Tag Archives: Police State

Police unnecessarily kill a third black man this week, threaten to kill more

Police had cornered a murder suspect. There were negotiations and there was exchange of gunfire.

Normally this stand off would have been maintained as long as possible. The way these things end, usually, is that the suspect gives up, the suspect kills themselves, there is what the police would call a “fair” exchange of gunfire* and the suspect is wounded or killed, etc.

But the police had a new tool they could use to shorten the time span for such standoffs. They blew the suspect up with a bomb delivered specifically for that purpose. A robot drove over to the suspect, got the bomb near him, and blew him up.

This means that the police had a method of killing people that involved bombs ready to go. They would not think up a new technology and deploy it in a high profile case unless they already had a method of deploying it and a reasonably good idea it would work.

This was the Dallas police department. I would like to know how many different police departments have bombs designed to kill suspects ready to go. How many police departments have the robots at the ready, how many have been engaged in training programs. I would like to see copies of the protocols for using bombs to kill suspects, and I’d like to know which legal or legislative authorities have been involved in developing those protocols.

As far as I can tell, this is homicide. There were other ways to do this. There were no hostages being held. No one was being protected by killing this suspect at that time.

I’m also a little concerned that during the same incident, the sniper shooting of several police officers in Dallas, that at least one, possibly two, other people were arrested or detained but released because they were found not involved. So, by my count, there was a maximum of a 3 in 5 chance that the police correctly identified suspects in this incident. Are we pretty sure the suspect that was assassinated by the Dallas Police Department, using the bomb, was not just some wigged out dude that wanted to be thought of as a suspect? I doubt that is the case, but one normally determines these things by some sort of due process. This was not that.

As the events in Dallas unfolded last night, a police expert (former top cop guy of some kind) issued an explicit threat to all Americans. He said that given the assassination of several Dallas Police officers, police around the country were going to do two things.

First, they would double up or get into larger groups, so there would be fewer units to respond to calls, and maybe some reluctance to respond to certain calls. So, forget about the police doing their jobs. In many areas they already don’t do their jobs. But in the few places they were doing their jobs, perhaps expect this to become a thing of the past.

Second, he said they wold be much more trigger happy an more likely to kill when they do show up to do their jobs.

Essentially the police response to being the rare victim (instead of perpetrator, as the commonly are) of random killing of innocent people is to stop protecting people from such violence, and increase the amount of such violence that they themselves carry out.

So, that’s where we are at right now.

If you see a cop, avoid them. If yo are not white and you see a cop, really really avoid them. If you have a reason to call 911 other than a dire medical emergency, do not call. You may end up being responsible for someone getting killed, because when the cops show up, anyone around who is not white is at serious risk, and actually, everybody is at risk.

People are seeing the shooting of the Dallas cops as the most recent escalation in a very bad downward spiral of civilization. But it is not. The most recent escalation was the killing by the police of a suspect that they had cornered, using a robot and a bomb.

Expect worse.

*According to several cops commenting on Dallas, a the only fair way to have a gun exchange with the cops is for the non-cop to stand in the open and only shoot at cops that are facing them.

Philando Castile’s Killing: Some geographic background

Philando Castile told his mother that he was reluctant to carry his legal, permitted, firearm because he was afraid that if he had a run in with the police, they would simply kill him.

Later that day, a Saint Anthony Village police officer pulled Castile over for a broken tail light, and then, at the first opportunity, fired several bullets into his arm and torso. A few moments later, Castile fell into unconsciousness, apparently dead. The police then apprehended Castile’s companion, who was in the passenger seat, and, treating her like a criminal, handcuffed her and stuffed her in the back of a police car. Later, it was confirmed that Castile was killed.

I would give you a trigger warning for the following video, but I don’t care if it triggers you. I want it to trigger you. You and everybody else needs to see this.

I used to live a block from this incident. It is a city called Falcon Heights, which is the location of the inaptly named “Saint Paul Campus” of the University of Minnesota, and also the home of the Great Minnesota Get-together, the Minnesota State Fair. In fact, the intersection at which this killing occurred is at the north entrance of the fairgrounds. This makes me think that it would be a good idea to put a monument there, a monument to how dangerous the police can be, for all the fairgoers to take note of when they go to the fair, from now on.

