'Snow job' for Jacksonville protesters was only a matter of time - Florida Politics

‘Snow job’ for Jacksonville protesters was only a matter of time

Until Friday, most people outside the circles of regular protesters and Duval County Republican Party activists didn’t know the name “Gary Snow.”

Bet they know it now.

Snow, who recently came to Jacksonville by way of Chicago, has a unique shtick.

Under the aegis of supporting President Donald Trump, Snow makes a habit of showing up at protest events of the “Indivisible” sort, waving a giant Trump flag and bellowing into a megaphone.

The effect is of a cartoonish heel, a wrestling character from the 20th Century.

Snow is real performance art: an attempt to lampoon and discredit the energy of left-liberal protests.

Nonetheless, Snow is also a big guy — big enough to appear physically imposing to smaller people, for sure.

Throughout his time in Jacksonville, Snow was able to make it work, with successful provocation outside a Bill Clinton event in Jacksonville in October, effective disruption of a protest of Rep. John Rutherford, as well as other such events.

Ironically, one of his earliest provocations was an August protest put forth by the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition.

Ironic as it may have been, it was a JPC protest that went sideways Friday night, where protesters were physically subjugated then arrested — something now being reported by the London Daily Mail.

What makes this particular protest in Hemming Park notable: the police approach that seemed more akin to the laissez-faire handling of squabbles between regulars convening in the plaza, than simply managing a protest.

Permitted to romp in and through the protest, Snow stood shoulder to shoulder with speakers, waving a Trump flag and provoking them.

At the 1:47 mark of a video posted on the Daily Mail page, it appears Snow nudged a protester into a police officer, seemingly a catalyst for the resulting chaos.

[NOTE: Snow denies having nudged anyone.] 

Snow’s Facebook page indicates that whatever happened (certainly the “Hemming Park 5” will get their days in court, both for these criminal actions and potential civil actions), he accomplished what he set out to do.

“They said I was a ‘lone Trump supporter’ at the beginning. …. They said that my support for our President was irrelevant. …. They said I would never matter. …….. SEEMS I GOT THEIR ATTENTION NOW!!!!!!”

“I don’t have sympathy for somebody when they literally stand up in front of police officers in a public place and scream in a megaphone ‘[Expletive Deleted] THE POLICE.'”

And so forth.

For what it’s worth, this protest is in the books. There will be a number of court hearings that will seem less urgent with every passing news cycle after Friday night’s conflagration.

But the “Snow Effect” will change future protests.

For one thing, the JSO will to have to figure out crowd control — something that has been loose during events which Snow has attended, to the point that many on the left are suspicious as to why.

Another thing, the left needs to begin getting serious about its own security.

A buffer of people around speakers could ensure individuals like Snow couldn’t disrupt proceedings time and again. If they did that, what happened Friday may have been discouraged.

I write this as someone who witnessed a lot of protests, especially of American foreign wars. And as someone with no illusions about how much such protests actually accomplish.

A few dozen people chanting in Hemming Park aren’t in a position to affect American military adventurism — especially when even avatars of the corporate-media left, such as Rachel Maddow, covered those strikes with all the enthusiasm of the opening segment on First Coast Living.

The protest means nothing in terms of changing the minds of anyone in a position to make policy. However, what went on at this protest presages a new era of protest in Jacksonville, one in which law enforcement and State Attorney Melissa Nelson will deal with the chasm between what those on the left want and what a center-right political culture can actually provide.

Politicians in Northeast Florida talk about public safety much more than they do personal liberties, and that will necessarily be the default reaction to this and future protests ending in booking sheets and arrest reports.

____

An irony attendant to all of this: Trump rallies last summer were notable for the inevitable “throw ’em out” riff targeted toward protesters in the crowd.

As he was when he launched his Presidential campaign, Trump was prescient in taking that approach to protest.

He knew that the bare-knuckled politics that he would come to embrace necessarily would find analogues everywhere else.

Thus, he controlled rally spaces as if they were Trump casinos — prioritizing crowd control above other concerns.

William Burroughs famously wrote that “control needs control to control.”

