Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Friday, August 14, 2015

Justifiable Paranoia

Justifiable Paranoia
©2015  Ross WIlliams


I've recently gotten into discussions — albeit short — with a few local media types over the spate of police shootings and the turmoil that follows.  The discussions are short because I am [probably] perceived as an ideologue who has all the time in the world to badger the media-type upon this issue while they have better things to do than indulge me.  It's the "never wrassle with a pig" thing, where I am naturally the pig: the pig likes it and you'll just get dirty.

My position in these dialogues is contrary to both of the standard police-state positions, by which I mean the typical conservative law-n-order mentality which posits that the police are always objective actors who do no wrong, and when they do it's only one in a million and "waddaya expect? ya gonna have a few bad apples!" and also the standard liberal big government position with its schizophrenic belief that the government agencies which actually enforce the big government on everyone is inherently racist.  They're both wrong.  And as usual, I'm the only one I see yammering about the matter who  is correct.

By Memorial Day of 2015, police killed 380-some-odd Americans with firearms.  This is a yearly rate of around 900.  The yearly average for the prior ten years was something like 320 per year.  That figure does not include the Eric Garners who died from a choke hold, nor the dozens who died from "non-lethal" tasers, nor the schlub in Baltimore who died, handcuffed, in the backseat of a police car from injuries sustained from bouncing around as the police car was being driven by a Bobby Unser fan.  Nor does it include the probable jail cell suicide death of Sandra Bland who should never have been in jail in the first place but who was put there by an autocratic asshole cop on a power trip who was too busy abusing his authority to do his job of policing a small portion of a free country in the manner in which police, in a free country, are required to behave.

It does, though, include the death of an unarmed Texas college football player who was ransacking a car dealership, the murder of a feeble Chicago octogenarian waggling a knife around in a medication-induced stupor, and the assassination of a Cincinnati resident who was no longer willing to participate in a needless traffic stop imposed upon him by another autocratic asshole cop on a power trip.

Simply put: police are targeting Americans.

Now, an overly simplified conservative position suggests that those who are killed by police deserve what they get, while an overly simplified liberal position would maintain that virtually all of those killed are black.  Notwithstanding that some and possibly many of those killed do in fact "deserve it" and that a good number of those killed are actually black, the reality is … I've said it before … police are targeting Americans.

ALL Americans.  Not just blacks.

The reason for this is … and I've said this before as well … police are, generally speaking, autocratic assholes on power trips abusing their authority, and with nearly universal impunity improperly granted them by the courts no longer willing to do their own duty in compelling the other branches of government to abide by the severe restrictions on their power that our nation was founded upon.

If statistics are to be relied upon, and they usually can be, the ratio of blacks being killed in 2015 will be roughly one-third that of whites being killed.  Race-baiting liberals will say that this proves blacks are being targeted more, because whites outnumber blacks by five-to-one.  It's simple math, they'll claim: five-to-one multiplied by one third means blacks are targeted 1.67:1 more often than whites … so there.

Sandra Bland and Eric Garner aside, police in our country rarely use weapons unless crimes are actually being committed — they confine their power abuses in most citizen encounters to being bossy, imperious jackasses.   The rate of criminal activity, where cops using weaponized force will nearly always be seen, is almost four times higher for blacks than it is for whites, which thus erases [and then some] any asserted racial bias in the use of police force.  Blacks are fractionally less likely to die at the pointy end of a cop's bullet when you factor "presumed criminal activity" into the equation.  This is not to say that criminals deserve to be killed on the street, but … sometimes they do, in fact, bring it on themselves.

Of course, this "presumed criminal activity" is very difficult to quantify, since this factor is not included in the statistics compiled by the Justice Department even though it is undoubtedly a valid consideration.  Michael Brown, for example, was killed after attempting to boost a cop's gun as he was being stopped for previously boosting a local convenience store, but this fact escapes the official tallyman.  It also escapes the mob which is tired of listening to official excuses for cops killing citizens by the score, and they are refusing to listen.  But let's just say that the figures are a statistical wash that do not support the hypothesis of a rampantly racist nationwide police force.  Individual cops' mileage may vary.

Instead, what the figures show thus far in 2015 is that police are killing Americans three-to-one more than they have since records were kept, and that the majority being killed are white, both in raw numbers and pro rata.  This supports, therefore, the hypothesis that cops are autocratic assholes on power trips abusing their authority.  They don't care who you are; they are going to push you around every chance they get and — since they have nearly universal impunity — no court is likely to say they were wrong to do so if you complain about it.  After all, do you think this is a free country or something? where citizens have rights and the government has strict limitations on its power to push people around?

The natural and predictable result of this is that citizens will fight back — it is the universal outcome of every history book ever written.  Nearly all citizens, though, will fight back like I am: by timidly using words of varying rudeness to unflatteringly describe the totalitarianism of the police-state we see emerging around us.  This, then, will ensure that more of us will be badgered, harassed and goaded by cops if we are ever officially encountered, thus supporting the "autocratic assholes on power trips abusing their authority" hypothesis.

Just as naturally and predictably, a small portion of the citizens who are badgered, harassed and goaded will elevate their pique to something more sinister, and still others will do the same as a sort of pre-emptive measure … and sure enough, the cops shot by Americans has "spiked", according to the FBI, up 89% in 2014 over 2013, and the preliminary figures for 2015 show another near-doubling.  Why, we're almost up to the number of dead cops we saw during the Prohibition Era!

And the comparison is telling.  The natural and predictable consequence of a citizenry which believes itself to be a free people in a free country and thus defined not to have to endure its government badgering them endlessly … is to fight back when they find that they are being badgered endlessly, over matters they were designed to be free from being badgered upon.

A free people does not have Prohibition thrust upon them.  When it is, resistance follows.  And during Prohibition, we saw resistance and cops died.  Thousands of them over the decade and a half that Prohibition lasted.

A free people does not have to prove they aren't terrorists at airports, nor to buckle their seat belts, nor to buy health insurance if they want to risk it, nor to stop selling loose cigarettes on the street, nor to stop smoking AFTER the traffic stop is concluded, nor to do any of the other countless things we are told — "for our own good" or otherwise — we must do or else have some uniformed and armed assholes abuse their authority at us about it.  When it happens, resistance follows.  We are seeing resistance today, and cops are dying as a result.  Hundreds of them.

This is a "duh" moment.

The only reason free citizens in a free country set ambushes for cops is because those citizens do not believe they are free.  They believe the government is out to get them, so they want to get the government first.  And when nearly 900 citizens are going to be killed by cops this year, up from 300 or so last year, those paranoid citizens would seem to have a good point.


Post a Comment

<< Home