Back in the old days, a few years ago and on back, when I lived walking distance to the fair and the site of this shooting, the police would be at this intersection in numbers, helping people cross the street, controlling traffic, keeping people safe, during the State Fair. Then, one year, there was a bogus terroristic threat against the fair, so the police apparently redistributed themselves and stopped protecting people at that intersection. Or, perhaps they changed their policy for some other reason. Crossing the street, pulling your car out, etc. was then a matter of every person to themselves. (There were always a few cops standing around watching the chaos, but not helping.) Now, that intersection is added to the ever growing list of American Police killing grounds. Yes, a monument, at this intersection, to remind the people and whatever police might remain controlling traffic during the two week long fair event would be appropriate.

A couple of blocks from this intersection are two or three blocks or corners that are in Saint Paul and that have a bad reputation for crime. As I noted, I used to live there, and after I was no longer living there, my daughter lived there part time for several years. This is the school district she went to. I also worked on that campus for two years. I know the area, and the neighborhoods.

The exact location of the shooting, and to the west and north, is a palatial residential community with small single family houses, and a few bunches of condos and apartment buildings, mainly down the street from where this killing happened. I should mention that Falcon Heights, as well as nearby Lauderdale, and Saint Anthony Village, are all patrolled by a sort of amalgamated police department. These various cities (which adjoin the well known Roseville, MN) share various such services, including police fire, etc. and tend to be umbilically connected to Saint Paul, where the major utilities come from.

The immediate neighborhood is occupied by many people who are connected with the University, a fair number of retired people, some students. Most are white, but there is a strong Asian presence, because this is one of the main neighborhoods into which the Hmong immigrated back in the day. Also, many apartment dwellers in the area are from countries all around the world, because the are connected to a major university. My daughter’s grade school, another block north of the shooting beyond where we lived, is famously international. Each year they hang flags representing all of the countries from which the students come, and there would always be dozens of them.

So that’s the basic cultural context. A neighborhood where bad things don’t happen, filled with people who probably carry out their share of white collar crime (or who are academics, and thus have other problems) but otherwise pretty quiet. Nearby are the scary neighborhoods, the neighborhoods that are actually pretty typical urban zones, with varying degrees of charm, development, decay, all that. Nothing exceptional. But I have the sense that the people of Falcon Heights, Saint Anthony, Lauderdale, and this part of Roseville, a generally liberal and highly educated enclave, collectively identify, label, and talk about those other neighborhoods, which are blacker, crimier, scarier, bits of the “Inner City” (a term disdained by Twin City dwellers, just so you know) creeping out into the “better neighborhoods.”

The victim, of course, was a school employee and citizen of good standing who didn’t live in any of those nearby scary neighborhoods, and was not part of an inner city creeping, even if such a characterization was valid (which it only barely is). But he and the others in the car were black, and they were driving down a street where the city police probably feel a duty to keep the Inner City away, keep the blackness away. One good way to do that is to encourage black people to avoid driving down that particular street, a major local thoroughfare, and instead, stay south and in the city. Let Saint Paul take care of its own problems. Don’t be driving through our quiet neighborhood. How do you do that? Pull over black people with broken tail lights, obviously. Then shake them down. Make them regret driving down that particular street.


People who live in the area know that this is a zone where the cops pull people over all the time. For years I drove down that street twice a day or more, and very often saw people pulled over. The cops even have a trick with traffic speed postings, changing abruptly between 30 mph and 40 mph in a couple of places, allowing them to stop “speeders” more easily. I regard this traffic stop as part of that process, of the police policing the blackness impinging on a neighborhood of special snowflakes.

It is rather shocking that a murder of a citizen by a cop on this street did not happen sooner.

Here is a piece by Shawn Otto that you should have a look at.

This also:

Black Lives Matter and the Marathon: A Pair of Dilemmas (Updated)

UPDATE: BLM and the St Paul authorities have come to a compromise.

… the Mayor announced that Turner and the St. Paul Black Lives Matter chapter have agreed to refrain from interfering with runners trying to complete the course, as had previously been threatened. Instead, BLM, will demonstrate near the finish line, raising their voices about the issues that have boiled on the front burner since the death of Ferguson, Missouri resident Michael Brown at the hands of a white police officer.

“The Mayor took the time to listen, he heard our concerns,” Turner shared. “We will not disrupt the course.”

Turner said BLM St. Paul still intends to protest at the marathon, but in a designated space without blocking any runners.

Hat tip: Renee.

