ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT

If you want to feel old, teach. That movie quote is not wrong: You get older, the students stay the same age.

Your cultural references are all dated, even when you think things are recent (ex., The Wire is already ancient history. You might as well reference the Marx Brothers). You reference major historical events that they've sort-of heard of but know essentially nothing about (ex. the Cold War, Vietnam, the OJ Simpson trial, etc.) You do the math and realize that they were 3 when 9-11 happened. And of course it only gets worse with time. You get used to it.

One of the saddest moments I ever had in a classroom, though, involved Rodney King and the LA Riots. We are currently approaching the 25th anniversary of those events that left such a mark on everyone who lived through them. Of course "25th Anniversary" is a bold warning that students, both college and K-12, will have only the vaguest sense of what the proper nouns refer to. A few semesters ago in reference to the Michael Brown / Ferguson incident I mentioned Rodney King in an Intro to American Government class. I got the blank "Is that a thing we are supposed to know?" look that I have come to recognize when students hear about something that happened more than six months ago. "Rodney King?" More blinking. "Can someone tell why the name Rodney King is important?"

One student, god bless her, raised her hand. I paraphrase: "He was killed by the police and it caused the LA Riots." I noted that, no, he did not die, but the second part of the statement was indirectly true. God bless technology in the classroom – I pulled up the grainy VHS-camcorder version of the video, as well as a transcript of the audio analysis presented at trial. We watched, and then talked a bit about the rioting following the acquittal of the LAPD officers at trial. They kept doing the blinking thing. I struggled to figure out what part of this relatively straightforward explanation had managed to confuse them.

"Are there questions? You guys look confused."

Hand. "So he was OK?"

"He was beaten up pretty badly, but, ultimately he was. He died a few years ago from unrelated causes (note: in 2012)."

Hand. "It's kind of weird that everybody rioted over that. I mean, there's way worse videos." General murmurs of agreement.

"Bear in mind that this was pre-smartphone. People heard rumors, but it this was the first instance of the whole country actually seeing something like this as it happened. A bystander just happened to have a camcorder" Brief explanation, to general amusement, of what an Old Fashioned camcorder looked like. Big, bulky, tape-based. 18 year olds do not know this.

I do believe they all understood, but as that day went on I was increasingly bothered by that that brief exchange meant. This is a generation of kids so numb to seeing videos of police beating, tasering, shooting, and otherwise applying the power of the state to unarmed and almost inevitably black or Hispanic men that they legitimately could not understand why a video of cops beating up a black guy (who *didn't even die* for pete's sake!) was shocking enough to cause a widespread breakdown of public order. Now we get a new video every week – sometimes every few days – to the point that the name of the person on the receiving end is forgotten almost immediately. There are too many "Video of black guy being shot or beaten" videos for even interested parties to keep them all straight. Do a self test. Do you remember the name of the guy the NYPD choked out for selling loose cigarettes? The guy in suburban Minneapolis whose girlfriend posted a live video on Facebook after a cop shot her boyfriend in the car? The guy in Tulsa who was surrounded by cops and unarmed while a police helicopter recorded an officer deciding to shoot him? The woman who was found hanged in her Texas jail cell leading to the public pleas to "Say Her Name"?

These kids have grown up in a world where this is background noise. It is part of the static of life in the United States. Whether these incidents outrage them or are met with the usual excuses (Comply faster, dress differently, be less Scary) the fact is that they happen so regularly that retaining even one of them in long term memory is unlikely. To think about Rodney King is to imagine a reality in which it was actually kind of shocking to see a video of four cops kicking and night-sticking an unarmed black man over the head repeatedly. Now videos of police violence are about as surprising and rare as weather reports, and forgotten almost as quickly once passed.

(QUIZ ANSWERS: Eric Garner, Phil Castile, Terence Crutcher, Sandra Bland)

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92 Responses to “ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT”

  1. carrstone Says:

    I don't blame the kids for not appreciating what moves you, we taught them that. It's just the ricochet of chickens coming home to roost and reaping what we've sown.

  2. rustonite Says:

    I literally had the same experience this semester. My experience was sadder, tho- I teach at an HBCU.

  3. Ormond Otvos Says:

    Much more than a First World annoyance.

    We're turning into brutes.

  4. Timurid Says:

    A fresh new, thread… like virgin snow. The sudden shiver and glow as the day's first Oxycontin splashes down into the Southern Comfort buzz. The shitposting lamp is lit, brothers.

    It's good to be the Gallstone.

  5. Joe Jonas Says:

    I got a 50% on that quiz. As someone who follows this stuff pretty closely (or so I thought), that depresses me.

  6. dloburns Says:

    I was five when that happened :|

    I don't think I ever understood what that footage was until I saw Malcolm X (about 11 years ago); because I saw it, but only in like five second clips. Also I remember Rodney King was on celebrity rehab (I tried to not watch that deck but my sister did), and he was one of the few people I felt sorry for being on there.

    Also I saw (most of) a documentary named

  7. dloburns Says:

    I was five when that happened :|

    I don't think I ever understood what that footage was until I saw Malcolm X (about 11 years ago); because I saw it, but only in like five second clips. Also I remember Rodney King was on celebrity rehab (I tried to not watch that deck but my sister did), and he was one of the few people I felt sorry for being on there.

