There is this to be optimistic about. The fact that after years of being unable to get the general populace to give a damn about the shockingly high number of unarmed black men executed by violent psychopath cops, we’re finally having a national conversation about it and the media is having to report on the issue… And it only took having a police department go complete stereotypical movie villain and arresting so many journalists that the American news media was shamed into pretending it cared. Go progress?
So it turns out that detangling 8 and a half years worth of comingled stuff, packing up half of it, rearranging the other half into a livable area, and acquiring a new housemate takes up a little more time than I had anticipated. No worries. Luckily nothing major occurred during the impromptu summer vacation! [step over the corpse of Michael Brown]
Nope, nothing at all.
So, yeah… Ferguson.
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I mean, we have the everpresent slaughter of unarmed black men and boys by Klansmen-wannabe cops who mistake house keys for sixteen grenades and a rocket launcher. We have people actually protesting and protesting hard something that for a long time the black community was expected to shrug off (oh, did they kill off another one of our kids, yeah, that happens).
There’s the cops. Oh wow, is there the cops. I mean, threads like this one or the Ferguson twitter hashtag tried to record the sheer scope of the abuses committed by the totally not racist, homocidal, and corrupt cops of St Louis. I mean, for fuck’s sake, the cops managed to somehow combine all the worst traits of ever sci-fi villain mook army, deranged dictatorships, torture camps, and Segregation Revivalists into some sort of epic ball of pure unadulterated fuckwittery. I mean, first there’s the shooting itself and the way it was left for the people like it was the message to the community from the first season of the Wire*. Add to that the random rule that people needed to keep marching always for it to count as a rally. The theft of medical supplies from churches helping the protesters. The general attacks on the protesters. The arrest of countless foreign journalists. The beatings of unarmed women and children. The constant use of tear gas as a means to terrorize rather than for any legitimate aim. Overall, the whole thing has reminded me most of the media’s response to the Occupy rallies in its sheer level of baldfaced corruption with the knowledge that the proles will be powerless to change anything.
And that’s all before we count the actions they’ve pushed because they thought it exonerated them. Like the murder of Kajieme Powell which was supposed to show how the brave and heroic Klansmen… I mean, cops are under constant threat of the darkies and their murderous ways when what it showed was a kid with a knife sick and tired of the constant threat hanging around young black men and so stole something and asked for the cops to kill him just to see if they would kill him too.
And they did, gunning him down after 17 fucking seconds while he was already backing off before rolling over his body and handcuffing the corpse.
That’s right. They arrested a fucking corpse.
And this is the tale they decided to heavily publicize. To make themselves look good. This is what they thought would win the day and get America to forget about the concept of justice and accept a new reality where white cops and white wannabe cops can serve as Judge Dredd, serving as judge, jury, and executioner.
And well… they’re not wrong. I mean, if there’s anything that’s become painfully clear walking this beat, it’s the fact that the American public… or rather the media who claims to work for the American public and the scared stupid white fuckers hiding in the suburbs from the amorphous cloud of “crime” they think wanders across the post-apocalyptic wasteland they imagine cities to be… are all to eager to fall for any racist ball of bullshit that’s thrown at them.
I mean, it’s why the cops refused to even investigate a small clump of robberies, even though the owners of the business had the thief on camera and called and asked for help. Because they knew that was all that was needed to sell the standard claim of “rampant looting” which has been the default tactic any time the powerful have wanted to head off any empathy for black suffering** for at least 20 years now.
And it works. We’re only too eager to cling to any excuse needed to short circuit that pesky pang of regret or human desire for mutualism and support and remember that the escaped slaves aren’t people, but an uppity underclass who has long forgotten their place and role at the master’s feet begging for a night without a beating.
So yeah, of course the right wing has been terrible about this shit, grabbing any excuse to blame and minimize the protesters and their well-worded concerns and common-sense demands. To demonize the corpse, as they did with Trayvon Martin. And of course, as my co-blogger recorded aptly in the previous post, in hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of Michael Brown’s murderer, even though cops never face any sort of consequence for their actions. Because that’s the real dark underbelly of this whole shit show.
