NoDAPL Protest Violence

The Truth About The Protest Against The Dakota Access Pipeline

Partial truth is not the truth. And what the world came to understand about the NoDAPL protest at Standing Rock was a partial truth.

From April 2016 on into early 2017, the Dakota Access pipeline protest festered in western North Dakota. What started as a peaceful protest by Standing Rock tribal members against the Dakota Access oil pipeline--the Black Snake--became something quite different. It caught the attention of the world by early autumn, and soon celebrities and people in other nations were "Standing with Standing Rock". Some tried to take down banks and businesses, while others spewed hate towards the state of North Dakota and the law enforcement involved in the protest.

Whether by naivete or by choice, far too many people believed a partial story. They believed what the news media told them. They believed the social media stories and videos, never questioning the narrative because it fit so perfectly into what they wanted to believe. Perhaps it resonated with anger about the recent 2016 Presidential election season. A rural state, its generally conservative people, and its local law enforcement became the perfect dumping ground for ignorant rage.

The protest supporters claimed to love free speech. They laid claim to being on the right side of history, and being "woke". The truth is, however, that there was much aggressive action against free speech for those who viewed the protest differently. And there was a clear and almost paranoid refusal to consider that there was more to the story than the emotional news items that seemed to trigger them into sometimes despicable action. This website is to provide the rest of the protest story. It is also meant to push back against the current movement of perpetual activism which, for too many, has a foundation of hate that is covered over with noble ideas and deceptive language.

The protesters came to stop a black snake. They thought it was an oil pipeline. But they ended up helping to create a different black snake, one that will affect the communities here, and the people involved from afar, for a very long time. I hope it was worth it. The black snake of anger, hatred, and grudge is far more poisonous than any oil spill.


Common Untruths About The NoDAPL Protest

What The Local Community Experienced During The NoDAPL Protest

Celebrities And Scammers Used The NoDAPL Protest For Their Own Ends

Additional Information On NoDAPL Protest Issues

#StopActivistHate

  • What's with the #StopActivistHate hashtag?
  • Who Created This Website?

  • It was not DAPL. It was not law enforcement. It was a private citizen.
  • Outside Links


    Bibliography and Fact-Checking

    For a timeline of the entire Dakota Access pipeline protest event (including background information) and a bibliography for any information referenced here, please read the #NoDAPL Protest Timeline. You may easily verify everything on this website through that timeline. Additionally, the state of North Dakota created a timeline and website in January 2017 full of information, actual videos of protester clashes, photos, and more. They address the myths (lies) and reality of what happened here.

    Online Image Gallery

    I've been gathering screenshots and images since the fall of 2016. I have several thousand, of which only a handful are used in the content below. You can view those images in the NoDAPL Protest Gallery.

    The NoDAPL Protest Was Not Completely Peaceful

    The world was led to believe that the protest against the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota was a purely peaceful protest.

    No, it was not.

    The early protest, which started in April, was peaceful. You certainly didn’t hear about it in the news much in terms of violence, nor see the dramatic footage with law enforcement. It was when September rolled around and camp numbers had swelled with protesters who had their own agenda that things began to turn.

    The protesters themselves admitted, in an interview, that peacefulness was just a facade for some of the protesters. An anonymous resident of the Sacred Stone Camp had this to say about the impression of being non-violent:

    Like with any struggle, the people are not homogenous in thought and tactic. Much of the camp’s rhetoric is of the “Non-violent Direct Action” type. Lock your arm to this piece of deconstruction equipment and take a picture with a banner for Facebook. But the Warrior Culture that is so rich in Lakota memory seems to counter a lot of the liberal, non-violent, NGO types. Comrades saw what happened in Iowa, heard about the $1,000,000 in damage and got inspired. I wouldn’t say that it was publicly celebrated because the camp’s tactic of “Non-violence” is the image they want to perpetuate. Like I said, it is a tactic… not everyone thinks that is what we need to dogmatically stick to. It is one thing to use Non-Violence as a rhetorical device in corporate media to spread your inspirational actions but it is another thing to preach it as your dogma in your private circles and use it to stop material damage to the infrastructure of ecocide. I see the former being invoked much greater than the latter.

    Further evidence can be found in the Amazon wish list of the Red Warrior Camp, that prayer was not exactly their goal with his protest. The list included such items as gas masks, politce tactical pants, nigh-vision illuminators, and training sleeves to protect against dog bites. Unless you intend to trespass or attack, prayer doesn't involve those items. And, as you'll see, if you didn't trespass or attack, the law enforcement left you alone.

    Yes, there were outside agitators who wanted trouble.

    Early on, the protest was peaceful. When it started in April, it was mostly Native Americans, and it started on private land on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. In fact, the gathering of tribes was historic and, frankly, an amazing event. But as the months progressed and outsiders joined the protest and a large camp took root on federal United States Army Corps of Engineer (USACE) land north of the reservation, there was a change to the nature of the protest. Violence became evident.

    Law enforcement and the local community started to point out that it was outside agitators who were encouraging violence, and so the response from protesters was to quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Letter from a Birmingham Jail regarding how the term "outside agitators" was a way to extinguish peaceful protest.

    And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

    While King's quote is powerful, and may have accurately portrayed the civil rights protests he was a part of, it did not apply perfectly in this protest. As you will see, nonviolent direct action was not the sole tactic used in this protest, nor were all of the protesters on the same page about what they wanted. There was significant amounts of violence directed at law enforcement and private citizens. "Outside agitators" is a phrase that can be used if it is accurate, and it is, indeed, an accurate description of what happened in this protest. It truly was outsiders -- not members from Standing Rock -- who made up the bulk of arrests and violence. Consider that of more than 500 protesters who were arrested; only about 7% were from North Dakota. Many were felons or had violent criminal or drug records.

    The world may have thought this protest was about an oil pipeline and saving the water, but it ended up attracting extreme right anti-government groups, extreme left anti-government groups, anarchists, racists who hate whites, eco-terrorists, anti-law enforcement groups, Burning Man hippies, indigenous rights activists and more. When word got out that you could "battle" law and order, far too people came saying they cared about water but what they really wanted was a fight.

    The protesters DID have weapons.

    Most people are aware of two particular conflicts between protesters and law enforcement, that of October 27, 2016, and that of November 20, 2016. Both of these occurred on a small bridge on Highway 1806, called Backwater Bridge. The Facebook live feed and subsequent media coverage of these events made it appear as if the law enforcement was attacking peaceful, prayerful, unarmed protesters. This was NOT true.

    While some protesters were not armed, there were a number of them who were, and who defied even the requests of the elders in their aggression in those two events.

    Law enforcement faced protesters who did, indeed, have weapons, protesters who were more than happy to use them. Law enforcement has video and photographic evidence to back up these claims, but the protest supporters, and the media who bought into their narrative, did not share that information with their followers. Unless you were willing to look, you would not have seen them from a cursory glance at social media or news feeds. Everything listed in the graphic below can be verified as used against law enforcement here.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    The video feeds and imagery that provided by the protest camps showed the world a partial reality. They showed truly beautiful Native American culture, the protesters who were prayerful, and in all ways painted the protest to be wholly peaceful.

    But, when you watch the footage taken by law enforcement from their front line vantage point, you get a very different picture of what they were facing on the ground. While the world continues to insist that protesters had no weapons, law enforcement has collected plenty and hsa slowly revealed what was used by protesters.

    The protesters used other forms of violence against law enforcement and citizens.

    Media that supported the protest failed to show you the other ways the violent elements of the protest affected the people who lived and worked in the community.

    The media did not show protesters screaming racial slurs against a black man. They did not show protesters screaming racial slurs against law enforcement who were black, white, and Native American. On Thanksgiving day, the protesters massed in the cities of Bismarck and Mandan, holding up signs that said "Kill A Pilgrim, Save The Water". The put a dead pig head on a stick (a pig that possibly was stolen from a local farmer who had refused to sell the pig days before) to intimidate police, and created a pilgrim effigy that they hung upside down on a stick.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    The protesters doxed law enforcement and their families, revealing their personal information and home addresses. They were gleefully begging Anonymous to hack sites, email accounts, and expose the personal identities of emergency service personnel. Law enforcement and National Guard members were stalked, some being followed home or reporting that their home was being cased.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Some protesters did a great deal of damage to farmers and ranchers who lived near the protest area. Protesters took direct action at Fairview Cemetery in Bismarck, leaving behind garbage on the graves. One supporter even found the local Wreaths Across America Facebook page, an event that honors veterans with wreaths each December out at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery (where, I might add, many Native Americans are also buried). Tabitha Miera went on a threatening rant, which caused one woman (whose mother was buried in the cemetery) to privately contact the organization and ask that the comments be taken down because it made her cry. Again, what did that have to do with oil?

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    In fact, protesters and their online minions who supported their cause were positively horrendous to the citizens of North Dakota in so many ways. The harassed and doxed them online. They went after local business owners to do the same.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    What citizens experienced was no laughing matter. Online threats were endless as outside supporters of the protest, fed by propaganda, developed an extreme hatred for the people and institutions of North Dakota.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    But you did not see those things reported in the broader media. Once things seemed dramatic enough to capture media attention as violence, veterans, and weather were all in the mix, the larger news organizations that bothered to come to North Dakota rehashed the same tripe that had been out there for months, not bothering to do much as far as digging into the reality of what was going on in the state.

    The tribal elders and leaders wanted the violence to end.

    The elders and leaders acknowledged it the violent element present both directly and indirectly, repeatedly asking it to stop.

    The Standing Rock Chairman hinted to then North Dakota Governor Dalrymple that the protests were getting out of control. The Standing Rock Tribal Council voted on November 1 to remove the Red Warrior Camp, a group of protesters responsible for the “direct action” that insisted violence and attack on law enforcement was the only way to achieve results.

    In December, as the protest seemed to fade away and the elders and Standing Rock leaders continued to push for protesters to leave, protesters who wanted violent and direct action turn on the Standing Rock leaders, slinging accusations and even doxing some leaders.

    Eventually, Red Warrior Camp left (on December 10), but not happily. They left a message on Facebook:

    One of the lessons we have learned that has inspired us is the very real need for a mobile resistance movement that is ready and willing to dismantle the capitalist regime that is destroying our planet. The mobilization of resistance is key to shattering the oppressive illegal military occupation of the so called 'Amerikkkas', for too long we have lived with broken treaties, genocide, racism and colonization. In order to best honor our ancestors and the future generations we are living our principles by forming a Warrior Society rooted in combatting the indoctrination of our minds, bodies, and spirits. We do not need Standing Rock to exist, but we did however require it to put us all in the same place at the same time."

    Red Warrior Society (their new name) has since changed the wording on that Facebook post, but I do have screen shots to show that this is the original wording.

    It's not clear what it means if you “stand with Standing Rock” at this point. You may have to choose between the actual Standing Rock tribal leaders and respect their wishes and their authority, or push back against them and view it as an abstract ideology. For a protest and worldwide movement that used Standing Rock’s sovereignty as justification for what they did to the community, to North Dakota, and to law enforcement, you would think they would respect the wishes of the tribal leaders.

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    The Police Did NOT Attack Protesters

    The story the world believes is that law enforcement was attacking protesters, that they took offensive action on protester camps or the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

    No, this is not true.

    The law enforcement ALWAYS held a defensive line to keep protesters off of private property, and the only time there was a clash was when protesters went on the offense and attacked the police line to get onto that property.

    Law enforcement protected private property up by the town of St. Anthony, both land and equipment. They protected private property at the Cannonball Ranch, both land and equipment. They protected Army Corps land (Turtle Hill) at the federal government’s request (though the federal government did not supply any resources to help them).

    Law enforcement never went onto the reservation, or into the protest camps without permission (they did get called in to help with search and rescue of a possible drowning that required the use of the Morton County Sheriff's dive team).

    Even when law enforcement worked to remove protesters from private property, they gave them an opportunity to go back and get their personal property. They said please. Even some protest leaders tried to calm other protesters who wanted to be aggressive as law enforcement worked to get them off of the private property.

    The protesters had no problem attacking the police and others.

    Both online and on the ground, protesters and supporters from around the world targeted the small state of North Dakota and its law enforcement. You've seen what actual weapons they used. But they also used other forms of attack. Not even the BIA was exempt from protester harassment.

    Protesters proudly stated online that they were aggressively trying to break through police lines, and even the language they used to describe much of their activity ("direct action") indicates that it was they who were on the offense, and law enforcement who only responded defensively.

    The greater the protesters pushed and flanked, the greater the law enforcement response. When protesters backed off, so did law enforcement. The protesters were in direct control of the type of response they would receive from law enforcement. They were ALWAYS free to peacefully protest, but they were not going to be allowed to trespass on private property or cause damage. They were allowed to march down the state highway, to even camp in the ditch along the highway. They were allowed to drive into town in caravans even when law enforcement knew they would protest. They were allowed to protest on state capitol grounds without a permit. They were allowed to protest in Bismarck and Mandan as long as it was peaceful and did not go out into the street and stop traffic. Even then, the police were lenient, asking them to get back on the sidewalk.

    But the protesters and their supporters were relentless against law enforcement at this point.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    They even helped incite violence and disruption across the nation and around the world, particularly towards banks who helped finance the Dakota Access pipeline. (Note: Some of the banks targeted by this protest, such as US Bank, are involved in the Electronic Benefits Program. I don't think protesters would really want to shut these banks down if they gave it any thought. I have friends and family who use the program as well.)

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    The protesters had aggression as a goal.

    Some protesters WERE peaceful, but there was an extremely violent contingent that seemed to rule the show for months, and made this protest less about an oil pipeline and more about anarchy, anti-government, anti-authority, and anti-law enforcement. While the early protest might have had the goal of stopping the pipeline, by the time autumn rolled around, the protest had turned to taking back land and viewing the law as the enemy.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    The protesters actions, when the most dramatic footage was recorded, was always started by them in an attack against law enforcement and an attempt to get onto private land and destroy property. The world often saw protester drone footage, which didn't reveal what was happening at the front line for law enforcement. Or, they had footage that was on the ground that was being "narrated" by someone (e.g. Unicorn Riot) who was describing what was happening according to their narrative. When you watch those videos without the narration and ask yourself what is really going on, different conclusions arise.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    The world loved to joke that the only people dressed for a riot were the law enforcement officers, but the world had no idea what was going on and what the officers were facing. Additionally, if you look at photos of law enforcement early on, you will see they are dressed quite differently than after the protest had gone on for months. Law enforcement officers, who did not have time off, missed holidays, and in no way had any desire to be out in the pastures day and night in the cold to keep protesters from cutting fence and burning fires, had absolutely no desire or incentive to escalate and prolong the protest. That escalation came from the tactics of the protesters themselves.

    Yes, law enforcement used non-lethal measures, such as foam bullets, OC spray, water, and flash-bang grenades. Protesters happily took photos of their bruises and made it sound as if they were mortally wounded. But protesters did NOT restrict themselves to non-lethal measures. They used a gun, Molotov cocktails, fire, large rocks, and slingshots with metal bits.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    These were lethal weapons. And some protesters and their supporters had lethal intentions.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Make no mistake. Some protesters were peaceful. But there were some that were anything but, and they fully intended to do harm to law enforcement officers and private property in any way that they could. And, if you have the mind that is set against authority, you will never view law enforcement doing the job of enforcing law and doing it with strength (even in restraint) with anything but rage. That is your own anti-authority problem to deal with.

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    People Who Supported Law Enforcement Were Not Necessarily Pro-Pipeline

    Many in the community, including those in the cities of Bismarck and Mandan, as well as farmers and ranchers, had different opinions on the Dakota Access pipeline. Some supported it. Some did not. Some were wary. It ran the gamut.

    But people supported their local law enforcement. We had rallies to show our support.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    We took to the bridges of Bismarck and Mandan ourselves (not blocking traffic, mind you), waving banners of support and signs letting our local law enforcement know how much we appreciated them.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Our local law enforcement (and later, National Guard) were people we knew. They were us. They were not our enemy. They were not anyone's enemy, though it is easy for the critic (oh, say...Tony Bender, newspaper columnist and critic extraordinaire) to take to Monday-morning quarterbacking.

    What it means to support local law enforcement.

    It doesn’t mean I’m a Nazi, a racist, a bigot, or a hater. It simply means I know that the men and women who have to enforce the laws in this nation have a very difficult job and they aren’t exactly doing it for the money.

    It means that I let them do their job, I don’t make it harder for them to do their job, I don’t turn to vigilantism, and I don’t create situations or confront people that will only add to their load.

    It means I trust that they know what they are doing, that they are professionals, and that there is more to what they do than what I fully understand, and that if they break the law themselves, they will be punished by that same law they are enforcing.

    It’s because they ARE human that I support them; they need it for precisely that reason. They feel anger, fear, exhaustion, loneliness. Could you imagine if your job required you to face the worst of people every day? The people who were suicidal, who were drunk, who were on drugs, who were assaulting their spouse, who yelled foul things at you, who swore at you, who lied to you, who wanted you dead, who assigned some historical hate to you -- every day you saw that. What would you think of humanity after a while?

    As I said online, the legal system works slowly. Law enforcement is part of a behemoth in an ever fast-moving world. They cannot react, defend themselves, speak freely about all things, or immediately release all video to prove they were telling the truth, because there are legal investigations going on. Despite the instantaneous social media PR abuse surrounding them, they can not respond in kind.

    Here’s a reality: what you speak out loud at people, and insist is true, has a way of becoming reality. If you paint law enforcement as heartless monsters over and over, you are helping them lose heart and become that very thing.And so I support them by trying to encourage and be positive, to let them know I believe the best about them, not the worst, so that they would do a good job and not fall into a dark place, that they would not become the monster some people keep saying they are.

    Supporting law enforcement does not mean I have a specific set of political or philosophical views. It does not mean I think they are always perfect, and never make a mistake. It does not mean I think they aren’t human. I can support law enforcement without being an ardent Trump supporter. I can care about people without being a Clinton or Sanders supporter.

    Society is (and should be) like a massive Venn diagram. We have things in common, and things not in common. We make a connection because of what we have in common, and we have great discussion because of what we don’t have in common. We don’t always agree about everything, but we don’t have to burn it all down because we disagree. Without the overlapping circles, we are singular circles, an ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail. And, for those who want to burn it all down because of disagreement, whether they are on the right or the left -- that’s where law enforcement steps in.

    That’s why I support law enforcement.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    When you make law enforcement the enemy, your cause suffers.

    Too many protesters and their supporters assumed that standing up for law and order and the officers who are sworn to protect it meant we wanted oil to pour out of our kitchen faucets. I literally had a conversation where I said "I support local law enforcement" and a woman responded and said "I will laugh when the black snake pours out of your kitchen faucet."

    Sure. That's a logical leap. Whatever.

    Being unable to distinguish between people who were pushing back against violence and propaganda directed towards law enforcement, and support for a pipeline, hurt the protest in the eyes of the local community. After months of sustained harassment to landowners, law enforcement--pretty much everyone in the area who had nothing to do with the pipeline--it wasn't uncommon to hear people saying "I didn't support the pipeline, but at this point I hope they just put the thing in the ground and these people go away." In other words, this protest helped galvanize people against their cause. It's fine if you want to just preach to the choir, but if the intent of a protest is to get people to stop and reconsider, and to change minds, attacking and and lying about local law enforcement and calling them racist is not the way to do it.

    It is important to note that even Standing Rock leaders have said an important truth: when this protest is gone and all of the protesters leave, we still have to live here. We still have to get along with our friends and neighbors, and this protest turned into something that destroyed friendships and professional relationships.

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    What You Saw On Live Video Was Not Exactly True

    This protest was marked with much video and photographic imagery. As a citizen of Bismarck, more than once I ran into a crowd of protesters and had GoPro and cellphone cameras shoved in my face. It prompted local citizens to respond in kind, and there is a ridiculous amount of video of the Bismarck/Mandan area taken during the months of the protest.

    Live feed video does not show the before, after, and full view.

    All you know of the live feed you watch on Facebook is what you see. You don't know what happened before. You don't know what happened after. You don't know what is happening outside of the edge of the lens. I watched live feeds in which the narrators "described" the scene in ways I, as a local resident, could only laugh at. They had no idea what they were looking at or what was going on in ways that were obvious to me. They did not know the culture, geography, or weather, for starters. I could only guess that that same inaccuracy carried out into the rest of what they were describing.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Protesters did live feeds from inside restaurants, trying to trip up law enforcement officers who were eating there, starting the camera conveniently far into the conversation after tempers flared, and then framing it on Facebook as "OMG I am so upset I am shaking can you believe these cops" as if the officers would have said anything had not a camera and confrontational questions been shoved in their faces as they were trying to eat.

    Protesters described a private herd of buffalo that were being herded illegally by trespassing protesters on horseback as a sign from the Creator. They described the law enforcement attempt, with a helicopter, to turn the herd back from the fence line they were being herded to as harassing and antagonizing the herd. The world was told thousands of wild buffalo magically appeared. Trust me: there are not thousands of wild buffalo running wild in North Dakota. To believe those videos, even if they were "live", is ridiculous.

    Three of those buffalo died, by the way, thanks to what protesters did. Those deaths didn't make it on their live feeds.

    Video is an excellent propaganda tool, especially if released quickly.

    Morton County Sheriffs Department would often hold press conferences in which they'd make statements about what had happened which did not match up with what the protesters were saying had happened. If you look at the online comments to these law enforcement statements, you'd often see "show us the video, then!", since apparently only video reveals the truth.