    Also I saw (most of) a documentary named Post No Bills, which is about poster graffiti in LA right before, and during the riots. One of the things I took away was how the news used to be casually sneering in that Fox sort of way.

    https://youtu.be/FGxHppFWiCE

  8. Mo Says:

    Re-reading Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism In American Life … Stuffed with zombie deja vu creepy crawlies. And he quotes Thorstein Veblen, although he misses Galbraith's comment about students being only seriously interested in sex and alcohol.

    Kinda wondering what recent events your studentsdopay attention to and remember? I recollect being out cluelessly orbiting Neptune in my 20s…and ever afterward, if we are to be honest.

  9. Mo Says:

    And of course, fuck HTML.

  10. Bill Says:

    This is intensifying even more under Cheeto Benito. The MOAB dropped in Afghanistan and the fact we bombed a sovereign nation with tomahawks quickly fades into the background amidst a new bombing somewhere else this week. These students of yours have known no other reality than us bombing some Mideastern country on the daily. It is truly frightening that violence has become more visible and more desensitizing as the years go on. You would think that more civilian cameras and body cameras would deter police violence, for example. However, the opposite seems to be happening. With an administration like Cheeto's in power, I think we're going to see an exponential increase in this desensitizing of violence, corruption, class warfare, racism, and general malaise.

  11. Benny Lava Says:

    Fun fact: the Rodney King video only happened because of Teminator 2. They were filming a scene in a rough neighborhood in LA and one of the crew had a camcorder because he wanted to direct one day and was practicing making a documentary about T2 and when he turned around guess what was happening right across the street. Can you imagine?

  12. Rich S. Says:

    People, not just students, seem to pay attention to mindless bullshit like pop culture and sports. I sit around and listen to a bunch of guys I work with and play hockey with in their 30's through 60's drone on endlessly about the NFL draft, general sports trivia, highlight reels, salary caps, etc, etc. I watch my share of hockey and baseball on TV, but I can't come close to competing with most guys vast knowledge of useless sports trivia.
    I was recently talking to a fellow engineer at work, and he asked me what I was reading while I was out sick. I told him it was Frederick Douglass's autobiography.
    "Who's that? Never heard of him."
    "Yeah, you and our president."
    I find that even my engineering colleagues are mostly ignorant of current events and history. It has led me to conclude that engineering education produces people who are nothing more that highly skilled technicians, and not highly educated and informed citizens.
    This is not to say that engineering should produce people who are more educated citizens than a good liberal arts education would.
    Your story, Ed, is disturbing but I guess not surprising. Although, I am surprised that your students didn't think the King beat down was a big deal not worthy of the anger following the acquittal.
    I understand that there are worse videos out there, but that shouldn't affect what your students thought of the King video after watching all of it. Do they really think that was acceptable behavior for cops to engage in? That question seems to be a completely separate issue in spite of all the videos that have surfaced since then. Why do they think it's ok for cops to beat a guy like that? Do they really think that's the way our government should treat citizens? Would it still be ok if the guy was white?
    I feel like that conversation in your classroom maybe should continue.

  13. Major Kong Says:

    I was over in Desert Storm when the Rodney King beating happened.

    When I first saw it on the television (with the volume too low to hear) I thought "Oh, just another film of Saddam's troops beating up some poor Kuwaiti".

  14. Rich S. Says:

    @ Bill,
    I think the cop body cam's are bullshit. An unedited video didn't do Eric Garner any good did it? Didn't get Pantaleo charged, fired, or even demoted for murdering him, did it? He even got promoted afterwards.
    A police video didn't do that homeless guy in ABQ any good, did it? Did those cops face any repercussions? No.
    Fuck the police.
    Fuck Trump.
    And especially fuck our new US Attorney General, Nathan Beford Forrest.

  15. NoelB Says:

    This post resonates so well with this letter to the from today's NYT – hope it is ok to quote
    To the Editor:

    David Brooks writes that “the share of young Americans who say it is absolutely important to live in a democratic country has dropped from 91 percent in the 1930s to 57 percent today.”

    We are about to collectively pay the price for the half-century of underfunding public education and relegating civics to the back burners in our schools.

    Given a few more years of defunding and underfunding public education, we may look upon that 57 percent figure with nostalgia.

    IRA FELDMAN
    BELLE HARBOR, QUEENS

    The writer is an adjunct lecturer in the mathematics department and School of Education at Brooklyn College, CUNY.

  16. Stelter Says:

    The Philando Castile murder happened 3 miles from where I live in St. Paul. He actually worked at one of the schools where the nonprofit I work for coordinates/provides various health services for students. It was a huge shock to the community and the response at the GOP led state legislature has been to increase criminal penalties for shutting down roadways… and protesting in general.

  17. mago Says:

    I had just returned from living in the Netherlands when the King beating occurred and felt compelled to write (an actual letter!) to my Dutch teacher who responded with the observation that the States had indeed sunken to an all time low.

    Ha Ha Ha.

    How little did we know.

    There's a historical consciousness deficit among all ages in this country conjoined with mass indifference.

    Keep trying to get through, Ed. Somebody has to.

