I was going to put this on my facebook page, but it seemed worthy of a higher status. As it were.
We live in a police state, here in America, in the same way one gives oneself a particular religion or non-religious label. Unless you are a priest, a habitually repentant sinner, or like me, a habitually annoyed atheist, you usually aren’t anything. Someone can’t look at you and pick out your belief system. It is in the background lurking around doing nothing, ignored and all but forgotten most of the time. But when needed out comes the book (The Bible, The Origin, whatever). Our police state, like most people’s religion, can be turned on or off as needed by most people with privilege, or at least, someone is turing it on and off so it can spend a lot of time in the background doing nothing, ignored and all but forgotten most of the time. The other day a fugitive who apparently lives in the wooded swampy areas that permeate the part of Minnesota I live in (ever since he executed his lover at a gas station, then ran him over with his BMW, a couple of weeks ago) was spotted, possibly, at the nearby small airport. I saw pictures of the police response. It looked like Ferguson, with the armored vehicles, cops wearing storm trooper gear, and all that. Yes, the police state is always available and that is what the police state looks like to the privileged.
If only that was all the police state was.
You see, the Ferguson Event, where the police showed up in the Storm Trooper gear, is not really the thing to worry about. If that’s all they did, we’d be fine. So what if the police need to show up every now and then in the large black van, back door opening, one, then another, then another, storm trooper attired cop hopping out and going into squat-move-stalk stance and loping off weaving back and forth among themselves and holding their guns to their noses like the priest holds the crucifix at that one point during mass, “hut, hut, hut” serpentining into the danger zone. That would only be now and then, when “needed” because of the fugitives living in the heavily wooded swamps.
What really happens in Ferguson is not that. The real problem, in Ferguson and everywhere our nation’s African American’s and often Hispanics are mostly sequestered, is a totally different thing.
If you want to know what happens, you need to do this. First, get black. Once you are black it is much easier. If you are not naturally black I’m not sure how you do this. Anyway, get black and then go stand on a street corner. If you are of the right age white people will pull over and try to buy drugs from you. If you are the right sex people will assume you are a prostitute. Eventually the police will stop by and they’ll throw you in jail for no good reason. But it will go on your record. Eventually, you’ll get thrown in jail for no good reason a certain number of times, and then you won’t get out. For no good reason.
Prefer to drive? You can do that. Same effect. A white person I know works mainly with white people in a white town in a white part of the Twin Cities. There are a few black people there, of course, but in her unit only one African American colleague. Regular guy. Drives slow. He is stopped by the cops on the way to work about twice a month. No one else who works there has ever been stopped by the cops. Driving while black was big thing, on the news and all, a while ago. Still a big thing. Just not so much on the news. You still cant’ drive while black in many communities.
How about Beverly Hills? The police in Beverly Hills, during the year 2013, issued 3,250 traffic tickets and over 1,000 citations for non-traffic violations. That might not sound like a lot to you, but I’m not talking about Beverly Hills, California. I’m talking about Beverly Hills, Missouri, down by Ferguson.
Beverly Hills, Missouri has 571 people living in it.
Beverly Hills, Missouri is 92.7% black. Of the remainder, about half are white.
(I know you are wondering: As far as I know a lot of the cops in that town are non-white.)
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the police state. It is not Storm Troopers on armored vehicles. Unless necessary. It is not black helicopters. Well, now and then with the helicopters. It is not drones. Usually. Mainly it is day to day police work that pays for itself because every few minutes somebody gets a fine for being black and living in one of those places where the African Americans in our country are generally sequestered.
So this all started out me wanting to tweet an article I read in Slate, then elevated to a Facebook posting with comments, and I ended up taking it a little farther than I thought I would and now I have to get on to other things. Go read the article for yourself. And the Washington Post article it is based on. Be careful though, the WaPo piece is a thinly disguised Libertarian argument.