Why You Should Care About Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and the Criminal (In)justice System

That was Part I…Part II is me trying to address the most common questions/statements made in response to what’s going on. Obviously these words don’t represent anything but my own opinions and I welcome any and all viewpoints (but if you come at me with dumb shit, you’ll get a reaction worthy of your response).

  1. Why are people protesting?

Because they have to. Despite the recent explosion in coverage, police violence against civilians is nothing new. Prosecutors declining to charge officers when these crimes are committed are nothing new (and yes, I’m aware that it was the grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, but prosecutors/district attorneys could easily guide a grand jury towards pressing charges if they saw fit). What’s happened is that after years (decades, and even longer if you want to cast a wide net) of no accountability, people got fed up. As big as Ferguson is today, as much as everyone knows the name Michael Brown, there was very little media coverage when this first happened. I only knew about it because I was on twitter (likely during college football games), and started to see more and more mentions. However, it didn’t even make CNN or any other national news outlets until at least two days later, and that’s only because of the protests organized by Ferguson residents. If the media wasn’t going to care on their own, then actions would be taken to draw attention to the latest chapter in the ongoing epidemic of police brutality. Often, if something like this makes the news, they’ll run the story that’s given to them by the police department. History has shown us that what we’ve been told is often not the truth.

  1. What’s the big deal? Brown robbed a convenience store, struggled with a cop, smoked weed, and went for his gun.

Stealing cigarillos and smoking weed, while illegal in Ferguson, do not carry a death penalty. To say that either of those justifies his death is completely asinine. Regarding the actual interactions with Brown and Wilson, two people knew the full story and one of them is dead. The fact that there was so much conflicting information and testimony should absolutely result in a trial. Remove the badge and think of this scenario: Person A kills person B. Person A tells one story, witnesses tell another story. How often will a prosecutor believe Person A, the one who pulled the trigger, when there are multiple inconsistencies? I understand the difficult when there is no video evidence, and it led to the push to require all officers to wear body cameras. However…

  1. What about Garner?

I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. I’ll say right now that Eric Garner’s death happened when I was in Portugal. I read about it, but I didn’t watch the video and I’ve only seen it up until the cop starts to apply the hold. I have no intention of watching that man die. Without getting into the NYPD’s history (which I admittedly don’t know much about, having spent a total of 3 days in NYC) and their “broken windows” policing style, all I know is that Garner was selling loose cigarettes on the street (which is a crime, but again, one that doesn’t carry a death penalty). Officers approached/surrounded him, and they considered the act of him pulling his hand away to be resisting arrest, so in the effort to take him down, one cop applied a chokehold (which the NYPD banned in 1993, but you wouldn’t know it from the countless chokehold complaints they receive every year). Said chokehold lead to his death, and the coroner backed that up and ruled his death a homicide. Despite that, and despite the entire thing being caught on video, a grand jury decided not to indict the officer.

  1. Why would the officer not be charged?

There isn’t nearly enough time or space here to explain the current state of the criminal justice system, but as mentioned in the article I linked a few days ago, it works exactly as it’s supposed to. You will rarely, rarely see a police officer charged with a crime, and if you want to know more, I recommend two books: Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces by Radley Balko, and The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. My theories (based on those books and other sources)? A DA will not charge a cop because that puts his or her job in jeopardy. Come election time, if the police union decides to back another candidate, the existing DA is more or less finished. We’ve all seen the power that (all) unions hold when it comes to elections.

  1. What do unions have to do with this?

All I’ll say on unions is that like the police force, it’s a well intentioned idea that’s been perverted and used for unsavory purposes. I understand why we need unions, but I’ve also seen plenty of instances that make me despise them.

  1. Why is it always about race? Why did no one care when [white guy] was killed a cop?

People did care, and people do care. The effort to reform the criminal justice system is not a new fad and does not pick and choose based upon race. Now, the question you’re really asking is why the media doesn’t cover any of those stores. The short answer is to ask the media. We know what their agendas are, and we also know that they cover what they want to cover. The longer answer, my longer answer, is to go back up and read question 1 about the initial protests in Ferguson and how they essentially forced the media to pay attention; they made it too big to be ignored. After that, I’ll ask you (or anyone asking this question) what did you do in that manner to draw attention to that cause? Do you personally care about the police brutality victims that aren’t being mentioned in the media? Then be active and do something about it. But if you don’t care, then are you just saying that you’re tired of constantly hearing about black victims? I’m not finishing that thought, but you should be able to put 2 and 2 together and see what that line of questioning implies. My philosophy is the following: If you aren’t doing anything to fix a problem, you don’t get to complain about it; obviously you’ve accepted the state of things as they are.

