Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe said last week that he was heading to the Standing Rock Indian reservation, and on Monday, checked in with a brief update urging would be anarchists to stay home and promising he’d be giving a more in-depth report of his time there to a “national media outlet.” We guessed at the time it might be Rolling Stone, and we were right. Blythe’s first-hand account of going to the North Dakota to protest and offer supplies to Native Americans is a lengthy read, but also an important one. There may be other accounts of activists heading their to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, but this is the first one from the point of view of someone as relateable as Blythe.
It would be hard to sum up Blythe’s trip, and if you’re looking for action-packed tales of fighting cops, or more police brutality involving protesters getting sprayed with water cannons in 20 degree weather, that’s not going to happen, You will, however, read exactly what it was like to be a peaceful protester, some tense moments that could have led to violence against the protesters, and in short, how to behave if you are intent on being a peaceful protester. Here’s about as tense as things got, with Blythe debating on whether or not to cross a river to join a protest happening:
After about 45 minutes the group across the shore had grown to about three hundred people, all singing, dancing, and praying at the base of the hill. “I think I’m going to have to go across,” I said to Joseph. “Yeah, I’ve been thinking the same thing,” he said, “We have enough guys watching on this side of the river now.” I looked at the river and thought It would be cold, but I could definitely swim that no problem if they opened fire. I thought about how my digital cameras would be ruined, and decided that although it would suck, I would get over it. I thought about tear gas and jail, both of which I have experienced and certainly haven’t enjoyed, yet in that moment neither particularly scared me.
He decided not to cross the shore, and it wasn’t really about being an activist. He does get to see bean bags, rubber bullets and pepper spray rounds that had been used on protesters earlier in the week. He also praises the non-violent protesting, stating that if this were to happen in a major city, there would be “massive riots.” The whole article is fascinating,