    But not even video was enough. Video of Red Fawn Fallis attempting to shoot law enforcement officers (video taken by protesters themselves) clearly shows the officers jumping out of the way when the gun goes off. But that video was not proof because it did not fit the protest narrative. "That video has been doctored!" or "that's Photoshop." Not understanding what they saw was common. FLIR (forward looking infrared) video of the buffalo herd incident resulted in "that FLIR footage only shows black dots and nothing else!" When law enforcement did not release video immediately, some protesters assumed they had none. As the protest wore on, the public became aware that that was not the case, and that it was growing more likely that law enforcement was actually holding onto a lot of video and photographic evidence for criminal investigation purposes.

    But the lack of immediately released video by law enforcement, and the instantly ready supply of narrated and edited protester video, seemed to make protest supporters assume that since most of the video available was in line with the protest message, that must be true.

    The protest camps controlled what they'd allow to be shown.

    As you'll see in the section on how the protest camps controlled media access, you'll realize that the message they allowed out was not the complete picture.

    There were restrictions on who could take photos and videos, and of what. Media were only allowed to interview certain people.

    Any video that comes out of a situation like that is pure propaganda. And, since the protesters loved to call law enforcement and citizens like me Nazis, I'm going to return the favor: the protest camps had their own Leni Riefenstahl(s) at work.

    Some former protesters, such as D'Shawn Cunningham, Michelle Thompson, and David Chutes managed to get out (but not without threats and having all of their property confiscated in some cases), but for the most part, unless you went onto protester Facebook profiles and did some digging, you were never shown a complete reality of what was going on. You were shown pretty images and emotionally moving videos that struck every perfect chord that we all respond to -- underdog vs. big money, powerless vs. powerful, minority vs. whites.

    You were Riefenstahled.

    Law enforcement collected a LOT of video, but haven't released it all.

    Law enforcement is using video to investigate criminal cases. They can’t release everything, which, as mentioned, is to their distinct disadvantage. People lose interest and when the video can finally be released to show they were telling the truth, people have already decided to believe the instant and inflammatory video from the moment.

    In speaking with a law enforcement officer, I was told they literally had so much video they didn’t know what to do with it. Though they have admitted they are losing the social media and PR war (and didn’t start battling with video releases until late in the game), that doesn’t mean they do not have video. Early court trials prompted newly assigned defense attorneys to request additional time due to the amount of evidence, including video, that there is.

    While an activist standing on a hilltop filming video over a sketchy rural North Dakota cell phone signal with his narration of what he thinks is going on might be dynamic (e.g. Kevin Gilbertt), be sure to stick around in the coming months for the law enforcement video on the front lines, where you’ll see the violence they faced down on the ground.

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    There Was Definitely PR Spin Going On

    A public relations company (Pyramid Communications, out of Seattle, WA) was hired. They even wrote helpful blog posts about how they were helping the NoDAPL protest stick to their message. The hiring of a PR company tells you that there was a professional PR angle in play.

    But protesters themselves also coached supporters on how to frame the message. For example: frame it as a religious or racism (which they did). Use photos from other events to conjure up certain kinds of emotions for those who didn't know any better (which they did). Find photos that aren't from the protest but will inspire outrage, and use them to stir up emotion (which they did). Show injuries, show abuse, show thousands of bison appearing, or huge crowds that were actually from Woodstock.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    This, by the way, is only the small collection of PR and spin (and, let's be honest, lies) that was put out by protest supporters.

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    This was not about racism, from pipeline route to local reactions.

    You can be a racist if you are white, black, Native American--anyone. Racism isn't a skin problem, it's a hatred problem and that means it's a people problem.

    Because of how this protest was framed and twisted, it wasn’t long before the citizens of North Dakota, their politicians, and their law enforcement were (as predicted in Godwin’s Law) called Nazis or KKK.

    I won't deny there were plenty of people who said terrible things on all sides of this protest. I saw some of it myself. You'll see me lose my temper online, but you won't find me saying those types of things. I even addressed this assumption of racism online when I grew weary of hearing I was a racist for disagreeing with what the protest had become.

    The frustration with infusing this protest with racist rhetoric and motivation is that there was plenty of racism coming from the protesters as well, and so it wasn't a useful categorization if the "bad guys" were the racists. Throwing racism into an oil pipeline protest either obfuscates the real reason for the protest, or reveals the real motivations behind those who were involved in the protest.

    The pipeline route wasn't moved to spare white people danger.

    Everything I am about to say in this list can be verified on the protest timeline. You can go look yourself.

    1. The Dakota Access pipeline crosses the Missouri River already, about 15 miles west of Williston, North Dakota's water intake. That is a mostly white town. No one protested that crossing when it happened.
    2. The reason for moving the pipeline to the current route was because it was less onerous on the environment, crossed fewer wetlands, and followed current infrastructure routes (other pipelines, power lines). You can read the full environmental report that was filed by Dakota Access to get all the details.
    3. Standing Rock's water intake is soon to be at Mobridge, South Dakota. Their water intake will be further from the pipeline than Williston is. Much, much further. That intake move to Mobridge has been in the works for years.
    4. The people of Bismarck did not raise a fuss and refuse to allow the pipeline through, or near, the city. This was not a case of listening to white people and not Native Americans. The final submitted route never had the option north of Bismarck, so the people in the city did not get the opportunity to be hideous racists that everyone seems to think we are.
    5. There are Native Americans and other minorities in the cities of Bismarck and Mandan, too.

    Much rage existed over the completely wrong idea that white people didn't want it in their city and insisted the pipeline be moved. There was no factual basis for that myth whatsoever.

    The protesters and their supporters were racist themselves.

    Words lose their meaning quickly in a protest like this, particularly words that end in "-ism". After a while it almost became boring to see the images and verbal retorts of Hitlerism, Nazism, fascism, racism...isms. I have an endless supply (and it grows daily) of infantile images like the ones you see below (note to idiots: if you're going to use the swastika to represent Nazism, get it right). I especially enjoyed Facebook users Patrick Millette and Lori Davis who turned me into Hitler when I called them out for harassing the Jamestown Police Department on Facebook.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Protesters helped fan racism into flame. People spread rumors that North Dakota businesses were going to refuse service to “brown people” (not true). White protest supporters continually left comments that they were “so ashamed of their race” because of North Dakota.

    Even among the protest itself, some Native American activists attacked other protesters and activists with racist language. They mocked white supporters who wanted to come to Standing Rock, saying they would be better off giving their money to support a Native American to join the protest. Free speech has racial boundaries, apparently.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    According to these activists, the protest camps were being colonized by white protesters. The whites were using up all the resources, eating up the Native's food just like in the past. The protest camp how-to guides were direct in how whites should behave:

    I don't have a problem with respecting cultural rules (that's cultural anthropology, and it has a lot more to do with how we interact with people than most of us realize), but if you're going to scream racism at people outside of the protest because they were observing their own cultural rules (which I'll get to in a minute) then you don't have any right to demand your cultural rules be respected, either.

    Some of the protesters and supporters themselves had a firm lock on racism while actively demonstrating. Consider the Thanksgiving protests that contained signs to kill pilgrims, or that just about every other comment online had some form of "racist bigot" in it in reference to anyone from North Dakota who did not agree with the protesters. It got to the point where I realized the word racism no longer means anything, and I stopped even seeing or feeling anything from that word. "Oh, just the word racist again. Whatever."

    This was more about a clash of cultures, not a fight about racism.

    There are four cultural aspects to North Dakota (and much of the Great Plains states) that are helpful to understand in this discussion.

    1. North Dakota culture is work-fixated.

    People take pride in how hard they work. This has both good and bad qualities, this fixation on work, but it’s how this culture is. We’re independent (which sometimes seems aloof), we’ll help you if you need help, but we’ll also expect you to try to pull your own weight and to also get on your feet so you can help someone else. We don’t have a lot of time for people who expect others to pay their way, or to give them money without offering to work for it. Several times I saw online comments from community members in which they said that if protesters needed to raise money so badly, there were plenty of sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways that needed shoveling and that they could earn money that way.

    Was that racist?

    No. It was not about race. It had to do with being willing to work. If you’re willing to work, most North Dakotans won’t have a problem with you, no matter what your race is. You prove yourself a hard worker, you're in.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Some of the “racist” comments you’ll find that were directed at protesters by local residents had to do with the fact that they weren’t working, that they were living off of other people’s constant donations. Knowing that $11.2 million dollars had been raised by hundreds of website profiles (e.g. GoFundMe), seeing constant online pleas for more money and donations, knowing there massive amounts of money and supplies coming in than even that, and then seeing these protesters come into town and cause businesses and streets to close down preventing people from going about their work day -- that’s a perfect storm of anger in a work-centric culture.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    That protesters could disrupt daily lives and daily work by living off of the donations of others, that those very donations provided them with the free time to disrupt the citizens of the community -- that was infuriating.

    2. This is also a law and order culture.

    Because hard work is so important, respect for law and order is also important. It is the rule of law that protects the private property and results of hard work. That is hugely important when trying to understand how and why people supported law enforcement when so many others in the world could not figure it out. You cannot ignore this cultural aspect.

    Some protesters spray painted graffiti on business, bridges, equipment (thanks, Jill Stein, you vandal), and anything they could. The images below show some of the graffiti sprayed on buildings in Tuttle, North Dakota. There was also anti-police and protest graffiti sprayed in Bismarck. A protester also defaced the North Dakota column at the WW2 memorial in Washington, D.C. with #NoDAPL markings, and NoDAPL graffiti has popped up on bank exterior walls in Fargo.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Some protesters terrorized rural residents. They tried to run teachers off the road, and caused the small St. Anthony school to go into lockdown numerous times.

    Whether people here supported the pipeline or not, the damage and destruction of a private business’s construction equipment is incompatible to the idea that law and order, and the ability to do business and make a living, is important. And, the burning of trucks belonging to the North Dakota National Guard is only further fuel to the lawless fire. The NDNG has helped people in this state time and time again. To target the men and women who help us, and destroy their vehicles, is unthinkable.

    When we support law enforcement, we don’t do it because of the race of the person on the other side. We do it because they are the ones who enforce law and order.

    3. Warrior and farmer cultures often clash.

    Many of the protesters laid claim to their warrior culture. Much of the rest of North Dakota, particularly those with northern European ancestry and agrarian roots, lay claim to the work culture (a product of farming connections). As a farmer's daughter, and someone who enjoys reading history, let me just say that working farmers have a history of suddenly becoming warriors themselves. They just prefer to work. And that mindset is in direct conflict with comments (even if light-hearted) like this:

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Farming has a solitary aspect, hemmed in by nature's time constraints. There is no time to sit around. Crops need planting or harvesting. Animals must be cared for.

    One is a self-identified warrior culture who wants to fight. The other is a worker culture that wants to work and maintain the fruit of their labor.

    There are some reading what I just wrote in the preceding paragraphs who won't see anything but racism, but it is a difference in culture and not one race saying they are better than the other. I know both whites and Native Americans who are hard workers, and those who are not. I know both whites and Native Americans who always want to be fighting, and those who do not. That makes it a cultural issue (what culture you adopt) and not a racial issue (you are locked into something because of your skin color). Both cultures are valid, but often in conflict.

    4. North Dakotans are friendly (in this state, the one-fingered wave is actually not the middle finger), but also wary.

    In the Bismarck/Mandan region, they are now especially wary thanks to how media has depicted the people and the state. More than once interviews have been edited to show us in a negative light.

    Part of the usual wariness is best understood by considering the history of how settlers came in, homesteaded out in the middle of nowhere with not many people around, and had to make it work on their own or possibly die. That independence from others is noble in some ways, but it also comes at a price. Warrior cultures are group cultures. Farmers are out on the land on their own. In every way possible, this protest brought a clash of cultures and too many people simply chose to see white people as racist while revering the Native American culture.

    I don't look at people in the protest and see race as the issue (particularly since so many protesters were...white). I see it as a clash of cultures and behavior in which racial differences are the easiest thing to default to when trying to figure out differences, even though they are the least important. Part of ending the abuse of the idea of racism is understanding cultural differences and striving towards an appropriate level of cultural agnosticism, instead of keeping tabs on race.

    If you call people racist, they'll start to become a racist.

    We tend to become what people keep telling us we are. It takes a lot to push back and refuse to be the thing others are trying to define us as.

    So, when you call people racist long enough, they become racist. If, for no other reason, they start to notice the race of people and start to fret or worry that they might be racist, or become self-conscious around people of different races when, before, they didn't pay much attention to race at all.

    After hearing, time and time again, that we were the most racist people on the earth, and after having Black Lives Matter get involved with the protest and join in online discussions about taking down white Amerikkka, people sort of start to think that if being a racist means they oppose such violent rhetoric, then racist they will be.

    It was shocking to see the kinds of things said about people in North Dakota. Simple disagreement made you a racist. Simply saying “I support law enforcement” made you a Nazi pig who was helping re-enact Selma, making North Dakota the “new Mississippi.”

    While attempting to mail a letter one afternoon, I came face to face with noisy protesters who had blocked off and locked down the the federal building where the post office is located. It was then that I had a protester yell at me “Go back to Europe!” Online, I was called “revoltingly pink.”

    My reaction to that protester who told me, whose family had been farming in this state for 120 years, to go back to Europe? To those screaming about cultural appropriation?

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    History is so full of "cultural appropriation" that it's shocking. Think marinara is classic Italian? Tomatoes came from the Americas. And yes, horses came from Europe. Go back far enough in time and you'll realize your cultural traditions came from someone or somewhere else. You'll realize you didn't always live on the land you thought you did, and that maybe your tribe came in and pushed another one out once or twice. Of course, telling Native American out-of-state protesters to return home brought the “all land is our land!” rejoinder, and they seemed to think that gave them every right to shove a cell phone in the face of citizens eating in restaurants and going about daily activities in hopes of antagonizing them and getting video they could edit to prove we were racist when all we probably were was annoyed that we couldn't mail a letter.

    Turning an oil pipeline into a race conversation completely distracted and diluted the supposed real reason for the protest. It also successfully turned people who had previously been friends and neighbors in the community against each other, and people who might have been supportive of a pipeline protest into ardent supporters of getting protesters out of the community and sticking that pipe in the ground so the whole thing was done with.

    Beware the racists in your own camp.

    I will not lie. There were people who did not support the protest who said plenty of racist things. I don’t know if they meant it, but the Bible tells me (Luke 6:45) that what is in our heart is what comes out of our mouth.

    Every movement’s leaders have a responsibility to go to people who are spewing hate and ask them one-on-one to stop. If they do not, they must be removed from the group. Their poison only encourages others to give up on previous self-control and feel like they can finally “let loose” and say and think things they were trying to turn away from. Giving them permission let's them think that they are actually noble for throwing off their efforts to change and be more "true to themselves" (which is just people being assholes, usually).

    It wasn't just a white/Native racism issue, though. Take a look at these images which I found on a NoDAPL protest support/funding Facebook page:

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    This is classic anti-Semitism. This is the basis for some of the worst far-right hate groups that you’ve ever and never heard about. This is literally how you find your way to what happened in Nazi Germany, how people excused the extermination of the Jews. This is what gets you there.

    This has no place in your protest no matter what you are protesting. If you want to protect the environment, and if you don’t want to see large corporations run down citizens, that is one thing. But when it starts to look like this, you’ve gone too far. Get this type of person, this type of thinking, this type of propaganda out of your protest.

    What is startling to me, in this protest, is how the two “sides” brought together such a bizarre mix of otherwise natural “enemies” (far left with far right). I came to realize both are two heads of the same black snake: hate. And, as I stated as to why I support law enforcement, it is law enforcement who tends to be the buffer between that snake and those of us in the middle who do not want hatred or chaos, but want peace and good lives for all.

    Here’s a hashtag for you: #StopActivistHate. Because the real black snake in this protest wasn't oil. It was anger and hatred that was fed for half a year.

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    This protest was NOT solely about saving the environment and protecting water.

    For some, it really was just another kind of Burning Man festival on the North Dakota prairie, a chance to rack up an experience, get some activism cred, get some photos of yourself "doing good" in a trendy way on social media before moving on to the next cause. For some, maybe it was just about meeting chicks.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    It was clear others wanted to do battle against law enforcement, the government, white people, oil companies, history -- whatever made them angry. There were far right groups and far left, all mashed together fighting who knows what. Oath Keepers helped dox law enforcement. Chase Iron Eyes, a lawyer from Standing Rock who had just finished an unsuccessful run for Rep. Kevin Cramer's seat, suggested that maybe it was OK to dox people.

    Some said keep the oil in the ground, while Standing Rock tribal leaders said that they weren't against fossil fuel energy but just the route. Some said it was about treaty rights. The presence of Black Lives Matter leaders and participants clearly indicates that they thought it was about law enforcement issues. The involvement with far right groups suggest they thought it was about anti-federal government issues. I don't know if anyone really knows what it is or was about because there were so many agendas in play.

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    This was not wholly an environmentally friendly protest.

    While the protest was supposed to be about protecting the water, and therefore, protecting the environment, a curious thing happened: the protest hurt the environment.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    The location was in a floodplain and watershed.

    The Oceti Sakowin camp (the one on USACE land and not on the reservation) was on a flood plain. The protesters were told this repeatedly, even by the Standing Rock tribal chairman himself. I don't know why, but it seems it took a few winter storms to make them realize officials weren't jerking their chain in telling them that fact and in asking them to leave for their own good. Some seemed to finally realize the issue was real.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Being on a floodplain means that in the spring, when the Missouri and the Cannonball Rivers flood when the snow melts, everything that's down there gets washed into the river and downstream. That includes garbage, plastic, tents, wood, human waste, food waste, containers, ash -- all of it. Since the protesters in that camp refused to heed the eviction and evacuation order, the first winter storm, then the first blizzard, then the Christmas blizzard all dumped snow on the camp and buried a lot of trash items under several feet of snow and ice. They won't be able to remove it all, even if they wanted to. It needed to be done before winter set in. Once the snow arrived, it was buried and frozen to the ground, until spring thaw.

    And, since thousands and thousands of people created a city out in a pasture, much of the ground cover (grass) has been driven off. That topsoil will wash away in the spring flooding, too.

    In an interview with Vice.com, Standing Rock Chairman Archambault had some powerful things to say about concerns over the environment at the protest camp:

    We've seen a big community pop up over there (the camps at Standing Rock). I go down there and I look at the waste. There's a lot of waste. It's a distraction from the water. If we're about this environment, we would be protecting Mother Earth. We wouldn't be hurting her. And yet, we're punching holes all over down there (pitching tents), in Mother Earth. That's a sacred place. But there's no regard. It's about instant gratification. When I look at that camp, I always think: What's going to happen when this is over? Who's going to clean that up? Who's going to put that land back to its natural state? Before this entire movement started, that was some of the most beautiful land around. There was a place down there where eagles, over 100 eagles would come and land. There were game down there—deer, pheasants, elk, geese. Now, it's occupied by people. And when masses of people come to one place, we don't take care of it.

    So how do we make it better? I heard that they're digging pits down there for their human waste. That's a flood zone. So when the floodwaters come up, that waste is going to be contaminating the water. We're no different than the oil company, if we're fighting for water. What's going to happen when people leave? Who has to clean it up? Who has to refurbish it? It's going to be us, the people who live here. Not only that, but there are relationships that are being damaged because of unlawful actions, violent actions, violent behavior against law enforcement. Law enforcement lives here. And we live here. The water protectors are going to be gone. When this is all done, I have to go up and clean that up. We have to reestablish our relationships then. So this is a good thing and I welcome everybody because we're all standing up for our water, but are we really mindful of what we're doing? Because, what's going to happen when this is done. -- Vice, November 23, 2016

    The protest relied on fossil fuels and burning wood.

    Prior to the protest, the pasture where the camp would later locate was pristine, with cottonwood trees, eagles, pheasants, and other wildlife. As the protest progressed, photos and videos of massive piles of firewood and protesters chopping trees and logs started to appear online. It wasn’t long before pleas for more wood went out as they used up their available supply. Residents in Bismarck and Mandan began talking on social media that their wood piles had disappeared overnight.

    I'd be surprised if there were many trees left at the protest camp, since firewood became a huge need for that camp. Cooking food and keeping thousands of people warm takes a lot of wood and creates a lot of smoke. That smoke is neither good for the environment, nor for the air being breathed inside tents and close quarters.

    There's another aspect about that firewood that I'll get to in just a bit.

    Wouldn't it be neat if, for an environmental protest of an oil pipeline, the participants burned and consumed as much gas as possible?

    Think of the amount of fuel they needed to burn to get to the protest, and then, once there, drive around. Even though it may be a point people seem to beat to death, the truth is that it takes oil in order to protest oil.

    Yes, the slick promotional and PR videos showed lots of protesters on horses. You saw tipis silhouetted in the setting sun. It seemed very natural. It seemed as if they were truly living off the grid, truly advocating a lifestyle of no oil and no fossil fuels.

    The truth is, however, that massive amounts of vehicle use (and gas, and oil) was necessary to make this protest happen.

    Heck, they'll even beg for gas to get to a protest to speak out against it.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Look at photos of the camp. Vehicles are everywhere. We're not talkin about Tesla or Prius cars. We're talking trucks and gas guzzlers. When the protesters decided to take their direct action into the cities of Bismarck and Mandan, they traveled in large caravans of vehicles. Airline flights in and, eventually, flights out, were flooded with protesters. Jane Fonda flew in on a private jet, and a limousine took her to the Prairie Knights casino on Standing Rock so she could have her photo op on Thanksgiving. Rev. Jesse Jackson flew into Bismarck on a private Gulfstream jet for his photo op. Actor Mark Ruffalo flew in twice to help protest the use of fossil fuels. The gas station near the protest (the Cannon Ball Pit Stop, owned by the SRT Chairman Archambault) actually ran out of gas from all the protesters filling up when they suddenly realized that fossil fuels provide real heat when winter sets in.