  1. What does blocking traffic and lying down in the street accomplish? If they want to change things they should be less disruptive.

Hanging back and waiting for the media or politicians or anyone else to give a shit didn’t work, as decades of murdered civilians will show you. The protests, whether you like them or not, are effective, and have brought attention to this ongoing issue that many people are trying so hard to ignore. The protests in Ferguson started in a small town of about 20,000 people and managed to raise awareness all across the globe. So whether you like them or not, they are affective. And as long as officers are brutalizing and killing civilians and getting away with it, they’re not going to stop, and they’re not going to go away. The die-ins (when the massive groups all simultaneously lay down in a town square or intersection or store) are forcing people to view what they’ve tried to avoid: all the dead bodies. Don’t expect sympathy because your commute was affected when people have lost their lives and loved ones have lost their family members.

The fact that there’s more outrage over a blocked intersection than over an unpunished murder caught on tape says it all about the current state of our society.

  1. What’s with all the “black lives matter” if this is something that happens to everyone? Don’t all lives matter?

Yes they do, but there’s a good portion of the population that thinks black lives don’t matter. I’m aware it’s an incredibly low hanging fruit, but a quick glance across twitter or any internet comment section or facebook group will show you that these ugly, unevolved opinions are still far more common than they should be in 2014.

  1. So what can be done?

I don’t know. At this point, I think we have to start small by just educating people and letting them know why they should care and why all of this matters. Maybe with enough support, pressure can be put on politicians to actually take this seriously and enact some changes, but outside of that, I’m clueless. This machine has been running since before I was born, and it’s going to take a Herculean effort to get past all the roadblocks and make any sort of change. But awareness is without a doubt the first step. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have been going so deep into this. My mind was in other places with other concerns, the familiar refrain of “it’s not affecting me” blocking out most of the world’s travesties. To see where I am from where I was? I’m convinced that everyone has this potential within themselves; they just need to have their eyes opened.

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Opposing Viewpoints and What We Can Learn From Them

Bill Clinton gave a speech last month at a gala for The New Republic. I think the entire thing is worth a read (click here), but I want to highlight a specific section of the transcript below, because I think Bill makes some excellent points that people are ignoring or dismissing (if they’re even aware of them):

  “You know, Americans have come so far since, let’s say, the era of Joe McCarthy. I mean, think about it. We’re less racist. We’re less sexist. We’re less homophobic than we used to be. We only have one remaining bigotry. We don’t want to be around anybody who disagrees with us. And if you look, actually residential patterns in America are changing. I mean, not just on by Congressional Districts. I mean fixed-line borders, like counties, the internal, social and political complexion of them are changing, and we also are siloing our information sources.

I read the other day that 47 percent of self-identified conservatives will only watch Fox News on television. That’s good for Fox News. I mean, it’s a good business model. My mother-in-law, who died a couple years ago at 91, and whom I love dearly and who lived with Hillary in our Washington home while she was secretary of state and senator, was the most liberal member of our family. She watched Fox News every day. I asked her if she was trying to give herself a heart attack. She said, “No, I’m just trying to keep my blood pumping.”

But then my—but then she seriously said—she said, first of all, Bill, I need to know what they’re saying so I have an answer and I need to know what they’re saying in case they’re right. She said, nobody’s wrong all the time. It’s like almost biologically impossible.”

