ROCKETS' RED GLARE

I was living in Bloomington, IN when they demolished the Hoosier Dome (aka RCA Dome) in nearby Indianapolis and I kind of regret not making the drive to watch it come down. After considering it, I decided that it was a little too white trashy / low brow to drive an hour to gawk at a giant building imploding. But what the hell, it's a spectacle and not the kind of thing one sees very often so why not.

In that spirit, I won't make the same mistake again by missing the opportunity to watch St. Louis burn to the ground in a couple weeks when the grand jury announces that we don't even need to bother with the formality of a trial before letting Saint Wilson off the hook.

This case is following a very familiar pattern, with details extremely friendly to the Official Version of Events being leaked at regular intervals while dragging the Grand Jury process out long enough, the police hope, to give everyone a chance to lose interest or forget. Mind you, details like the victim's blood being found on the police car don't actually prove anything about the Official Story. They are the kind of details one would cherry pick to support it while conveniently ignoring other questions like, "If you fired twice in the car, why was it necessary to shoot four more times when he was 15 feet away?"

But no matter. The point – one we've had reinforced quite often lately – is that the amount of force one uses to retaliate against a black male who makes you Feel Threatened (legitimately or otherwise) cannot be questioned, second-guessed, or challenged. Once you determine that you are Afraid for Your Life, basically you can pull out a gun and keep pulling the trigger until you feel sufficiently less afraid or run out of ammunition, whichever comes first.

I'm not going to lie, I hope the good people of Ferguson raze that place. Some places are so terrible that there's no compelling case for their continued existence. And all the while we will have to listen to White America talk about Looting and Those People and Like Animals and sometimes I think maybe it would be best if we just leveled the whole country and started over.

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31 Responses to “ROCKETS' RED GLARE”

  1. Xynzee Says:

    There's a pretty good take down on the SCOTUS rulings that would both hang and exonerate St Wilson in this case, emphasis on exonerate St Wilson, on Daily Kos.

    The take away being if you're black the cops can shoot you whether you surrender or not.

    Ultimately I ask the question, if the bar is set so low for a cop to shoot a suspect that surrender becomes moot, then why exactly shouldn't black males simply arm themselves and fire upon police at will? Hell, why shouldn't any sane individual start shooting cops as they see fit out of survival instinct? It's what we use to justify killing sharks.

  2. Daphne Says:

    Me too except not quite.

  3. HoosierPoli Says:

    Riots have ONLY ever solidified the white power structure and further hollowed out black society, unless I'm missing a key case somewhere. From the slave revolts to the race riots of the 60s, the howling, utterly justified fury that occasionally comes roaring out of the underclass still only rejustifies their continued marginalization. The last leader who really understood that was very cleverly murdered by a white supremacist who understood how dangerous Dr. King really was. The movement hasn't really recovered since.

  4. R E G Says:

    Rooting for a riot? I understand the emotion .. the anger, frustration, the need to demonstrate some kind of power, even when it's hopeless.

    If the TV cameras show up even better ,,, you make the news!

    But wrecking your local corner store and pizzeria changes nothing. The next day people wake up to even less of a neighbourhood.

    We own a business in the older, shabbier, part of our city. When I see a riot on TV I stop thinking about the "cause" and start worrying if the cashiers made it out the back door. An angry mob doesn't choose targets rationally.

  5. J.D. Says:

    So if the good people of Ferguson raze that place, what's next? I'm guessing most of the residents don't have the disposable income to just pack up and start over somewhere else.

    "Burn it down" is a compelling reaction when hearing about a place that's so grossly fucked up that murder is (apparently) legal if you feel threatened by someone. But reality isn't just a simple satisfaction of the id.

    An analogy: that reaction is like the Republican reaction to government. It doesn't work well, so fuck it, drain it of resources, and minimize its influence whenever possible. A more nuanced, more difficult, but ultimately more productive viewpoint is to identify the ways it doesn't work well and try to fix them. Why is Ferguson different?

  6. Emerson Dameron Says:

    Expert witnesses George Zimmerman and John Derbyshire are ready to testify, just in case.

  7. Skipper Says:

    Not to worry. If we continue on our current trajectory, the entire human race has about 100 years — and not good ones — before mass extinction; 150 if you're an optimist. Ferguson is just a little burp on that path. I'd worry more about the trains full of toxic and explosive petrochemicals rumbling near your house on antiquated rail infrastructure.

