Dear Reporters in Ferguson, Missouri: Three quick tips. 1. Stand your ground.

Reporters/Pundits: Please. Stand your ground.  Exercise your rights.

When Police riot

When the police riot

Tip #2. Stop talking to buffoons leading the law breaking.  Ask hard questions to elected leaders.  But first, Repeat Tip #1.  Here’s why it’s important.

On my way to answer a ticket in Traffic Court last week, I walked past roughly ten miserable people, some fanning themselves in one of San Diego’s unusual mixes of hot weather and sweltering humidity. As I reached for the court door, everyone quickly spoke up,

Group: “You can’t go in, you can’t go in! Court is in session!”

For a minute I thought they meant Juvenile Court (although the rules are loosening about confidentiality in California about that). I asked,

“Is this Juvenile Court?
I was looking for Traffic Court.” Almost in unison they answered,

“No, it’s Traffic Court. But Court’s in session so you can’t go in.”

Knowing the law and my rights, answered,

“No, it’s a public court,” then opened the door and stepped into a delightfully cool, air-conditioned interior. No one followed.  There were about 50 empty seats.  Of the seats filled, all were either by attorneys or law enforcement, and the occasional, represented litigant.


court bailiffs sometimes act top protect bad judges – rather than make sure the courtroom is safe for everyone.

Was immediately bum rushed by a heavy set bailiff.

He seemed a little excited.

Bailiff: “You can’t be here, Court is in session!  You have to wait outside. Do you have a case now, or later.”

Me: “I have a case at….”

Bailiff: (still excited) “You can’t be here now, court is in session!”

I didn’t move. He didn’t move. We stared at each other for a few moments. Then I said,

“Right. Court is in session. I have an appearance, and this is a public – not a private, court.  I have a right to be here. I have a case but it doesn’t matter whether I do or don’t. I could be here as a member of the public. Because this is a public court.”

(Out of the corner of my eye I noticed an attorney watching, sheepishly. He did not speak up.)

Bailiff: “But you’re not answering my question!”
Me: “That is my answer.”

The bailiff glared at me a moment, then snapped,

“Don’t sit in the front row.”

I sat down in one of the 50 available seats, half expecting the sweaty, hot people fanning themselves outside, would realize I was a lot more comfortable than they were, and come on in.

They didn’t.

But I digress.  Exercising one’s rights, remains important.   For other details of bailiffs violating civil rights click,  here. was created due to media refusal to cover the nation’s largest, busiest court.  (Unless there’s blood running down the driveway).  When blood runs down the driveway reporters will talk to those who are in large part, benefiting from what’s wrong with the courts. Most of the time that is attorneys, who will not out those who render the profession in a bad light.  This is problematic as one can’t change what one refuses to address.)

The obvious is worth repeating: Stand your ground. Talk to those able to end the Missouri police’s armed and dangerous, police riot of power. Stop interviewing the buffoonish police chief and please, please please begin asking the hard questions to elected officials.

Tip #3.  Do not turn the story of an unarmed black kid shot down in broad daylight, into a cringe worthy recording of one reporter refusing to exercise his rights, and immediately positioning himself in an exceptionally subservient manner.  Followed by penning the rough equivalent of,

“OMG – I was arrested!”

Also:  Please reporters.  Would you please stop with the selfies?

People’s lives are at stake. It’s really bad form, yet perhaps expected when 90% of media (media is separate from “journalism”) is owned by Five corporations.

Now for the obvious:  “You don’t know what it’s like.”  Incorrect.  Have had the occasion of  being roughed up by the police (eons ago) which sometimes happens when people choose to exercise their rights.  It comes under the heading, “S*it happens.”  But the point is:  It’s on the citizens/residents to demand those breaking the laws, stop.

That includes times when the law breaking thugs are those wearing badges.


About bonnie russell

It's not about’s always about people.
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