That first comment, about how we avoid people with differing opinions is probably the biggest roadblock we’re facing today. I’m sure that if we all took a look at our social circles (myself included), we would find that a majority of people agree with us on issues that we consider important, whatever they might be. And that’s a very bad thing, because if you’re constantly having your opinions reinforced and rarely facing criticism or any opposing viewpoints, you’re going to be less likely to actually consider the possibility that you’re wrong and some dissenting voice on the other side has made a good point. I can sit here and rant and rave all day about injustice in the world, but if everyone in my audience already agrees with me and sees things the way I do, am I really accomplishing anything? I haven’t changed any opinions, I haven’t made any progress or done anything to change the current conditions; all I’ve done is pat myself on the back because no one called me out or found flaws in my arguments. That’s a false sense of accomplishment; it feels like I’ve done something, but that isn’t the case. It’s akin to running in place for 30 minutes. Sure, I’m exhausted and it seems like I’ve gone far, but I’m exactly where I was when I began.

This ties into the second point about Fox News. And I’m not trying to attack them right now, but the fact that almost half of conservatives get their news from one source and one source only should be troubling to everyone (and I’m aware that the same probably goes for the left and CNN/MSNBC/etc). It’s a dangerous decision to trust one source and never question the information you’ve been given, especially when the media (on all sides) is notorious for chasing controversy and ratings and appealing to their target audience instead of actually delivering honest news. When I’m posting on here about political or social topics, I’m not specifically talking to the people that agree with me. My hope is to initiate some sort of conversation with a person on the other side that feels differently, but is at least willing to engage in some sort of healthy dialogue. I welcome opposing viewpoints, because the best thing that we can do is learn from each other. I know for a fact that I’m not right all the time and I welcome anyone that wants to correct me, because no one person knows everything. There is always more knowledge out there, and these situations, never as black and white(no pun intended) as they seem, are constantly changing and evolving. It’s important to know what the opposing arguments are to a) disprove them with facts, or b) modify your own opinions based on new evidence.

This is my goal, and I hope that everyone reading this massive wall of text makes a commitment to do the same: Have as many (mature) conversations as you can with (reasonable) people that don’t agree with you. Even if neither side wavers, at least there’s an open path for the future. Maybe in a discussion weeks (or months or years) down the road, one of you will be more willing to listen to what the other has to say, and then we’ll actually be on the same page for a change, instead of just yelling at each other from across the aisle. Oh, and of course, take everying you see/read/hear in the news with a grain of salt. If someone says something, do your own research before you prop it up or shoot it down.

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On Michael Brown and Public Reactions: Part II

Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown. Only three people witnessed the events from start to finish; one is dead, one is a cop, and one is Michael’s friend. So we have two wildly differing accounts of what transpired that afternoon. There are certainties in the story (there was some sort of incident in the car because Michael’s DNA was found in the vehicle), as well as inconsistencies (such as the 35-foot distance between the vehicle and where Michael died, which is actually 140 feet). I don’t know what really happened any more than you do. What I do know is that I’m more inclined to believe that Michael Brown’s murder was unjust and unnecessary.

His death was a tragedy; there’s no way to spin that. Even if he “intimidated” a store owner, even if he stole some cigarillos, even if he was walking in the street and refued to move, even if he attacked a cop, he did not deserve to die. Did he deserve to be arrested and charged? Sure, no one’s going to argue that. But the common sentiment amongst some of the morons is that any one of those things justifies what happened. “If he didn’t want to die, then he shouldn’t have been stealing and smoking weed.” I mean shit, can you even see from up on your high horse? I don’t understand how or why Michael Brown would run 140 feet from the car after having been shot in the hand, and then decide to turn around and charge the armed cop that was chasing him. Logically it makes no sense, but file that with the other questions that will remain unanswered.  What I do know is that there’s a clearly established precedent for protecting officers that have been accused of misconduct or excessive force. Prosecutors are notoriously reluctant to file charges against members of law enforcement; and even if charges are filed, you can expect the courts to rule in favor of the police (even with video evidence).

But here’s what so many people don’t understand: this isn’t about Mike Brown. As sad as it is to say, he’s just another page in the long, long, looooong list of murder victims that will receive scorn instead of justice, solely because they were unlucky enough to be on the wrong end of a cop that felt “threatened.” This isn’t a 2014 issue; this goes back, way back, before a fair amount of us were born. If I told you that an unarmed black man was shot and killed by a cop, and that a grand jury refused to indict the officer, you would (unfortunately) not be surprised. If I told you that it happened in 1965, you’d probably chalk it up to the high tension of the Civil Rights era, especially in Alabama. And if I asked you why the same thing happened almost 50 years later, would you have an answer? Is there anyone that can explain and/or justify why police officers seemingly have a free pass to beat and rape and kill with almost no consequences (except in the most egregious cases)?