    It could be said that the anti-oil protest did more to sell gas and petroleum products in this region than anything else could have.

    When the winter storm and then the early December blizzard arrived, and single-digit temperatures settled in (as is normal and predictable for a North Dakota winter), protesters were in a panic about the availability of propane and heaters, pouring into the cities of Bismarck and Mandan to find hotels or buy heaters or propane. For a while, you couldn't find anything but bare shelves where propane used to be.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Some protesters stirred up all kinds of rumors about who would or would not sell propane, harassing businesses and local residents. Since a propane tank had possibly been used as an incendiary device against law enforcement during the bridge clash on November 20 (the FBI and ATF got involved in that investigation, it was deemed that legitimate of a possibility), law enforcement had requested that some sizes of propane tanks not be sold.

    Protester interpretation? These Morton County Nazis are trying to freeze us out! (Despite officials warning them to leave, despite setting up shelters, despite, despite, despite.)

    Fossil fuels and fire, in a North Dakota winter, are what keeps you alive. Not solar panels on overcast and stormy days, not wind. Fossil fuels. Diesel generators. Electric power (which, in North Dakota, is likely created by coal), and...propane. Green energy is not enough yet, and these activists learned that fast and hard, whether they are able to adjust their paradigm to grasp it.

    The protest camp disregarded laws meant to protect the environment.

    Let's go back to the firewood issue. Another great way to help the environment is to start bringing in out-of-state wood into the state of North Dakota. We do not have many of the pests and beetles found in other places, and for this reason it is illegal to bring in out-of-state wood. But thanks to the protesters, truck after truck of firewood came from all over the country.

    So, there was a poaching issue, too. North Dakota takes its wildlife resources very seriously, and low numbers of deer this year meant that law-abiding citizens did not necessarily get a tag to hunt deer. And yet the out-of-state protesters are seen eating game.

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    The blockade on Backwater Bridge did not cut protesters off from everything.

    It appears the world thinks all of the dramatic clashes at Backwater Bridge meant the bridge was the most important piece of road infrastructure in the state of North Dakota. First, let's do a run-down on what happened on that little bridge on Highway 1806:

    1. The protesters did it to themselves. The first people to build a roadblock on Backwater Bridge were...the protesters themselves. They created the problem through a failed tactical stand-off manuever.
    2. Protesters refused to remove the blockade when they controlled it. Law enforcement had asked them to leave the bridge and dismantle their roadblock, as well as vacate the nearby private property (Cannonball Ranch) they'd started camping on. They would not. On October 27, 2016, law enforcement began removing protesters from the private property and Backwater Bridge. They gave them the opportunity to collect their belongings to take with them back to the large protest camps. Some protesters went peacefully, some did not.
    3. The protester's exit strategy was responsible for possibly damaging the bridge. Protesters lit vehicles on fire and let the hot fires burn many hours on the bridge while law enforcement tried to get them to leave.
    4. Burned vehicles were left on the bridge. Law enforcement left burned vehicles there, and kept the bridge closed to any further traffic, protester or local. Whether you choose to believe it, having hot fires such as those vehicle fires can impact the structure of the bridge. The protester camp had a known and litigious lawyer presence; the safety factor and the legal factor made it unwise to let regular traffic (much less the increased traffic load of thousands of protesters and their vehicles) travel over the bridge without making certain it was still sound.
    5. Suddenly it was the most important bridge in the world. The protesters became absolutely fixated on that bridge; with it closed, getting across the creek to Cannonball Ranch where the Dakota Access drill pad was (and where they had caused previous damage) was now very difficult.
    6. The personal safety of NDDOT workers was no joke. Since every day there was direct action, prayerful gatherings, and a constant protester presence on that bridge, the North Dakota Department of Transportation never had a chance to do the core tests that were necessary to see if the structure of the bridge had been affected by the extreme heat of the vehicle fires. They had attempted an inspection on November 1 (the same day Standing Rock leaders asked the aggressive Red Warrior Camp to leave the protest) but were not able to continue until late December due to the protesters' own activity. Law enforcement made it clear the NDDOT would not be working on that bridge if the protesters did not back off and leave them alone. People joked about the concern for their safety, but considering what law enforcement had faced, and the amount of vitriol directed at nearly every North Dakota government agency (and the tendency for protest supporters to dox any ND government worker they decided had done them wrong), it is not ridiculous to see a concern for NDDOT worker safety. Consider that license plates were noted and tracked, officers followed, and the hub for ND emergency services harassed and threatened via phone. It is no joke that anyone representing official North Dakota presence was a viable target for some of the protesters.
    7. It was not just a mere load issue. With only about two inches of material between the burning vehicles and the concrete beams, there could definitely be damage. You could online discussions by protester supporters estimating the weight of the burned-out National Guard vehicles that had been left on the bridge. They calculated the weight of the semi (named Betty, which had its own GoFundMe for repairs) driven by protester Michael Markus (who later cut wire on the bridge and had a warrant out for his arrest, who had repeatedly pulled or pushed the National Guard vehicles to clear the bridge himself), determining from their distant perch in front of a screen using the internet that the bridge was totally safe and this was a BS move by NDDOT and law enforcement. There is more to bridge safety than simply what it can hold that isn't moving. Moving traffic and the accompanying vibrations, the repetition of vehicles throughout the day, the extreme shifts in cold temperature in winter and what that does to the concrete that had been exposed to extreme metal-melting heat all had to be considered. But suddenly the protest support world was an expert on bridges by doing math estimates on the wieght of abandoned burnt vehicles and, later, concrete parking barricades.
    8. There was a lot of night violence simply to clear a road for safety. Protesters repeated that a closed bridge prevented emergency services from getting through quickly. The night of November 20, 2016 was the one that brought the most media attention to the protest. It was dark, and protesters had amassed at Backwater Bridge yet again. They lit fires (yes, if you look at the photos you can see them) and so a law enforcement officer who had training as a volunteer firefighter got on the fire truck to put the fire out. The temperatures were in the middle to upper 20's. In the process of that night (which stretched on until the very early hours of the morning) the fire hose (which is NOT the same as a water cannon) was used to push protesters back who were trying to flank out-numbered law enforcement and get past them and across the bridge to get to the drill pad. "Betty" the semi was used to pull one of the torched National Guard trucks from the bridge, Sophia Wilansky was injured, and suddenly the world was obsessed with the myth and legend of Backwater Bridge.
    9. Law enforcement agreed to pull back from the bridge. They did this after meeting with Wesley Clark, Jr., who assured them that protesters would not go onto the bridge if law enforcement pulled back away from the bridge. Law enforcement complied. Within a day the veterans group marched onto the bridge for a ceremony, and on December 7, Michael Markus had his fellow protesters livestream him cutting wire on the bridge while law enforcement told him to stop.
    10. The bridge did get its test. Shortly before Christmas, and after Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Archambault et. al. met with various officials, the NDDOT was able to get core samples from the bridge with no protesters around. The BIA was there to keep the area safe. Standing Rock representatives were also present, and the procedure was videoed and protesters were livestreaming from a slight distance because the entire world cared about Backwater Bridge getting core samples taken from it. It may take up to 30 days to finish testing the samples, even with a rush on the tests.

    The Backwater Bridge saga would have been non-existent in a truly, purely peaceful protest. The true nature of the protesters who wanted direct action and to do a bit of eco terrorism was blatantly revealed by the obsession with the bridge and its relation to the drill pad located on private Cannonball Ranch property.

    I personally hope that there is no damage, so that the bridge does not need to be closed for repair on into summer and cause further troubles for farmers and ranchers in the area, as well as the headaches for Standing Rock residents who had to use detours to get to Bismarck and Mandan. I also don't want the state of North Dakota to have to pay millions more to repair the structure, since this whole protest is costing the state upwards of $15 million due to the lack of federal assistance and the legal antics of the protesters and their donated attorneys who have instructed them on how to cost the state of North Dakota as much money as possible (yes, they are on record saying a goal is to "bankrupt" the state through such legal maneuvres).

    Now let's take a look at the map, and the road closures and options to see if protesters were really cut off, or if their protestations about the bridge were yet another cover for their true intent: easy access to the drill pad on private property that they wanted to damage:

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Make no mistake: having Backwater Bridge and Highway 1806 closed was extremely inconvenient.

    Farmers and ranchers had been dealing with so many issues for months as they tried to get their fall work completed in time for winter; having this highway blocked did not help them.

    There were, however, other routes. This was not the only road or route to get between Bismarck/Mandan and Standing Rock.

    And, since the protesters were so blatant about what they put on their social media public profiles (drone footage of the drill pad, sending in "scouts" to find the forward operation base of law enforcement, and indication of the desire to destroy the drill pad) it is clear that their quotes in newspaper articles about how the bridge issue was purely about emergency services safety was not completely above board.

    Seriously, if they cared about effective emergency services, why would they have posted the phone numbers to various emergency service agencies in North Dakota with the suggested action being that of jamming the phones with a flood of calls? If you want access to emergency services unimpeded, you do not harass them with phone calls nor target those people who work there.

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    Morton County did not control the weather, and other bizarre paranoid rumors.

    People of the world: Morton County, and its sheriff's department, is small. It is not some evil mastermind with great power, resources, or nefarious tendencies. Like most counties in the state of North Dakota, there aren't a lot of people in it. As I watched people from other places chime in on line (and, frankly, some willful liars or from the state) reference Morton County as some bizarre evil entity, it was almost hilarious if I didn't know that it also hurt people who actually live there or work for the emergency services there. But because people have no clue about a place they don't actually know, they started putting all kinds of bizarre conspiracy theories at the foot of Morton County. You would think that Morton County was the single greatest and most capable entity for covert and destructive operations instead of basically a small community of people trying to keep people from destroying private property.

    So what kinds of things did people claim Morton County did?

    As if Morton County law enforcement had the time to do all of this! They were worked to the bone, and were exhausted. Every law enforcement entity in North Dakota had to come and help because THIS IS A SMALL STATE and we don't have the time to be harnessing the fictional power of chemtrails when we have our hands full keeping people off of private property.

    These paranoid conspiracy theories bounced around a bit, between blaming the USACE, Morton County, or DAPL. Any time there was a negative news story that came out about the protesters and their camp, you would immediately see some paranoid spin on how it was Morton County lying

    Law enforcement officials did NOT kidnap an elder. They rescued her.

    Kathleen Bennet, from Las Vegas, was charged with abusing her 82-year-old mother from October 1 to December 17, 2016, while they were both at the Oceti Sakowin camp. Here are the details:

    Bill Running Fisher, owner of Montana-based Eaglechild Consulting and Enforcement Services security firm and member of the Gros Ventre Tribe, is one of the people who reported the abuse, he said by phone Thursday afternoon. He is also cited in the police affidavit.

    Running Fisher first came to camp as a medic with the veterans group during the first weekend of December. When a blizzard struck on Dec. 6, elderly people were evacuated to Prairie Knights Casino. As he went through tents and teepees looking for people, Running Fisher came across the elderly woman zip-tied to a chair, wearing only a heavy sweater, he said. She was not wearing a diaper and surrounded by her own urine and excrement, he said. Running Fisher said he cut her off the chair, and she was evacuated to the casino, but got lost in the shuffle before she could be taken to the hospital or authorities could respond.

    "It just broke my heart to see anybody tied to a chair like that," he said.

    Running Fisher found her again on Dec. 17, he said, this time in a sleeping bag and diaper. He made contact with the Morton County Sheriff's Department and she was taken to the hospital.

    "I’m very grateful that Morton County stepped in and saved this lady," he said. "Put the politics aside, they did the right thing."

    During the investigation, witnesses also told authorities Bennett would only feed her mother when she deemed it appropriate and physically abused her. Camp medics stated they saw multiple bruises on the elderly woman, including a black eye with a cut under it, according to the affidavit. In one altercation, Bennett allegedly hit her mother with a shovel.

    The elderly woman "begged people not to leave her alone with Kathleen," according to the affidavit.

    Morton County Sheriff's Department put out a press release about it, but of course, protesters can't believe any of this, and have actually turned on the reporter of that Tribune article, Caroline Grueskin, despite local claims she has subtly supported the protest over the previous months. So what we end up with is KPPP FM, a radio station in Fargo, North Dakota, and the "Mexican Crossing Lines" show interviewing and pushing a false story to further propaganda. We get protesters targeting a newspaper reporter. We get, in other words, a lot of the same crap they pull any time there is an unfavorable story that reveals the very negative things that are going on in camp.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Facebook user Justin Macauley (a.k.a. Zoe Lintz) as seen in the image above is no stranger to harassment, by the way, and Standing Rock Rising a.k.a. Red Hawk a.k.a. Ryan Vizzons has had his own problems in the camp (and back in Atlanta). You can read more about both of them here. The Standing Rock Rising post that was put up about this incident was pulled shortly after. Perhaps someone got after him to pull it down, or he realized it was stupid to post. Because it was. A terrible thing happened to the elderly woman, and to politicize it and use it against law enforcement who came in and got her out of that mess is extremely revealing of some of the people out in those camps or in support of them. The fact is, people in the camps knew it was going on (read that article; others knew) and nothing was done right away. So for Red Hawk Vizzons to make it sound as if they were handling it just fine means they are OK with someone's mom being horribly abused and doing nothing about it.

    No one made the blizzards and the cold. That's called winter in North Dakota.

    I dearly want to tell you that it isn't true that some protesters thought the government was making it snow in North Dakota in the winter. But they did. Why they don't use those powers for good (make it warmer in the winter) I don't know.

    If you can sit through the video, you can watch a completely bizarre retelling of the radar screen here. You can read an article about this theory here.

    The spring flooding that may happen is because of snow amounts, not evil geniuses.

    If the protesters are such experts on nature and water, you'd think they would understand flooding.

    North Dakota floods. A lot. And the winter of 2016-2017 has been one for the record books. We who live here (including the tribal leaders, yes) know a flood is coming due to the amount of snow. Yet some protesters cannot mentally process the reality of reality, and that their support of this protest might need to acknowledge that locals and emergency officials are right.

    The Bismarck Tribune did a story on the impending flood and the response by protesters was both sad and hilarious. Take this one, for example, a guy who apparently lives here in Bismarck. He's lived in North Dakota, has a college degree, but he's so sure that any flooding won't be natural or due to snow pack, but government controlled.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Sure, the Army Corps caused a flood here in 2011. They opened up the Garrison Dam spillway for several months and Bismarck and Mandan spent the whole summer fighting a flood. Why did they do that? Were they trying to wipe the white people from the white cities of Bismarck and Mandan off of the map?

    No. It was because the snow pack in Montana and along the Missouri tributaries had sent so much water into Lake Sakakawea that they had to release it to spare the dam. And here's another difference: the USACE gave us white folk here in Bismarck and Mandan a few days heads up to prepare for a wall of water, and then it hit the fan. Insta-flood. But in this case, officials have been telling the protesters for months that this is going to be an issue. As you can see by the map below, which the Tribune included in that article, much of the flood plain in question is from tributaries and those types of sources.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    That I even have to put this online and find myself arguing about such an obvious thing is frustrating.

    No one sprayed you with chemicals.

    One thing I've taken from this protest is how little knowledge urban people have of agriculture. They have no clue on how things work, from the importance of not harassing farmers in the fall to the fact that there are crop dusters that fly over farmland. I've seen several typical agricultural activities misconstrued as a threat or some other political nonsense when it is simply just farmers and rural America at work.

    At one point, the protest movement itself attempted to stop the chemical spraying rumor, but people had already latched onto it and once a rumor is out there, it's impossible to control or kill. More than a month after the attempt to squash it, the rumor was still going strong. Here's a sampling of general rumor, paranoia, and strange information that is not true.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    There was a lot of weird paranoid thought coming out of some of the camp. This is only a brief summation:

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    From claims of weather modification to chemical spraying, there were serious indicators of paranoia at work out in the protest camps. I don't know if that comes from being hunkered down in a mindset of war, or if it was the nature of some of the people there. I really don't know.

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    Farmers and ranchers were terrorized by some violent protesters.

    People protested because they said they cared about the land. Some of the veterans that came said it was to defend the Constitution from corrupt cops. The Bundy clan from Utah, paragons of anti-government involvement, supported the protest perhaps unwittingly rubber stamping a level of harassment against fellow ranchers that they had tried to fight off in their own situation, unaware that instead of the government doing the harassment, it was anarchists and agitators.

    How shocking, then, that for months on end, the domestic terrorism faced by local farmers and ranchers did not move these outside do-gooders to care as much.

    Tom Schmidt, one rancher who lives near the protests, said that since the protests began, an ATV disappeared from his garage in the middle of the day. He says protestors also tried to steal his diesel pickup. When he got in the vehicle one morning, his glovebox was emptied on the floor, and his ignition was hanging down, dissembled in an attempt to hot-wire the truck.

    Jared Ernst, another rancher near Bismark, described how he’d caught several protestors trespassing on his land, driving two pickups and two trailers and unloading their horses.

    “I went around to tell them to get off my land,” Ernst said. “They said it was treaty land and I didn’t have the right to be there.”

    Ernst said he argued with one of the men, “and two other ones came riding up on horseback, carrying a lariat like they were going to rope me.” Ernst said he shifted his stance so the protestors could see the holster on his belt, which held the revolver he carries daily. They left.

    “That was my first experience with them,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot of threats, text messages, phone calls, on social media. I’ve gotten violent rants that they’re going to come and rough me up and hurt my family.”

    The Stockmen’s Association and North Dakota Farm Bureau also confirmed that protestors have shut down roads, forcing ranching families and farmers to take lengthy detours.

    Several ranchers interviewed by Heat Street said they felt the protests had become lawless. They mentioned that because the protestors often wear masks, they don’t know how they’d even report them to police or take them to court. Others said that while they support local law enforcement, they often worry officers are outmanned. -- HeatStreet.com, December 12, 2016

    If anti-federal activists stood with this protest to stand against the federal government, there's irony in that. Not once did the Obama administration seem to care about these landowners, these farmers and ranchers. Only the local sheriff and other state law enforcement was there to help protect their private property. While the world screamed at the law enforcement that they were working for the oil company, not too many bothered to think about the property the protest was happening on, and who owned it.

    This occurred both near St. Anthony (the location of actress Shailene Woodley’s “noble” arrest on private rancher property) and down on the Cannonball Ranch land near the protest camp. It also happened along the pipeline route in other places as protesters pulled off the road and ran through fields to get to construction equipment. [Listen: Local rancher describes what they've experienced during an interview.]

    Ranchers had property trespassed and destroyed, and their livestock killed.

    It appears that the concept of private property and trespassing has been lost on an entire generation of protesters. If you lock your car door, your home, or in any way assume that people won't be coming into where you live and help themselves to what you own, you have an inherent understanding of private property. Celebrities like Shailene Woodley who were arrested for trespassing on private property up at St. Anthony might have different thoughts about the nobility of doing so if someone paid a few hundred protesters to camp out on her front lawn and chain themselves to her house and shit in one of her flower pots.

    Ranchers have had a literal hell of a time during the protest, and it is the trespass issue that is the reason police have faced off with protesters in the first place. Trespass, not some desire to do battle with protesters. Enforcing private property law is an expectation we all have, and that is what happened in the protest.

    Take, for example, the Fischers, who are ranchers near the protest area. Mrs. Fischer is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. They raise buffalo, the very buffalo you saw the protesters harassing in videos, the buffalo they tried to drive into the fence where law enforcement was stationed. That was their herd. Thanks to the protesters, at least 13 bison have been butchered, barbecued, and eaten by protesters who have trespassed through the pastures on the Cannonball Ranch (yes, that's the same one the protesters want access to because of the drill pad being there). You can look at the protesters own social media feeds to see them butchering bison.

    No, the Fischers did not give them permission to help themselves to their herd.

    On October 27, the day that protesters said a herd of buffalo magically began running in support of their cause?

    “They’re honking their car horns. Then the police are there, and the protesters are yelling and screaming and chanting, and the buffalo are across the ditch in the pasture, and they’re just running because they don’t know what to do,” said Mrs. Fischer. “They’re just running in big circles throughout the pastures,” she said. “By the end of the day, three were gone.” -- The Washington Times, November 14, 2016

    Between protesters who walked through the pastures to try to pet the buffalo, to those who cut the fences to free them because they thought they should be free, to those who chased or killed them, the Fischers were hit hard by the protest.

    “They would just walk out there a mile to where the buffalo are, cut fences, let our buffalo out,” said Mr. Fischer. “And then we started seeing within the last month, month and a half, reports of bison getting butchered. We have reports of them catching bison. There’s video of them chasing four of them and butchering them.” -- The Washington Times, November 14, 2016

    At least 30 bison (mostly calves and some older animals) went missing from their herd. Mrs. Fischer estimated that about 3/4 of bred cows probably lost their calves due to the harassment of that day.

    Do you have any idea how much money that amounts to? What that means to a rancher? These are folks that work hard, every day all year round in heat and cold, and these protesters came in and decimated their private herd. Who is standing up for the ranchers?