  18. Karen Says:

    We watched a bit of some show on ABC this wknd with our 15 yr old, who is socially hyperconscious and has her empathy on overdrive most times of the day or night.

    We had to pause the TV and answer endless questions about the sequence of events that led to the riots, and the response to the riots.

    The memories are crystal clear to me. My sister moved from NYC to LA two days before the riots started. She was living in a cheap apartment in Hollywood, and eventually the fires got pretty close to her. This was a scary time for her and us.

    My overarching summary for my daughter was that it was the policing culture in LA that created a simmering discontent that erupted into riots when the verdicts came down. The police chief ultimately lost his job and the police dept. was run by the federal gov't for several years. Ostensibly this happened because of the bad planning and response of the LAPD to the riots, but truthfully the whole LAPD needed an overhaul. Last week I heard an interview of people in LA who were there in 1992. Asked if they were afraid of the police then they said yes. Now? No.

    Riots happened in Ferguson, and in Baltimore too. Bad police, individually, cause terrible damage that harms individuals. Bad policing as a culture causes terrible damage that harms communities and will result in riots. My daughter understands.

  19. Brian M Says:

    I guess my only caveat in our surprise at the students is to note that such beatings occurred regularly in the past and it is only the filming that is really new? for black males in particular, I would guess (being an old white dude) that they are never surprised about such stories. So, in some ways, your student's reactions are understandable. Sad to say. :(

  20. US in the EU Says:

    I dunno. Am I expected to completely understand the political, social, and economic ramifications of something that happened when I was 3? I now understand why Watergate (when I was 3) was a big deal but certainly not when I was 18. Yeah they should probably be able to name check it but we are still unraveling the implications of again watergate.

  21. US in the EU Says:

    I dunno. Am I expected to completely understand the political, social, and economic ramifications of something that happened when I was 3? I now understand why Watergate (when I was 3) was a big deal but certainly not when I was 18. Yeah they should probably be able to name check it but we are still unraveling the implications of (again) watergate.

  22. J. Dryden Says:

    Ah, but what hasn't changed is the immediate reaction of, let us say, the more comfortable segments of our society to events like this: justify, justify, justify. King's character was fair game immediately; it was stressed over and over again just what kind of a lowlife he was, how the officers in question (good, honest, gainfully employed white men) were entirely reasonable in their conduct because, come on, he had it coming, people. Because he was, you know. You know.

    I was in L.A. at the time of the riots; what I remember is this–they didn't really affect most of the city. I was working in Beverly Hills, and life went on entirely as usual–as far as our lives there were concerned, South Central might as well have been Beirut. The people who were most likely to justify the police were the ones least likely to have any direct experience with the police. It was…dispiriting.

    Also, I remember that all the local TV stations during the riots had–understandably–suspended their regular broadcast, EXCEPT for NBC, which, at the insistence of Bill Cosby himself, broadcast The Cosby Show–because, why? Apparently it was believed that it would keep "those people" at home and watching TV, and it would reassure white folks that there was nothing happening here that merited the interruption to their viewing habits.

  23. Katydid Says:

    And another one: http://www.theroot.com/jordan-edwards-15-year-old-boy-shot-killed-by-balch-1794790985

  24. Rich S. Says:

    @ US in the EU
    Yeah, man, I dunno, like you can't push the poor children too hard, now. You really expect them to like spend 30 minutes, or even like an hour a few days a week to maybe read some history? Dude, like you'd have to be a tyrant to put that unreasonable expectation on the children. How will they have time to work the burger-flipping jobs, play vids, check facebook, and snap chat all fucking day long?
    Expecting high school and college students to like "completely understand" something is just crazy talk, man. Like, I dunno. Stop crowdin' me, man!

  25. Katydid Says:

    My "god I'm old" moment came just after I took in a rescue dog. His name from the rescue group was Walter. He is all-white. Thus, I christened him "Walter White (aka Heisenburg)". (his actual nickname is Wally, not Heisenburg, because who has the energy to yell "Heisenburg" out the back door at 2 am when the dog is playing instead of doing his businees?)

    I told a neighbor teen the "Walter White" bit and he was utterly confused. "Walter White? Is that supposed to be a joke? What's funny about it? What's Heisenburg? Is that a beer?"

    Since when is the tv show "Breaking Bad" ancient history?!?!

  26. RJB Says:

    What movie has the quote "If you want to feel old, teach."? Maybe I'm too young to remember. Was it in the 1700s?

  27. disgusted Says:

    These sentiments are the same ones that cause me to worry about our current government situation. It appears that few Republicans are concerned about the lies coming out of the White house. It does not appear to worry people about grabbing women, ignorance of both current and historical events, total disregard for putting millions out of health care, love of Communist leaders, hiring totally corrupt and unqualified people to run the US. A recent poll suggested that 98% of Trump voters would support him again despite all the S..t that has happened in the last few months and before during the campaign. The lack of total concern for the future of this country is astounding.

  28. Alan C Says:

    I knew Philando Castile's name when I read it at the end, but when Ed asked if we knew the name all I could think was Lando Calrissian. Pretty close!

    It truly is disturbing how commonplace these videos are now. Of course that doesn't mean beatings and shootings of unarmed dark people by cops are more common, just that there's more documentation. People pre-Rodney King were more oblivious to what was going on, which maybe gave us the illusion more progress had been made than was the case.