The current plans (and I use the plural of “plans” intentionally) for a Black Lives Matter action at the upcoming Twin Cities marathon, and the discussion surrounding those plans, exemplify areas in which Black Lives Matter could do a better job at organizing, and how people responding to Black Lives Matter’s activity could be more thoughtful. Much of this is apparent in a recent WCCO report by Esme Murphy which I will use as a framework for my provisional comments. First, I’d like to state that I stand with Black Lives Matter. The problem here is that there are three of them involved in this maneno (National, Minneapolis, and Saint Paul) and the are at odds. So, this is one of those situations where it may be impossible to lose. Or win.

So, this was reported:

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said repeatedly on Twitter that they are not responsible and have no role in the Sunday’s protest of the Twin Cities Marathon, Black Lives Matter St. Paul offered a very different version of what protesters plan to do.

One could argue that having very little apparent coordination between groups is a good thing. Please put that argument in the comments below so the rest of us know what that is.

Rashad Turner is an organizer with a Saint Paul group of Black Lives Matter. According to Murphy’s report, Turner said “…on Saturday: “My hope is the marathon runners realize they are not going to be able to finish this race.”

Many see this as a problem. When a person runs 26 miles in a race, they come very close to a limit of endurance and need to go through several steps in order to reduce the chance of a bad medical outcome. This involves modulating the amount of energy they spend over time, near the end of the race and for a while after. It also involves a support system for hydration during the race, proper cool down and hydration right after the race, quick access to medical aid if needed, etc. The timing and spatial organization of all these things is critical. The range of negative outcomes caused by disruption of any of these things includes minor injury, serious injury, and death. So, if “not going to be able to finish the race” means a runner has to top at mile 25, then the BLM disruption is a very serious thing. This, I assume, is why the Saint Paul police have indicated that they will not tolerate any such disruption, and it is why some (many?) runners are concerned.

But, apparently the stated plan is not the plan. Continuing with Murphy’s report…

Turner walked that back Tuesday.

“We are not going to physically stop any runners,” Turner said. “Runners will have an option to stop in and join the protest, but we have no plans for physically stopping the runners.”

Turner insists this is not a reversal, and that the protests will be noticeable.

“It’s going to be a disruption, it is not going to be business as usual,” he said.

I am going to go out on a limb and guess that someone clued Turner in on how a marathon works, and this particular Black Lives Matter group changed their plans a bit. Having said that, I’m not sure how the last mile or so of a marathon is “not going to be business as usual” while the runners also have full access to what they need. Also, I don’t see how most of the runners will stop at mile 25. What happens to those that don’t? A lot of booing as they run by? This is unclear. In any event, Black Lives Matter protestors may be a bit disappointed as most of the runners run right by them, heading for the finish line (the reason for running the first 25 miles) and much needed rehydration fluids, etc.

Anyway, this does look like a reversal, saying it isn’t doesn’t look very honest, and the plan kinda sucks. A disruption without a disruption, but if there is a real disruption, putting people in danger.

But this is not all about Black Lives Matter (one group anyway) doing a poor job of organizing. The reactions from many are exactly the sort that uncover the basic problem that Black Lives Matter is trying to address. Many people are philosophically or intellectually in support of addressing a clear problem in the way people of color are treated by the police and other authorities in our emerging post-9/11 police state. Again, back to Murphy’s report. But that isn’t really enough.

Runners are continuing to react with anger on social media with comments like this: “I, too, worry about being trampled to death in a terrifying panic situation.”

Alicia Perkins is a Twin Cities runner who vented her frustration on her popular running blog and on Twitter.

“How dare you say your cause is more important than anyone else’s?” Perkins said. “You don’t know what people are running for. Some people are running for personal reasons, some people are running for charitable reasons.”

She has been training since May for Sunday’s marathon and is hoping to get a good enough time to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

“I guess it helped release anxiety,” Perkins said. “I respect everyone’s right to have a voice, but not when it infringes on other people’s rights.”

She is among the many runners and others saying they are not opposed to the cause, but are opposed to the forum and the proposed disruption of the race.

Comparing the relative importance of “causes” is a commonly used strategy by those who oppose the cause. We see this all the time. Someone or some group opposes a particular industrial or agricultural health risk, and someone else points out that more people die in car accidents than from that health risk. Etc. People are running for … reasons. Therefore those reasons are equivalent to the frequent abuse or slaughter of members of a class of people. No, Alicia, that is a false equivalence. This does not mean that you don’t support Black Lives Matter’s cause. But it does mean that you don’t get it.

Perkins and others are also saying they are worried about any interruption, especially at mile 25, when runners will be so exhausted.