The fact that our justice system for a damn long while now has been about keeping the underclass terrorized. Cops aren’t asked to solve crimes, they are asked to remind the lesser their place. To harass the black man, to dismiss the rape of women, to mock the wounded queer, to simply refuse to investigate the murder of “trannies”.
Yeah, there’s a lot to unpack and a metric fuckton of posts I could harvest for this screed, but first I want to focus on three specific things, because they are very related to why this happened, why this keeps happening, and why we can’t ever hope to have a functional justice system in this country until this is fixed.
1) In each of these murders of unarmed black men, the cops have argued they were in fear for their lives. They had to act quick to put down a dangerous suspect. That it was the only way to save lives. Each time, we’re asked to excuse the tens of bullets pumped into children and young adults as the standard price to pay for safety. And further more that this accident or fear or whatever shouldn’t be investigated like an actual crime nor in any way harm the livelihood of the poor cop involved.
Except… I think cop is pretty much the sole profession, where you can fuck up to the point of killing a person and everyone shrugs it off. I mean, for fuck’s sake, doctors who genuinely try and do everything to save a patient but fucked up a minor step often lose their licenses and are banned permanently from medicine. But we’re supposed to wave off a cop demonstrating that they are wholly unqualified for the job they hold and conclude that this is a cop who needs to be back on the streets and in the trusty blue.
And it’s this circling to protect, as has been documented by countless academics studying police corruption and dramatized by shows like The Wire, which ensure that not only are the worst performers protected even from the illusion of consequences (thus demonstrating to every poorly trained authoritarian who seeks out this profession of power that they can straight up murder, assault, and rape with impunity, completely above the law), but that the whole edifice becomes about protecting said fuckups. Imagine a situation where doctors who regularly poison patients weren’t fired immediately or stripped of their licenses, but protected, promoted, and every real doctor was asked to falsify documents, give testimony, obfuscate, and injure to protect said homocidal lunatic. Would you ever enter a fucking hospital again? Bob know. But for some reason, we expect to put up with a police force which has become a terrorizing gang based on fear than anything else, simply because these authoritarian assholes have guns and the unchecked ability to make up whatever bullshit they want to gain an arrest.
I mean, for fuck’s sake, the cops of St Louis were issued with body cameras in response to the many instances lately of inopportune breaking of the law and I doubt this will at all dent the notion most cops have that they are untouchable and above critique. Because there is no teeth to enforcement. Who will be there to make sure that the camera footage of an execution isn’t “lost” like the records of those jouranlists who were arrested? And who will prosecute the cops when the whole edifice is designed around insuring they never face consequences.
But it gets even worse because of:
2) Again, the whole “accident” argument…
It’s interesting that the overwhelming number of dead gunned down by “accident” by cops are black or otherwise brown. That whites and especially richer or middle class whites don’t seem to be at the mercy of these barbarians. Suburban teen fuckups who pull a piece on a cop have their parents mailed a subpoena rather than having their parents open a casket for the showing of the body.
And we can have a very illustrative look at that by noting its temporal proximity with another major story this year:
The Bundy ranch.
I mean, let’s look at it. Teenage boys with no weapons. AIEEE, gun it down before it pulls out a super uzi and wipes out every white man on the planet. Grown, angry, and notably violent men pointing guns at law enforcement, threatening to kill them, and doing everything in their power to reveal themselves as a threat? Oh, let’s do be careful to make sure they don’t hurt themselves. Let’s not even arrest them or make sudden moves, lest they burn down their own compound and we get harassed by right-winger conspiracy theorists for twenty years.
Fuck, these violent scum, were so desperate for a confrontation and so utterly blue-balled of the cops hesitance to even enforce the fucking law with federal orders that a pair of them ended up going on a goddamn shooting spree just to get the reaction they wanted.
We make every allowance we can for white conservative types to the point of allowing them to break more laws or continue breaking the law the arrest is for, just so no one is hurt in responding.