    Later, when the Fischer's moved their herd away from the protest area, online conversations by protesters revealed that they were trying to figure out where they had been moved to, that they had the right to check on their welfare, and that they should be putting photos online to try to say the animals were being abused because they should be wild. Absolutely no concept of private property rights, clearly.

    But let's talk about trespassing, which has involved fences being cut. I don't know if you've ever put up fence or repaired fence, but there's not a lot of joy there. Protesters seemed to almost gleefully cut fences so they could easily set up camps and move about through the pastureland, as if the fences had no purpose in being there, as if there was no rancher somewhere, trying to maintain that fence.

    “We found tents where the buffalo were supposed to be, where these people were camping, cut fences, trash, debris, and no sign of the buffalo,” Mrs. Fischer said.

    The Fischers, both 52, say they’ve found themselves in tense situations with the mostly younger protesters.

    “One day I was fixing the fence, and I looked behind me, and they’re cutting the fence just as fast as I’m fixing it along the highway,” Mr. Fischer said. “I said, ‘Hey guys, what’s the deal,’ and pretty soon there’s 75 people on the other side of the fence, and they’re yelling at you, that you’re a greedy oil person, you stole their land, and everyone’s screaming at you.”

    He said he has been forced to call the Morton County Sheriff’s Department on occasion in order to enter the pasture.

    “You’ve got 500, 600 people out there. We want to go in the pasture gate, and they just line it four, five thick across the whole pasture,” he said. “The minute they see the cops, then they’ll move. They’re doing all this protesting, but 20 of them will be sitting there praying and 500 of them will be raising hell.” -- The Washington Times, November 14, 2016

    The Fischers have been a particular target of the protesters, because they own a buffalo herd which some protesters seem to think cannot be owned and/or need to be freed to run wild so that the treaty goes into effect. This is why they have been cutting the fence and posting updates on social media as they track where the Fischers move their herd to. They have been actively spreading lies that their herd is contaminated, trying to destroy their chances to sell the buffalo.

    The January 7, 2016 livestock sale in Selfridge, South Dakota became a target. Even activist Dallas Goldtooth got in on the fixation. Singaporean activist David Kam (who has not been to North Dakota and thought the pipeline was going under the Mississippi River, his ignorance revealed during a Trent Loos interview) started a GoFundMe to raise money to buy the buffalo, "foster" them with "caring" ranchers, and eventually create a vast wildlife refuge across the Great Plains in which the buffalo could roam freely with other animals. Kam has obviously never worked with Bison. They can gut open a cow or a deer with a twist of the head. To be blunt, they either hump or kill other animals. They are not cuddly creatures, and there is no wide open prairie (towns, roads, fences, civilization are there) for thousands of wild buffalo to roam.

    But all of this ignorance and passion fell on the Fischers, and they had to hire security to keep protesters from disrupting the livestock auction. They had to privately verify that buyers allowed in were legitimate. Protester video on Facebook shows them driving around and then realizing that the Highway Patrol is there in force. The law enforcement presence is what kept these ranchers safe, and allowed them to conduct business and sell their animals.

    It's not just the bison, though. There have been other livestock killed near the protest camps, too. Cow heads left behind, the neck revealing they'd been butchered. Saddle horses apparently killed for the fun of it. Cattle wounded with arrows.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Please note: the woman who shared that photo of the cattle shot with arrows? She was friends with the rancher who owned the cattle, who'd had his horses and cattle killed previously. She was harassed and doxed by online protest supporters simply for sharing the photo. They said they were going to "boycott her farm" which is a great example of ignorant people not understanding how farming works and how the food they buy arrives on their plate.

    Some of the destructin of animals may be connected to confusion and disagreement between rancher Jack Thomas, Ladonna Allard (founder of Sacred Stone Camp), and Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault II.

    On April 1, Allard started the Sacred Stones Camp, because regional tribe members needed a place to pray to "save the water" because the "DAPL pipeline was going to kill the water." She sees it as a place for prayer and vision quests.

    But things started heating up between Thomas and Allard through the summer, as people flooded the camp.

    On Sept. 27, Thomas says he found two dead black Angus cows above the Sacred Stone Camp, on the leased 360-acre pasture. He also found a dead Palomino quarter horse. "I turned it in to insurance, and from there on it gradually went on,” Thomas says. “From then until we worked cattle, that's when I noticed we were short cattle."

    On Oct. 9, he was rounding up cattle and found the heads of some of his cows behind the Sacred Stone Camp — no other remains were found.

    On Oct. 11, Thomas was sorting cattle and confirmed he was short 23 cows, plus some calves. Cows today are worth about $1,200 and calves around $800, he says.

    On the morning of Oct. 17, he discovered in his pasture one cow had two arrows stuck in her stomach and another cow had a hole in its shoulder. Brand inspectors visited the ranch and photographed the affected animals.

    On Oct. 19, a brood mare was dead, with a hole in her neck, and a square-shaped hole in the skin, possibly to hide what had caused the injury. "It's a perfect cut; no animal would do that," he says.

    On Oct. 26, a neighbor, George Keepseagle, found six cows and five calves that belonged to Thomas.

    [...]

    In late August or early September, Thomas says his family saw Allard on Facebook posted a general invitation to the public for the collection of free livestock. "She said, 'Come one, come-all, help yourself to free cattle, free horses. We'll help you round them up. Just come and get them off our land.’" Allard confirms she did create the post, and explains: "They're in my way." -- Billings Gazette (Forum News Service) November 7, 2016

    The North Dakota Stockmen's Association even offered a $14,000 reward for information that led to an arrest, things got so bad for farmers and ranchers.

    Here's a little bit of trivia: why do you think the rancher who owned Cannonball Ranch sold it to Dakota Access (the portion near Backwater Bridge that the protesters are so obsessed with) as the protests heated up in September? Because he was afraid of liability issues due to trespass and property damage that had occurred.

    Farmers and ranchers have been terrorized by protesters.

    A farmer twenty miles from the protest had a protester chain himself to the light pole in his farm yard. Twenty. Miles. Away.

    Some farm families had their kids keep shotguns in their room, just in case they needed to barricade in should someone break into the house. Other farmers and ranchers took to carrying a gun with them as they went about doing their regular chores.

    Some farm families near the protest sent their children to live in Bismarck and Mandan because of the things that were happening that made them feel it was unsafe for their children to live on the farm. Perhaps they weren't so far off in their judgement.

    "Farmers and ranchers have had their fences cut and hay stolen. Trespassing issues are constant. Some of their livestock has been slaughtered, and/or mutilated, or gone missing. Producers have been stopped on the road by masked activists and roads have been blocked. Drivers with no license plates or out of state license plates have played "chicken" on the road with rural residents, according to some reports. Law enforcement has had to escort school buses, schools have been locked down, and farmers and ranchers have barricaded themselves in their homes, Goehring noted. "I have a farmer and rancher who operates a trucking business on the side who hasn't left his place, as of a week ago, for seven weeks," said Goehring. "He fears his property will be vandalized, his things destroyed. These are law abiding, good citizens. They've done nothing to no one, and they're being victimized, exploited, abused, and intimidated." -- Farm and Ranch Guide, November 25, 2016

    A grandmother babysitting her grandchildren on the farm found herself terrified as protesters roared into the yard and behaved threateningly.

    Protesters threatened ranchers on the road, indicating they would not let them pass.

    Protesters have played chicken with not only construction workers, but also farmers and ranchers. This caused the latter to stop hauling hay because they were afraid of liability issues if they could not stop their hay loads in time for a protester screwing with them on the road (remember, the protest had a lot of lawyers helping protesters take advantage of the legal system, and also with lawsuits).

    "We haven't hauled a lot of our hay because of the liability involved," he said. "If you're driving down the road with an oversized load and a protester pulls out in front of you and tries to do something, you don't have time to stop and (if) you run somebody over, the liability of that is very high and we're not ready for that." Strommen said he still has 1,000 bales of hay to haul and he's not going to even attempt to move it until the protests are over. -- Farm and Ranch Guide, November 25, 2016

    The standard response by protesters to any negative activity is "it's a DAPL operative that is doing it" but these farmers and ranchers are seeing much of this with their own eyes.

    And let's not forget this was all happening during the time when farmers and ranchers are working extremely hard to finish up fall work, move hay, get crops hauled, and prepare animals for winter. In other words, the most vital time of the year. Whether it was the actions of the protesters in direct aggression against farmers and ranchers, or their other actions that caused law enforcement to respond, the protest brought fall work to a near halt.

    Yet too many protesters were so self-focused that they sucked up all the news attention, made everything about them and their rights, and didn't consider that when they went out on private property to make a statement on live feeds on Facebook, some farmer or rancher was struggling to get their work done in time for winter.

    When protesters laugh and snigger about the statement that law enforcement was protecting private property, it's not a joke. It wasn't just property the oil pipeline was on, but the private property of these men and women whose livelihoods were deemed disposable to the protest cause.

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    Businesses were targeted and harassed unjustly.

    A standard operating procedure for online activists seemed to be putting out the phone number of a business that had been decided as an enemy of the cause, and getting protest supporters to call the business (and/or its corporate headquarters) demanding some kind of action, as well as finding every place online that they could leave a review and leaving a one-star review.

    This happened to hotels (several here in Bismarck), a hardware store, the mall, coffee shops, and more. In fact, a car dealership was targeted simply because a vehicle that was used in a confrontation with protesters had the dealership sticker in the window. That's all it took.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Ace Hardware was especially targeted since an activist, Kevin Gilbertt, wrongly spread the word that they would no longer sell any propane to protesters.

    This was not the truth; you could still purchase propane in their stores no matter who you were, as long as the propane bottle was safe and had the necessary safety features. Law enforcement had asked certain sizes of propane to not be sold due to the fact that propane cannisters of a certain size with the Ace Hardware label had been possibly used to create an incendiary device at Backwater Bridge on November 20, 2016. Knowing that the cannister that had possibly intended to be a bomb used against local police was purchased in his store rightly had an effect on the owner of the local Ace Hardware store.

    Protesters began harassing the Ace Hardware store owner in Bismarck to the point where he said he wanted to sell his store after 30 years of being in business. They called the store, his home, bombarded them online, and some even went to the store locations.

    Since his heart attack 10 years ago, Jeff Hinz had tended as carefully to his health as he had to his ACE hardware store. Both had flourished. But as the three phones in his Bismarck store rang off the hook, as opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline vowed to boycott his shop and screamed death threats in his ear, Hinz’s chest began to tighten, his heart palpitating in a sickly familiar way.

    On Nov. 29, a rumor hit the Internet falsely claiming that Hinz and his ACE hardware stores refused to sell propane and other equipment to the Standing Rock protestors. The fake story spread fast, appearing on Jezebel as well as several other leftie blogs, spawning a hashtag calling for a boycott of Hinz’s store.

    “You go from the top of the world to the bottom in about two minutes,” Hinz said. “And scared—very scared. Your life is one thing, but everything you’ve built with your life? I’ve been in this town since ’87. I’m 56. You don’t go start over somewhere. This is my life’s work, and it’s essentially gone in a day. … For a little hardware store to get thrust into that kind of hate across the country, that’s not fun.”

    [...]

    Hinz said the onslaught on his hardware store was especially heart-wrenching because he’s had a great relationship with the Standing Rock Sioux for decades. When his business was fledgling, he said, the tribe supported him, buying supplies for their housing entity, for their school. “They’re good, good people,” he said.

    In fact, Hinz said he credits his Standing Rock Sioux friends with helping to debunk the story. It was outsiders—some who had flocked to North Dakota to protest, some who conducted their activism online—who spread the rumor.

    “One gal claimed I ran up to her and pulled the propane tanks out of her arms,” Hinz said. “That never happened. People start fabricating stories. … This is a new technique in our country: Intimidate to get what you want. And it doesn’t matter who’s in the way. There’s a goal, a political goal, and it doesn’t matter who gets in the way. Somewhere in the mix [of the Dakota Access pipeline protests] is an element of people who operate this way. And it’s scary.” -- HeatStreet.com, December 12, 2016

    Protest supporter Guillermo Camarena (who thinks I have half a brain or have been bought off) took it on himself to call around to see if Ace Hardware was really not selling propane. He recorded the calls (no word on whether the people on the other end of the call knew they were being recorded, but at least Camarena was trying to find the truth) he made to Ace Hardware corporate headquarters as well as the local store. Towards the end of the call to the local store, you can hear the store owner very clearly stating he has friends in Standing Rock, does business with Standing Rock all the time, and you can also get a picture that this was a terribly stressful and horrible thing that was done to him based on serious misinformation put out there with one click on Facebook by a thoughtless activist who wouldn't know shit from Shinola.

    Camarena and others tried to get the word out that Ace Hardware was, indeed, still selling propane to protesters, but it was a message not seen by all and the harassment and belief that Ace Hardware was "racist" still persisted (and still persists, if you look at protester comments on Facebook).

    After the phone calls, the 1 lb. cannisters of propane were again available, although it is important to remember that other sizes were always available. By harassment, protest supporters were gleefully celebrating that they were able to get a local businessman to go against the request of local law enforcement in the small community in which he had to live--and work with--that same law enforcement in the future. It is also worth noting that Gilbertt (a possible scammer) put out this call to action against Ace Hardware as he was leaving the protest and leaving North Dakota, and as other protesters were leaving due to the cold. And, of course, it's not as if you could not buy propane in many other locations in town. So basically, one last kick in the pants on the way out the door, thank you very much.

    A Cenex gas station in Mandan was also targeted by Facebook Live Feed ignoramus Mic Hoskins because the owner would not refill 1 lb. propane (and similar sized) canisters which have a warning label that says you should not refill them. Despite the fact that rabid protest supporters were told repeatedly online that you could refill them yourself (even some more thoughtful and experienced supporters tried to point this out) but that no business would do the job because of liability reasons and, I don't know...a LABEL ON THE BACK THAT SAYS THEY SHOULDN'T, the protesters said they were racist, spread the usual garbage about the station, flooded their Facebook feed with nasty comments, reviews, and meaningless graphics. Included in this was Patrick Millette, a man who has taken frequent joy at harassing people and businesses in North Dakota online.

    Then Mic Hoskins et. al. proceeded to "prove" that the canisters were refillable on video as if it was a victory and proof that the Cenex station was racist. After I posted the video of Hoskins and his BS story, my dad even called and wondered if that idiot didn't know that you had to refill those yourself and that no store would do it for you.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Lies. All of it. Twisted to attract the gullible, ignorant, and those more than willing to react out of emotion.

    If a protest of this nature happens in your community, your local chamber of commerce or other business organization needs to be ready to mobilize, because these types of activists are heartless when it comes to seeing anyone and any entity as an "enemy" to the cause. It wasn't until several businesses had been targeted in this manner and hundreds of local residents had taken it on themselves to counteract the bad online reviews or send notes of encouragement to the business owners that were targeted that the local business organizations realized they needed to step in and help their business members who were being targeted. By then, it was almost too late.

    This method of targeting businesses is a successful way to get people to stay quiet. Small business owners did not want to face this type of infantile online activist wrath, and so when the call to help create graphics, video, or other materials to counteract the lies put out by the protest supporters went out, few would participate out of fear that they would be targeted and their business run into the ground by people from around the world who had no idea what was really happening. People who had voiced support for law enforcement had to be careful that their employer was not listed on their social profiles because that opened the door for harassment of their employer.

    It is amazing how a protest that so often used "free speech" as their rallying cry to get onto private property was so successful and aggressive in making sure those who opposed them were too scared or unable to speak freely. Hypcritical is too kind of a word.

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    Facebook and social media harassment was extreme.

    If you take the time to read this site, you're going to see a lot of screenshots from Facebook and other social media locations. This protest was fed and survived because of social media. Here are a few more:

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Straight up: I will be adding more to this section in the future. I have so much imagery to show you some of the Facebook harassment but I have not yet had time to categorize and upload it all. Suffice it to say that you should be able to see, in the screenshots currently on this site, that there was no shortage of Facebook harassment. I might rephrase it and say that there was no shortage of harassment from both sides (there was plenty of trolling going on). Numerically speaking, however, the deluge of protest supporters and their desire to harass anyone who did not support the protest was clearly the big winner, far outnumbering the efforts of North Dakotans who tried to push back. I was amazed at the veracity and quantity of flotsam and jetsam out there.

    In general, the targets of Facebook harassment took on the following forms:

    In short, if you didn't agree with them, you were fair game. And I'm using the phrase "fair game" in a very Scientologist sort of way, since that harassment sometimes turned into following, stalking, and photographic or video.

    For any future protests, here is a word list that you can expect to be used against you should you not agree with the enfant terrible. This is not a PG list, so cover your children's eyes:

    Yawn. The more you use the words, people, the less bite they have. By the time the tenth use of the word "cunt" in my direction rolled around, I was growing quite fond of its cacophony. I'm building a nice collection from those words directed towards me, and hope to use them in a poem someday. Everything is art, even the awful offal.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    The threat of doxing was used to shut people up.

    I (as well as others) have been threatened with or had doxing occur to me, via social media. Twice for me, in fact. They were gleeful about it, coming at it from the stance that I was deserving of it simply because they didn't like my disagreement with their stance and they had turned to online vigilante justice. Here's a sample of conversation from a message sent me. I do have the screenshot of this whole conversation, but I have kept the other person's name out of it:

    J: Looks like your personal information got leaked haha

    (shares link which grabs personal info)

    Me: That's OK. I've been building info on you to put on my website. (This person has used a pseudonymn while being aggressively anti-police online; I was made aware of this a few weeks ago.)

    J: That's fine. I'm gonna destroy you stupid Trolls.
    Good luck. I have all your info logged.

    Me: Why do you think I am a troll?

    J: Lol why you horrassing people lady?

    Me: Please specify. Your link doesn't work. What info do you seem to think you have on me? Please specify.

    J: (shares my IP number with me) Run lady
    Think twice before you go online and post horrassing stuff
    Your home address and more
    When I call your isp

    Me: Please continue.

    J: The minute you connected to me, I logged you. So that's fine.
    Your on fb
    Stupid

    Me: I'd like for you to tell me what my home address is please.

    J: Nah

    Me: Oh, don't really have it then?
    All talk?

    J: Lol
    Android phone huh
    Lol
    bismark
    Home router
    Lol
    Stupid

    Me: Like a large portion of the world. Big deal. Prove to me you're as big as your talk.

    J: Lol haha

    Me: Still don't believe you have my home address.

    J: I can find anything

    Me: OK. Then do it.

    J: Yep

    Me: Show me what you've found.
    C'mon, J. What have you found?
    Please specify.

    (He then posts a screenshot of a threatening message he got from some man I do not know.)

    J: You people think this shits funny
    Why you people are egging to jail
    People like you
    Stupid

    Me: I don't know who that is.

    J: One of your little bisman

    Me: Why do you think I think that's funny.
    Have you ever seen me say anything like that online?

    J: I got a screenshots of your comments on Chris John's posts
    Yep

    Me: That's fine. I'm not ashamed of them. I made no threats.

    J: So if you continue, I will file a abuse complaint with your isp and send the screenshots to them
    Stop

    Me: Why?
    What was abusive that I said on his video? Please specify.

    J: You heard what I said.
    That's all

    Me: I'm not scared of you. But I am curious.

    J: You should be

    Me: What set you off on my comments?
    Why should I be scared of you?

    J: Your trolling to irritate people
    Start fights
    It's in your profile and other places

    Me: And you don't do the same?

    J: I've dealt with enough of you people
    Making death threats and more
    Ask Joshua M.

    Me: Do you go after NoDAPL trolls? Are you an equal opportunity troll enforcer?

    J: Who has no more cell service for making death threats

    Me: I've never made a death threat, though I've received plenty.
    And here you are...Threatening me.

    J: Stop bothering people
    Simple

    Me: What other reason would you have to put a home address out there, but for a threat of physical harm? That someone else would do it?
    I am free to comment.
    You say bother, I say comment.
    What kind of comments do you not consider bothering? Ones you agree with?

    J: I'm not putting it out there
    I'm calling your isp you continue

    Me: So...a threat.
    I see. Well, you go ahead and do what you feel you need to. I will do likewise.
    Anything else you care to say?

    J: Why you feel the need to hit her Chris John
    Bother*
    What's in it for you people?
    Making death threats?

    Me: Because he is not being fully truthful.
    And stop saying "you people".

    J: Neither are you guys

    Me: I do NOT make death threats and do not support that behavior.

    J: Bisman are you part of them
    Or their Lol group

    Me: Who are "you people" and "you guys"?
    Yes, I am in several groups. We do not all think alike.

    (Some discussion here about a man named Joshua who threatened people.)

    Me: I don't know any Joshua...

    J: He's been dealt with
    He called a 12 year old girl a tree nigger
    Has been to people's houses

    Me: I'm not going to approve "he's been dealt with" because clearly you're attempting to do the same with me for a few comments on a video, so I question your judgement on who and what you do when filing out online vigilante justice. But I certainly don't condone the behavior you describe, nor do I condone doxing.
    Nothing I said on the video feed was horrific. But it was enough for you to come after me. Tell me: have you EVER found me saying a racist or death threat type comment?
    The answer is no.
    Because I don't do that.

    J: I didn't release it.
    Lol
    I ha enter looked into you
    You went online
    We're trolling
    It's cyber bullying
    2. I will contact your isp
    I just ask you to stop
    That's all

    Me: Frankly, I don't care if you do. Some other guy already went after me two months ago. So it's a done deal. I was mostly curious as to why you wanted to.

    J: Because you are trolling
    What's your intention then

    Me: Keep in mind I can do the same for you. I've seen your online handiwork.