Well, maybe. When I first heard about the BLM plans (which were entirely vague at the time) I supported the idea of doing something at the marathon because of the previous two actions in the Twin Cities. One was at the State Fair (disrupting traffic at a main entryway to the fair) and the other an action to stop the transit line leading to the Vikings home opener. I did think the former was a bit silly. Getting a large group to show up and disrupt traffic at an event that was essentially defined by having a huge crowd and horrible traffic seemed to be like casting a pebble into the surf. Also, since the State Fair is a multi day event that is reliably covered in every news show (morning, noon, early PM, evening news, nightly news, special coverage in between at all hours), I thought BLM would be able to capture part of every one of those news cycles by doing something every day. The traffic disruption itself was not a bad idea, but it was too little.

Here’s the thing. For both of those disruptions, plans and adjustments were made. BLM got their disruption in, but nothing really went wrong. For example, some complained that stopping the train line would be dangerous, but everything turned out to be fine.

With that background, I had assumed that BLM and others would end up with an effective action at the marathon that would not backfire. However, I now realize that things are a bit different. There was never a good plan, there were never, apparently, any good conversations between BLM and others as to how to do this, and of the three BLM groups (national, Minneapolis and Saint Paul), two oppose the action and only one wants to do it, and that group, apparently, does not have a good plan. Well, maybe they have an excellent, secret plan, and I’ll take all this back later when it is carried out. We’ll see. But so far what we see does not inspire confidence.

Turner says there will be signs and chanting. But St. Paul Police have promised if there is a disruption of the race, protesters will be attested.

Signs and chanting is a good thing, I suppose. But that is not what BLM usually claims to be sufficient, and generally I agree with them. It may be that a disruption of the marathon turned out to be a bad idea, BLM is backing off on those plans (though somewhat clumsily, not admitting a mistake), and this will turn out to be a mere “awareness raising” event. It may be that once we have hindsight it will be clear that targeting the marathon with disruption at mile 25 was a bad idea, plans were changed, and not much happened.

Black Lives Matter is on the horns of a dilemma with this one, as are commenters (such as myself) who question the idea. The dilemma for BLM is needing to go forward with truly disruptive actions (that is their raison d’être) but being stuck with a declared plan that would potentially backfire. The dilemma for those who might comment on this action is that opposing BLM actions is almost always a form of tone policing, which is a huge part of the problem, a huge part of the reason that our society has not addressed the regular killing of people of color, which has been going on at varying levels of intensity for a very very long time. On the other horn, of course, is simply expressing an opinion (that a particular action is not a good idea) when the opinion seems valid and important.

My initial reaction to the BLM plan was to shut up, point to it but not with comment, and see what happens, trusting that BLM would come up with something like their previous two actions, essentially shutting down the Tone Police and making the points they needed to make. But now I’m switching horns, provisionally, for this one event. If you prefer the interpretation that I’m not being supportive of BLM with this post, please note that I’m in line with two out of three BLM groups, questioning the wisdom of a planned action by a third. Indeed, anyone who supports a disruption at mile 25 of the marathon is opposing two BLM groups. Dilemma.

Having said all that, to be clear, I’m asking questions and putting together relevant information here. I’m not going to form a particular strong opinion about any of this until after the race. It all depends on what happens.

Gangs in #Baltimore Did Not Band Together To Go After Cops

You all heard that gangs in Baltimore had banded together to go after cops. But if you did hear that, you heard wrong. Gangs are universally vilified, and the term “gang” is also used by law enforcement and their other as a euphemism. (For people it is OK to shoot, apparently.) The reality of gangs is far more complex than usually understood.

Anyway, I thought you might like to see this:

Originally posted by WBALTV 11: Members of the Black Guerrilla Family, the Bloods and the Crips talk to 11 News, saying they did not make a truce to harm police officers.

Reactions to the Baltimore Riot (2015)

I have a few partly formed, preliminary thoughts about some people’s reaction to Baltimore (originally posted on my friend Miles Kurland’s page as a comment, then on my facebook page, edited.)

What I’m mainly reacting to is the constant drone of people saying that rioting and anti-state violence in Baltimore is fully 100% wrong and will have 0% positive effect. That may or may not be true, but I have the impression that most of these reactions (mainly seen by me on Twitter, which does tend to lack nuance and detail) are of the knee-jerk sort and not well thought out. More importantly, perhaps, these reactions constitute, intended or not, a rejection of reasons that Baltimore is blowing up, a kind of punching down. The larger situation may call for something other than a simplified scolding of people engaged in behavior that is shocking or disturbing.

