National Guard Operation: Ignite Racial Tensions
Written by NOLAFugees Staff
Friday, 09 March 2007 11:42
The National Guard yesterday announced a new mission as part of their patrol of still-unstable areas of New Orleans.
“After witnessing the fallout from the Danziger Bridge shooting arrests, and the racial polarization surrounding the trial, our troops wanted to do their part to add fuel to the fire,” said Lt. Col Pete Schneider, National Guard spokesman.
Using as a blueprint the December 26, 2005 St. Charles Avenue shooting by the NOPD of Anthony Hayes, a knife-wielding 38 year-old African-American with a history of mental illness, a National Guardsman in the Lower 9th Ward on March 8, 2007, gunned down Terry Burton, a BB gun-wielding 53 year-old African American with a history of mental illness.
“We witnessed the smoldering resentment from the black community toward the NOPD after the Hayes killing, which was proceeded shortly thereafter by Mayor Nagin’s divisive ‘Chocolcate City’ remarks,” Schneider said, referring to Nagin’s ill-received Martin Luther King Day speech in January of 2006.
Schneider says he hopes that Operation: Ignite Racial Tensions will induce similar reciprocating hostility, in that once the Burton killing is ruled a justifiable homicide, the black community will voice sufficient enough outrage to provoke a strong backlash from the white community, "producing a self-sustaining cycle of mistrust."
“Anyone in the military will tell you,” Schenider added. “It’s all about hearts and minds.”