What clearly happened Friday: protesters lost control of their protest, leaving vulnerabilities ready for Snow to exploit.

Again, they will encounter such provocation.

If so, what will their strategy be next time?

21 Comments

  1. There needs to be barricades for opposing protesters just as there are in other cities. We should not need to defend our democratic right to free speech and have to defend ourselves after being shoved into a police officer.

  2. JSO’s allowing of “Snow” (real name Nix) to manipulate the proceedings to the point it looked like collusion is disgraceful. JSO claimed it was there to protect the protestors. Nonsense. They were there for the opposite purpose. Court cases will ensue and Jacksonville’s mayor will initiate a fee to cover the costs for their lack of leadership.

      1. HI Alice, sorry for you of course. But where did he go to high school? Where is he from originally? He was living in Chicago before he came to Florida.

  3. There are two witnesses that a police officer stated “”I’m gonna deck that guy in the face before the nights up”. regarding Connal. The said officer then beat up Connel during the altercation. This is aggravated assault by a police officer on a civilian. It is a felony and needs to be investigated by the FL State Attorney and the FBI

  4. First off Gary Snow supports Trump, and the Police. He is AWESOME!!!!! You liberals are a bunch of cry babies that can’t handle Trump winning. Get over it and move on

    1. Trump “winning”!?
      Where!?
      His immigration policy failed twice, his tax reform the past, his health care reform was a joke, he only got his supreme court justice by the Republicans changing the rules.
      He’s got The lowest ratings of any president in history this early in the game, at this rate he’s going to golf in vacation more than any president as well. Let me know when the winning starts, because it sure as hell hasn’t started yet.
      He’s a failure on every level and so are his supporters.

  5. As a member of the Tea Party, we marched, rallied, and protested by the MILLIONS across this country for several years. Not a single arrest. When you act like animals, you get treated like animals. The Left needs to grow up!

    1. “The left” you say needs to grow up. Really? I’m a senior citizen who has participated in protest rallies since the 60’s. I’m a whopping 5’2″ tall and this POS shoved (not nudged) me in the back hard enough to knock me off my feet at another rally here in town recently. So WHO needs to grow up?

    2. No Val1224. YOU need to grow up, wise up! The real animals were not peaceful protesters in Jacksonville, but vicious right wing instigators. Trump is not only criminal, evil and incompetent, but he has unleashed racism and violence. You don’t “get over” a dictator menacing your country.

  6. I have participated in the Indivisible rallies where William G. Nix (aka Gary Snow) inserted himself into our group. We ask the officer who was there, keeping his eye on things, if he would remove Nix from our group. The officer replied “he has the right to be here too”. The officer refused to separate him from within our group. Nix called us names, put his phone (video recording us) in our faces and taunted us to fight with him. You can’t really expect young males to accept such harassment when our own police force wouldn’t do anything to separate Nix from our group protesting Friday night.

    1. It’s interesting how you want every right granted in the constitution but those same rights denied to someone who is not welcome at your protest. You’re in a public space which means anyone can chant anything, record anything they choose and meangle among your protest.

      I don’t particularly agree with your rallies but as long as you peacefully assemble… Rick on.

    2. Yes, we experienced exactly the same thing with “Gary Snow” when he came down here to Volusia County to harass us. He tried to trigger people and tried to get them to respond and get angry, but it didnt work that well. This is what he does. It is clearly provoking.

      Where was this Merridel?

      1. The rally was at Senator Rubio’s office in Jacksonville. Snow also blew his bullhorn which starled the woman next to me, causing her to drop her phone breaking the screen. He walks around speaking into his phone stating that, when we refused to engage with him, that we were “Not Allowed” to speak to him. Another attempt to agitate us into a confrontation.

  7. The next tactic should be to bash his head in, or dox him again like Nocturnus Libertus.

  8. You need security. If the police won’t provide it, you must do it yourselves. Put people like Nix in the position of having to offend if they want to start violence. Assign people who can handle physical threats in a quiet, legal and disciplined manner to keep his kind away from your speakers. Make sure video of the proceedings is publicly available and is not suppressed.

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