This image is so spot-on perfect you might almost think it was staged. But it wasn’t. There’s footage to prove it. It’s about an old man who was pushed a little too far.
There’s an old saying that sometimes finds its way onto Tshirts: “Don’t Piss Off Old People The Older We Get The Less Life In Prison Is A Deterrent”
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There’s a kernel of truth to that statement… and for one guy in Panama, it was more than a kernel. It’s the story behind THIS photo:
The setting is Panama.
The situation is an environmentalist blocking a road over a mine they object to. The blockade isn’t just some out-of-the-way road or small-scale disruption.
Thousands of Panamanians have been protesting a mine contract the government signed in October, and tensions have been boiling over.
Here is the issue that served as the background for the conflict depicted in the image:
For weeks, tens of thousands of protestors have vented their fury at a controversial mining contract given to Minera Panama, the local subsidiary of a Canadian mining company, to extract copper, a key component in electric car batteries.
The contract allows Canada’s First Quantum Minerals to restart an open-pit copper mine surrounded by rain forest for the next 20 years, with the possibility of extending for another 20 years.
Environmentalists say the mine could contaminate drinking water and devastate tracts of the 32,000 acres the company negotiated use of, in exchange for yearly payments of $375 million.
Panama’s government has promised, however, that the mine will bring thousands of jobs in addition to the badly needed revenue. First Quantum Minerals did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on the protests. — CNN
As you can see in this clip [graphic content warning], one man in his 70s was not happy about having protesters hold him hostage.
Currently, there are protest Nation wide in Panama against the government.
Many roads have been blocked preventing people from traveling freely and holding up food supplies causing super markets to run out of food.
In this case, the road was blocked by teachers on strike. The… pic.twitter.com/zEbFttx3ie
— Luke L (@lukeluktor) November 9, 2023
His path was blocked by obstacles laid down on the road. A log and some tires. He got out of his car and went to move them. He wasn’t messing around: he had his handgun ready.
As you can see in the video, things went sideways in a hurry. In the end, two of the protesters responsible for the blockade were shot.
This video doesn’t quite catch the shots being fired, or whether the protester with the long stick (who was one of the two killed) and the other guy who had been standing nearby threatened the shooter.
What could have set him off? It’s anybody’s guess. But these protesters had not been making any friends for themselves.
Medical appointments missed?
Sounds like COVID lockdowns all over again.
Some people are already running pretty close to their breaking point.
One person has been arrested in connection with the deaths, state prosecutors said in a post on social media platform X, without giving further information about the individual.
Road blocks set up by protesters have caused up to $80 million in daily losses to businesses, according to Panama’s association of company executives, with schools closed nationwide for over a week and more than 150,000 medical appointments missed.
The Association of Teachers of Panama (ASOPROF) said on X that the perpetrator of the shooting is a U.S. citizen, though this could not immediately be confirmed by the authorities. — Reuters
Another account of the closures add more detail to that picture:
Weeks of road blocks set up by protesters have shut down the country, preventing farmers from bringing crops to market and sequestering Panamanians in their homes. According to Panama’s association of company executives, the standstill inflicts $80 million in daily losses to local businesses. Celebrations to mark Panama’s independence from Colombia in 1903 were also widely cancelled last week. — CNN
It doesn’t take much creativity to imagine a variety of possible explanations this particular blockade could have been so deeply personal to him as to bring him to that breaking point.
Waving the stick around in an already tense situation obviously did not help de-escalate the situation at all. We need look no further than the homicide killing of Paul Kessler with a megaphone when he approached a different kind of protest to understand that a blunt object can present just as serious a threat as any more conventional lethal weapon.
For all the opinions floating around on the interwebs, it will be for the courts to determine whether the events here are best understood to be murder or self-defense. And no amount of self-righteous online pontificating will change that.
In the meantime, this is a good reminder of the FAFO principle.
When you use tactics to inflame and anger a population to achieve a political goal, you have already stepped outside the boundaries of civilized and decent interaction you open up a whole world of possible responses from the other side. Few of those responses are good.
Next time, maybe think twice before poking the bear.
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