    (More comments about people in a group that I do not know that he is associating with me.)

    J: Only reason I came after you as quickly

    Me: What did I say?

    J: Your all connected
    Reporting all of you
    1. Cyber bullying
    2. Horrassement

    Me: Ha, well, if you think so, that's your choice. I don't know them, but whatever.

    J: 3. Death threats

    Me: Nope. No death threats from me. The cyber bully right now is you.

    J: I don't condone throwing sticks at cops or logs btw

    Me: Good to hear.

    J: I saw then water protectors doing it earlier
    I'm just asking you to stop that's all
    Can we agree
    Threats other stuff.
    You can comment sure
    But pissing people off?
    Nah

    Me: Stop what? Commenting in frustration? Using sarcasm? Disagreeing in comments?

    J: Why you do not then?
    Do it?

    Me: Pissing people off. Well, that's out of my control. I can't control of someone chooses to get pissed off.
    I've pissed people off simply disagreeing in a pleasant manner.
    Are you really asking me to not say things that piss you off?

    J: Well if you don't like the video, why go to it.

    Me: Because I wanted to see what was happening. Isn't that a valid reason?
    Look, J, I'm not against you. But your request seems to be for me to stop making comments you don't like or else.
    I don't threaten people.
    I don't use racist terms because my family has many races.
    So if I was doing those things that's a valid request. But I'm not.

    J: Why use sarcasm then in a group like these?
    It's intentional to piss people off.
    It makes people angry.

    Me: Do you think anger is a useful emotion?

    J: Meaning video

    Me: Is there a place for sarcasm?

    J: Ate you trying to annoy people

    Me: And, when you first messaged me, did you do it out of anger or were you happy?
    I'm not trying to annoy. I'm frustrated.
    So I wrote out of frustration. Kind of like you did here.

    J: Your police are corrupt.
    Yeah.

    Me: OK. Well, I disagree about the police.

    J: I see what's happening
    It's happening in my own state to
    I have recieved threats from people and hsd feds tracking me and other stuff
    Censored and more
    For what, speaking?
    My eyes are well open

    Me: But aren't you trying to do the same to me? Threats to get me to stop speaking?

    J: Your police can't keep their story straight

    Me: I disagree.

    J: Same here
    Lol
    Hailstorm
    Biological warfare
    More shit then you can imagine

    (He shares a graphic of all of online harassment he's received.)

    J: I have plenty more
    Related to a company who brought figs in to attack people
    And yes I know protectors have been bothering people.

    Me: Well, I'm not going to stop commenting and speaking out, despite your threat. Peer censorship is not something I bend to. I have plenty of my own threats and such, too, Justin. It's gone both ways.

    J: Maybe refrain from sarcasm then. It angers people.
    You commented on my posts.

    Me: If you see me say a racist thing, or threaten someone's life, I welcome a message from you reminding me to stop.

    J: Or a fake account. I'll give you the benefit if the
    Doubt

    Me: Well, you need to spread the word. Protesters are pretty good at angering people with their comments, including with sarcasm, too.

    J: Why do you want oil in your water.

    Me: Well, there was a fake account of me for a while but I finally got it pulled down. Some protester made it.

    J: Probably a plant
    So you have proof?
    Who was it

    Me: Um, no. He's been active and still active at targeting people.

    J: I came after you because you came to my video

    Me: Yes, I have proof. Screenshots.

    J: Can you send them to me
    Who is it
    Hold on

    Me: They're on my computer. The guy's name is Patrick.

    J: Patrick Millette?

    Me: I also put them on my website because they had so much fun harassing me.

    J: Have you used back the badge.
    Good reason to be targeted.

    Me: Yes, I think that's his name.

    J: ...Hmm
    Don't think he would do that
    Send me that screenshot of it.
    Can you expose its him
    Cause you commented on my profile

    Me: Look, it's late. I support law enforcement. He did it. You can see Patrick's handiwork on my website and verify. The website will probably upset you and so you do what you need to do and I will as well. http://nodaplprotest.com Have a good night.

    (He sent several further messages, but I was done with the conversation for the evening.)

    Note the insistence that he has his eyes opened, that there was weather modification (hailstorm) used by the local police, that someone who harassed me must have been a DAPL plant, and that he feels it is legitimate to tell people what they can and cannot say.

    Think about this: there is a generation of online users who get so angry if you disagree or use sarcasm that "pisses people off" that even though they do the same themselves, they feel justification to dole out online "justice" via the release of personal information. They are also unable to differentiate between large generalizations of people (the constant "you people" he used) and individuals. He seemed to think if several thousand people are in the same Facebook group, they all think alike and agree. I would suggest otherwise. If 20 people gather in a room to talk about a movie they like, they are there because they like a movie, not because of any other similarity. If a guy in that group says something awful, it doesn't mean the others in the room think like he does. But J is not making that connection for some reason. And that explains a lot of the bizarre conflict this protest became, and how the current politcal climate is. A generation of people are seeing generic groups of people and assuming, based on association or some other characteristic, that they must all be the enemy.

    That makes me sad more than anything. People are much more complex than single issues, and for the most part we'd generally all like each other if we could get past the specific disagreement.

    Note to the younger generation: you need to develop thicker skin. You NEED to. The world isn't going to agree with you, and if your reaction is to try to threaten people into silence, you're part of the problem. You CANNOT be an activist if you have such thin skin. And this nonsense about going after people whose words offend or cause negative emotions in others means that we have entire swaths of people who don't realize that the duty is for them to control their reaction to what others say, not the other way around. If someone says terrible things, I have the power to not be offended. But if I constantly take offense and think the solution is that they should shut up, I am permanently a victim, always wandering around being offended and pissed off and looking to silence other people for my convenience. That's not how we do it in this country. That's not free speech, youngins.

    Regarding Patrick Millette, yes, he did harass lots of people in vile ways online, including doxing. If you've read the whole site, you've seen his name on screenshots. But just in case you missed it:

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

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    News media was targeted and restricted by protesters in order to control the story.

    The protesters called KFYR ("k-fire") K-LIAR. That's pretty gradeschool, but worth a mention because of the delightful rhyme. And also because a KFYR new crew was threatened on video by protesters for being at one of the direct actions and trying to report. The protesters are on private property near St. Anthony when this scene takes place:

    “Who said you can come in here?” said a protester.

    “Our car is over here,” said a female KFYR-TV reporter.

    “You guys need to go to your car and get the f**k out of here then,” said a protester.

    “Don’t talk to us like that, sir. There is no need to talk to us that way,” said a female KFYR-TV reporter.

    “I don’t care. You don’t need to post bulls**t. Keep it moving,” said a protester.

    “Do you have a press pass?” said a protester.

    “Put your hand in front of his camera,” said a protester.

    “Shut the f**k up. If you keep talking dude I’m going to f**king kick your ass bro,” said a protester.

    The protest camps were extremely restrictive on how they would allow their story to be photographed, filmed, and reported. Does that sound like a good way to get the truth out to the world?

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    A New York Times article on the protest camps even acknowledged that they were not allowed to take photos wherever they wanted to.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Williston Herald reporter Renée Jean shared her experience in trying to cover the protest. She did not get much information from either the protest camp, Dakota Access, or from law enforcement, but her description of how the protest camp was treating media was shocking:

    At the protest camp, all journalists are directed to Media Hill in the Oceti Sakowin camp, where there is a large Keep it in the Ground sign in the back of the enclosure to greet us as we wait to be processed and told the rules. Our drivers licenses and journalist credentials were reviewed and our pictures put into a database.

    We were told to wear our passes at all times in a prominent spot. We could not take pictures of the kitchens and the Red Warrior camps were off-limits. We were told they are just “secretive.” In actuality, a member of the tribe and some of the other protesters admitted that this is where some of the more youthful members, who have been arguing for more extreme measures, reside, for which camp elders had been chastising them. Keeping their area off-limits helps keep journalists away from that aspect of the story.

    We were not to take photographs where people would be recognizable without asking first, nor were we to take pictures of people wearing Native American regalia or engaging in private prayer or ceremonies without explicit permission. Even if we were going on an action that might be in a public place and involve interactions with public officials, we could only take photos if given permission by the action leader, or else might lose our pass, as well as, perhaps, all our work.

    If we behaved like “Paparazzi” and peppered people with too many uncomfortable questions, we were again inviting security to come surround us, take our equipment and delete all of our work. That meant we couldn’t really press for answers to tough questions, and we had to be careful who we asked such questions and where, because we could be overheard by someone who might call security.

    We tended to be denied photos that might not make the camp look great to the rest of the world. For example, groups of protesters headed to an action with makeshift shields, bandanas, goggles and hand-held mirrors at the ready generally refused photos. I also wasn’t allowed to take a picture of a line of cars returning from Turtle Island on Nov. 6 with a police line in the background, even though, as I pointed out, there wouldn’t be anyone recognizable in the photo. A protester argued on my behalf — but ultimately it didn’t matter. The photo was denied.

    When I was on my way to take photos of an action on the Backwater Bridge on Highway 1806 where a semi had approached the barricade at 20 mph and thrown on the brakes at the last minute, I was first challenged to give “my take” on things before being allowed to proceed.

    As she rightly pointed out, restricted access to the criminal investigations prevented her from sharing the viewpoint of the law enforcement (though law enforcement later began releasing videos in an effort to combat the misinformation that was out there), and restricted access to what she was allowed to cover at the protest camps did the same. Having Dakota Access also restrict access to what she could report on meant that the information coming out of this event was meager, as far as a full picture was concerned.

    Irish journalist Phelim McAleer and his crew had a more direct confrontation with the protesters in the camp on October 18, 2016. He wrote an article about it for the New York Post:

    At first it was fun. I’m from Northern Ireland, so I was welcomed by the Native American leaders, many of whom had been to Belfast.

    Day Two wasn’t so peaceful. As a journalist, I decided it was time for some tough questions. Most of the protesters were from out of state. So how did they square the circle of using vehicles driven by oil to protest an oil pipeline? Their tents were also made of plastic — an oil-based product. Was that not hypocritical, I asked? Some denied this, others complained capitalism made them do it, and others just walked away.

    But by the fourth interview the mood turned.

    A young man claiming to be “security” came up and grabbed my microphone. I wouldn’t let go. He dragged me across the field — just for asking questions.

    But worse was to follow, as my crew and I fled to our car.

    When we tried to drive off, we were surrounded by cars and people. Two trucks blocked our way forward, and another pulled up tight behind. We couldn’t move. These weren’t grandmothers burning sage. They were angry, young masked men banging on the windows — threatening to slash our tires, demanding we exit the vehicle. Some warned that if we didn’t get out and hand over our footage then “we can’t control what’s gonna happen next.”

    There is video of the incident that McAleer describes:

    The protesters response to McAleer was simply erudite: he's not a real journalist. I'm not sure what credentials make you a real journalist, but considering some of the stories, live feeds, and drone footage coming out of there, and the people who were narrating it, I can't say there were many "real" journalists involved in those, either. McAleer went in to film and interview with a real crew and a plan. He certainly couldn't be any more one-sided than Unicorn Riot or any of the other agenda-driven entities that have been flooding social media with imagery and "news" for months. He couldn't be worse that some protester walking around talking incoherently into his phone for a Facebook live video, giving a status update on his stay in a local hotel (yes, that happened a lot).

    And, on a funny side note, just by making this website on my own time, with my own money, not for hire nor paid for by anyone nor working for any company...I get this kind of response. I tell you what. If you can get under the skin of people like this, you're doing something right. And, for the woman who wants to see me sued, remember that everything I've said here is backed up with screenshots, or online documents and news articles.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

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    Rich outsiders who come in and fracture a community.

    Consider this: many of the protesters used this as an opportunity to ask people to question who owned the country, the government. They pushed a message that insinuated that the wealthy -- Big Oil, Big Corporations -- were fomenting the problem. Law enforcement was simply the tool, being used by the rich as a punching bag to protect their property.

    Did the protesters consider who benefited from them?

    Oh, the celebrities, real and wanna-be.

    When Chase Iron Eyes flies to New York City to sit with Mark Ruffalo, Shailene Woodley, Deepak Chopra, and other celebrities who have more money that most of us will ever see, does that bother the protester? Do they simply feel that it’s a pure motivation, and that it’s all about getting attention to their plight and not to get a little boost themselves? Do they really think that there are no powerful rich puppeteers on the left, too?

    If you are going to insist that Big Oil used law enforcement for their own ends, you must also acknowledge that celebrities and attention whores used the protest in the same way.

    Look at Mark Sanderson, leader of VeRT (round two of VSSR, basically). His page is full of...photos of himself, looking noble. He continues to call attention to himself, framing every experience and good deed through...himself. How he felt. How he experienced it. Whether he realizes it or not, he has a strong self motivation in all the good he is doing. If he did not, he would not continue to treat this like a personal brand-building opportunity. Like Wesley Clark Jr., he is busy getting a documentary filmed.

    At what point do people realize this isn’t about “helping bring awareness” but simply launching their personal platform and a chance at being a celebrity activist? These people are coming in as patronizing saviors, as if the Standing Rock community (whose leaders, by the way, had clearly asked protesters to leave by this point) had no self-determination or ability to think and speak for themselves. As if without them, they were helpless and unable to function. They, the outsider, know best. They have the money, the celebrity, and they use that to mesmerize people into agreement. They get people to rage against the outside money and interference of Big Oil and Big Money, all the while using their own versions of Big Celebrity and Big Awareness to do the same thing: use people, and communities, as pawns for their own ends.

    North Dakota legislator Rick Becker explained it well by calling this celebrity interference as a way for them to build a kind of social currency.

    Celebrities barge into a situation, showing that they care about some minority or oppressed people group, or some current culturally popular movement that they are sure has the approval of the “right” people. They get involved, they get the photo ops, making sure that their actions -- whether donations, lauding youth, or arrest -- is very publically done. It has to be, because it doesn’t count if there isn’t publicity. There is no social currency gained if there is no camera present.

    Once they have achieved social currency and their fans and the world knows that they are, indeed, a good and caring person, they can bank it and move on to the next cause. They need to feel good about themselves, and they do that by building that account. At that point they now can spend that currency by getting a pass in other ways. They can always say “but you know I’m a caring person, just look what I did in situation X.”

    Local rancher Doug Hille said it better than anyone could, regarding the wealthy outsiders who diddle and meddle where they don't belong. He wrote an open letter to Rev. Jesse Jackson, and actors Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio.

    Thank you for your quick visit to Morton County, North Dakota. During your visit, please know there is more to our state than the out-of-state rioters you’re meeting with, more than the celebrities you are talking to, and more than the sensationalist media outlets you’re interviewing with.

    [...]

    My family and I, and my neighbors, have become targets of intimidation tactics and threats because we live here, not because we support the pipeline. The roving groups of demonstrators have not allowed us to get our crops, hay and cattle moved in a timely manner. The costs – financial, physical, emotional and environmental – that we are incurring are substantial. We do not understand why we, as innocent bystanders, have been targeted by the protest movement.

    The clear majority of my Native American friends and neighbors are law-abiding. But these out-of-state rioters and agitators have terrorized our community, stolen and slaughtered our livestock, vandalized our property, frightened our children, and blocked roads that we use to move our cattle and grain to market and that ambulances use to transport people to the hospital.

    Some rioters carry fake rifles, looking like real weapons from afar, scaring us and trying to provoke law enforcement to harm them. They have stacked hay bales, trees and rocks to block our community’s main arteries.

    [...]

    More than 90 percent of the rioters arrested live outside of North Dakota. Many have long arrest records for domestic violence, drug dealing, child abuse, domestic violence and burglary. These are not the people we want in our state, in our communities. These are not the people who will remain after the rioters are long gone.

    This is not Beverly Hills. If protesters showed up outside your home, you would be quick to call the police to help, yet you’ve spoken out against the same response from our local law enforcement.

    We aren’t leaving, but you eventually will. Don’t leave our community more fractured than it already is. Please consider the impact the protest is having on innocent people before you show support for any side of this conflict.

    Of course, no one heeded anything Hille had to say.

    In fact, more and more celebrities signed on to support the protest. Attention-craving celebrities are a dime a dozen.

    Whether you’re a movie star, a washed up movie star, a perpetual media whore, or someone trying to get an activist career started, you are little more than a despot who wants to fracture communities for your own gain.

    Hey, protester, here’s a way to tell if you’re being used for some other purpose: there’s a camera present.

    If someone is willing to help you out and not publicize, record, or talk about it so the whole world knows, they are either genuine in their concern, or they are George Soros, trying to manipulate the world behind the scenes with lots of money. If it’s the latter, run. You’ll want to learn from Faust.

    Real currency was used, too. Not just social currency.

    There were outsiders using actual money to meddle. Sure, there were the GoFundMe approaches supported mostly by regular people. But there were also people paying protesters to come to North Dakota protest. They took out ads on Craigslist and other online sites. Here's a little collection of funding oddities associated with the protest:

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    We know that George Soros helps fund Black Lives Matter (which was also involved in this protest), and that Soros and other wealthy left-leaning financiers fund BOLD Nebraska which was involved here, but there was also the suggestion that Warren Buffett helped pay to play since he, owning BNSF, would profit greatly if oil continued to move by rail instead of pipeline. I have not found anything concrete to support that theory, beyond people swearing they saw protesters cashing BNSF checks at WalMart in Mandan. If you have information that can prove Buffett's involvement, I'd love to hear it. It is interesting to note that D'Shawn Cunningham, an activist with BOLD Nebraska, left the protest camps in early October due to the lawlessness of the protest.

    Call it the new colonialism, call it paternalism, just call it.

    There was much anti-colonialism talk by indigenous groups. That's fine. It's a good discussion. Of course, we can't go back in history, so we need to move forward. I didn't have so much difficulty with the idea of discussing treaty issues as I did with the rhetoric that said they were just going to take back land that currently had people farming and ranching on it.

    But a group of activists that is so against the concept of colonialism who then miss the act of paternalism at work in these wealthy outsiders who want to "help" a cause (i.e. help people or school people they deem as unable to do it without their help) is surprising. If you take the time to read all the way to the bottom of this page, I'll go into more depth on my frustration with outsiders who swoop into a place and a situation thinking they are going to save the day. In short: they come in and take over when they are the least effective or knowledgeable. Better and more permanent change occurs when the people who live in the place and situation work it out themselves.

    I'll be blunt: accepting the help, whether money or publicity, of outsiders is just a brand new form of colonialism. They give you the money and help with conditions.

    Sidebar: If you want to see this concept of colonialism/paternalism tied into the problem of giving people money and aid without allowing them to help themselves, as well as the importance of the rule of law, clear property rights -- all of it -- I'd encourage you to watch the documentary Poverty, Inc. (also on Netflix or YouTube). It has nothing to do with an oil protest, but everything to do with the value of outsiders respecting the people and situations of the place they feel so desperate to help.

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    Mark Ruffalo wants an armed felon set free.

    Actor Mark Ruffalo visited Standing Rock several times, bringing attention and solar panels with him. In one instance, he spoke to youth and others at the casino, encouraging them to stand up against law enforcement.

    Thanks, Ruffalo. That helped a lot. You pretend to be other people for a living.

    Ruffalo also thinks Red Fawn Fallis should be set free. She is the protester who is being federally charged (felon in possession of a firearm) for firing three shots at law enforcement officers.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    If there are other charged and/or convicted felons he'd like set free, I hope he lets the world know, and provides his home address so that they can go visit him there and leave the state of North Dakota.

    Ruffalo also provided the protest supporters with handy meme material. They were able to use his job as an actor who pretends to be the Incredible Hulk to create images that said the protest could not be stopped because they had the Hulk on their side. Ruffalo was noticeably absent when the blizzards set in and shit got real.

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    The Young Turks Network sent Jordan Chariton to make fun of North Dakota.

    Jordan Chariton, who seems to be a complete douche, works as a reporter for The Young Turks network. I'm not going to link to their site because I don't want your eyes to spontaneously start bleeding.

    Apparently, Chariton is of the gonzo journalism school, which is a perfect fit for a narcissistic world in which the news simply does not happen if we don't insert ourselves into it and make every news story somehow about ourselves, our opinion, or our experience.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Chariton took the time to mock the citizens of the state. He joked about how he pretended to be a North Dakotan by watching the movie Fargo to learn the accent so he could go "undercover", and then proceeded to make a "news report" that interspersed video with interviews to make fun of North Dakotans who took the time to speak with him in front of WalMart. His followers left comments on his Facebook post about this adventure, telling him how funny and clever it was, and how stupid North Dakotans were. We were uneducated, ignorant, and rednecks. There was never a worse people on the face of the earth. We were a blight to the nation. And Chariton fed it and fed on it. He helped encourage people to think terrible things about the people who lived here, who weren't even involved in the protest.

    Think about that.