  29. democommie Says:

    Sandra Bland, but not until the second reading. None of the others, 'cuz google.

    I don't watch news programs unless I have to, it's too depressing to watch people who are charged with speaking truth to power roll over on their backs as soon as the bully comes into the playground.

    @J Dryden:

    "Ah, but what hasn't changed is the immediate reaction of, let us say, the more comfortable segments of our society to events like this: justify, justify, justify. King's character was fair game immediately;"

    Go back to April 4, 1968 and you could have typed those words about that other trouble causing King–MLK, jr.

    I remember lots of people including my dad saying, "He should have just kept his mouth shut; then none of this would have happened!". They were, of course, wrong, it would, had, did and still does happen–with mind numbing regularity. The banality of evil is not just a truism.

    I play trivia and there is a rule, sort of the first directive, NO cellphone use during rounds of questions. I see people including those on my own team, at times, who simply don't think of their cellphones as cellphones.

    "I think we're going to see an exponential increase in this desensitizing of violence, corruption, class warfare, racism, and general malaise."

    Right up until saturation–bombing, that is.

  30. doug Says:

    @timurid..nice. well done. you stayed much classier than I ever could have.
    It is nice to see a thought provoking post and comments. thank you Ed.

  31. April Says:

    And when you think about all the bad treatment blacks have been given forever by white police, the OJ verdict makes more sense.

  32. Aurora S Says:

    I suspect a little bit of white isolation and dominance in your classroom. As a white woman, I can only surmise that Black people and POC would have a better memory regarding these acts of violence, as well as anyone involved with BLM. Maybe these kids do have the attention span of a squirrel and know dick about history (do they even include the Rodney King beating when teaching about Black History?), but perhaps part of finding it irrelevant is that they have the luxury of not being affected.

  33. April Says:

    Speaking of knowing dick about history…..

    (As much as I know how stupid he is, still I was surprised.)

  34. Robert Walker-Smith Says:

    My son (fifteen, sophomore​) was asking me about the Nazis and Russians. The idea that they had been on opposite sides at one point was. . . challenging. I did my best to explain.

    On a lighter note, I was in a thread about Queen Elizabeth on Quora recently, and had to explain about Edward VIII and the abdication crisis to someone who apparently had no idea about anything that happened before she was born. To her credit, she thanked me for the explanation.

  35. democommie Says:

    Edward VIII? I'int he the one that then 'Erman's Ermit's wrote that tune about? (democommie ducks)

  36. NickT Says:

    "the Marx Brothers"

    Let me see.. Lenin, Stalin and.. I'm blanking on the third one.

  37. Heisenberg Says:

    @Katydid: You're telling me!

  38. wetcasements Says:

    This is a bit orthogonal to Ed's point, but this shit gets compounded hard in the ESL world. _Any_ beginner ESL text will do a unit of "Directions," i.e., how to get to the blah blah from the blah blah.

    You know what kids in _literally every country_ don't need to do any longer, thanks to smartphones and Google Maps?

    Ask for directions….

    And that's just the tip of the ice-berg.

  39. geoff Says:

    Well, I don't remember the 1965 Watts Riots at all, but I was there. (In Westchester (LAX-ish) anyway.) But 1992 was REALLY scary. @J. Dryden, we were actually at the park in Beverly Hills the day after the verdict was read (I took the day off "just in case") when we started smelling smoke and decided to get on home (Miracle Mile area). From our apt. roof we watched as the fires moved all the way up La Brea into Hollywood. Two days later, there was a National Guardsman on our streetcorner, and I was almost glad to see him.

    Since I worked at the airport I had to go down south every day, and I don't think anyone who didn't see the damage for themselves has a real grasp of just how bad it really was.

    I am sort of surprised (happily!) that it hasn't happened again.

    (@Ed, it seems like a hell of a long time ago to me too. I'd think "kids today" would have a little better knowledge of the particulars if only because they saw "Straight Outta Compton", but hell, that's almost TWO YEARS OLD now.)

  40. anori Says:

    And this is surprising why? I was the only person in my international environmental law class (a few years ago) who could explain what Chernobyl was, and certainly the only person aside from the professor who had any conscious memory of it. (I was in 8th grade at the time.)

  41. Safety Man! Says:

    In no particular order or importance:

    I was six when the Rodney King beating and riots hit the news, I vaguely remember it happening. Funny that I forgot most of the other names but not his.

    I was living in NE Baltimore when the riots happened a couple of years back. I was well outside the affected area, but I imagine it was similar to LA, sounds like it from the posts here.

    @Rich S.
    I went to GaTech, I knew plenty of brilliant engineers who were dumber than a box of rocks, unfortunately. It was all the worse because they were convinced they knew everything…

  42. postcaroline Says:

    I see some comments from "young" people who think Ed is faulting them for not knowing about/remembering the LA riots, or understanding the significance. But I don't think that's the point here. It's not just "the kids these days", it's more of a generational divide of experience.

