Alejandro Natividad: America’s “Tank Man”

Like countless Americans, Alejandro Natividad was ordered by an emissary of the coercive caste to prostrate himself, and threatened with summary execution if he refused. Unlike most in that situation, however, Natividad refused to humiliate himself — and his courageous act of resistance was captured on video.

“This is one man talking to another,” Natividad, a resident of La Quinta, California, pleaded with the costumed assailant. “There is a man behind that badge. That is a coward pointing a gun at me.”

In the interest of “officer safety,” two more deputies arrived at the scene, with their guns drawn and ready to kill without knowing anything about the situation beyond the call for assistance from a member of their tribe.

Natividad, who was not suspected of a crime, told the Free Thought Project that he and his friend were accosted by a deputy at a stop light after his friend, the driver, began “acting weird.” The encounter, predictably, escalated to the point where the deputy drew his gun and demanded that Natividad and his friend prone themselves out on the sidewalk.

“I wasn’t under arrest,” continued Natividad, and “the deputy even admits that I did nothing yet had a gun pointed at me. Where’s the logic in that? I was afraid and if I was going to get harmed I’d much rather take it standing than on my face.”

Natividad eventually suffered the indignity of being handcuffed and stuffed in the back of a police car, but was released without charges.

One terrified but courageous man who refuses to submit can compel tyrants to retreat. That was true — albeit temporarily — at Tienanmen Square in June 1989, when Wang Wei Lin, the much- and properly lauded “Tank Man,” stared down an armored column armed only with the same strength of will displayed by Alejandro Natividad. May their courage become contagious.

(My thanks to Butler Shaffer for reminding me of Wang Wei Lin’s name — and to the Free Thought Project for breaking this story.)

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3:10 pm on October 27, 2014

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