But black kid? Gun it down, it might have gum! And yes, the victim is nearly always treated as an “it”, something disposable and inherently dangerous simply for the color of the skin or the economic class they are born into. And it ends up creating two completely different experiences of law. For blacks, cops are a violent gang one is powerless to combat, something that will kill your children, harass you, and arrest you for the most meaningless of reasons and who will never view you as a person. Whereas white conservative types have an experience where no law they break is ever enough to get responded to with any sense of urgency or alarm. And it ends up shaping the whole system of justice into a deliberate enforcing of hierarchy and place complete with lynchings by authority figures.
Cross us, live in the wrong neighborhood, show too much spine, or just not cower in a way that lets us stroke our micropenis to the notion of subjugating blacks back into a state where they better dance and smile and say “yes, massa” if they don’t want to die, and we will kill you and leave your body as a warning to anyone else who may dare think they are people.
And it expands from there to corrupt every facet of so-called justice. Whether it be the appalling way that rape and domestic violence are prosecuted, the way that murders of queers aren’t really investigated, the way that marginalized groups fighting back are treated more harshly than dominant groups straight up murdering someone. The way that crimes by the rich aren’t even treated as crimes and where few even believe that the law will protect their rights or help them prove their innocence if they are wrongly arrested.
Let me state that bluntly. People don’t expect the law to work like the law. People try and avoid any interaction with the cops, especially if they are marginalized, because they are trained that who they are matters way more than what they did. And that brings us to our last point before I actually begin this failapalooza.
3)I’m going to talk about an Anita Sarkeesian video on violence against women and gaming… Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this. The video is here for those who want to watch through it (Trigger warnings for lots and lots of virtual violence against women):
Okay, the piece I wanted to talk about is the part where she’s talking about a submission in Watch_Dogs where you need to witness a violent sexual or domestic crime against a woman and then have no other recourse to chase down the perp and gun him down to respond to it. And how she connected that to the way that women, especially sex workers, are often only in games, just so they can be brutalized as a means of demonstrating setting and showing that the character shouldn’t feel bad about killing the bad guys.
Now this is just gaming and its tropes, but it illustrates a rather nasty worldview that has metastasized into some ever-expanding Akira of death and destruction within our justice system and indeed throughout the whole of the right and a large part of the mushy middle.
And it’s this notion that criminals are bad guys, who one can and should only respond to with violent murder. And furthermore, that criminals are a wholly different class of people from “normal people” and committing one crime is indistinguishable from committing any type of crime. The guy doing the street mugging to get some cash will become a murderer or a rapist if given half a chance. A home invader is probably going to want to pull some sick torture shit on your kids like it was a horror movie. A guy who smokes some weed or immigrates to this country without waiting for our broken and racist system to approve him even though our country bankrupted his is a criminal and thus something other than human.
This worldview has been internalized by cops, judges, and a majority of people who will ever sit in a jury box. It is the reason that our prison system is essentially torture and few have the political will to change it. It’s the reason that conservatives think claiming that Michael Brown committed a robbery or Trayvon Martin… did something… is somehow a justification for someone else committing homocide.
And yeah, it definitely gets fitted with all our racist, classist garbage. And is why every single black and brown and poor person is seen as inherently criminal. And of course why being said criminal means they are inherently a threat. And yes, why cops feel justified in being judge, jury, and executioner for anyone they even suspect of being a “criminal”, even if the reason they suspect them of being so is their brown skin.
But even more insidiously is the way this black or white, there’s the bad guy who gets gunned down for being an evil criminal and the heroic hero who dispatches the worthless son of a bitch, erases any chance of the justice system being only flawed but salvagable instead of the mess we have today.
Cause, the flipside of this “people who don’t share my white experiences are criminals” worldview is this notion that anyone we know or can identify with or rather that said white conservatives know or can identify with can’t possibly be criminals even if they are literally breaking the law. And it leads many to completely erase the crimes of those who are dominant group members or have “good backgrounds” entirely because everyone seems to have the twisted notion from TV shows and video games that “criminals” are a wholly distinct class completely separate from “normal human beings”.
So a man who guns down and unarmed teenager after stalking him for blocks can’t possibly have committed a real crime, because he also subscribes to the same Klan-reading material. Or those nice kids couldn’t have raped that girl even though they video taped themselves raping her, because they play sports or have humanizing other aspects of their life that aren’t assaulting people and roaming the bushes with a scraggly homeless person beard looking for prey. And it’s why child molesters and serial killers, when they are revealed to be some white christian guy are often reported amidst shocked people going “but he was just a normal guy”.
Because we’ve convinced ourselves that criminals can’t ever be people we know or people we may otherwise have nice interactions with and certainly can’t come from “good backgrounds” or have “good jobs”. So when someone like that commits a crime, it’s just sort of ignored and condoned if not outright forgiven. Because it doesn’t fit our image of a “criminal”.
And so we get a system where being the right skin color, age, demographic, religion, gender identity, etc… gives one a free pass for murder and worse, which ends up increasing the severity of those crimes with those populations because no one is taking it seriously and even applying the basic purpose of a prison (in the most Scandanavian sense of simply stopping their ability to harm others by placing them somewhere guarded). It’s why corporations and the rich genuinely believe that the law doesn’t apply to them, so it shouldn’t matter when they embezzle billions, sink the global economy, poison whole towns, or just simply break the law openly and loudly and dare the government to intervene (Joe Arpaio, Cliven Bundy).
Because rich white guys don’t look like “criminals” to a bunch of idiots who’ve convinced themselves that “criminal” = dirty brown colored man hiding in the bushes with his crazy eyes and poor raising environment caused by the type of bad choices that mean you deserve to be poor in America (because clearly everyone who is poor deserved it).
And that’s where we are right now. Being black means you are a criminal and your lynching will be cheered by a national community of ghouls and fuckfaces. Being rich and Christian and suburban means you are a good person even if your basement is filled with the shallow graves of over a dozen children.
And the law reacts accordingly, in the only way that is heroically outlined for them. Or even just a guy with a gun, because what’s the difference at this point. The weapon marks one as vigilante and when one sees a “criminal” one must eliminate them rather than let them rape and murder and loot and do all the crazy criminal things criminals do. Even if that means gunning down an unarmed kid and terrorizing those who object. Even if that means opening fire on a car full of teenagers because they were listening to “criminal music”. Even if that means stalking and following an unarmed kid with a packet of Skittles and a cold drink. Even if that means gunning down a man just trying to open his front door after a long day at work as if they were Michael fucking Myers.
And as we watch corporations fuck us, the rich gleefully celebrating how little they give a fuck about the law, cops and crazy people openly bring back lynching and poll taxes, and the rest of us marginalized scum stuck in raw terror of a justice system that cannot be relied upon to dispatch any measure of justice…
We start to wonder why we even put up with this band of thugs and terrorists who claim to be our “protectors” rather than burning it to the ground and starting fresh with a system with as many checks and balances as therapists or doctors operate under to avoid the abuses of power.
Cause knowing that the police aren’t on your side and in fact can’t be trusted to enforce the law in any real manner other than enforcing hierarchies with threats, violence, and coercion is unsustainable. We literally can’t continue on with a justice system this broken. I mean at this point, nearly every generation alive has internalized a knowledge that cops are the enemy, not the heroes. And every new action proves this further.
Eventually the illusion that allows cops to function, that allows a much larger population to accept their subjugation by a few will shatter. And that will be a day when cops and the small number of rich fucks who own them at this point finally see what a real threat to their safety looks like.
Hint: It won’t be pretty.
‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. What, seriously? Are we really doing an entire post without once ripping into the right wing fucks preying on the blood of a town to sell their racist bullshit? Are… are you okay? We are aware of all Internet traditions.™
*The one where D’Angelo realizes his actions got the guard of the building who saw him killed.
**I mean, sorry for not taking my amnesia pills like the rest of the country, but I still remember when people who fucking survived Katrina were accused of being a pack of filthy looters when a few families scrounged supplies from abandoned and decimated stores because there was little in the way of official aid.
*** Sigh… okay fine. Here’s a handful. Just don’t complain to me when it ruins your dinner.
Shorter Angela Graham-(Bell)West, American Moral Scold:
The Fairytale of the Victimhood
- You know, oppression is a two-way street. I mean, if you didn’t react to the endless terrorism against your people like a normal human being with your unsavory pragmatism, then it’d almost be like you were never oppressed at all. I mean, won’t you be so much happier cradling the dead body of your son or having to explain to your daughter why her whole life is going to be harder and less respected than most people simply because of her skin color, if you just put it into the back of your mind and pretend everything is okay? I mean, it works for us on the right. Just take those pesky realizations about the world and our role in worsening it and poof… into the hole of shame right next to my latent lesbianism and the little voice that sometimes tries to tell me I don’t actually deserve it like my husband says I do when he’s having one of his “episodes”.
Seriously though, is every right-wing piece of advice just yay, denialism, cause sometime these fucks are going to have to live in the real world. Cause like it or not, we’re not all two-years old and even then the world didn’t actually go away when we closed our eyes.
But then again, the denialism is better than the creepy fucks who are straight up masturbating over the corpses and longing for the days when it was still respectable to bring the whole family for a picnic under the swaying body of a person reduced to an “it” and a message of fear for all those that shared “its” skin color.
Shorter Bob Weir, American I’m Afraid if I Move, Some of it Will Drip on Me:
Darren Wilson is a Hero
- Ah yeah, that durn cop is livin’ the dream, yeah baby, plugging one of those nigger boy gangbanger rap listeners what think they be people what can walk off the plantation. Yeah, you showed him who’s boss, good. I only wish I could be as brave as you as to murder and unarmed teenager with his hands in the air surrendering to the cops. Mmm, yeah, child blood is good lube, yes it is.
…I need a shower and an adult… and I’m not sure in what order. The point is, I don’t think I’m ever going to feel clean again from even just trying to distill the level of ghoulish glee in that bit of… yeah, let’s just move on to something not American Thinker.
Oh Bob Damnit, it’s Malkin.
Shorter Malkin’s Shrinking Relevance, National Look at Me! Look at Me!:
Hollywood’s Violence Profiteers
- Let’s just turn the dog whistles up to double max and trust that the scared racist morons that are my stock and trade won’t realize how dumb this is. Okay, check one, check two. Hey, those evil “gangsta” rappers who… you know, made their living critiquing the abuses of power by police and giving voice to righteous black male youth anger at the way their murders and constant harassment were ignored or erased by an uncaring white society that casually supported this twisting of justice… er, well, they’re protesting Ferguson. And that’s hypocritical, because they are personally responsible for white people believing all black people are criminals… I mean, for making black men into the racist strawman we think they are. So there. It’s your fault, not ours. Yeah… I still got it.
Cause, hey, just because it’s yet another dead body, it doesn’t mean we have to actually accept some level of responsibility for selling a conspiratorial view of race and the role of black people in our society. That’s just crazy talk.
And my absolute favorite because of how neatly it illustrates the goddamned problem that leads to shit like Ferguson where cops feel comfortable to terrorize and antagonize the public they are entrusted to serve because who’s going to care about a bunch of niggers, amirite?
Shorter Bob Weir, American Missing the Point Entirely:
Fighting Cops is a Losing Proposition
- Speaking as a white cop who has blindly worshipped authority, views all those I served as criminals regardless of their actions or innocence, and who assumed all the inhuman scum were totally packing and were about to shoot us any second and thus enforced my job in shitty fashion for one of the more corrupt police organizations during one of its most corrupt periods… I totally agree with how the cops in Ferguson have handled this whole affair. What? Irony? No, I know no irony.
Similarly, it turns out foxes agree, unguarded henhouses with easy digging access are better for everyone.
Just a taste, because frankly, with mangoes this rancid, we’re all getting sick enough sharing a planet with these fucks.