    The other thing is that living through an event does not guarantee you will "remember" said event anyway. One of my 65 year old relatives thinks second wave feminists were chiefly concerned with burning bras and taking jobs from men. Another 75 year old family member thought the violence depicted in the movie Selma was "exaggerated". Sure, historical events are open to interpretation, but not all interpretations are equally valid (e.g. Trump and the Civil War).

    That being said, I thought the main point of this post was not so much the "I can't believe the kids don't know who Rodney King was!" as much as that the kids were confused about people rioting over a guy who survived getting beaten by the police. What's truly heartbreaking is that a) black people getting killed by police on camera has become a norm, and b) the attitudes toward victims of police brutality have remained largely unchanged (e.g., thug who was asking for it).

  43. Townsend Harris Says:

    The next technological step in recording police beatings is increased proliferation of *multiple* video cameras from multiple vantage points, combined with increases in sound quality and continued increases in optical quality. The recordings will all work together in post-production, as in "my poor quality audio and video will learn and combine from other citizens' poor quality audio and video to make something better".

  44. Townsend Harris Says:

    Recall the extraordinary optical and audio quality in David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia". Recall the scene where the actor playing a Turkish soldier looks with perplexity upon the man he and his fellow soldiers have begun beating. Recall the actor's face changing to a smile of delight as he tugs on the man's hands and both aids and witnesses the beating.
    That will soon be available to us all.

  45. Safety Man! Says:

    Forgot to mention, when I run across a justifier arguing that ____ deserved it because they had a police record *wink* I usually couter that if that is the case, I greatly anticipate the next time they have a blown tail-light.

  46. Pete Gaughan Says:

    @Benny Lava: Not really. The King video was shot by a guy who lived in an apartment overlooking the street — just a private citizen (plumber!) who grabbed his Handycam.

    And it wasn't in a 'rough neighborhood'; the beating took place on Foothill Blvd in an L.A. neighborhood named Lake View Terrace (King had been speeding on the nearby 210 freeway). Then and now, LVT is mostly white with a crime rate lower than L.A. in general.

  47. mothra Says:

    Hi Rich S.:
    Since you asked, the cops in Albuquerque were charged with second degree murder with a firearm enhancement, voluntary manslaughter with a firearm enhancement, involuntary manslaughter with a firearm enhancement and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with firearm enhancement. The video actually brought on a DOJ investigation and a settlement with the goal of improving the police department. They in fact have WAY stepped down the killing of mentally ill people here.

    Now, the cops were not convicted at trial, that's true. But it ended with a hung jury, not an acquittal, which was the best that could be hoped for. There were some bad facts in that case–mainly that the victim was armed and kept expressing his intent to kill or harm the cops up there on the mountain with him. But the cops were prosecuted and that says something right there.

  48. democommie Says:

    @ Pete Gaughan:

    "LVT is mostly white with a crime rate lower than L.A. in general."

    I won't argue the point, too much going on to go look up crime stats (if they're available at that level).

    But, I'm wondering, when I hear the frequently repeated mantra about those OTHER neighborhoods just being more dangerous (and I'm not saying that is what you're doing, here) about two factors in that situation.

    The first is what is the level of policing in the two areas and the second is what is the likelihood of LE and the courts spending more time trying to solve/stop crimes in the disparate neighborhoods.

    My questions have prolly been answered a thousand times, I just haven't seen the answers.

  49. mothra Says:

    Oh, and a friend of mine lived in South Central at the time of the riots, although not in the hotbed of the violence. It was pretty damn scary for him–he just stayed inside. I don't know how much later it was that I came for a visit–a few months maybe?–and he took me for a tour of the worst part of the riot area. It was sobering.

  50. Whitt Staircase Says:

    Thing I remember about it: they changed the venue to Simi Valley, a suburb where a lot of retired & currently serving LEOs lived. One of the jurors, explaining later why the video did not move her to sympathy, said "Mr. King was in control of the situation the whole time." –which is law-enforcement boilerplate for "Mr. King resisted & refused to submit."

  51. Mo Says:

    yep, Doug, Timurid was awesome. That post should be engraved in marble for future use, because we all know Gallstone can't quit us.

    And now another day, another teen killed by the police…

  52. geoff Says:

    @democommie, I can recommend Jill Leovy's "Ghettoside" if you're interested in "urban" policing and its many problems. And I'm (and the book's) talking more about insufficient resolve (and manpower) to solve a great deal of murders. It wasn't just the LAPD's lockdown/ toughguy mentality that was a problem before the riots/ uprising. This was the height of the crack wars, and MANY murders went practically uninvestigated.

  53. geoff Says:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/23/books/jill-leovys-ghettoside-a-south-los-angeles-murder-case.html?_r=0

  54. Aurora S Says:

    SafetyMan!:

    Nifty nugget of knowledge: I had recently moved out of Baltimore to Hagerstown, MD when the Baltimore riots occurred after the whole Freddie Gray thing, and discovered how ridiculously racist white people in Appalachia/the rest of Maryland are. The owner of the bar I worked-at insisted we play Faux News at all times, and they played the same clip (you know the one) on a loop, while Angry White Guys commented. One comment that stuck out in particular was about how it looked like "Planet of the Apes".

