SCREAMING AT A WALL

On a day on which police managed to take into custody alive a suspected terrorist who fired off dozens of rounds at officers, hitting two, we have another video of a unarmed black man with his hands in the air being killed by police. On cue we have America's millions of poorly educated white cop apologists rushing to excuse it by weaving a narrative around the (idiotic on its face) assumption that the police version of events represents the truth, and the whole truth.

I don't argue with people about these incidents anymore because I've found that if "He was walking away" is all the justification an individual needs for the police to kill an unarmed person, then my time would be better spent doing something more productive like talking to walls or excavating the lint from my navel. If that is your threshold for when you think the state should feel justified in killing someone, your worldview is skewed beyond repair and there's nothing for the rest of us in society to do except wait patiently for you to die and begin rebuilding whatever you haven't managed to destroy of our national fabric.

God knows we have ample opportunity to reflect on the matter since we average about one of these incidents per week at this point. And I've simply given up on trying to make people who feel no empathy whatsoever toward people of different races – see how long it takes before terms like "animals" and "savages" make an appearance – feel what is supposed to be an innate emotion in mammals. Rats have empathy, yet somehow our modal Trump enthusiast does not.

We have to give them one thing, though: They're not smart, but they have decent intuition. They know, you see. They know intuitively that the reason they owe blind fealty to law enforcement is that they are drawn from the same lot. Your average small town cop isn't much different from your average small town white working poor / laid off / disabled or "disabled" person. Neither had the ambition to move more than 10 miles from the high school from which they struggled to graduate or the hospital in which they were born and look forward to someday dying. They share the mutual cultural understanding that white teens make Mistakes while black ones are Thugs, that a white guy walking around armed to the teeth is expressin' his freedums while even an unarmed black man is reason to fear for one's life, that white people don't work because of The Government while blacks and Hispanics are just lazy, that white people can take of social welfare to their hearts' content while minorities are scheming to live off their hard earned tax dollars, that an individual can cook meth and beat his kids and get into weekly fights at the one bar in town that will have him and still be "a good person" – i.e., a white one – at heart.

They know. They know that "justice" for them is a wink and a nudge and an understanding guy they went to high school with. So they can demand and condone the most ludicrous excesses of violence from law enforcement, a Judge Dredd dystopia in which the slightest indiscretion is punished with death and the absolute confidence that this policy will only apply to the Others. It's a very logical quid pro quo – unconditional support for law enforcement in exchange for the different treatment they conceive of as their birthright. White people must be as forgiving with one another as they must be unforgiving with the people to whom they consider themselves superior.

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26 Responses to “SCREAMING AT A WALL”

  1. other bill Says:

    And the divide just grows wider…

  2. mago Says:

    Been meaning to say for a while that you have a gift for plumbing the underbelly, whether it's those stuck in some burg where the only food options are corporate and everyone's chasing their own ass smell or just the rodent pack in general.

    This I can understand from an academic socio/anthropological stance, but man, you're down in the trenches with this shit.

    You open new territory for contemplation even if it's trodden ground.

    Thanks.

  3. Emerson Dameron Says:

    I was worried that this might stop happening without Roger Ailes.

  4. Both Sides Do It Says:

    Ehhhhh the underclass knowing where their bread's buttered thing def exists . . . but there are *a shit ton* of wealthy, educated people (who stomp all over the small-town hicks in the OP with their Charles Tyrwhitt boots as often as they can) who are just as blindly cheering on the police as they shoot black people.

    Racist hatred is a rich tapestry.

    @mago "everyone's chasing their own ass smell" I thought this was great hyperbole, then thought about it; it's realism James Wood can salute with pride.

  5. Deuce McInaugh Says:

    Hey, Dredd only kills perps when they attack him or civilians. Sure there's collateral damage, but I can't recall him ever shooting an unarmed guy with his hands up. That's libel and a year in the iso-cubes, punk!

  6. Tim H. Says:

    At what point does law enforcement realize their training has serious problems?

  7. Skipper Says:

    This is a good example of karma at work.

    Police illegally confiscate a protestor's phone and accidentally record themselves plotting to fabricate charges against him.

    https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-future/police-accidentally-record-themselves-conspiring-fabricate-criminal-charges-against

    “Let’s give him something,” one trooper declared. Another suggested, “we can hit him with creating a public disturbance.” “Gotta cover our ass,” remarked a third.

  8. Dave Dell Says:

    Intelligent police quickly become detectives or quit.