    A media outlet (The Young Turks) came and reported with the purpose of making fun of the citizens of the area being affected by the event. He arrived, stayed at the casino hotel for about a week, and purported, on his Facebook page, to be the authoritative voice of both the protest and how it fit into the culture of North Dakota when he had not really bothered to speak to anyone outside of a frat bro prank. Not only did he consistently get his facts wrong and seemed incredibly presumptuous to speak for the protest which had been going on months before he bothered to arrive, but he didn't last long once the weather got cold.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Yes, Chariton's reporting was something to behold, indeed. His grasp of the story (and apparently, his grasp of map reading and elevations) was tenuous at best. He reported that the Army Corps was raising the level of the Missouri River to keep Dakota Access from drilling, apparently unaware that in the winter, the river level often fluctuates due to ice jams and other such natural things, that the drill pad would not be immediately affected before the camp and other areas along the river that the USACE probably wouldn't want to flood, and that releasing a bunch of water out of the Garrison Dam in icy cold December all willy nilly is not a traditional approach to waterway management.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    In one lovely moment, on January 31, 2017, Chariton was in Bismarck and attended one of the hearings for protester Michael Markus, who had been arrested for his involvment on Backwater Bridge in October. Markus gave up the names of others who had lit fires and participated in the mayhem that happened that day, and so some community members were present outside of the federal building, along with other protesters, waiting to see if Markus would get bail (he was not released). Chariton came out of the building obviously looking for trouble, and saw these community members. He proceeded to "interview" them and began arguing with them about what they said. You can see the video below:

    I could draw cartoons about Chariton all day. They practically write themselves. And they're just as realistic as his reporting. He has since started a Facebook page called "Truth Against the Machine" so I've no doubt I'll continue to have plenty of material to work with in the near future. He proudly reports stories with, as you saw in the video, a decided position that he intends to promote, and when the answers aren't to his liking, he literally spins them. That's not journalism, that's propaganda.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

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    Wesley Clark Jr. and Michael Wood Jr. seem to have taken advantage of veterans for personal gain.

    Wesley Clark Jr, bless his heart.

    Veterans Stand For Standing Rock became the battle cry.

    Wesley Clark Jr. and Michael Wood Jr. started a movement to get veterans up to North Dakota to be on the front line and protect the protesters from the beastly law enforcement. They were to bring all kinds of gear and be ready to take a bullet for the cause. They did interviews in which Clark called people who had never seen real battle “gutless worms.”

    "Most civilians who’ve never served in a uniform are gutless worms who’ve never been in a fight in their life,” Wes Clark Jr. declares. “So if we don’t stop it, who will?” -- Task and Purpose, Nov. 21, 2016

    (There isn't enough time in the day for me to respond to that level of douchebaggery, so I'll let Clark's comment stand on its own.)

    He painted the U.S. government as the enemy (so I hope, if he decides to run for political office some day, you folks remind him of that). Other veterans who joined also said that North Dakota law enforcement was a domestic enemy, apparently not aware of what some of the violent protesters had been unleashing on farmers, ranchers, and surrounding communities.

    Seems like a great idea, if the police were actually attacking. Which they weren’t. Peaceful protesters needed no protection, but they were definitely not all peaceful.

    “We’re not going out there to get in a fight with anyone,” Clark Jr. says. “They can feel free to beat us up, but we’re 100% nonviolence.”

    Hot damn, did Clark have a screwed up view on what was happening up here. VSSR emboldened protesters and their supporters to go to the Morton County Sheriff’s Facebook page to taunt that thousands and thousands of veterans were going to come up and whoop their ass. Green on blue, indeed. Let's never put Clark Jr. in charge of a peacekeeping mission.

    Then there was the problem of the North Dakota weather. We say it keeps the riff raff out (and after the blizzard, out-of-state protesters left by the thousands but not before calling our airport racist, so…). Whatever the case, the governor had issued an evacuation order weeks before. Protesters thought it was just more antagonizing, but an evacuation order is what is issued when there is danger from flood, prairie fire, or other dangerous situations. Like winter. No one listened. They stayed. And a couple thousand veterans poured into an unprepared camp. Clark Jr. might have been prepared to take a bullet, but he apparently wasn't prepared for anything else.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    December in North Dakota is cold. The magical tilt of the earth during the winter solstice assures us of that. The VSSR event was sandwiched between a winter storm which dropped a couple of feet of snow, and the start of a basic blizzard.

    Suddenly, people were screaming for North Dakota to help them despite all the warnings to leave for the winter, despite the state of North Dakota setting up a radio station to provide winter weather and safety information just for the protesters. Now, the weather emergency that protesters and veterans found themselves in was the fault of North Dakota and Morton County.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Christopher S. Duesing, for the most part, spewed insults towards North Dakota and Morton County, but suddenly, when Old Man Winter came by to give him a hug, he changed his tune long enough for one Facebook post. Then he went back to his usual "of all the 50 states I hate North Dakota the most!" self. There's an Aesop's fable about a scorpion and a frog that applied in this moment...

    North Dakota and Morton County ended up helping hundreds of protesters out of the ditch as they frantically tried to get into Bismarck and Mandan and get a hotel room. Local churches were asked to set up shelters for protesters. Law enforcement and emergency services, who had been made to be monsters for months, set up two emergency shelters in Flasher school and at the Mandan Braves (school) center. The National Guard had buses ready to help. They had planned all along for this, since protesters refused to leave and emergency services and law enforcement knew what a blizzard would do. They had planned all along to help the protesters even when the protesters were still spewing hate towards them. Don't miss that. Yet again, the state of North Dakota paid the bill to help this situation.

    Temps were deadly, wind was high, and the logistics failed. Veterans were left shivering in tents, or sleeping in the hallways of the casino. There wasn’t enough food. It was terrible.

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    It seems that the "corrupt" and keystone cop-infested state of North Dakota had done better planning for the situation than Clark and Wood. Whee.

    During all of this, the two Jrs, who were back at the heated Prairie Knights Casino, took part in an elaborate forgiveness ceremony in which they dressed in a kind of cavalry uniform, and bowed before Native American elders to ask forgiveness from them on behalf of the United States.

    Some veterans rode horses to Backwater Bridge in the early snow stages of the blizzard with upside-down American flags, and had a ceremony. Regarding the upside-down flag: I have seen the flag put upside down and shoved in my face by protesters so much during this protest that it doesn’t even register as a sign of distress anymore. If someone actually used it to indicate distress, at this point I’d simply assume they were angry at the government and fail to send help. Again, you use a word or symbol too often, you strip it of its power.

    Earlier, law enforcement had said they had spoken with Wesley Clark Jr. who had assured them there would be no law-breaking and that the protesters would stay off of the bridge, which meant that law enforcement agreed to back their line away from the bridge.

    So the veterans group went out on the bridge basically right away, and started yelling insults at law enforcement. That was a pretty clear indicator on the leadership Clark had over this group. It was clear that he had no idea what he was doing, what he was getting into.

    Oh, there had been a plan of activities.

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    Bonnie Hoppa, who helped organize a group to participate, became one of the few who spoke out in detail on what happened. She hammered away, demanding to know what happened to the money and when veterans would be reimbursed for their travel expenses. She gave an interview about it, too.

    A hashtag was started (#WheresTheMoneyWes) and veterans were upset, wondering why they hadn’t received help and why, after the blizzard pretty much killed the event and they saw no action, they were left stranded for several days trying to find some way home. Some felt like they were played. Jordan Chariton (from The Young Turks) and Wood blamed a bank and got protesters to call and harass them to release GoFundMe money (though in the last days they were taking donations via Square for easier cash access so…?). Clark wrote an apology:

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    Then he left and met with filmmakers in Los Angeles.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    The photo of him with filmmakers? He took that down from his Facebook page. But in the comments section, before it was removed, a friend asked him what happened with the VSSR money and Clark, who is 47 years old and theoretically an adult, responded that it was a logistics nightmare and that it was “like Game of Thrones, man.” Snow. Veterans. Confusion. Latent anger.

    Game of Thrones.

    That’s why it all fell apart.

    His explanation for why he screwed the pooch on logistics and abandoned human beings in the cold was a reference to a television show. Remember that.

    VSSR ignored what North Dakota veterans requested of them.

    North Dakota veterans organizations did not want VSSR to come to the state and cause more escalation. They put out a statement explaining that they did not support this movement of Clark and Woods.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Not only did VSSR ignore the request of these veterans, many of whom were older (i.e. elders) and had seen action in Vietnam, Korea, and the Gulf Wars, but they sent out a statement asking them to not interfere.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Think about that. They told these veterans that they basically knew best as outsiders, and to shut up and not get involved.

    Online protest supporters took the time to mock these older veterans in ways no veteran should be treated.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    It’s important to note that many of these protesters were saying that North Dakota veterans were asking other veterans to not exercise freedom of speech. But remember, the VSSR had done the same thing to North Dakota veterans by asking them to...shut up.

    VSSR was asked by local veterans to stay out of it. The elders in the tribe eventually asked protesters to leave. Yet veterans came, and some veterans stayed on, and they painted the law enforcement (many of whom were also veterans) and North Dakota National Guard as evil. This is a classic move of outsiders who think they are in the best place to play savior, that the local population neither understands the situation like they do, nor has the ability to “fix” it the way they do.

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    Black Lives Matter leaders used an oil protest to raise money for two new pickup trucks.

    What the hell.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    The comments quickly devolved into an argument about whether BLM would take the trucks raised on the backs of the Standing Rock protest down to some other BLM movement, which brought anger from some Native Americans about how the Native Americans can't have nice things.

    Wherever there is a conflict with police, BLM is going to be there to do some fundraising and attention-getting, it appears.

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    Millions of dollars in donations were raised; some can't be tracked.

    GoFundMe is one of the best ways to run a scam. This, I learned from watching this protest.

    Sites like GoFundMe (and there are many) with hundreds of profiles brought in at least $11.2 million dollars. Direct payments through PayPal were common, but can’t be tallied because they are private. Don’t forget t-shirt sales. And people mailing packages and gift cards. Celebrities sending thousands to bail people out of jail. Trucks full of food, clothing, wood, and more.

    A lot of money and goods poured into the protest camps, and who really benefitted? If you take the time to look at the various protest Facebook pages, you’ll see that camps, and different leaders and members of those camps, were putting out sometimes conflicting request information. We don’t need more donations. Yes we do. The Red Warrior Camp legal fund is a scam. No, it isn’t.

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    A lot of people around the world gave money to a cause. Did they know where their money went?

    The professional activist: Kevin Gilbertt (a.k.a. Happy Chappy)

    The professional activist travels around wherever there’s attention. He or she sets up a GoFundMe page, starts sticking a mobile phone in everybody’s face for live feeds, narrates in inflammatory ways to get fans outraged, and then asks for donations.

    It worked really well. Gilbertt pulled in about $43K.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    When the weather got cold and people started demanding accountability, Gilbertt left for Denver, bought himself a vehicle, and left piles of packages behind at the Cannon Ball post office on Standing Rock that would have to be returned to the people who sent the donations at his request.

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    Maybe Gilbertt had good intentions. Maybe he used the money for Standing Rock and not to travel and buy a car. The point is: you and I don’t know.

    Gilbertt quickly started fundraising for what looks like another great cause.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    People who didn’t support the protest trolled Gilbertt pretty hard. I didn’t take much interest in him or his videos. His “narration” of the November 20th incident was ridiculously assumptive and helped feed into the online frenzy that helped create a false narrative of what happened that still exists to this day. But I didn’t troll him, even though the idea of the professional activist makes me want to vomit. Perhaps he had good intentions, even if he failed to follow completely through.

    T-shirt scams

    This one is easy.

    Even the Daily Kos could warn about the Standing Rock t-shirt ripoff, in which smart marketers saw an easy mark for people in this world who use consumerism and buying stuff as a way to show they care. T-shirts are especially great, since you can wear them and be casually cool and, without saying anything, tell the world that you care about the right things.

    T-shirts, usually a 50/50 cotton/poly blend, with poly being a petroleum-based fiber, printed with inks using solvents that also use petroleum-based products, and then shipped in a plastic bag which is also a petroleum-based product on trucks and airplanes that burn gas.

    Which of these was the scam: the huge carbon footprint to stop fossil fuels, or the marketers raking in tons of money from gullible and shallow people who think buying a t-shirt means you care because if you spend $20 on a shirt and $3 go to the cause that seems really caring? It's your call.

    Veterans Stand For Standing Rock (a.k.a. Wesley Clark Jr. et. al. get footage for their documentary)

    Whoo, boy.

    $1.4 million dollars raised, and veterans show up only to be abandoned in a blizzard on the North Dakota plains while Wesley Clark Jr. and Michael Wood Jr. are cozy in the casino for a dramatic forgiveness ceremony (which was filmed, of course).

    You can read more about that here.

    Suffice it to say that there will likely be a dramatic and award-winning documentary coming out in a year or so that is based on scams, lies, and bullshit. But I'm sure it'll have really great background music.

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    Celebrities who support trespassing, anti-police action and rhetoric, and terrorizing action against farmers and other private citizens.

    So many celebrities lined up to support this protest. As you can see, it was barely about an oil pipeline at all, once you were here and on the ground and in the community and saw what was really going on. Yet these celebrities gave money (bail money, supplies, solar panels, toilets), they gave publicity and lent their names and fan's attention, and essentially gave support to what amounted to anarchists and domestic terrorism in North Dakota. They made it acceptable for people to donate millions to the protest by seeming to vouch for the validity of all that the protest camps were claiming.

    So here is the list (so far) of those celebrities who, by supporting this protest without qualifying their support, ended up supporting trespass, harming farmers and ranchers, hating law enforcement and being anti-police, and supporting lies about an entire state are acceptable. Perhaps they didn't realize this was happening when they threw their money and platform to help this movement, but their ignorance is no excuse. They should do more research. They used it to gain social currency, and to seem relevant and caring. They did this on the backs of rural middle class working Americans. They used their privilege, their money, and their power to further this abuse. Don't you EVER forget that. Hollywood is full of ignorant fools with money who have no idea what is happening to real Americans, and they helped fund and support fraud, anarchy, and abuse in North Dakota for their own gain.

    Celebrities that support trespass, destruction of farm and ranch property, terrorizing of farmers and ranchers, violence against law enforcement and the National Guard, domestic terrorism, and the harassment and bullying of a rural state's citizens include:

    You can look up all of these celebrities' actions here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

    Many of these offered their support on Thanksgiving Day, the day protesters came into town with the dead pigs head, the signs that said to kill pilgrims and white people, and screamed obscenities at the citizens and police in Bismarck and Mandan. These celebrities supported that.

    The next time dipshit celebrities want to ride a currently hot topic and acceptable cause for their own "look how good I am and how much I care about things" they had damn well better do their research, because by the time they were on board, this protest had veered into domestic terrorism against people in North Dakota. There was never a better list of useful idiots than this one.

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    Well-meaning but overly emotional outsiders cause more harm than help.

    A strange thing happens when people become fervent, emotional, and filled with anger about what they see as injustice or wrong: they stop thinking.

    For whatever reason, people think passion is all that is required to do something, to try get things changed.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    People feel the news instead of thinking about it.

    We can argue about fake news all day, but the truth is that there is no source that you should completely trust. There are ways you can try, as best you can, to determine if what you’re reading is true. If you really have an open mind, if you really want to find out, you can do that. The internet has made it extremely easy to find fake or biased information, but it has also made it easy to verify it.

    People could have, in the case of this protest, easily found court documents, looked at maps, and read original sources online. They could have questioned the trending hashtags, the sources they relied on.

    But they did not.

    Because people, especially in narratives such as the way this protest was framed, want to filter information through their heart instead of their head. They want to feel it, not know it. We’re addicted to feeling something -- anything -- and rage works, anger works. Those emotions are also useful for scammers (and there were many GoFundMe scams in this protest); it’s an easy way to get you to send money.

    Feeling the news is easier, since social media and, frankly, mainstream news has made all news an emotional thing. The headlines, the images -- it’s all about emotion, because emotion is what makes you click, what brings hits, what brings likes, what brings ad revenue, what helps create a trend that they can somehow capitalize off of.

    I’ve worked in the online content marketing world. That’s a serious goal, studying human psychology to figure out what triggers people to get them to click. And this protest packaged every perfect narrative and sent it out and raised $11.2 million dollars through donations.

    You look at the trends and news that came out of this protest. It hits the high note of just about every activist leaning group in existence:

    Underdog being attacked? Check. Police brutality? Check. Native Americans being screwed again? Check. Small rural state that voted for Trump made to look stupid? Check. Big corporations being evil? Check. Constitutional rights being violated? Check. Environment being damaged? Check.

    Didn’t it occur to anyone that it was all just a little too perfect? Didn’t anyone even question, out of basic curiosity, if such a perfect hellstorm could really exist? Didn’t anyone question their preferred narratives long enough to do some basic research?

    Not many, no. We are all too invested in a preferred view, our anger ready and waiting to inflame over that view. We just need an excuse to light the fire. Why go find the wet blanket of facts and additional information when you could burn hot with emotion?

    Taking action based purely on feelings alone is stupid.

    Look at the posts of protesters. They talk about how they “felt” after having participated. The world continues to enslave itself at the feet of feelings, feelings, and more feelings. The world has emotional diabetes at this point, trying to get laws passed and destroy businesses and livelihoods based on feelings.

    I don’t know how many times outside activists got involved, and never once talked to law enforcement, farmers and ranchers, and people in the local community.

    For example, veteran and activist Kash Jackson, who seems genuinely sincere, talked about how he looked into the eyes of protesters and saw fear and trembling and how he talked to them and how, after that, he knew he was right in his stance. He never bothered to talk to, or spend time with, others, except some guy at Denny's on his way out of town.

    Why would you do that? Why would you immerse yourself in a situation, especially in a place you had no experience in, without considering opposing views? Why would you then go make grand pronouncements about what you think was going on if you never talked to the people on the other side?

    OMG I feel! I feel so much! I have to do something because I have such feelings! It speaks to me! I resonate with this!

    Feelings are the gas in your car, but facts, research, and careful thought are the steering wheel. The latter keeps you from going off the cliff. Maybe if people would control themselves, do some research, read the court documents and the newspapers and sources of all kinds and then make a decision instead of turning to the magic eight ball of hormones and feelings, this country would be better off. Because when you donate money to a cause to alleviate feelings, you are part of the problem. Just remember: the money that you donated that was used for plastic tents that end up floating down the Missouri River this spring? That's on you. That chunk in the Pacific garbage patch is on you and your feelings.

    Use your damn head. Stop making problems worse just so you can feel good about yourself.

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    When free speech and private property collide.

    On my old blog, I used to have a section where I dealt with people who couldn't understand how I dared block them from commenting. "You're negating my right to free speech!" they'd scream. My response was: this is my private property. You don't have the right to do it here.

    When the USACE asked North Dakota law enforcement to keep protesters off of Turtle Hill and other federal land, they labeled and referred to the camp areas as "free speech zones." This sounds a little hokey, I admit, and that got the protesters all worked up.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    I get it. "Free speech zone" sounds like you can only speak freely in certain places and it sure doesn't sound very constitution-y, does it? Truthfully, though, they had to call it a "free speech zone" because apparently protesters couldn't grasp the difficult concept of private property, posted, or Stay The Hell Off.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    If you are a protester and think that your right to speak freely means that you have the right to do that free speaking anywhere and not be arrested, please send me your address so that I can send some people to stand in your living room and scream and chant and start a tire fire in support of Donald Trump, coal, or other fossil fuels. Maybe someone could lob a Molotov cocktail at your refrigerator and see how freedom-loving you are. Suddenly, I bet, you'd be willing to concede that there is a legitimate reason to say that you can't physically be anywhere to yap at the mouth. I bet you'd be willing to concede that throwing things like Molotov cocktails has less to do with "free speech" and more to do with "burn shit down."

    No one has stopped the protesters from speaking. They have more avenues than ever in which to speak their mind, and they do plenty of it online. They talk about great and noble things, and about day-to-day things, such as the porta potties.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Clearly, they are free to speak. They provide every detail of their existence, their feelings, and even their secret plans of what they plan to do next, all for the world to read. Heck, law enforcement let them protest on the state capitol grounds more than once, and down the streets of Bismarck, without a permit. They've blocked bridges and streets with minimal arrest and threat. They've been allowed to camp on federal land (i.e. a free speech zone) for months without any threat beyond a neutered USACE eviction notice. So pardon me if I'm not crying about the fact that private citizen-owned land and other federal land is restricted to you. You can still speak, but you can't always be physically in the place you want to be to do it. Your right to free speech does not allow you to trample over my right to private property.

    I know the protest camp is keenly aware of private property. They get upset when tents and tipis are stolen (as they should, since taking someone's tipi is a terrible thing to do). So protesters understand; they just don't respect the concept of private property when it is connected to people they don't like.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

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    Every group has infighting, and that's part of the long-term damage.

    People involved in both the protest and those as part of pro-law enforcement groups had one thing in common: they are made up of human beings.

    That means there is disagreement on how things should be done, the action that should be taken, and who is in charge. That means groups will split off, and as emotions or situations get more difficult, the in-fighting gets worse. For example, in this video by Shiyé Bidzííl, with Josh Long and Cha-O-Ha, they detail some of the conflicts that happened as the protester numbers waned in December.

    Cha-O-Ha: My experience at camp...I was there for quite a while. Got to see the ins and outs of things...they kinda started tearing things apart. It was kinda disturbing. Not a lot of people were talking about it. we'll be the first ones. But um, the main thing we're talking about is security. Security was a huge thing that, you know, a lot of people there are good people and a lot of people did the right thing, but the wrong people got in and things started turning for the worse...and before you know it things were going crazy and there was anarchy that no one even reported on, and a lot of stuff that was happening. One of the main things was the way they were trying to control the camp and the way they were using certain tactics to push people apart. And people that claimed, you know, that they were this person and then someone else. But, uh, one of the main people we started questioning and stuff -- and I asked you guys the question -- is a gentleman named Vaughn. That's the topic of the day.

    Josh: Yeah, who is Vaughn, who is this guy. (Vaughn Bull Lodge)

    Cha-O-Ha: And uh, my experiences with him were interesting and very convoluted.