  55. Rich S. Says:

    @mothra
    Thanks for the update. I didn't know that.
    Unfortunate that the jury hung. What the fuck will it take to get a conviction?
    As I remember, the guy had a pocket knife. The cops, automatic rifles at a distance that looked like at least 30 ft.
    If these cops were in fear for their lives, they need to find another career that doesn't involve guns and badges.
    The guy didn't look like a homeless ninja capable of throwing a cheap pocket knife and hitting one of the cops with it.
    Although, the charges are a good thing, it is not nearly good enough.

  56. mothra Says:

    Hey Rich S.:
    Mr. Boyd had two 4" blade knives. The cops were closer than 30 ft.–closer than 20 ft., as a matter of fact. That was part of the problem with the whole situation–the cops put themselves too close to Mr. Boyd. Could he have hurt them, considering 19 cops had him surrounded? No, likely not. They created the problem and also escalated the situation. But it is very difficult to get a jury to convict cops because they are reluctant to second guess a cop. Also, there is the psychological dynamic that many people don't want to convict cops who might have to help them out of a pinch. This situation was difficult. You had a man who had a record of assault and who was clearly not in his right mind, who was armed, albeit hardly in the same manner as the police facing off against him. He kept insisting he was going to kill the cops. All those things make it harder for the jury to convict. But some did. So, baby steps. But I agree, we need big steps, not baby steps for this crap to stop.

  57. Katydid Says:

    Aurora S; my experience with Maryland is that you've got civilization in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, and the rest of the state is convinced it's still fighting the Civil War…and the south is winning. Even Annapolis–yikes. Not in the corridor, therefore shockingly racist and oddly arrogant (oddly because so many of them behave like they're on a trashy reality show, but believe they're royalty because of where they live).

    A very good friend of mine lives in Frederick, where Democrats are scarce on the ground and people who live in the city…whine about city people. So many people seem to think they live like Little House on the Prarie.

    I've been through Hagerstown on the way to Cumberland. I've been to the outlet mall in Hagerstown, too (Nature Conservancy had a shop there at one point). Cumberland has a city art fair that's amazing–have you been? It's probably, what, an hour from you?

  58. Katydid Says:

    To those who have no way of knowing–Baltimore isn't just riots; it's actually a very nice small city. I used to make pilgrimmages to the independent bookstores there. There are also a number of really good, really affordable restaurants. There's a strong network of animal shelters and rescue groups and there used to be a stunning music scene in Fells Point (may still be, but I'm 115 years old now and driving hours to a club just isn't what I do).

    There are also some fantastic people of every ethnicity living there.

    Watching the riots on tv, it was just heartbreaking. Knowing this is the result of decades of maltreatment by police makes me furious.

  59. democommie Says:

    @ geoff:

    Thanks, I knew the information was prolly out there, just not sure where to look.

    @ mothra:

    I would not be a cop, anywhere–not that they'd have me. I do gotta wonder why they seem to teach only brandishing and deadly force at the academy. I mean, at 30-40 feet with an AR or M-4 with iron sights I'm pretty sure I could put a guy down without killing him, unless he was just running in circles. The nets, the beanbags and all of the other shit that these people have at their disposal and yet it seems like center mass, double or triple tap is all they know.

  60. HoosierPoli Says:

    I always say, don't complain about students not knowing something. That's why they are in our classrooms, after all. Now, if you've taught them something clearly, and with emphasis, and they STILL don't know about it, then a sound beating is clearly in order.

  61. carrstone Says:

    @HoosierPoli

    You may be in the wrong blog.

  62. Major Kong Says:

    Hmmm. Someone mentions beating up children and look who shows up.

    Why am I not surprised?

  63. anotherbozo Says:

    And just as a footnote, I'm convinced that the Yout' don't watch violent events the same way I do. Video games, cartoon blood and gore, Quentin Tarantino and even films like "The Lobster" convince me that my generation reacts much more empathically to explicit violence than younger ones. If there's so much fake blood in movies, and so much gunplay (strange word, that), real and staged, on every kind of screen and venue, kids growing up learn to tune out, or at least not to tune in. From my point of view, the younger generation is coarser, more blasé, just a tad sociopathic; from theirs I'm comparable to the first filmgoers who saw "The Great Train Robbery" and hollered in panic at the approaching train. Media outlets have followed suit; fewer and fewer nightly newscasts caution "what follows contains graphic content" unless actual limbs are blown off actual bodies in the footage. If you watch TV news, just count the times you've seen the Eric Garner tape, or Phil Castile die on camera.

  64. Major Kong Says:

    @anotherbozo

    Do you really think the current generation is more inured to violence than the generation that bombed cities to rubble in the 1940s or the one before it that killed 10 million on the battlefields of Europe?

  65. mothra Says:

    Major Kong:
    While I am not anotherbozo, the difference I can see is that the generations involved in WWI and WWII had an up close and personal seat to the violence* in those particular wars. Tends to affect a person differently when your own house is destroyed/own arm blown off by a bomb.

    *Americans excepted. Although the returning soldiers had many harrowing tales to tell.

  66. mothra Says:

    Oh, and also will add that I am fairly certain that my outlook was seriously altered by watching hours of war coverage during the Vietnam War while I was a young child. The military learned a good lesson from that war: don't show the peoples at home what war looks like. They won't like it.

