By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) has been using some surprising tactics to keep the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) off the November ballot. True to their moniker, their outbursts have disrupted Board of Canvasser and other official meetings with shouting and up-ended furniture. Though nothing of their reasoning is especially noteworthy (though perhaps newsworthy) one of their tactics that is especially disturbing is their manipulation of children as foot soldiers in their war on civil rights.
Political consultant and blogger Chetly Zarko has followed BAMN's antics for months. BAMN has made a habit of using students in their protests from the beginning, and has marched them (OK, bused them) to Lansing more than once when they should have been in school. Just last week BAMN was connected to a student protest in Detroit presumably against the loss of a Free Dress Day. Eight students were arrested. On Saturday, April 1, BAMN showed up in Lansing again with 12 buses, 500 people including students to shout slogans and bang on windows (eventually breaking one). Their use of children is analogous to former Liberian president Charles Taylor's using children as soldiers in that country's civil war.
Though Taylor's recruiting children into his army with lethal outcomes is more reprehensible than BAMN's accessorizing their protests with students, both situations demonstrate the extremes desperate political activists will go to further their cause By Any Means Necessary -- even if it includes abusing children. BAMN uses children for its dirty work and as decorations, hoping their participation will pull sympathetic strings from politicians and voters alike.
Children are not adults. They haven't the education or experience to discern motivations or bias. Regardless what Denver-area teach Jay Brennish may believe they haven't internalized the processes of critical thought necessary to reason their way to informed opinion, or perhaps even to recognize it. Studies have shown adolescent brains have under-developed frontal lobes, used for reasoning, and depend more on other parts of the brain controlled by emotion. This certainly makes them more easily manipulated than adults.
BAMN steals pages from the play-books of the most despicable regimes in modern times -- manipulating children to be foot soldiers as Liberia's Charles Taylor and others have done, and hiding behind and among them as terrorists hide behind and among civilians. These actions are criminal at one extreme and inexcusable at the other.
Though it's unlikely BAMN will be sued for violating children's civil rights it would be best if they voluntarily refrained from using them in future demonstrations, but that's unlikely since they are desperate and their tactics keep them in the press.