    Josh: Yeah, do you want to start back a couple of days ago when you first kinda encountered that, and tell us what that experience was like?

    Cha-O-Ha: Yeah, I mean, uh, I definitely encountered him weeks back. Different experiences, you know. He came out of the blue. We'd had this one main meeting where he basically cut in and kinda tried to call the shots and he called all security together...he was speaking on things...it became a power thing, it became an ego thing. When you're down at camp, there's not just one leadership, there are different factions, there are different tribes that govern their own. And even though they come together in agreement like the old days, it wasn't like there was one set leader of the entire camp, you know. And um, after that meeting we'd learned some things...they were going to pool different areas that were necessary to commandeer, that would have affected the entire camp...after that it was a dominoe effect. People started...acting out. Words were being spread around camp, different messages were being sent claiming different thigns. It starts in security but ends up in a different realm. Basically with the Vaughn situation, they set up their HQ at the north gate basically at the bottom of the hill where the veteran barracks were. I guess one specific incident...basically there was a lot of supplies left behind. A lot of clothing, a lot of good stuff. And we knew we needed that stuff, knew we needed to get it to the people because of the blizzards coming and the cold weather and not a lot of people were showing up to camp prepared. They were coming in, they didn't have shelter, they didn't have clothing. These were necessary things...these were good supplies. And this man, I heard make a comment about how basically when we were trying to move out clothing he wanted to burn it, said it was just in the way.

    Josh: What was his logic behind that? Do you think someone directed him to move resources aside for different people? What do you think his motive was?

    Cha-O-Ha: His clear motive was that it was just in the way and it wasn't important to him, and the people weren't important. And you know, the whole point of security is to protect the protecters out there.

    [...]

    Cha-O-Ha: A series of events ocurred after that were people were forcibly being removed against their will. People that had done nothing wrong.

    [...]

    Shiyé: (couple questions from viewers) There were a couple of shots fired at night, they believe? A couple of gunshots at night?

    Cha-O-Ha: There was word of gunshots, but, you know, as far as my experience, I believe there is no evidence or proof. People spoke of this, but I dont' know if it was just to get people scared, part of a scare tactic, but they were claiming it was a .22 rifle and this and that. And I'm just like why would they shoot with such a small rifle.

    Josh: Yeah, what are you going to do with that? But you'd have heard it

    Cha-O-Ha: Yeah, people claim to have heard certain things, but to my knowledge, I didn't hear anything. And that just started a series events and scare tactics, getting people to fear for their lives and want to leave the camp. So that was the main thing that they were doing, and it goes beyond security in my opinion...and this Vaughn gentleman and a lady by the name Lorielle (sp?) part of the veterans camp, you know...they were leaving together, stuff like that. So I don't know if she had anythign to do with that area...

    [...]

    Cha-O-Ha: It was really hard to control at that point, because there were so many rumors, so many stories. The list goes on. It was unreal what was happening. It changed so quick. Within days. There's 12,000 strong ready to march...and not once did we move, not once did we stand up...it was odd that we went from such a strong unity to just staying in camp and not doing a thing. That raised awareness in me as well. Even as the veterans arrived, they showed up 2,000 strong and they wanted to move forward, you know, and no one would let them.

    [...]

    Cha-O-Ha: I met a lot of good veterans, you know. Bad thing was that a lot of them got a bad name. I don't know, maybe I'm assuming [audio breaks up] they wanted to start and instigate on a certain people and, uh, a lot of them got shunned for it. A lot of them were sent away or sent into different conditions of housing and stuff. Like at the casino, it was a refugee camp. People were sleeping in the hallways, on the floor...it just seemed that security had been infiltrated, that they were forcibly removing the people that mattered. People that were actually going to make a difference...before you know it, the camp dwindled down to hundreds.

    Shiyé: (Asks about the fast exodus from the camps.) Do you believe that was due to a political move, or else do you believe that certain individuals, even within the SRST, and perhaps others, were basically turned, took the money, and succumbed to greed?

    Cha-O-Ha: Yeah, the leaders of Standing Rock--I'm not saying all of them, but the ones that mattered -- they abandoned us. They left. The cruel reality was that supply trucks were being diverted back to the reservation, and a lot of supplies that were around camp were being moved to secret locations, being hidden. And I believe that was a tactic to run people out of there, to cut the supply, like they've done for so many years. First it was hard to believe that our people would do it, but then I started seeing that. They would send out parties, people specifically that I knew that were from the tribe. They were working with a bunch of non-natives. They would come to the camps. At one point, there was a day--I can't remember -- but they said that all non-natives had ten days to leave the camp.

    [...]

    Cha-O-Ha: And then I go outside and it happened quick, it was that day, all of a sudden you walk outside and you see different factions and they walk up to them and say you need to leave. There wasn't something right about that. Then they started cutting off the kitchens. I remember they came down to like two kitchens in the camp that were open, and they started announcing that they weren't going to be giving breakfast and lunch anymore, that only dinner was going to be available. And you know, when you're out there in the camp and living that hard life and its harsh weather you rely on food and water to stay alive. We already had the issue of frozen everyting. The water was frozen, you had to boil it. And that was just weird because all of a sudden people in leadership in the camp had called on all of these people to come and were working in mysterious ways to get everyone out. And that was a red flag because it showed to me that Standing Rock had sold out. And they disappeared for a little while, too. They claimed to have...you know "I was running for Congress" and um "we were busy handling other things"...then they claimed the funds were unavailable at the moment. And people all over the world were sending millions of dollars...donated supplies, money. It was not being used to its proper meaning and people were suffering more than ever, and that created a divide. And that divide ultimately removed thousands of people there for a cause... It really blew my mind. I was baffled because there were certain individuals, medics, acting as police workers, who would find reasons, medical reasons, to remove people. They would go off the history they'd been going off for weeks...sure enough their medical issues came up and they were forcibly removed because they didn't want to leave...they knew this wasn't over. They were being showed up full force. Security members. That's why I believe the other side, Vaughn and all them were forcibly removing these people. And it became a shit show. Plain and simple.

    Josh: (talked about other people who were saying the same thing about division in the camp on live feeds from the camp, how that was a new aspect)

    Cha-O-Ha: What was amazing to me, when the storms were coming, is they said "we will stand strong, the winter will not pull us out, we will be here to fight" and then, just like that, everything changed. Everyone needs to leave. "We thank you all, but we don't need you anymore."

    Josh: Yeah, it's funny becaue I remember Chase Iron Eyes came up...we relit the fire...don't go away...be self-reliant. He was putting that message out there quite a bit so it was a little confusing to hear those conflicting reports. From Archambault's camp, after he met with Senator Hoeven, saying "we don't need people here, it's all done" and then hearing someone like Chase Iron Eyes saying "we need more people here"...it just sounded way more conflicting as the weeks drag on.

    Cha-O-Ha: It was super conflicting, and it really worked. It dwindled the camp numbers, people were hoarding their supplies, people were getting scared. They were going into survival mode. It was about the people, but it became about their own. People started to take care of themselves, started to take care of their own people. That's when things really started to divide...

    Josh: [...] I remember it was just the beginning of this month, people were helping each other out...everyone was helping each other. So it's crazy to hear how much everything has changed in that short amount of time.

    Cha-O-Ha: I definitely think that some things went down in the shadows...people were bought out. And uh, now it's completely different. They claimed a victory, they put out the sacred fire. I'm not sure who the elder was, but I heard it was someone that was new, came in, claimed victory, let's put it out. And the youth were like "no" and the fire relit itself because it wasn't over and they still put it out. They still put out the sacred fire. Now another group started one just behind that area and they are maintaining it...you know it's not the same. Those were old traditional ways and that fire had a purpose, and when it got put out, so did the rest of everyone's flame.

    Josh: Yeah, remember that sign in the camp that says "no spiritual surrender"

    Cha-O-Ha: Not to mention the amount of...infiltrators increased dramatically. It seemed like there were more them than us. They were gathering intel...they became more tactical...they were really in there, they had people all over. They were communicating...had earpieces in, coms on the throat...most of them were press, people that can gain access to certain areas...it was so easy to manipulate...bring in a camera and claim you were something you were not. They were really getting in there, there were situations arising...at one point we believe the front gate was compromised and we still do.

    Josh: Yeah, I heard that story from Mike Markus earlier this morning where they were talking about the gate not even being manned at 3:30 in the morning because there was a snowstorm and I remember seeing people out there when I was there, during -50 blizzard and it didn't matter at all...they were always there. I heard stories of him and his crew disappearing, that Vaughn dude, so I was curious about him. I started hearing more and more stories out of camp...seemed like everyone had a story about him.

    Cha-O-Ha: Who knows who he had under his order...he's apparently been removed, but there's still plenty of people there that are new...a lot of people left and that left an opportunity for new members to come in and take advantage.

    Josh: Also, if they're not tracking people's cars at the front gate, that could mean people are bringing in booze, drugs, firearms, which is worse case scenario.

    Shiyé: My take on the whole thing is it comes down to common sense...as a Standing Rock individual...I'm not stupid, I'm not dumb. I do believe that there were infiltrators, and there are still infiltrators, coming within the camp, within Standing Rock, within Bismarck, within Prairie Knights, within --

    Josh: -- online too

    Shiyé: Within even in cyberspace as well. We were so focused on the front lines, on gathering all of these people all over the world...but we forgot about the people who were up to no good and took advantage of our cyberspace, took advantage of our GoFundMe accounts, took advantage of the veterans. There were even infiltrators within the veterans. Not all of the people here are bad, there are good people. It's always been a balance between good and evil...

    Cha-O-Ha: When I speak of Standing Rock, you know, the people are definitely good people. It just came down to certain people, as you said, the balance between good and evil. And the people that were in charge had influence. They, they made the wrong decisions, and now just like the veterans, they were all shunned even though there was good in them.

    [...]

    Shiyé: (talks about the psychological issues those in the camp are dealing with, and historical connections)...we're going to have a hard time battling our inner demons and it's tearing the camp apart. I've seen people who have a good heart and do good things in this world and I've seen them slowly turn to alcohol. I get a lot of threatening messages

    [...]

    Shiyé: Apparently over $10,000 worth of drones was supposed to be sent to me...for almost a month, there, I did not receive anything through the mail. And I started to questions. And all of a sudden they came out with this big old story that all these were backed up due to the winter storm and blizzard. OK, I can understand what they did they did, but now I'm hearing stories...way back in November and October. I can understand the decisions of what they did because they are in positions of great leadership and council, but why were the people never notified? That's where a lot of people were getting so irritated. It's OK, though, I understand they didn't want to drain our resources, but there's one resource they can never ever drain from any individual, and that's their knowledge...So they can take away all my drones. They can take away all my batteries...But you know what they can't do? They can never drain my knowledge.

    Josh: Or the will to keep going. Because we're still going.

    Shiyé: ... I've gathered a lot of people from around the world that come together to listen to our little feeds. And they appreciate everything we say and do, and they say we are the real news. We are the real news because our news comes from the heart. And we're focused on one thing, and that's unity, sovereignity, and the truth.

    Josh: ...That's why I went out there in the first place, it was the only place in the country where you could get all of those things... but has everyone bitten into the greed a little bit? Like the people on the other side of the barrier; that's why they're there... We do kind of fulfill that huge gap, the blackout that the media has decided to put on us.

    [...]

    Consider the Red Warrior Camp, whose own supporters did not agree with their direct action at times and who were asked to leave by the elders a month before they finally did. (I don't know who Tyson Myles Running Bear is, but his response in the following conversation, and others, impressed me. We probably don't agree on everything, but he's a leader.)

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Or the protesters who argued about keeping the public showers clean in Cannon Ball, and who was responsible for doing so. Some had white guilt. Some referenced Burning Man. Some had paranoid ideas that Dakota Access was making the showers dirty.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Some protesters were angry at Prairie Knights Casino, some blaming DAPL for taking all the rooms at the tribe-owned facility.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    As you read in the section on racism, some protesters turned on others who were white, suggesting they had no business participating. Frustrations over theft and law-breaking within the protest camp arose.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    In the local community groups, some called for vigilance and prayer, while others wanted confrontation and direct action of their own.

    No matter which side you were on, people argued about and with those who wanted to extend the olive branch, to seek peace. They argued about who had the right to be in charge, or who should be trusted. They disagreed on the leadership styles and motivations. Some wanted a war and to remain defiant, while others wanted peace.

    In reality, if you stripped away the facade of what the protest was about, you'd find many groups of people who were surprisingly similar. The circumstances had all of us in a boiling pot.

    There is no permanent peace, but there are moments of it.

    I’ve seen discussions by both pro- and anti-protest supporters in which extremes in both groups clearly want war. No forgiveness, no peace, no attempt to agree to disagree. Any attempt to suggest a truce and to back down to legal boundaries and try a different approach is met with insults of troll, traitor, weak, snowflake, and worse. Both sides are guilty of this.

    While top-level authority must proceed in a legal fashion (police, government) according to the laws of the land, and must respond to what has happened that broke the law or has been set in motion in the courts, we citizens on both sides of this issue have the amazing power to build peace and bridges beneath it.

    For example, when women from Standing Rock brought donations to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, I thought it was wonderful. It was quietly done, a true gesture. There were examples of people from town who, despite supporting law enforcement, went about helping protesters who were in need. I was quietly involved with a couple of those incidents. That’s peace-building. That’s saying “there are some of us who want peace, and we will take a step in that direction.” When people who disagree but have a sincere discussion about it can walk away from a conversation with decency and decorum intact, that’s another step towards peace.

    A huge frustration for me is how divisive this became; I absolutely know, without doubt, that there were some great people supporting that protest. I talked to some of them, in person and online, and I have no doubt they could have been my friends under any other circumstances. Good, interesting people. We actually had many ideas in common.

    But there was this battle, all these machinations to get people to fight each other when we normally wouldn’t be. Again, some people take great pleasure in battling others. They feed their anger, resentment, and unforgiveness quite happily. Everything is gamesmanship.

    Avoid such people.

    Back To Top

    If you use civil disobedience to get attention, accept the jail term.

    Pipeline protesters took great pains to compare themselves to the civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's, both in word and visual meme. I don't agree with their comparison for several specific reasons, but if they want to model themselves after that, let's consider their reaction to being arrested.

    Breaking the law and being arrested is pretty cool at the time, it appears. You get some social media cred, some likes, a bunch of kudos from celebrities and others. Your protest has lawyers working for the movement, in camp and out. They are training you on what to do to get arrested, how to get as much money out of North Dakota as possible. It's all very direct-action-fantastic. But then shit gets real and its time for your trial.

    NoDAPL Protest Violence

    Suddenly, you're not the tough guy you were. Suddenly, the local law enforcement are all liars, and you paint them as cowards because they won't meet your eyes. You try to save face, try to get your supporters to believe your story that everything is so darn crooked and corrupt up here in North Dakota and that you're the real victim here.

    Nut up. Grow a pair. Quit your whining. Etc.

    You break the law, you do the time. That is the point of civil disobedience. The power of it doesn't come from pre-trial social media fame or asshat behavior online to make everyone thing you're some tough guy or noble character for getting arrested for trespassing. It comes from the possibility of going to jail and giving up your freedom for the cause. That's the entire point of it.

    Do you think Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter from the Birmingham Jail would have been so powerful if it had been the letter from the local Comfort Inn? Why do you think Nelson Mandela is such a monumental person in the apartheid story? Was it because he begged people to get his trial moved somewhere else, or to send money, or to start a hashtag so the world could trend him? Do you think the apostle Paul's many letters from prison in which he talked about true freedom in Christ would have had the same impact if he hadn't been sitting in jail for his beliefs as he wrote the letter?

    The power of breaking the law to prove a point isn't in the breaking of the law, it's in the paying of the penalty.

    I would also add that they way you break the law matters; if you want to model yourself after the civil rights movement, you ought to note how they responded, behaved, and the powerful words they used to tell truth and to speak to the consciences, hearts, and minds of those who came to support them. They didn't do it by harassing local residents, damaging private property, or looking or behaving like thugs. They were resolute, stalwart, and carried themselves with dignity.

    I can't say the same for what far too many of the protesters have done in this protest. Unfortunately, the elders and many Native Americans who did respond this way were overshadowed by idiots burning tires and vehicles and harassing local citizens with video cameras and protests in the middle of the street.

    Though social media provided them with publicity and attention, I don't think it did their cause any favors. Social media produces trends, but it seldom produces the fantastic rhetoric that speaks truth to hearts and minds and convinces them. Instead, it relies on trickery, memes, and complex messages reduced to hashtags. It is fleeting in nature because that is the nature of trends, which necessarily fade away and get topped by some other incident that make people forget about your cause. When you build your movement in the trendy temporary, it can't last.

    As I said in a conversation with a protester one afternoon in downtown Bismarck, who are you trying to convince? Are you trying to change something by preaching to your own choir, or are you trying to change the hearts and minds of those who do not yet agree with you but could? Because if it is the latter (which is what the civil rights movement did successfully), you don't do that by lying, shaming, or harassing people into anger to the point that not only are they not willing to hear and agree with you, they have actually gone further in the other direction and you've made things worse.

    I came across an online conversation in which a young man from the Pacific northwest who had been blocked from a group had asked if he could still participate in the discussion because he thought he was making some headway in connecting with those who disagreed with him. I don't know where his request went, but I contacted him personally and we began sending messages talking about renewable energy and the protest. We had a good conversation and discovered that even though we might appear to be on "different sides" we actually agreed on much (which did not surprise me; if I can get past all the morons calling me a c*nt and bigoted b*tch, I can have good conversations with others and we learn from each other). We discussed the reality of our power grid, where we are at as far as actually technology is concerned, the need for a way to reliably store energy that is created from renewable sources, and so on. We were remarkably on nearly the same page. But I pointed out the problem with the protest, and why it was obfuscating this kind of conversation:

    I will tell you that one of my biggest frustrations about this protest wasn't the idea that we should continue to work towards renewables, or that we should be wary of powerful companies with lots of money. It was the fact that they turned on law enforcement and people in this town, and made us look terrible. The irony in that is that I am normally receptive to the message of caution and "follow the money" (for both the right and the left), as well as focusing on actually creating new energy sources. I'm not a huge fan of things like carbon offset credits or things that shift numbers around on paper but don't actually change or create new energy forms or ways to store energy. I feel like that is more about guilt alleviation and passing the price down the line than solving the actual problem. If you look at my feed in past years, I wasn't thrilled about some of what came with the oil boom. At the same time, I acknowledge I rely on fossil fuel to not freeze to death. I get that. So I guess I think we should find ways to truly reward science innovation that gets to the heart of the problem rather than use violence or political maneuvering (or turning people against each other in anger) to force an issue. I'm less a punitive person and more about rewards. I know there is the idea that if you cause people enough pain (financially, shame, politically, etc.) you force them to make the change you want. But I don't think you really do. You make them supress anger until they get a chance to push back. I think rewards work better. Tax breaks for seriously green construction. Grants and incentives for research and development -- that kind of thing. Screaming at people and trying to shame or mock them into your way of thinking is never a way to get people to change. It just makes them really angry and they tend to do the exact opposite.

    I don't know if you're familiar with Monty Roberts -- he was the original "horse whisperer" and has written three books about his work with horses and people. Even if you're not a horse person, they are good books, because he talks about how he learned the skill of gentleness and patience with both horses and people (he did training seminars with corporations on his techniques). Horses are an "into pressure" animal, i.e. when you push against them to get them to move, they push back into you. So if you want to get them to move to the right, you push from the right, not from the left. I think when you scream and try to push people in the direction you want them to go...they push back. To get people on the renewables road, we have to go over to that other side, and show them, hey. This is great. It works. There's incentive over here. Does that make sense? I know that this is contrary to the protest movement, where confrontation and damage is the only way to physically stop construction, but you can win a battle and still lose the war. So much energy comes out of North Dakota for the entire nation that making us all look bad and making us angry with those who are asking us to provide different energy...it's a foolish method. I know my state seems unimportant and disposable, and that it may have seemed that making 700,000 people seem like a joke or monsters seems a small price to pay for a bigger cause. But again -- North Dakota is a massive supplier of energy for the nation, and most of it is oil and coal. So why make the people here -- the politicians, the leaders, the lawmakers -- the enemy? You're going to have to work with us at some point and we'll be less inclined to do so if the protest made a mess of the place.

    I could have been an ally for a peaceful protest that hadn't turned the show over to eco terrorists and online idiots. I could have viewed civil disobedience with a measure of respect had it not been so gleefully and carelessly done, and so insistent on getting out of jail free. But a protest that has lawyers that coach people on how to get arrested in a dramatic way that looks good on video in order to bankrupt a small rural county and state? Absolutely not.

    If you have a family or decide you are in a situation in which going to jail would not be a good idea, don't break the law. You can still protest, but don't break the law. Here is a generation of activists that wants to crap all over other people's property (figuratively and literally, as it turns out) and spin the narrative as some noble cause and garner all kinds of attention and build their social media platform and personal brand and maybe get a photo op with the guy who plays the Incredible Hulk or the actress who was in the copycat version of the Hunger Games, and then when it comes time to face the music, they cower and whine about how unfair and mean people are and won't someone make phone calls and send money to help them avoid paying the price? If you use breaking the law as part of the action towards your goal, be an adult and own it.

    The only way change happens is to break the law.

    Well, no. That's not the only way change happens.