  67. Bitter Scribe Says:

    Try looking at it from the other side. Now that everyone carries a video recorder in their pocket or purse, abusive cops are much more likely to be caught in the act. That son of a bitch in South Carolina who shot that fleeing black man in the back is looking at life in prison. If he hadn't been caught on a cellphone video, he would probably be a sergeant by now.

    One way you can tell this is working is that cops, or at least their union reps and assorted apologists in politics and the media, are whining that they're "going fetal" and "afraid to do their jobs" because of all the citizens with cellphones. The poor dears can't shoot or even beat up unarmed people without someone recording it and subjecting them to criticism.

    Good.

  68. anotherbozo Says:

    @Major Kong: Mothra made what was pretty much my case. We bombed in WW II, but that's violence at a distance; the foot soldiers of my father's generation were least likely to enjoy violent movies, blood and gore FOR FUN, as subsequent generations have.

  69. April Says:

    Yesterday I showed the film "And the Band Played On" (an excellent film about the beginning of the AIDS crisis – if you haven't seen it I recommend it strongly) to one of my classes. Obviously I lived through this and just as obviously my students did not. I tried to get the students to understand (and maybe even care a little) about what happened and how various entities – government, blood services, gay communities, non-gay communities – reacted, but really, it was a waste of time. Partially because that was ancient history, partially because they are Chinese and don't care what Yanks do or think (although they all intend to study in the US, so I see it as part of our jobs to culturally educate them at least a bit about the place they are going to), partially because AIDS is no longer an immediate death sentence (YEA SCIENCE!) and partially because most Chinese people still think that gay people are "icky" so who cares if they die.

    I think that for a lot of people – myself included – history doesn't become interesting until one has a bit of history oneself. Young people are still figuring out what this thing called "life" actually IS, to be that interested in what happened before their existence.

    OT – Girding loins for battle – I have to defend one of my teachers (who is a perfectly fine teacher) to the Chinese director today. For no reason I can see, the director just doesn't like this teacher and is trying to find reasons to fire her. Sigh.

  70. democommie Says:

    @April

    If the Chinese populationn is subject to the same genetic laws as the rest of the planet, there are some number (wlll north of 50M prolly) of GAY chinese in China who are afraid to be "out". That sucks.

  71. April Says:

    @DC – There are actually out gays, and in the big cities there are actually gay organizations. But we are in the hinterlands, so the provincial attitudes are still….provincial.

  72. Major Kong Says:

    I dropped half a million pounds of explosives on the Iraqis and I can assure you Grand Theft Auto 5 had nothing to do with it.

  73. April Says:

    Also too most parents, being of an older generation, are VERY disapproving of gay children. Producing a grandchild (or two, now that the law has changed) is the primary duty of one's child. Men who don't marry are called "empty branches" and the women are called "leftover women". And for the most part parents maintain control over their child's life, until the parents die, even to the extent of telling them what jobs they can take and who they can or cannot marry.

  74. April Says:

    "bare branches"

  75. grubert Says:

    Threads a little old, but for what it's worth, my 17 year old son is most definitely young and not at all blasé about police brutality. It upsets him a good deal.

    Some of this smacks of the standard "kids nowadays!"

  76. geoff Says:

    @MK, thanks for the laff this morning.

    As for "kids nowadays" (I prefer "get off my lawn", I think Ed's point is that they may be angry, but they're certainly no longer SURPRISED when a cop shoots and or kills someone (who's usually got brown skin) and gets away with it. They've seen it happen over and over.

  77. carrstone Says:

    @geoff

    "a cop shoots and or kills someone (who's usually got brown skin)"?

    Zero Hedge reports that "in the U.S. a total of 509 citizens have been killed this year [2017] by police. …most of those killed by police are male and white. 123 of those shot were Black Americans."

    The Washington Post, on this topic, says, "1,502 people have been shot and killed by on-duty police officers since Jan. 1, 2015. Of them, 732 were white, and 381 were black."

    Are you just catching a ride on the crest of the fake news wave or are you deliberately making stuff up?

  78. democommie Says:

    Cummstain:

    There are approximately 5.5 times as many whites as blacks according to the 2010 census*.

    This:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=statistics+of+police+shootings+by+race+2015&sa=X&rlz=1CAACAY_enUS730US731&tbm=isch&imgil=uaSuZxIStuOyMM%253A%253BFDlIjsJzBcCaBM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.copinthehood.com%25252F2015%25252F04%25252Fkilled-by-police-2-of-3-race.html&source=iu&pf=m&fir=uaSuZxIStuOyMM%253A%252CFDlIjsJzBcCaBM%252C_&usg=__piH3klNpzxM0jiqAa6aOhdT58gw%3D&biw=1366&bih=654&ved=0ahUKEwjUsP7OztbTAhVsxYMKHU6KDbkQyjcIOg&ei=0FALWdSIF-yKjwTOlLbICw#imgrc=uaSuZxIStuOyMM:

    is one of numerous websites and pages that are out there. Guess what, most of them also don't agree with your casual stupidity.

    Your source is a bunch of whiny self-entitled assholes–JUST LIKE YOU.

    That Ayn Rand poster must be getting pretty messy.