The only reasonable position is to not approve of riots, and to speak out against them. They are violent and messy and bad press for any movement.

The only reasonable position is to openly understand that when people are fed up they will do extreme things. That is not excusing the acts, it is understanding and explaining the acts. In some cases, it may even be appropriate to applaud such acts. We actually do this all the time. As a society we support many insurrections. We even try to incite them sometimes, almost always abroad of course.

Within the range of civil disobedience, there are actions that are less extreme and more extreme. It is very rare to start at the most extreme end of the spectrum. When the less extreme acts fail to produce results, more extreme acts are understandable, and in some cases necessary. When that fails to produce results, even more extreme acts are expected once escalation starts.

I think it is correct to use the American Revolution as an example, though the parallels are not (and need not be) perfect.

The American Revolution did not start with the forced Evacuation of Boston by attacking the established legal authority (the British military) with weapons and forcing them out. That was just the first effective act. the first meaningful win by the colonists. Before that there were attempts to change laws, to change local procedures for implementing existing laws, written and spoken protests. As that happened acts of violence and repression against the colonists such as the Boston Massacre started to happen and increased. That was met with even more peaceful and academic protest sprinkled with acts of civil disobedience that did not involve interpersonal violence. That did not work either, and was responded to with acts of military actions against colonists.

Then, Lexington and Concord, a draw; the colonists arms were destroyed, two British soldiers killed. This was followed by a full on military confrontation (the Battle of Bunker/Breed’s Hill) in which the colonists got their asses kicked by a superior and enhanced British military force. That was followed by a non violent but potentially violent act by the colonists (Ticonderoga) in which arms were illegally stolen by the colonists. At any point up to this time the British could have stopped further non-violent and violent repressive acts by listening to the majority of the people but they chose not to. They were not playing fair not acting as moral actors, we say now with the hindsight of history.

Finally, the British were driven out of Boston and full on war results.

Is it the case that every illegal act, especially those that involved violence and weapons, was not justified by the colonists? Had they held out for five or 10 more years with negotiations, political acts in their various legal bodies, etc. would the British have let up? All the evidence suggests not. We don’t look back at the Evacuation of Boston as an immoral or inappropriate act. We don’t in retrospect feel that the colonists were wrong. That could be because they won, eventually, but it is mostly because they went to full on insurrection after years of trying not to. One could say “they did it right.” But, at which point in time during the early days of the Revolution and the days leading up to it could an objective observer had said that at the time?

It may well be that the rioters in Baltimore lack patience and should wait two or three years, or a decade, before acting. Or even a few months. But as far as anyone can tell, police repression of minorities and the poor has increased not decreased, or at least continues apace.

Go look a the numbers. Oh wait, actually you can’t look at the numbers because some of the key data sources have been shut down by Congress or other forces. I would like to see a full accounting of this, please post any links about police-on-people violence over the years in the comments if you have them.

We would like an academic study of violence against the population but such studies that fall under the study of gun related morbidity and mortality are no longer subject to funding, by act of Congress, and as far as I can tell some of the key databases collecting pertinent information have been shut down and made unavailable.

The argument that people should be more patient because the numbers show this or that can’t be made because as part of this repression the numbers are no longer available or studied by people who can understand and measure data quality and reporting bias, etc.

So, really, the people who are doing, passively allowing, or benefiting from the repression don’t really have the right to say that a particular response to continuous class and race repression should be or not be a particular thing. It just isn’t a realistic option.

Stating that rioting is bad, then, is a reasonable thing to say but if it is the only thing you have to say, then you are part of the problem. If you say it along with a statement that one might understand what is happening, then it all depends on what you put first, foreground, prioritize.

We may be seeing a moment of change right now, this week. Or not. Hard to say. But insisting that the status quo is the only thing that is OK, is not a moral stand. The real situation is more complex. Everybody’s got to put their big boy pants on and start recognizing that this is complex, and that identifying repressed people who strike out after decades/centuries (depending on what you are counting) of violent repression by the state and society is so simplistic that it is either full-on ignorance or complicity with that repression.

Martin Luther King condemned rioting. But he also said this:

It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.

The photograph at the top of the post was taken during rioting in Baltimore in, in 1968, response to the assassination of MLK.