But no one wants to have that conversation. It’s easier to rationalize it, to say that a kid who stole some cigarillos was a thug that got what was coming to him. It’s easier to look at Ferguson, ignore the 90% of people protesting peacefully, and focus on the small minority rioting and causing havoc (strangely, these voices are nowhere to be found when people are rioting over sports games). It’s easier to look down on people, throwing out MLK quotes and pretending to be some sort of moral authority while simultaneously ignoring the despicable behavior of your own children (I’m sorry, did I just accuse an entire group of something with no supporting evidence? Shit, my bad…).

The high and mighty types love to criticize and tell people that disobedience and reckless behavior is no way to get a message spread. So what do you suggest? We tried it the peaceful way. We tried it the legal way. We tried everything just so people would pay attention and realize what’s going on, yet the problems are ignored and continue to be repeated. I’m an advocate of peace. I’m not a militant person, and my (completely ridiculous) dream is for everyone to just wake up and realize that we’re in this together. Hate accomplishes nothing, and as long as we’re all sharing the planet, we should learn to get along. However, peace isn’t going to get it done. If you have something to say and it’s not being heard, speak louder. If they still can’t hear you, then get their attention, one way or another. The message is important, the movement is important, and it’s not going to go away.

There’s a somewhat popular t-shirt stating “Not Your Respectable Negro.” I choose to interpret it as such: No more patiently waiting for a seat at the table. No more giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming that the problems will be resolved on their own. You don’t give a fuck about us, and if you think you can ignore us, then you are sorely mistaken. Do you think that this is the end? Do you think that the refusal to indict this murderer will be taken as a defeat? We’re just getting started. Keep shielding your eyes, keep trying to ignore the problems in front of you. Either this movement will grow to the point where you’ll be unable to ignore it, or the police will start targeting white people. And then, you’ll see what the fuck what we’ve been talking about this whole time.

No Justice, No Peace.

**13 months ago, I wrote an article entitled Let’s play a game of madlibs, presented here without comment:

Citizens are up in arms over another case of police brutality, after an unarmed _______[city] resident was shot and killed. Officers claim that the victim was acting erratically and came at them with a _______[weapon], but witnesses dispute the facts provided, stating that the victim was not charging or rushing. The victim’s _______[relative] claims that “_________[Victim’s name] ain’t have no weapon, he ain’t had nothin on him. Cops showed up, started yellin at him, and then just shot him. He didn’t charge, he wasn’t aggressive, and the only thing in his hand was ___________[harmless item].”

After conducting an internal investigation, the __________[city] police department has determined that the use of force was justified and stated that the officers responsible will not be charged for the ___________[illogically high number]th case of an unarmed citizen killed by law enforcement’s use of excessive force.

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On Michael Brown and Public Reactions

In lieu of commenting on the countless uninformed social media posts I’ve seen, I’m just going to reply to them all at once. First off, get informed. Don’t read an article on CNN, or watch some segment on the news. If you’re going to talk about Ferguson or make assumptions on Ferguson, get informed. Get on twitter, follow the reporters and residents and politicians that are down there every night, posting pictures and videos and constant updates about everything that’s going on.

Secondly, regarding the looters and rioting. Contrary to popular belief, the protesters are not rioting. When there have been riots, they have been initiated by others, and in almost all instances the protesters have attempted to self-police and have been blocking entry to the stores and businesses that were broken into. Don’t for a second thing that this entire crowd just up and decided to break shit and burn shit as a protest. The people that actually give a fuck about this issue are against looting; against attacking cops; and against chaos. The people looting saw a golden opportunity to steal some shit while the cops were occupied. If you’re trying to claim that these crowds are one and the same, go get fucking educated. Or find some videos from Wednesday night when the people were protesting peacefully, sans looting, and the cops decided to fire tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd…not at all an excessive show of force. There’s a reason that the St Louis County PD was relieved by Highway Patrol the following day.