    * https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045216/00

  79. carrstone Says:

    @dumbwaiter

    Why do you do it? Why send me, apparently triumphantly, a bunch of stats that show, for the period May 2, 2013 to April 8, 2015, that 782 whites [almost half the total] were shot by the police as against 464 blacks? Thank you for making my point for me.

    Gosh, I didn't know that there were more whites than blacks in the US; wow, what a telling point! Unfortunately for your case, blacks have a higher propensity to commit crime, reflected in the fact that the ratio of black vs white incarceration in 2010 [the year you picked] was 6.7/1.

    "Dumbwaiter" because, like most progressives, you're always at somebody else's beck and call. Appropriate and quite droll, I thought.

  80. democommie Says:

    You dumbsonuvabitch:

    Almost HALF the total when they represent 7/10ths of the population.

    Do the math, you sack of shit.

  81. democommie Says:

    You dumbsonuvabitch:

    Almost HALF the total when they represent 7/10ths of the population.

    Do the math, you sack of shit.

    "blacks have a higher propensity to commit crime,"

    Spoken with the blythe certainty that only a truly clueless fuck like you could muster.

    They have a higher propensity for getting arrested, asshole. More of them get shot, %agewise.

    You and your racist pals just gotta see everything through the warped lens of Liberfuckliscum privilege.

  82. carrstone Says:

    @democommie

    It's not sound demographics to compare the absolute universes of whites vs blacks. The only thing that matters is the absolute number of victims.

    Calculating your way would suggest that whites are more law-abiding than blacks because a greater percentage of them are not shot by the police.

    But here's a comforting thought for you. Where today whites and blacks account for 16% and 15% of the world population, by 2060, VDare.com tells us, those numbers will be <10% and 25% respectively.

    So whatever trembling anxious progressive actions you undertake are all for naught, the 'problem' will resolve itself. Your dream will come true, there won't be a white face on the Hill, not as long as we remain a Constitutional Federal Republic adhering to democratic principles.

    However, convicts will likely still be in the same ratio in the US – it's that propensity to get caught I was talking about that's the problem.

  83. democommie Says:

    "The only thing that matters is the absolute number of victims."

    You are completely full of shit. Do you have a college degree? Unfuckingbelieveable.

    Numbers matter, %ages don't? Okey dokey. If I removed that bucket full of puss and mucus that you call a brain, it would only be about 3 pounds . If I cut your leg off it would be 25-35 pounds. Considering you're a special case you might be just as deep a thinker if your brain was removed but the average person would function far better with one leg and a brain.

  84. carrstone Says:

    @dumbcommis

    That's about as relevant to the argument as saying that percentages matter more than actual numbers.

    But, hey, i've come to expect that so no surprises there.

  85. democommie Says:

    You really are too fucking stupid to waste time on.

    You're either some collegefuckwad in his mom's laundry room; one who's never had to earn a living and deal with reality OR you're a guy who got lucky and is afraid that the rest of the world might find out what a fucking fraud you really are.

    You are truly fucking pathetic.

  86. carrstone Says:

    @demcommie

    Still not replying to my comments, I notice. Is that because you've not got anything to say?

    Don't know why I even ask, I know you've got nothing worthwhile in your quiver so I'll put my pen aside and wait for the next democommie inanity.

    And that, I know from experience, is not a long wait.

  87. democommie Says:

    It's because it's impossible to argue with people that are fucking braindead.

    It is interesting that you think I'm the one who's running out of arguments when you haven't said anything of interest to anyone here since, well, the first comment you ever made.

    I know that you think you're a brave man, tilting against the forces of degeneracy. Truth is you're a sad fuck who somehow got the idea that anybody on this thread, or any thread on this blog, actually thinks you have anything of value to offer.

  88. carrstone Says:

    @democommie

    You read me wrong, I don't comment because I think I have 'anything of value to offer', I comment because there's always another pov, particularly to the drivel progressives maintain is going to save the world, a world in which the other guy's always to blame.

    Read the comments and see if that isn't true. This time around, in response to Ed's thread blaming the kids, there's a flood of concurring opinion – as usual. Or, as in your case, there's the deliberate and transparent misrepresentation of the facts, apparently selective editing is okay if it gets 'the message' across.

    Not a new, home-grown thought in the house.

  89. democommie Says:

    Clammstench:

    You don't have a point of view, asshole. You have a Randroid the size of walnut where other folks keep their brain.

    You seem to think that disagreeing with everyone else here makes you, what, noble?

    You sad fuckin' waste of semen.

  90. carrstone Says:

    @demmocommie

    My father might have agreed with you but what's your excuse?

  91. democommie Says:

    My dad wasted a lot of it pal–but he still had 11 kids. Most of the kids grew up to be decent people who would prolly ignore a p.o.s. like you, but I've always had difficulty in ignoring lying assholes who go out of their way to push whatever religion they're high on.

    Go back to your little liberpubliKKKan KKKonKKKlave and leave the rest of us to our misery.

  92. democommie Says:

    My dad wasted a lot of it pal–but he still had 11 kids. Most of the kids grew up to be decent people who would prolly ignore a p.o.s. like you, but I've always had difficulty in ignoring lying assholes who go out of their way to push whatever religion they're high on.

    Go back to your little liberpubliKKKan KKKonKKKlave and leave the rest of us to our misery.

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