    Change sometimes happens when a leader makes it so. Sometimes it happens over time because the culture is changing. Sometimes a catastrophic event happens that brings about sudden change. These are all other ways change happens. Ghange isn't always good; change can be bad as well. Change for change's sake is simply restless people bored with life.

    It's a bit tiring to keep hearing that you have to break law and attack police officers in order to make change, particularly when the same group of protesters also tries to turn and appeal to the law and say "the police broke the law!" Either you are for the law, or you are trying to break it. Breaking the law and then asking for leniency is a recognition of the validity of the law. And again, if you believe breaking the law is the only way to bring about change, then own up to the penalty.

    Back To Top

    How can you call yourself a Christian/Patriot/American?

    The involvement of the veterans who came to ostensibly stand against law enforcement as the identified enemy brought a lot of patriotic folks into conflict with each other. This happens often with identity politics, when we choose political sides based on various identities. In this case, it was veterans, as if veterans as a whole thought the same about everything.

    For people who could not be bothered to hear about some of the negative things the protesters were doing, it would seem unpatriotic to support law enforcement. They appeared corrupt and horrible! But how unpatriotic is it to stand on the side of landowners, farmers, ranchers, and local businesses who were being harmed by the protest? Would it not also be unpatriotic to say "well, some private property can't be protected because it's going to look bad for us if we do"? Patriotism isn't bad, but it's too often grown out of emotion rather than the mind, and emotions and feelings are incredibly unstable. If you love your country, you will love the laws of it, and you will demand that its laws be upheld. And if you don't love the laws of it, you will work to change the laws without hurting other citizens.

    But beyond the squabbles about who were the real patriots were other similar accusations. "How dare you call yourself a Christian?!" was often leveled at me.

    The Christian faith is not bound to political movements, ideologies, or you.

    I could understand how, if you believed that law enforcement was attacking purely peaceful people, you’d be shocked by my support of local law enforcement. But that wasn’t the case, was it? There was more to the story. And there were Christian law enforcement officers, Christians in the North Dakota government, Christian farmers and ranchers -- they were all trying to do their job (no, that doesn’t make them Nazis).

    Some clergy (mostly out of state, but a few from here) supported the protest because they wanted to stand up with the oppressed. I get that, and I appreciate that. I really do. As I've said elsewhere, initially I supported the protest until it took a violent and weird turn. But other Christians absolutely did not support the protest. Did those who did not suddenly lose their salvation? Did I, for wanting law and order followed and not bowing to the easy and attractive call to be anti-authority, lose my salvation? Are you a better Christian for having entangled yourself in a situation you didn’t fully understand, particularly those of you who watched from afar and did not live here? Did you serve the cause of Christ for doing so even when others were experiencing bad things by the very group you supported? Can you care about the weak, the downtrodden, without standing against other people to do it? Or do you simply see a line of police officers as not human, as robots without souls, that you can raise the cross of Christ against as if he did not come to save them as well? Paul was wise in telling Timothy to stay out of entanglements. Your desire to help people may be sincere, but too often it makes things worse because you rely on your own wisdom to fix things in this world.

    If you care about the people of Standing Rock, I’d encourage you to get involved AFTER this is over and all the attention glory has dissipated. Find ways to help that benefit the people there in a way that isn’t that peculiar arrogance of outsiders coming in to save the day. Talk to the leaders and people there. Go there to serve, and not take charge. And if they don't want your help, butt out. They're capable, smart people. Respect their wishes.

    And if you’re absolutely unable to understand how Christians could support law enforcement, your confusion should have prompted you to look for additional information to understand how your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ could do that, to find out why they thought so.

    The Bible is clear about who is behind feelings of anti-authority. There is an American tendency to veer towards rebelling against authority ("Don't tread on me"), and I get those feelings myself sometimes because I am a product of American culture. But those who are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven have a different call to action. We are first called to spread the Gospel, and then we are also called to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, the poor, the weak--but we are also called to submit to authority, to obey the laws of the leaders God has allowed, and to pray instead of turning to violence. We don't like to submit, but God repeatedly calls us to submit to various forms of authority -- even those we do not like. He works through our weakness, not through what we think is strength in rebellion. When we submit to authority, we get ourselves out of the way so he can do the work. And he does.

    This is why I have absolutely NO problem with a truly peaceful protest in which prayer is the weapon. Where prayer reigns, there is no anger, desire to be violent, or even desire to win. There is a desire that God's will be done. That protest WORKS. It may not be immediate, or in the way you think it should, but it is the way that WORKS. Christians know that our battle is not against flesh and blood, and so we do not do battle against people. We pray.

    But people who are anti-authoritarian get others to think the fight is against other people, against certain types of jobs, or people wearing certain types of uniforms. Their god is about personal rights, and they will fight for them. And that is why I am also wary of those who did not support the protest but have an anti-authoritarian streak of their own.

    There is an anti-authority problem on both sides of the aisle.

    Caveat: by suggesting that people not be knee-jerk anti-authority and obey laws, I fully expect a deluge of Nazi references and a slipshod attempt at a history lesson on what happens when people don't stop bad leaders. I respectfully request that we try not to exist in the extremes, and that there is a difference between authority and leaders you don't like or disagree with politically versus authority and leaders who are trying to exterminate millions of Jews in gas chambers.

    Moving on.

    There was this idea that the protest was all left-wing, but there were also far right groups involved simply for the chance to do battle with the government, to violently wrench us "back to the Constitution", ironically harming the people they want to save by doing so.

    That, too, is wrong. It is amazing our country has lasted as long as it has with the propensity for people (both left and right) who want to bring down the government and push back against any authority. We live in a great country. If you’ve ever traveled to places in the world with serious poverty (cardboard box houses, people) and serious government oppression, you would realize this to the point that you'd be thankful constantly throughout the day.

    Things are not perfect. There is always going to be some corruption, because all of us have corruption in our hearts. There is always going to be injustice, and difficulty. There is always room for improvement and repair. But our life here in this country is quite good, if you bothered to stop reading only news that tells you things are so awful, or you stopped comparing yourself to rich celebrities and wanting their lives.

    So these groups come in to “save us” from our government, to protect us from ourselves, to restore order and peace by facing off with law enforcement -- they frame it as if they are the patriot for doing so, but the reality is they only harm the lives of peaceful people in the region they decide to do battle in, ignorantly thinking that they are doing us a favor by making a mess in our back yard. They think because they have experienced a specific injustice (real or felt) that they have the rightful duty to wreak havoc for others as an activist to right their wrong, not aware they are making many more wrongs in the process. And some, frankly, just hate law, law enforcement, and any form of authority. They love an excuse for a showdown.

    It is a domino effect: when an activist gets to the point where he or she thinks they have righted the important wrongs, they’ve necessarily wronged another and that person is now going to turn to activism and start it all over again. How many good people will lose their jobs if people in the region boycott Prairie Knights Casino on Standing Rock in their own attempt to right a wrong they felt happened to the non-protest community? That is why we have laws and a legal system. As imperfect as it is, it is an attempt to avoid this perpetual activist war.

    Activism and anti-authoritarianism are self-feeding downward spirals. By the time you get to the resolution, the other side is ready to rise up from their own oppression. There is no peace from this route. It is constant battle, which is what some people, if they were honest, are looking for. Fighting for a cause is the only way they think their life has meaning. They can only find friends among people who have clear lists of enemies. They are numb except for anger, so they rely on whatever makes them angry to keep their life going.

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    What's with the #StopActivistHate hashtag?

    I am loathe to participate in hashtag wars. I find everything about hashtag and keyboard activism repulsive. You sit on your butt and feed a trend that has, as you've seen here, the real potential to ruin innocent people's lives, and you get to feel good about yourself even though you didn't create something new or give back to the world or do any actual good thing.

    Stop Activist Hate

    Just because you hold a sign that says you are all about love doesn't make it so. Just because you say online that you are all about some noble abstract idea of freedom and rights doesn't make it so. What are your actions? What did you do to help people in the long term? What is the ratio of what you consumed to what you created or gave back? What are the end results? What does the place look like a year later? What has happened with the people who were not supportive of you? Did they change their minds? Are things better? What is the collateral damage?

    Peaceful protests? By all means. Do it. Stand up for something good after you have done your research and know that you have a grasp of what is going on.

    Blackmail, harassment, violence, and social media stunts that use a protest to make yourself a mini-celebrity with a narcissism problem? That's a bunch of crap. Throw in the idea that such activists too often scream "I'm offended" and cry out for safe spaces or trigger warnings while throwing intense awfulness at others, and it's fantastically hypocritical.

    #StopActivistHate, then, is simply calling out activists who do any of the following, which exhibit not peace, prayer, love, or concern for the well-being of their fellow humans, but a desire to do damage to get a "win":

    1. Doxing: Doxing or revealing personal and private information about any person, especially addresses, account numbers, and phone numbers that can lead to harassment that makes them or their families feel unsafe or forces them to move to a different location or change phone numbers. It's one thing if a person puts information in a public social media profile, but if you do deep digging to find out information they may not have been aware was available publicly and therefore intended to keep private, that is doxing.
    2. Harming others as part of your planned action: Encouraging people to use private information to harm a person, either physically, financially, or emotionally. This could be in person or online. This includes calling on Anonymous to harm people that you don't like in the current moment, asking them to dox or embarrass them because it suits you. Beware: someday you may be the target.
    3. Attacking people instead of ideas: Using nasty words, language, threats, or racial/religious stereotypes to attack a person instead of debate ideas when having conversations. No, you don't have to tiptoe around people--be direct--but if you are disagreeing with someone about an oil pipeline, for example, calling them a c*nt has no real purpose (unless that's a hyper-meta reference to "mother earth", but I'm still going to go with a resounding NO). This does not mean you are relegated to speaking in obfuscations out of fear that your words aren't politically acceptable. Use the words. Attack ideas. But don't attack people. Granted, too many can't tell the difference and will take it personally, but their offense in this situation is not your problem.
    4. Unwilling to listen and consider other information: An unwillingness to hear an alternative explanation or view, and an extreme reaction when it is suggested there is more to the story. Truth is the greatest weapon, and you should be willing to get as many facts as possible, even those that seem to contradict. This is how you strengthen your position, by knowing weak links in your argument as well as reinforcing what turns out to be correct.
    5. Targeting law enforcement: Making law enforcement the focus of hate and anger simply because they are in the middle and trying to enforce the laws and protect private property--no. Do. Not.
    6. Causing damage: Desiring to damage property, reputation, or business, or tolerating those who have sneaked into your protest in order to do so. You must control your protest; you will be remembered by the worst in your group, and you don't want your cause overrun by anarchists.
    7. Obsessed with race/identity: Being hyper-aware of race or other various forms of identity categorizations, both in negative and positive ways. If you want to end racism, stop fixating on it. If you want equality, quit trying to divide humanity into ever smaller identity groups. Be part of the human race.
    8. Being opportunistic: Using a protest to further their own political or celebrity career, or to raise money that they personally profit off of.
    9. Uses psychological operations: Creating fake personas, profiles, or beliefs to infiltrate, lie, confuse, trick, or divide are great warfare tactics, but they're shitty human being tactics. Don't be a shitty human being. You can gather information that's been put out there publicly, but don't lie about who you are, don't troll, and don't pretend. Yes, with activism information is the weapon, but don't sink to a low level to get it. Don't twist it to coerce people's emotions. Be better, obey the law, be a fan of truth. That lasts, and doesn't destroy you.
    10. Not being able to take it right back: If you want to be an activist but are of a sensitive nature, reconsider. If, after reading this list, you decide to engage in harassing people and organizations online and elsewhere, but are not able to withstand it when others return the favor to you, you are part of the problem. You may have strong feelings about something, but you need to develop a tough skin if you're going to engage based on those feelings.

    We all lose our tempers. I do and did. And sometimes we have a weak moment and engage the trolls and say and do things online we regret. Learn from it and move on.

    Essentially, any activism in which there are "bad guys" (and actual human beings and their livelihood become the target) is screwed up. We all have the right to exist. You don't get to harm or humiliate anyone just because you happen to think you believe the right thing. If you don't like the laws, work to change them. Get into politics or some other career and work for change. If you don't like fossil fuels, help create alternative sources and change your life so you consume less. You be the change. And for the love of all that is good and holy, stop with the propaganda and spin. Stop with the mindfuck. Stop engaging people's emotions instead of their minds. Change based on emotion is often temporary and questionable.

    I am so damn tired of certain types of people thinking they are the only noble and right ones on the planet. It's like being caught in a perpetual Aaron Sorkin television show with Martin Sheen lecturing as god, patronizing us little folk who simply ought to let the rightful lords of conscience tell us how to be good, acceptable people.

    More often than not, if you talk to people, you'll realize we all have some good ideas and concerns that are the same. It's like I said earlier: we're a Venn diagram. We have overlap with others. We connect over that overlap, and have the chance for great debate because of what isn't part of that overlap. Activism that actively pushes us all apart and turns groups of people into islands is ugly, hateful, and needs to be stopped.

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    Background on who wrote this website, and why.

    My name is Julie R. Neidlinger I have not hidden behind a fake name during this protest in any form, nor have I pretended to be someone I was not. For that, I have been doxed, harassed, and attacked online. I do not work for law enforcement or any oil company. I am simply a North Dakota citizen, from Bismarck, who is furious with the lies and propaganda that have made the people and law enforcement here look like something they are not.

    First, an attempt to prove I have the right to speak.

    I have been a North Dakotan my entire life. I wrote a book about life in North Dakota because I absolutely love the state of North Dakota beyond words--the landscape, the people, the weather--all of it. I love this place.

    I have no shame for the fact that I am from North Dakota, that I am white, and that my family has farmed in this state for about 120 years. My family is German, Irish, Polish, Bohemian, and English. My siblings and I were teased and picked on in school, perhaps because we weren't rich, perhaps because of our religious beliefs--who knows. We were not at all popular, which has had the desirable effect of not caring if people like me or not.

    There is adoption in my family, and a variety of minorities including African American, Native American, and Vietnamese. We are not, nor have any of us been, rich by American standards. I grew up wearing hand-me-down clothing, we grew our own vegetables, and lived frugally. By world standards, of course, most Americans are wealthy beyond belief. My degree is in art and art history, and I have had many, many jobs in my life so far. I’m not afraid to work, and I actually prefer blue collar work because it’s good to feel tired at the end of the day because of physical labor instead of office drama. Despite what protesters have tried to claim every time I've disagreed with them or shared facts that contradicted their viewpoint, I am not nor have I ever worked for an oil company. My sister and I had a good laugh over that claim, mind you, since she is aware of my humble bank account.

    In Election 2016, I voted third party for president, and the rest of my ballot was all over the place. I had to lock down some of my social profiles down because far right folks didn't like what I had to say. I've also had to ward of far left folks for the same reasons. I am a Christian, and not merely a cultural one who goes to church because it is the tradition or who thinks God is a Republican, but one who believes the Bible to be the inspired Word of God and that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that someday I will answer to God and not to man, so my level of power in this world is really a moot point because the goal is to preach the Gospel of Christ and not have a "seat at a table" of human power. I grew up with guns (grandpa won trophies for trap shooting) and support gun ownership, but I also cry horribly when animals die and have buried dead wild birds in the yard because I do not like death and violence (except for a short period of years growing up when my sister and I used to sometimes beat the crap out of each other which, believe me, she totally deserved). I grew up without a television for most of my childhood, since my mother removed the TV from the house when one sister did not do her chores. We read a lot. I also swear too much and have my grandpa's temper.

    I say all of that, because this generation of activists with their triggers and offenses demands some kind of pedigree before they will assign you any opportunity to speak. For them, everyone does not have a right to speak. Everyone does not have an opinion. The only people who have any opinion, any chance to speak, are those who have chalked up a particular set of experiences that are deemed relevant, as if being human and experiencing life wasn't relevant enough. If you dare speak on something from outside the set (i.e. outside of related experience) your ideas, no matter how valid, are shouted down. This is why there is great difficult for some to hear the admonishment to hear and obey their elders. They don't see them as having had relevant experience in this "modern" world.

    So there is my "pedigree."

    I find it really stupid that I even have to say all of that, that I cannot simply say "hello, my name is Julie and I'd like to share my thoughts with you", but in this day and age, you have to prove you have some connection in order to have the right to speak. Too many socially concerned people cry about the right to speech, but then determine that you're "mansplaining" or "whitesplaining" or "appropriating" something and don't really have the right to speak after all. I don’t care much about my "pedigree", other than the fact that I am about to speak as a North Dakotan to people who are not from North Dakota who are attempting to use this state as a petri dish to figure out how to continue to Occupy Every Damn Thing.

    Change happens best from small things first.

    The world is changed best not from the top down, but from the bottom up. It is changed through the small things, right where you live. Mom often told us kids that we were to "bloom where you are planted." The place you are currently at, where you have roots and skin in the game, is the place where you are needed. When change is forced from the top down, you end up with some of the worst failed economic, political, and sociological movements known to mankind.

    It is easy to travel to a far off place and join a group of people you may never see again in a community that won’t hold you accountable, and scream at that community for change. It is easy to come from the outside, and to use one of your experience sets as a valid passport. You come as part of a massive group of people wholly disconnected from the place and try a top-down approach. You can’t start a bottom-up approach, because you are not rooted there.

    You do this because it is easy to tell strangers how they should be different, to chant slogans and hold signs in front of them, to say terrible things to and about them on social media. You know you will not be the one living there when you leave, when this is all “over” (if it ever really is over for the people who have to live there when you’re gone).

    Crudely put, you know you don’t shit in the kitchen, so you go somewhere else to do it.

    For months I kept seeing from protest supporters that the NoDAPL protest was the modern version of Montgomery/Selma. As I stated earlier, I fail to see the connection, beyond the visual connection protesters have attempted to make with photos of police facing off with protesters. They were emotional images (which is, sadly, enough proof now) that are powerful to be sure, but are factually dissimilar. This is not about civil rights. This is not about "separate but equal." This is not about Native Americans not being allowed to shop, use water fountains, go to school, or use facilities that white people do. This is about an oil pipeline (or so I thought), law and order, the legal process, treaty issues, and private property.

    But let’s say, for a moment, that we are going to compare the two, and call this the new Montgomery/Selma/Birmingham.

    When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, she did not do it in a far off place. She did not go somewhere else to prove her point. She did not go to another city and tell people there that they should refuse to give up their seat, and then go home and resume her regular life. She did it on her usual bus, on her way home from work, where she lived. She knew there would be consequences for her, and they would affect her daily life from then on. And the people in her community stuck with that bus boycott for over a year at great inconvenience to themselves. They didn't burn the bus depot down. They quietly took on inconvenience and harassment where they lived, changed their lives, and changed the world.

    This was a bit like the protest started originally, by people from Standing Rock. It's also why I don't have a problem with their desire, it appears, to maintain a more permanent camp (Sacred Stone Camp) or village on their private property and perhaps start an indigenous youth movement, a school, and a sustainable village. That's a cool idea. That is starting change locally, small, at a grassroots level. That's powerful.

    But when oil protesters and celebrity environmental activists fly private jets, drive cars, burn tires, burn propane, and use excessive amounts of plastic in their camp, they are going to another place, screaming at them to be better, and then going home to where they live and resuming their regular lives. They are hypocrites. They are sort of like the activist who takes part of a protest that results in businesses being vandalized, citizen's cars attacked, and police officers spit on, all the while holding a sign that “love trumps hate.” What kind of bullshit gaslighting is that? Your actions are the truth, not your signage.

    Why do you activists travel around to places you are not from? Why do you think you create change best by not being connected to the place you think needs the change? Why don't you make change where you have roots? Why do you look to the top and scream at them to give you power and what you want, scream that it isn't fair that you don't have it, setting yourself up to be a weak victim, instead of working to make changes where you are at, even if it is lower on the ladder of power? It's harder to do, of course, and not as full of glory. It means you don't chase after power, but take on powerlessness and, with quiet fortitude and a stalwart group dedicated to the movement, you make the change within the boundaries they tried to restrict you to and find that you are actually quite powerful after all.

    And why do you leave after a few months? I saw a Facebook post by a woman named Lolly Bee (who seems genuinely lovely and caring). She made a statement about why she was leaving the camp, and how her life moves in three-month cycles. My first thought: you can't create permanent change when you are only able to live an impermanent life. Why? Because you never have to live with the change you think is right, and so you never know if what you are doing actually is right.

    If you want to go to a place and create permanent change there, you need to be willing to live there, put down roots, learn the culture, connect with the people, and commit.

    Change that comes from the outside and the top down, lording over people who live there, is not good change. It is change that creates anger, fear, victimhood, and resentment. It is change that is begging for a chance to be overthrown the first chance there is, and not only overthrown, but overthrown with a great amount of glee. Like Election 2016.

    You cannot force people to change, but you can convince them.

    You cannot convince people to change when you are a stranger with no stake in their life.

    You cannot convince people to change when you don’t practice what you preach.

    You cannot convince people to change when you walk over them instead of beside them.

    You cannot convince people to change when you face off with them and scream at them instead of offering a handshake and cleaning up the place to make it better.

    You cannot convince people to change when you refuse to speak their cultural language but instead mock it.

    As I explained earlier, coming into North Dakota with chaos and disrespect for private property and law and order is the absolute opposite way to change people here. But, of course, that’s not really a concern for those who view the small, bottom-up-approach as a failure. For them, the community is merely the agar in the petri dish. You use it to grow something that you’ll find useful, and you’ll toss it out when you’re done.

    When you ignore the community, you're not making the world a better place, bit by bit. You're making it an angrier, more divided place, bit by bit.

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