One step in solving the police problem

People, usually people of color, more often than not Native Americans and African Americans (according the the available statistics) suffer regular repression by the police. Day to day, the most common form of repression is about the small stuff. Jay walking, being out after curfew, walking around in a shopping mall, driving while black, and similar imagined (or at worst, very minor) offenses bring the police into contact with individuals, making day to day existence harder and for many building up a list of arrests, charges, and convictions that form an ever-growing albatross around those individuals’ necks.

The recent work slowdown in New York is being heralded by astute observers as an inadvertent, almost ironic, positive step. As long as the police refuse to “do their jobs” in this manner, they are incidentally refusing to engage in this day to day repression.

It is generally thought that the small stuff — citations for minor offenses that often don’t even rise to the level of violations of law — make up a part of the public safety or, more broadly, municipal budgets of the governmental institutions supporting the police (city, county, state).

But what if that income was never accessible to those institutions? What if all of the money collected in fines could not be put against the city, county, or state budget? That might remove the impetus, in part, to engage in this kind of policing. I’m not entirely sure where the money should go. If it went into some public program (food shelters, etc.) it might replace other budget items at the same level of government. That would not serve the intended purpose of sequestering these funds. But with a little imagination, it probably would not be too hard to find a way to use that flow of cash for purposes that would not benefit the government responsible for the police force, or any other class of people, corporation, or pubic authority that might have the power to direct increased enforcement.

A law, or in some cases, a constitutional amendment (at the state level) could suffice for this purpose. Don’t fund the police, or any unit of government, on the backs of those being repressed. This is only a partial solution to a larger problem but it could be a useful and meaningful single step. The “Back Turning” law.


Welcome to the Police State

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.

Police searching for fugitive near my house.  They may be overdressed for the occasion.   But maybe not.
Police searching for fugitive near my house. They may be overdressed for the occasion. But maybe not.
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.

#Ferguson Police Are At Your Door

Above: Ferguson police spent the evening dropping tear gas containers on reporters to keep news of police repression from getting out. They are unaware of the deadly truthful combination of cell phones, citizens, and twitter.

My fellow American: You live in Ferguson, you just don’t know it yet.


Some petitions about #Furgeson

“Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!”
Stop the police abuse. Send the National Guard to Ferguson.
Create a Michael Brown Law requiring police officers to wear cameras and record any interaction with the public at all times.
Please Enact New Federal Laws to Protect Citizens from Police Violence and Misconduct

Tweets about Furgeson

In case of emergency, think twice before you dial 911

Trigger warning: Explicit video of a homeless man being executed by the cops.

I strongly recommend that you don’t call the police. If you do, because for some reason you have to, get the hell out of there before they arrive. Why? Because our Post-9/11 first responder philosophy is not the first responder philosophy you grew up with. First responders have one primary directive: Protect themselves, at all costs. Your safety is the cost. For firefighters and the like this means running the other way when there is danger, because of 9/11. Recently, a New York City fire chief was quoted as saying “Good thing we didn’t get here sooner” (or words to that effect) in relation to a gas explosion. In recent weeks somebody who did not get the memo called the cops for a “domestic disturbance” happening in a public park. When the cops arrive they killed a man that was trying to help. It goes on and on. The police, generally, will protect themselves before they protect you, even if it means gunning down people who are not really a threat to them.

Here is the video. Yes, the guy had knives. He was probably either a bit disturbed when the cops got there or became disoriented when they started shooting flash bangs at him. But they had him surrounded, run to ground, and it was only after he turned away from them that they gunned him down. After he was gunned down the police acted like he was a live cobra, but really, he was just some guy bleeding out on the ground where they dropped him.

I predict that this will be determined a justifiable shooting.

I’m quoting here from Daily Kos who quotes AP (the AP site is borked):

The illegal camper shot by Albuquerque police this week was turning away from officers when they fired at him, according to video released by Chief Gorden Eden on Friday.

The shots come after a confrontation in which the man, identified as 38-year-old James Boyd, tells police he’s going to walk down the mountain with them.

“Don’t change up the agreement,” Boyd says. “I’m going to try to walk with you.”

He tells officers he’s not a murderer.

Boyd picks up his belongings and appears ready to walk down toward officers. An officer fires a flash-bang device, which disorients Boyd.

Boyd appears to pull out knives in both hands as an officer with a dog approaches him. He makes a threatening motion toward the officer, then starts to turn around away from police.

That’s when shots ring out, and Boyd hits the ground. Blood can be seen on the rocks behind him.

Raising Julia, who is ow 18, I taught her to trust the cops, what cops were, when you should go to them or call them. Now, Huxley is 4. I’m teaching him differently.