Third point, why is everyone pissed? Seven days ago a teenager was killed by a policeman. It took six days for the name to be released, and thus far that’s the only information that was provided. They’re pissed because there’s a rush to supply information about the kid, answering unasked questions like “did he have a criminal record?” and “was he in a gang?” and “is there anything he did to potentially deserve this?” Why else go out of your way to mention that this dead teenager was a suspect in a robbery when the officer in question didn’t know about it and stopped him for a completely unrelated reason? Oh, he stole some cigarillos? Yea that totally justifies his execution. Even though we don’t know the full details, it’s troubling that the version we’re hearing from police has a huge gap…it goes from a struggle in the car and a shot fired inside the vehicle to “A few moments later, Chief Belmar said, the officer allegedly fired multiple shots outside the vehicle that killed the suspect, about 35 feet from the cruiser.” Seven days later, and we’ve been given more irrelevant information about Michael Brown and still don’t have the officer’s account of what happened between the struggle in the vehicle and the actual shooting…it almost feels like the trigger-man is being sheltered, as if the full account might paint him in a negative light somehow.

Fourth point, those of you against protests in general. There isn’t much to say on this, that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. But realize that this crime goes beyond race; this is about cops vs. civilians, and it’s not an isolated issue. When the people that are supposed to protect you are killing you instead, that’s a problem. When it’s happening with increasing regularity, that’s a problem. The whole criminal justice system is fucked, top to bottom, but that’s a much longer discussion for another day and another time. Though I highly suggest you do some research to learn more about law enforcement in this country, as well as excessive force and questionable shootings by police officers.

Fifth point…the crime might not be about race, but the reactions are. There’s a reason the media kept running the picture of Michael Brown throwing up a gang sign (unless it was a peace sign…but we can’t expect any sort of responsible reporting). There’s a reason that people have seized on the fact that he had just stolen a pack of cigarillos. There’s a reason that idiots are claiming that these protests are just an excuse for everyone to loot. What that reason is (if it’s not racism, whether blatant or subtle), I don’t know. But none of those things can be used to justify the shooting. Posing for a picture doesn’t excuse getting shot 8-10 times. Neither does petty theft. Neither does any looting (and I feel bad that I have to spell this out for some of y’all, but that happened AFTER THE FUCKING SHOOTING).

So why do people cling to it? Why are there folks frustrated with all of this, who can’t understand why anyone would bother getting this angry? Imagine that someone kills your child, or your friend…people witnessed it, everyone knows who did it, yet six days later, all they’re doing is talking about your kid. “Well when he was 15 he was charged for tagging a wall, and in the 6th grade he pushed a kid to the ground and stole his lunch money.” There’s absolutely no reason to get into any of that because it’s not relevant to the central fucking issue. A kid was killed. The man that pulled the trigger is being protected. Whether you think Michael Brown was a saint or a thug, at the end of the day he didn’t deserve what happened to him. Maybe if you give the people (including his parents) the answers that they’re seeking, instead of trying to shield the cop while you dish out any negative info you can find on Michael Brown, they won’t be so aggravated.

And once again, get informed.

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Writing: The Process

I don’t give this blog nearly enough attention. I feel like I owe everyone (myself?) an explanation. It’s primarily a combination of two specific factors, the first of which is timing. Each of the few entries I’ve made started with an idea that came to me at work. Unfortunately I’m not able to just churn out entries sitting at my desk, so I keep a notebook where I can jot down anything interesting my mind happens to dig up (writing topics, lyrics, ideas, reminders, etc). But by the time I make it home, The idea that was once so clear has now become muddled. I can’t remember that specific point I wanted to make, or the exact phrasing I wanted to use. Maybe that’s on me for not taking more detailed notes (I typically just write the key topic, then maybe a few bullet points that I’d like to cover), but regardless…by the time I get home and I’m sitting here, locked in a staring contest with a blinking cursor, the idea has been warped. Not drastically, but just enough for me to know that it’s not the same…that it’s inferior to what I’d initially thought of.

