to be drawing a gun against FBI agents, the rest of these men are let off without any punishment. Thousands of unarmed Native Americans stage a non-violent protest. They are seeking to protect a vital water supply, sacred religious ground, and the treaties our government signed with them. They are violently dispersed by SWAT teams carrying automatic rifles, by militarized police and private “security” forces. Pepper spray, attack dogs, Tasers and rubber bullets are used against them. Hundreds of these protesters are arrested, some kept overnight in dog kennels. A journalist covering the event was shot with a rubber bullet while conducting an interview, and others were arrested. The sheriffs and SWAT teams and private hired guns are protecting whose interests and property? Not the American people’s. The Dakota Access Pipeline project belongs to a multi billion-dollar corporation, Energy Transfer Partners, which is partially foreign-owned. Energy Transfer was not required to file a full environmental impact statement, and the tribes affected by the project were not consulted beforehand. The pipeline was routed through tribal land so that it would not pass through more affluent white neighborhoods in North Dakota. What does it say about our national values when armed white men seize government property and are not punished, while unarmed Native Americans trying to defend their land from the inroads of a giant corporation are violently attacked? It this really what we want America to be?
Arno Vosk M.D.
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom