STOP reading now if you get torked easily. We may disagree. Won’t bother me if you call me an idiot. Read our “disclaimer” for our “Third Rail Topics.”
Politically I fall right of center. Pretty well a libertarian. Lead your life, don’t mess with mine, and we are gonna do just fine. This summer, again, more riots and more dead black dudes. Stick with that for a minute. Don’t diverge and shout black on black. Happy to discuss black on black, white on white, whatever. But for now, let’s narrow the focus to the dead black dudes.
Officers have a wide latitude. Some use it poorly. None are above the law. Now, before you start thinking I am a total liberal, there is no excuse for a riot. NONE. Even if your football team wins. NONE. We need to separate “riots” from the discussion of their underlying issues. Most don’t. If the “event” is invalid, the riot must therefore be invalid? It does not really work that way. If that lets you sleep at night – go for it. Along the way lots of folks yammering about rights, very few yammering about responsibility. It all plays out the same every time. I view it all a bit differently.
Police are oftentimes the first interaction with government. Systemically I think our institutions are breaking down and failing us. Schools no longer teach, charities no longer give, the church covers it’s ass. Government? Where do we start? Across the board we are failing as a nation. Each cut, each fracture, brings us down. Police are often the point of first contact, so it manifests itself there first. In part because they get wide latitude, sometimes kill people, and get a lot of news coverage. We see it there before seeing it anywhere else. We can’t ignore what is happening. I don’t even suspect it is race issue. I do recognize that inner cities, much like police, manifest issues long before they reach the general population. The collision of the two early manifestations is what we are seeing. Stated a crass way: “Dead black dudes are our canary in the coal mine.” God help us when it becomes mainstream / common place.
Growing up, I hate to admit it, but we sort of knew the shit was going on. The King video comes along and well, we were confident. Trouble is if you even remotely suggest there may be a problem you are labeled a “cop hater.” It is a pretty good way to alienate people, lose a few friends, get ridiculed. Truth is there is a real problem. It manifests, we get outraged, it swings the other way, we get outraged. Both sides use it for exploit. Cops are not heroes. Plenty of them do heroic things, but not all are “heroes.” Not above the law.
Now, statements like that always lead to the tried but true:
When a cop tells you to put your hands up or get on the ground, JUST DO IT, don’t walk away or do anything else, it’s that simple, you will go home alive… Really!!
“Comply or DIE!” That seems to be the retort since Brown / Ferguson. Brown was a good shoot. No doubt in my mind. Read the report, listened to the full conference. Good shoot. At the time I told folks, “look at the fire, not the spark.” Come to find out the fire was fueled by years of abuse from the department against ALL citizens in what can only be analogous to a “extortion / protection racket.” None of these events happen in a vacuum.
Tamir Rice was issued no orders. Dead in three seconds. Locally a Mesa AZ Officer is on trial for 2nd degree. Why? The victim was doing exactly what the officer asked him to do. I guess not quick enough? Also locally a few dead mentally challenged, you know the rise in autism rate and all. Course, had they “done what they were told” they may be alive. God help the deaf folks or the folks who don’t process information like most of us. Dude in Big Bear with LAPD on tape planning, wanting, to burn him alive. Countless videos of officers beating people who are cuffed and restrained. You know, wild wild west stuff. Not all of the links involve dead black dudes. Some is against Whites / Hispanics so it does not get the media like the dead black dudes. All in all, good to be white and in bed by 9:30pm. Go me.
There are about two dozen departments under Consent Decree. Few dozen more disbanded. Various agencies clearly exploiting their authority. Systemic issues against fellow citizens. Do you think that just happens on a whim? Last month a dozen or so bad cops in Oakland fired for underage solicitation? Recently some in Phoenix fired and facing criminal charges for forcing a guy to eat drugs. Officer in Tulsa got charged. Officer in South Carolina plants a weapon on a man he shot in the back? These events are increasing at an alarming rate. The “good cops,” the ones we all want to protect and who have earned our respect / gratitude are silent. They appear to go along to get along. The result? Various agencies under consent decree. Various Officer Unions suing to block those reforms. Various “sick outs” / “blue flu” in protest. My real problem with the deal is it takes extraordinary events to “weed them out” so to speak. Where are the “good cops” stepping in and controlling their partners? Where are the good cops telling fellow Officers in Oakland it is not OK to screw a teenager? Where are the good cops in Phoenix saying, don’t shove the drugs down the son of a bitch’s mouth?
We can all agree there are clearly bad cops. Too many cases. Too many dead black dudes. In some respects it is like the terrorist issue. I fully realize a very small percentage of Muslim’s are terrorists. Am I irrational for suspecting them all? Am I irrational for saying they should face greater scrutiny? Not if I am a guest speaker on Fox news. Not if I am running for President. Not if I am a realist.
There are also good cops. Lots and lots of them. Dallas is a great example and part of the reason why the shooting there was so tragic. The Chief, David Brown, went in and cleaned the department up. Fired a couple dozen of bad officers. Did a good job. If people understood the history of the Dallas Chief, they would be devastated. He weeded the “bad cops” out. He was rewarded with five dead good ones? Tragic. Clearly Chief Brown is a “good cop.”
I have no hate for “the good cops.” I would not want their job for love nor money. But they took it. They need to understand what it entails. They need to understand they are citizens first, Officers second. I personally would be pretty receptive to seeing some of the “good cops” take a stand.
And to the folks who say:
Someday you might need them!
You are right, someday I might need them. I might need a Priest someday as well. I won’t be giving a pass on the priest for child molestation. I will no longer give a pass to “the good cops” until they clean up their own shit.
The jest is long ago we made Officers “heroes” instead of “citizens.” Don’t fu*k with the heroes. You may end up dead. Just as dead as a long string of dead black dudes.
Enough Dead Black Dudes.