Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Violence Has Got to Stop

Not the violence of brown people or people with strange religions.  Today, I am talking about the violence perpetrated with impunity on us by our own police.

A little investigation will determine that the approximately 900,000 sworn law enforcement personnel killed somewhere around 1,000 Americans this year.Exact numbers are impossible to obtain, thanks to pressure from police not to collect this information.  On the other hand, the 320,000,000 American citizens killed 42 police officers.  A little calculation reveals that this is a per-capita disparity of about 8,400 to one.

As an aside, you might want to remember this the next time some asshole starts spouting off about the higher crime rate in black neighborhoods.

Anyway, of course this particular diatribe is motivated by the rigged prosecution and release of the police officer in Cleveland who leapt from his car and within two seconds started shooting down a twelve year old with a toy gun.

And let us remember that Ohio is an open-carry State.  Even if the gun had been real, this kid had a perfect legal right to be carrying it in public.  But of course, he had the misfortune to be black, and of course open carry does not apply to black people.

So the prosecutor in this case, a miserable excuse for a human being named Tim McGinty, rigged the grand jury indictment hearing by presenting all sorts of bogus "expert" testimony claiming that the cop had a perfectly valid reason to be afraid of this twelve year old, and of course the grand jury bought this nonsense, so the cop goes free for a recorded act of blatant, unquestioned first degree murder.

Well, it's time for someone to say this openly, and I am going to do something I have never done before, put it in big letters, so the cretins that believe this nonsense can read it:


When you start shooting at someone, you had better have a good God damned reason to do so, and "being afraid" before you even get out of your police car sure as hell isn't that good reason.  And this is a universal rule that applies to cops just as much as it applies to civilians.  No matter how scared you are, you don't have a right to kill someone unless you are really in danger.


This is a secondary issue, but you know that, if your friend killed someone, and you helped them take the body and throw it in the river, you would be an accessory after the fact, and subject to the same penalty as the murderer.  Why then, is not this McGinty jerk, who consciously conspired to let a murderer escape justice, not also an accessory after the fact?  Well, he is, as far as I am concerned, but in our rigged system, he is just as untouchable as the murderer himself.

Now, back to the subject:  how long can this sort of thing go on before the American people determine that the police are not on their side, but are their enemy?  How long before people are justified in determining that the mere presence of armed police is a sufficient cause of fear, that they are allowed to gun the police down too?  After all, a thousand of us were killed by police this year, and exactly zero police were killed by twelve year olds with toy guns, not even by black twelve year olds.  Who really has a reason to be afraid for their lives?  And who has a real reason to start shooting at the sight of people of the other kind?

We'd better find some decent answers to those questions, because the answers that we have today- that police have permission to kill for any reason or no reason at all, and civilians have no right to even be afraid of being murdered by police- are going to do nothing but lead the country into a deep hole that we may never be able to dig out of.


Anonymous said...

This comes down to cops training and personal attitude.
What ever happened to the idea of excessive force? Shooting someone 16 times goes way beyond neutralizing the danger. Deadly force is supposed to be the last alternative.

Jerry Critter said...

Merry Christmas, we killed 27 people with guns on Christmas Day.

Green Eagle said...

Anonymous, it goes beyond training, to the deliberate recruitment of violent people to be police officers, a national climate where violence has become an ecceptable way to get whaf you want, the mainstreaming of racism, and the very legitimate belief on the part of police that they can do anything without consequences. In other words, thanks to the Republican party and their God-forsaken base, racism and hatred have been let out of their cages to roam free, and no one seems to care enough to do a thing about it.

Magpie said...
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Magpie said...

“a national climate where violence has become an acceptable way to get what you want”

Any given case has its specifics but it does seem to be as you describe it.

It certainly looks like… every man is for himself, violence as reaction/solution is ennobled, whether your death means anything depends on where you are in the unwritten social hierarchy, police as occupying force.

The United States occupies a zone of endemic violence not shared by other stable and developed democracies of a size to be statistically meaningful. Example:

England and Wales have a combined population of about 56 million and in 5 years 2008 to 2012 there were just 9 fatal police shootings.

In the 1980s and early 1990s state police in my part of Australia came under criticism for the number of shootings by police officers that had occurred. A review into it occurred and the number was halved over the next decade – recruitment, training, procedure. It has come down to about one per year on a state population of 5.7 million. Australia wide 105 people have been fatally shot by police in 22 years on a population now up to 23 million, or less than 5 per year. This is against 400+ per year on 319 million in the US.

I have put a graph on my blog as illustration. In England/Wales or Germany the odds are lower still than in Australia - we actually regard our ‘high’ police shooting numbers as mildly scandalous.

These things CAN be fixed. It’s not just ‘how it is’ or some law of nature that police need to shoot this many people.