Which brings me to my second point, the curse of all creative-types: Self-criticism. Often when I reach that point (where I know the best version of the entry has been lost, but still remain committed to write something), I’ll try my best to capture the ideas I originally had. But the entire time there’s this voice telling me “This is awful. You know that the other one was so much better. Why are you even wasting time with this?” And honestly, they’re all valid points. When I write (or make music…or do anything), I don’t like to half-ass the effort. But by putting out version 2.0 of random-blog-topic, that’s what I’m doing. I’m hitting “publish post” and sending out something that I know is far from the best I could do. Do I want to have this “eh” article represent my thoughts and opinions? Usually not, which is why I can tell you that numerous posts have been deleted and lost to the world. I wish I could change my thinking, or at least find some common ground, but as of this date it hasn’t happened yet. The only reason that this post exists is because the idea came to me shortly after waking up, and I still have 10 minutes before I need to start getting ready for work. I can’t let an idea sit on the bench, it needs to be given life immediately…there’s a very small window of opportunity.

Will this admission actually change anything? I have no idea. In the past, I’ve had a lot of success putting problems to paper. Once I finish writing, I’m able to step back and see the issue from an outside perspective, which allows me to come up with a logical solution that’s not weighed down by the emotional attachments. Maybe that’s my hope for this, but we’ll see. If I go another month or two without an update, you’ll know the reason why.

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The Rise of Negativity

This is a summary of something I’ve been meaning to write for a long time (hopefully I’ll be able to revisit it in the future and add more detail/structure):

  • Don’t be an asshole (this will be a recurring theme).
  • Snark is unnecessary. The internet has seemingly made it ok to be angry for no reason (“No shit, what the fuck do you think” as a reply to someone asking a question), and it doesn’t make sense to me. I’m not making myself out to be all high and mighty; I used to be like that, but there’s honestly no justification for it anymore.
  • On a related note, there’s too much negativity. Everything is a huge deal, everything warrants a complaint. People spend ten times as much effort telling you why they’re pissed off than they do telling you about something truly great in their lives. Sometimes I get happy and I just wanna tell everyone and share the joy. Why is it more fun to bitch? It’s 2014, the time to be a Maddox-clone has long since passed.
  • (I realize the irony as I sit here writing this) When you have a problem with an issue or you’re truly offended by it, getting on tumblr (or whatever avenue you use to share your thoughts) is pretty pointless. You’ll spend hours typing a gigantic dissertation that explains why ____ is a huge problem and how no one else seems to get it but you. Then you’ll get likes/reblogs/comments/kudos/etc from followers/people that feel the same way, and then everyone is patting themselves on the back. But in the end, what was accomplished? You essentially walked into a room of people that already agree with you, made a statement that was generally applauded, and felt good about yourself? You didn’t succeed in reaching your target audience (i.e., the parties responsible for the actual problem), and they probably have no idea that you went to such efforts. If you truly have a problem with something, get out there and actually make an effort to change it. There’s no sense in getting together with a crowd just so you can all complain about the same thing and agree with each other.
  • Guilt is a pretty big thing now, especially on the internet. I’ve “learned” about so many issues with the world that I wasn’t previously aware of. And then I was told that I should feel guilty. Guilty about my ignorance, guilty about my existence, guilty because if I’m not 100% with you then I’m against you and a horrible person. That’s a pretty shitty way to make a change and get someone to listen to you. Not every situation is black and white, and it’s pretty stupid to only see the world in absolutes. Honestly it reminds me of religion…you take something “normal” that most people don’t really give a second thought, tell them that it’s awful and how dare they not know the truth about ______. There’s no room for discussion, no arguments, no “well what about____” counterpoints. It’s wrong, and you’re wrong for having a different point of view. I’m told that despite my actual intentions when I say or do something (which I will understand better than anyone else ever could), I’ve actually got some subconscious malicious intent. So is free will nonexistent now? Why say or do anything if the meanings have already been pre-determined? We can all just wear stickers saying “Hi my name is ____ and I’m a _____” to save time and eliminate all those pesky “conversations” we all used to have. When there are people on both sides of a room yelling radical statements back and forth at each other, why would I be inclined to side with either one? Even if I agreed with your message, your over-the-top method of delivery is likely enough to push me away.
  • And to that, labels. Everything must be labeled and categorized, even if we have to make up new labels and combinations. The same folks complaining about being forced into roles and categories are the ones that have to immediately define something and put it in a box. “No, you’re ____. I don’t care what you think, you’re <b>wrong</b>, you’re _____, and that’s final.”
  • Most of this is just rehashing the same thing. Why the hostility, why the negativity. People can’t even have discussions without having them dissolve into full-on arguments. Let’s throw out some threats of bodily harm and insult a person’s intelligence/character because of a few words on the internet. Let’s claim we’re pro-peace and harmony while spewing some really vile shit and generalizing everything to falsely strengthen our arguments. The asshole has become the norm, and empathy and logic are endangered species. It’s an asshole’s world and unfortunately they’re growing in size.
  • This seems like the rant of an old man that doesn’t get the world anymore, and maybe it is. I look at things logically, and logic doesn’t really seem to apply anymore. I have no idea what’s going on or why, but I really really hope it’s not too late to undo some of this.
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Excessive Farce