  8. Tim H. Says:

    HoosierPoli, wasn't James Earl Ray paid by Saint Louis business-creatures? I'm sure there's no end of richly deserving folks there, but Murphy says a lot of people who don't have it coming will suffer.

  9. bjk Says:

    The official version is the version promoted by Comcast, NY Times, Eric Holder, Don Lemon, etc etc. That's the official version. If you control the microphone, you are the official version. The reason the official version failed is that it fell apart on its own. But don't worry, the Guilty White Defendant will eventually be found. It might take another twenty years, but eventually, after sifting through all the local crime reports, the keepers of the official version will eventually find the perfect white defendant. But not yet. Not for lack of trying.

  10. Andrew Laurence Says:

    Michael Dunn didn't get away with it.

  11. anotherbozo Says:

    "…sometimes I think maybe it would be best if we just leveled the whole country and started over."

    It's the ultimate sad comment on our state of affairs that only the politically perspicacious would entertain such a thought, even wistfully. I'm afraid Americans are too drugged by their distractions to make a real assessment of our predicament. My sister in Kern County, California, didn't even hear about the NYC Global Warming march last month. Most whites don't know why black people are complaining so much (per "The White Project" on PBS). Most Americans think government works for their benefit but is just mired in partisan squabbles. IF they think about government at all when they're not tweeting or friending or listening to the latest bubblegum music or just struggling to make the rent. There's a pattern of distraction and anesthetization of the public that you'd swear it was coordinated by a select committee somewhere. Burn the place down? Why? Isn't this country still the greatest place on earth? Didn't we produce the iPhone 6 and X-Men movies?

  12. Greg Says:

    BURN DOWN FOR WHAT

  13. SeaTea Says:

    Wow. That was some dark shit. Even for Ed, which is saying something.

  14. Brutus Says:

    Two riot and razing posts in a row? Might be a stuck needle on the LP.

    The injustice of occurrences in Ferguson, MO, is certainly egregious enough to boil over anyone’s misanthropy, but hoping that residents will destroy their own community (and presumably start over) seems to me overreach. It also has the whiff of Biblical cleansing, which almost never ends well. Ferguson is only one instance of many rotten barrels needing to be purged, but when revolution comes, the replacement players are often no better or even worse than the originals. I’m not defending the status quo, exactly, but merely reminding anyone reading to be careful what one wishes for in case he or she gets just that.

  15. c u n d gulag Says:

    I'm against violence as a solution.
    I always have been.
    I always will be.

    Until the time of the Have-Not's Revolution, that is – coming soon, I hope.

  16. Spiny Norman Says:

    Tomorrow you're homeless. Tonight it's a blast.

  17. Chicagojon Says:

    I woke up this morning to news of Chicago police shooting and killing a 17 year old. Finally got around to reading up on it and his race hasn't yet been provided. He was reported as breaking into cars (sounds like "acting suspiciously" to me) and had a knife. Police followed him in their car, got backup to try to pin him in-between cars, he slashed at a tire (and "damaged the windshield" — um…right). Apparently none of the cops had a taser with them so their only recourse was to say 'drop the knife' and start shooting — hopefully after a momentary break to allow for gravity.

    I agree with rioting in Ferguson. IMO saying 'but rioting just destroys the neighborhood around you' and thinking that there's a better way without destroying/rebuilding is like thinking that radical change in the US government is possible via the voting system. Sometimes you have to burn things down and have a revolution in order to force real change.

  18. negative 1 Says:

    The only reason 'marches' function is because of the implied threat — next time we do more than sing, we bring torches.
    I'm siding with Ed — yeah, 'violence never solved anything' so, um, how has peaceful resistence worked out lately? Sounds to me like the only problem anyone has described is that the riots were too contained. We need someone to point out the wealthier neighborhoods or better yet which suburbs to torch. Any power structure will ultimately only respond when they're threatened, right now they just don't feel threatened.

  19. Mo Says:

    Am not sure riots really scare the bejeezus out of the oligarchy, as they seem to have developed the tools to suppress those desperate, poor, and so disenfranchised that rioting is the only release. Easy targets. Reading the accounts of the various peasant revolts in past centuries is pretty gruesome. Paying your executioner by the piece for the numbers of eyes gouged out, tongues severed?

    What doeswork to scare the jammies off entrenched wealthy conservatives, now that tumbrels, pitchforks, and the guillotine are so-o-o yesterday? Anyone? Anyone?