    What's left to be the patrol officers? Not necessarily unintelligent but young and inexperienced or older with a desire to never take any "perceived risks". Combine that with the poor training and lack of experience for how to deal with the lower IQ'd or poverty stricken desperate or mentally ill/challenged or drug/alcohol impaired that make up the bulk of their patrol work… tragedy ensues.

    Combined with a desire to have instant obedience to all their commands and non obedience perceived as a life threatening scenario… tragedy ensues.

    The solution? Not more police or better equipped police but more intelligent, better trained, and perhaps better paid police to keep the capable ones around. Sadly, it's too expensive to sell to the voting public where the the bulk of the people in charge are (around here anyhow) real estate developers.

  9. Dave Dell Says:

    I meant "who's left to be" not "what's left to be.

  10. Linda Says:

    You so hit the nail on the head. This past year, I have found myself losing respect for people I loved–or at least liked–and thought I knew. So depressing. It's like the Van Helsing movie, where he was in a crowded ballroom, then saw and mirror and there was no reflection but his.

  11. c u n d gulag Says:

    If you think local cops are bad, look at the Correction's Officers in prisons!
    And the ones in "Privatized" prisons, are probably worse.

    If you can't make a career in the military, you join a police force when you leave.
    If you're too stupid to get on a police force, then local prison's will hire you.

    I taught in a Maximum Security Prison in Upstate NY, from 1977 until 1980. The prisoners didn't worry me. Most of the ones taking classes were at least fairly intelligent.
    The CO's scared the living shit out of me! They didn't have two brain cells to rub together, and to compensate, they were meaner than a rabid viper with a bad hang-over!

  12. Dave Dell Says:

    American society today is, seemingly, like a pressure cooker with a clogged steam valve. In the past, while never really having had a peaceful society, there were escape valves. Free or cheap land to be had. Plenty of natural resources to be exploited. Minorities and immigrants to be killed or exploited. A sense of opportunity that could be enhanced by cooperation.

    No more free or cheap land. No more easily exploited natural resources. No more minorities that are subservient enough not to protest. No more sense of opportunity for any but those already entrenched in the power structures. Prisons that are scenes from Dante's Inferno.

    So many things have changed. I blame several facets of the modern world. Television and fragmented television that provides no commonality of shared experience. The lack of the shared commonality of public service – no draft/all volunteer military, no children of the wealthy acting as public servants except in the pursuit of their own power and wealth.

    These and many other things extant in American society today leads to the the seeming consensus idea that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone should be replaced by life, liberty and the pursuit of power and property only for me and mine.

    It saddens me. Depresses me. Makes me want to "Scream at a Wall".

  13. Dave Dell Says:

    I should add that one of the things that gives me hope is that the idea that the poor, minorities, immigrants, etc. do "not have to take it anymore."

    What gripes my craw is that the rich, powerful, and even the exploited "white working poor" get their "fee fees" hurt by that idea.

  14. Timurid Says:

    And after 'The Apple Dumpling Gang Joins ISIS' or whatever the hell that was in New York this weekend, this story is going straight down the memory hole…

  15. Kitty Says:

    My local rag's comments section was full of "why did he keep walking" "I would have stood still" "It's simple – LISTEN to the police" "Note to self: Follow police orders or you might be shot" and on and on with the Concern Trolls outnumbering normal folks who find being killed because your car died in the middle of the road reprehensible.

  16. Nunya Says:

    My father was a 30 year police veteran for the second largest police agency in the country. I got “the talk” at least ten times in my life starting at around eight years of age.

    He explained that while most cops are reasonable people, there are cops that other cops are afraid of. They’re either too naturally violent or too scared to fight. Some are really, really looking for an excuse to beat the shit out of people and others are too scared to get in a scrap and pull their guns.

    He didn’t like it but he went into great detail about how to not antagonize these shitty cops. When pulled over, keep your hands at 10 and 2, have the window rolled down and refrain from making sudden movements. Even if the cop is a belligerent asshole, bite your tongue and file a complaint after the armed, unstable prick is no longer a physical threat.

    I’ve had the misfortune to run into two of these aggressive pricks and even had a gun pressed to my temple during a traffic stop but I remembered my training and defused the situation. Now I agree that that should have not been my responsibility to cover for the inadequacy of their training or temperament, but I managed to keep myself alive long enough to complain.

    As much as I want to see massive retraining programs put in place for our over-militant police forces, I first want to see an end to the death of innocent people. The police are currently given enormous latitude in the use of deadly force. Until that changes, I’ll continue to not give them any reason to beat or kill me. I’ll take up my beef with the judge and his precinct commander.