http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20130910/NEWS/130910009/

Go read that story (and make sure you watch the video), then come back here.

Done? Ok, good.

Do you believe that was excessive force? Do you believe the officers in that video were far more forceful than they needed to be in trying to handcuff a 130lb woman? I’m just gonna go ahead and assume that your answer was “yes.” If you disagree, well that’s your opinion, and you are entitled to it despite the fact that you’re an idiot. The girl, the city, the cops; they’re all interchangeable. This is something that happens throughout the country on a regular basis, and despite the (completely warranted) outrage, nothing seems to change. I mean, think about it. Why, if you’re a police officer, would you so blatantly assault a person, knowing that the entire incident is being recorded on your dashboard camera? Because you know that you’re probably gonna get away with it.

It doesn’t help the situation when your union says things like:

“They were absolutely justified in doing what was called a takedown and that’s what they did here, and in fact they would have been justified in going all the way up in the use of chemical weapons, or a taser, using a baton, they wouldn’t have been justified in using deadly force,”

In what has to be a front runner for understatement of the year, Ms. West’s attorney replied with the following:

“For the P.B.A. to take the position that it would have been appropriate and justified to use a baton, taser, or chemical weapons to subdue a 120 pound woman with five officers on scene, in my opinion, identifies the severity of the problem within the department.”

Somehow, the FBPA watched that video and came to the conclusion that not only was it okay, but it might’ve even been kinda lenient. Shit, who knows what would’ve happened if that cop had been in a bad mood? Bust out the taser, those cries sound like someone’s resisting arrest.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that not every cop believes this shit, and I’m not trying to paint them all with the same brush. But just because a problem isn’t widespread (relatively speaking; one instance of police brutality is already over the limit), doesn’t mean that we accept it and/or ignore it. Yet what keeps happening? Cops feel like assaulting someone and lying about it. But it’s okay; even if there’s video evidence they’ll probably just get away with it.

And don’t assume that these are isolated incidents; this shit is common, and this shit is excessive (maybe not the best word to use; seems like it’s easy to forget the definition). But the question, again, is why? Why does it happen? Why does it keep happening? Why do cops keep getting away with it? Do they think that their actions will be deterrents against future crimes? The only thing that I’ve learned from all of this is that if I ever feel the need to shoot an unarmed man 41 times (stopping to reload twice), I should make sure I’m wearing a badge.

I mean honestly? Do what you want. Your union and police chief will back you up, always stating that your actions were justified and not at all excessive (again, 41 shots…). Half the time, you’ll just get acquitted (and that’s if they even bother pressing charges).

But wait a second, we can’t criticize the police! They’re the law, and we have to respect that. It’s not as if they’d charge someone with a felony for distributing public information, right? And they definitely wouldn’t punish a man that made the grave mistake of clenching his buttcheeks by forcing him to undergo an x-ray, two rectal exams, three enemas, a second x-ray, and a colonoscopy.

Everyone needs to remember that at the end of the day, cops are people too. They aren’t better than us, they aren’t above the law, and they aren’t immune to (significant) lapses in judgement. An asshole with a badge is still an asshole. I want to reiterate that I’m not attacking all police officers, because there are plenty that perform their jobs admirably. But fuck the dirty cops, and fuck their peers that don’t speak up or lie to cover their buddies. Maybe instead of arresting people that film you when you fuck up, you should focus on…I dunno, not fucking up as much?

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