A Cleveland police cruiser lurches forward into a coterie of protesters and stops dangerously close to hitting a number of us who, along with about 150 others, had taken the streets for a second day in a row since the local grand jury decided not to indict the officers who shot and killed 12-year old Tamir Rice.
One problem with the State of Policing in the USA is the Hollywood Myth Factory. There a wealth of movies that will speak to Police Corruption but they all tend to end with " The hero prevails , the bad officers are arrested and the system works to correct the excesses" type ending.
The masses viewing these movies then become conditioned into believing they really do not have to do anything. An uncorrupt police officer or DA or Judge or other such "do gooder" will do it for them.
Again the key here is how cities hire police officers. If they concentrated on hiring officers who were incapable of power tripping and told them they could NOT carry a gun, we would end up with officers that would require the respect of the community to do their job. Instead only right wing, angry, gun toting, power tripping, under educated, misogynist, racist people are considered for police officers.
I understand that gunless cops would require brave individuals with superior social skills, but we would still get millions of applicants. Let's give the bright and brave ones a chance for a change.
As a society we have been conditioned to accept that the "hero" is an over-muscled, aggressive, confrontational individual, generally with a gun. So guess who applies for jobs where being aggressive and confrontational, and --well--maybe not over-muscled-- seem to be the primary qualifiers? People who have bought into that idiocy and use their position to live out their personal horror-fantasies. I noted the other day when passing a video kiosk, how many covers featured huge angry men with guns and explosions in the background. The by-lines were monotonously repetitive; "his wife and child were murdered, and now he's out for revenge..." "he was unjustly accused, and now he's going after those who did it..." "she was taken from him, now he's gonna make them pay..." Why not a similar revenge get back at'em scenario running through the minds of these primitives? ..." the streets are filling with protesters who don't like what a fellow officer did, and now I'm gonna make them wish they hadn't..."
Too many police officers act like they are doing duty in the old time slave patrol. And in fact, they are not entirely wrong. The slave patrol existed to keep "the blacks" in "their place." In the postindustrial, neolibeal United States, this social function has now been passed on to professional police forces, some of whose members are sadistic racists who want nothing more than to beat down n*****rs. There were always slave patrollers who loved to employ the whip. Today, there are police officers who get an erection when they think of using their billy club and taser on defenseless civilians. Some officers even get off thinking about shooting their gun. Sick. Just Sick. And these demented criminal thugs in blue go home and kiss their children, and try to act like they are normal human beings.
In response to the police car threatening to hit the crowd:
"Pepe is right; those who heard it were astonished. It wasn't said in jest. It was said with malice, arrogance and utter ridicule. It was an intentional baiting meant to escalate anger and thereby give him, and/or his fraternal cult, the blessing to entrap, arrest, render excessive force, or ruin people's lives."
Two reactions come to mind.
First, that this kind of intimidation isn't frowned upon by those in "proud uniform." It represents the new norm.
Second, that if this nation didn't have a corporately-captured mass media that did Power's bidding, honest discussions might quickly make those who presume they are safe, aware of the axiom that...."First they came for."
The ensuing solidarity would have the crowds swell larger and feature colors from across the racial spectrum.
Ultimately, when the police state becomes tolerated, it begins by harassing those with the least political power. However, like all criminal operations, it improves "its craft" and begins to use it on all of the next in succession (class, power, position) groups.
To read this in conjunction with the piece (by Peter Van Buren) that exposes how the individual's "score" is covertly generated, is quite an eye opener.
Don't forget the X-military hires; or the fact that there happen to be new Urban Training models that actually view local residents/citizens as something on a domestic par with "enemy combatants."
Oh, and don't forget the actual military hardware coming back from overseas wars. Viewed as effete, all that inventory must be moved (sold cheap to domestic police departments when not donated, outright) in order to make room for all that annual purchase power allotted to weapons producers and other military suppliers.
It's so surreal that it qualifies as sci-fi.
Many of them beat or intimidate their wives... and children.
This is telling. Police forces officially refuse to hire applicants that have too high an IQ.