  17. Lit3Bolt Says:

    Just like waste, fraud, and abuse is never a problem in our sainted military or holy corporations or untouchable subsidies, waste, fraud, and abuse of power by police is overlooked by "small-government" conservatives.

    When the welfare cheats and druggies and rapists and mentally ill are white, conservatives shrug, because that's "family." If they're any other color, they have a grand mal seizure of rage.

  18. noshoes Says:

    In my upper-middle class neighborhood where mostly white people live, I have begun to notice bumper stickers on cars that say things like "Police Lives Matter," which I find incredibly, mind-bogglingly offensive. The car this particular sticker was on was parked one block away from the public park where many, many black people come to BBQ and have fun on weekends, mainly because they don't have such parks in "their" neighborhoods or if they do, the parks aren't nice enough.

    To make a statement like "Police Lives Matter" in light of the wholesale slaughter of black people by our nation's law enforcement communities is to say: "I don't see you. Or I do see you and I don't care. Or I see you and you deserved it because it was all your fault." Black people are saying "Stop killing us," and these assholes are saying "Police Lives Matter." I stopped being friends with my cousin because she posted "All Lives Matter" after those cops were shot in Dallas. Would she have been able to work up similar concern and indignation for Philando Castile, who did EVERY SINGLE FUCKING THING THE COPS TOLD HIM TO DO and still ended up with four bullets in his dying body? Not a peep from her. Or the NRA for that matter, even though Castile was legally armed. Fuck all this shit.

  19. bs Says:

    Aaaaand before you even have another post up, the police murder another unarmed black man: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/person-killed-in-officer-involved-shooting-in-charlotte-north-carolina/

  20. John Danley Says:

    When the annual parade for Aryan Nations demonstrates more civility and restrain than your average on-duty law enforcement officer, there may be consideration for renovation.

  21. BubbaDave Says:

    I believe there are some good cops.

    I believe there are some winning lottery tickets.

    I'm unwilling to bet my future on encountering either.

  22. Retired Labor Thug Says:

    For ten years, I was a labor union rep for skilled trades at Pelican Bay (yes, that one) and two prisons out on the California-Nevada line in Susanville. When correctional officers got involved with initiating discipline against our plumbers, electricians, and boiler jocks, I learned to expect brazen perjury. I planned for it and built my defense cases around proving it. And it never failed. The Green Wall of Silence was challenged by the administration, but ultimately the Department of Corruptions condones it. That, along with a nasty experience with county sheriff's deputies when I was in my early 20s, is the reason, on voir dire in a jury box, I answer as follows: "No, I do not believe a police officer witness is more credible than a civilian. In fact, I tend to think he or she is less credible." The only conflict after I utter that is whether I'm dismissed for cause or the DA has to burn a peremptory challenge to get me outta there.

  23. eau Says:

    I have just finished Thomas Mullen's DARKTOWN, an excellent historical crime novel about the very first black cops in (1940s) Atlanta. Its a great read, and speaks directly to this subject.

  24. Tsotate Says:

    @Retired Labor Thug – That's almost word for word the answer I always give during voir dire, and the prosecutor has never had to waste a challenge on me. Where do you live that it's not an auto-dismiss? (I should not that I'm absolutely not trying to get out of serving. I have, however, affirmed that I'm going to tell the truth to those questions. DAs don't want jurors with realistic views of cops.)

  25. Retired Labor Thug Says:

    Tsotate, I live in Red State California (the central valley) where you can wake up most days and, except for some magnificent peaks visible from the viaduct near my house, you could be in Kansas. Or Oklahoma. As for why there's no auto-dismiss, I also report that I used to work for a county DA's office (non-sworn position); sometimes the People hesitate because their representative counsel thinks the defendant will dismiss me. Hell, I ended up as an alternate on a misdemeanor brandishing jury even after I responded that the right to bear arms is not absolute and that I believe the NRA is a clear and present danger to national security. I heard a gasp from the gallery, but they kept me on. No police officer witnesses in that one so I guess the People thought I couldn't do much harm.

  26. Rudy Says:

    You blocked me on Facebook when I replied about this shooting, where I thought something was up when the deceased was acting weird. I was promptly attacked when I suggested that we should have all the facts before we pass judgement on the police officer.

    Now we find out the deceased was high on PCP, so he suffered the consequences of his own actions. Was the cop too quick to shoot? I don't know. I've been in a few real life shoot/no shoot situations and, well, I'm still here. That's why I tend to support the police until all the facts come out.

    I enjoyed your facebook page and would like back on. If not, oh well.