  20. Mo Says:

    Seems time once again to inflict a fave J.K. Galbraith quote:

    People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. … the privileged feel … that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-given right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing compared with that of the rich.

    And I love how the 1% enlists conservatard bagger Republicans to fight for them. Guns! God! Gays! Feminazis! Get'em, boys!

    It give me ghoulish pleasure contemplating someone living in a trailer making campaign contributions to some rich-boy politician.
    Dan Sullivan in Alaska is a nice example.

  21. Mo Says:

    Last post, I swear. But I think about this topic a lot.

    sometimes I think maybe it would be best if we just leveled the whole country and started over.

    The Chinese did just that, in the 1950s. Only about 30,000,000 died in the resulting famine, not counting the dead and massive infrastructure damage from the previous three decades of warfare.

    It's pretty gruesome reading. And now their oligarchy is right back, only they're CCP princelings instead of mandarins.

    Global warming, you say?

  22. J. Dryden Says:

    It's all very well to count the costs of "burning it all down"–it's all very well to point out that riots are self-injurious, that revolutions backfire, and so on. All that is said on such subjects may be–no, hell, it *is*–true.

    So maybe we shouldn't be rooting for it.

    But unless we're prepared to do what it takes to stop it from happening, don't bitch about how we shouldn't want it to happen. By doing nothing–by letting Ferguson's powers-that-be get the fuck away with it, by letting Texas enact Jim Crow legislation, by denying the existence of racial privilege in the face of a mountain of evidence (and experience) to the contrary–we're goddamned well rooting for it to happen. Tacit endorsement is still endorsement. Ed's just getting tired of the warm-up act–let's get the Stones out here, Altamont!

  23. Mo Says:

    J. Dryden –

    Maybe we should be chipping away at economics as de facto politics. You've read Piketty, right? Something that deserves some serious thinking is what appears to be a correlation between the disruption of oligarchic economic power following WWI and the implementation of social welfare government.
    The rich lost piles of loot and were scared witless about communism. It seems to be the combination of the two – loss of wealth combined with social riots and unrest – that was stabilized by implementation of government provision of various forms of safety net for the 99%.

    How to take their money away and make them cry?

  24. Mo Says:

    Capitalists are starting to notice that the duck is giving less milk.

    Love the cartoon.

  25. rachel Says:

    i can think of much worse things than ebola becoming airborne and wiping out 70% of the country. things won't improve overnight, of course, but feudalism didn't die in 1367 either.

  26. Arslan Says:

    Sorta related: http://nobsrussia.com/2014/10/21/those-people/

    About riots, thugs, and bad culture.

  27. mothra Says:

    Didn't we produce the iPhone 6

    Nope. That would actually be the Chinese.

  28. Major Kong Says:

    Things are never so screwed up that we can't make them worse.

  29. Mo Says:

    In case anyone is still in this theater:

    J.K. Galbraith on revolution:

    The word revolution comes easily to the tongue; revolutions are always being threatened. If we knew how hard it is to have one, we might use the word less, and conservatives might fret less about the danger. They are far, far safer than they know.

    Three conditions are absolutely essential. There must be determined leaders, men who know exactly what they want and who also know that they have everything to gain and everything to lose. Such men are rare. Revolutions attract men who have an eye for the main chance.

    The leaders must have disciplined followers, people who will accept orders, carry them out without too much debate. This too is unlikely; revolutionaries have a disconcerting tendency to believe they should think for themselves, defend their own beliefs. There is opportunity and attraction for windbags. These cannot be allowed. Such men will be crushed while they debate.

    And, above all, the other side must be weak. All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door. The violence of revolutions is the violence of men who charge into a vacuum. So it was in the French Revolution. So itwas in the Russian Revolution in 1917. So it was in the Chinese Revolution after World War II. So it was not in 1848.

    Chapter on Marx in The Age of Uncertainty

  30. Xynzee Says:

    As much as we like the idea of making our tormentors pay for their sins with their blood, we cannot discount the work of Ghandi and his influence on MLK. It's impossible to claim a moral high ground, when beating someone's head in with a stick when that person is offering no resistance other than standing before you and allowing them to beat them.

    I doubt even Fuxed Noise could spin it for very long about those dangerous blah people in an event like that. Ghandi was able to achieve his results without TV beaming the images into people's living rooms, in the internet age good luck keeping the images off of some media channel.

  31. zebbidie Says:

    but when revolution comes, the replacement players are often no better or even worse than the originals.

    The slaves of the Southern United States would agree with you whole-heartedly.