Tag Archives: hate crimes

The ‘Only Black Lives Matter’ set is only worsening the black-white division

Kori Ali Muhammad

Kori Ali Muhammad, who on April 18 in Fresno, California, slaughtered three white men for the crime of being white men, proclaimed from his jail cell, “They tell black people all the time to get over it. So I say get over it. There will be no pity party.” That view apparently is shared by many if not most of the “Only Black Lives Matter” set, who, like Muhammad, apparently view the cold-blooded murder of three white men as somewhere on the spectrum of nothing to worry about at all to wholly justifiable, given the ugly history of race relations in the United States of America.

Earlier this month, 39-year-old Kori Ali Muhammad, a black man, went hunting for white people in Fresno, California.

Apparently he more specifically was hunting for white men, because he shot four white men, killing three of them: Zackary David Randalls, 34, of Clovis; Mark James Gassett, 37, of Fresno; and David Martin Jackson, 58, of Fresno.

The news media widely called these shootings “random,” because Muhammad didn’t know any of his victims personally, but no, they weren’t fucking “random.” The victims were profiled by their race and sex — even though, as Muhammad said himself of Fresno, “Black people are not being gunned down by police or hung [sic] in trees. It’s fairly civilized here.”

As a white man, albeit a left-wing gay white man, of course this news hit home. Had I been in Fresno that day, I could have been one of Muhammad’s victims, based upon my appearance alone. I mean, I fit his profile.

I don’t live far away from Fresno, and should a black supremacist nut job decide to go hunting for white men in my city, I could be his victim.

(Of course, the chance that any of us is going to be gunned down in the street by someone we don’t know is quite low; we’re much more likely to be killed in a car wreck, so I’m not worried about being out and about.)

I didn’t write about the Fresno slaughter because Muhammad, although he clearly is racist, clearly is insane — “This is bigger than me. This is just a warning. If America does not treat black people right, it will be destroyed by God,” he told the Fresno Bee of his murderous rampage on white men — and because news stories about an extremist and/or mentally ill member of one racial group doing something awful to a member of another racial group so often are taken, by the ignorant and the opportunist, to signify that all of the members of the offender’s racial group are evil.

For instance, I certainly don’t want to be grouped together with Dylann Storm Roof, the 23-year-old white-supremacist nut job who in June 2015 shot and killed nine members of a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in the hopes of starting a race war.

I was horrified by that race-based massacre, and I made a donation to the church where it took place.

It is tragic and outrageous that any individual of any race should be murdered in cold blood by a racist because of his or her race.

But the outrage and the tragedy isn’t felt by everyone (which is why I’m writing about the Fresno slaughter now).

To wit, Chauncey De Vega, Salon.com’s resident Only Black Lives Matter writer, who in his latest piece (rather directly and revealingly titled “Why I Don’t Write About Anti-White Hate Crimes Like the Fresno Murders”) pretty much admits that he makes a living by stoking racial tensions (à la Al Sharpton, I suppose), writes in the piece that he’ll start writing about anti-white hate crimes committed by blacks when white people show him what he deems to be the sufficient level of concern about anti-black hate crimes committed by whites.

Wow.

If the race of the victim of a race-based hate crime is what matters to you before you can show empathy or concern over the wrongdoing (even when it’s murder), then you’re a fucking racist yourself. You don’t care about humanity as a whole; you care only about the members of your own race, which makes you a racial supremacist. There is no fucking way around that.

I do not argue, of course, that whites and blacks, as groups, are on equal footing in the United States of America. Of course they are not. They never have been and very well may never be.

But we don’t interact with entire groups of people. We only can interact with other actual human beings.

In De Vega’s worldview and argumentation, he shouldn’t give a rat’s ass about the three white men who recently were slaughtered in Fresno because of all of the horrible things that other white men have done to other black people throughout history up to the present.

Just: Wow. Has white racial hatred made so many blacks equally hateful? Racial hatred seems to be pretty contagious to me.

De Vega’s given reasoning for why he doesn’t write about anti-white murders by blacks is almost convincing. He writes (the links are his):

… I chose to not write about the murders in Fresno because I try to be a voice for the voiceless and the marginalized. Kori Ali Muhammad has been arrested. He will almost certainly be punished to the fullest extent of the law. As documented by the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights organizations, black and brown people who kill white people are sentenced much more severely than whites who kill people of color. Because of this fact, Muhammad is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison. (California has not executed anyone since 2006, but if he’s convicted he might well be a candidate for this.)

Anti-white hate crimes are extremely rare in the United States. To obsess over them is an akin to Herman Melville’s fictional Captain Ahab chasing his great white whale.

There are other matters more deserving of my time and attention. [!]

Since Donald Trump’s election there has been a record increase in hate crimes against people of color, Jews and Muslims. After the election of Barack Obama in 2008 as president, there has also been a large increase in the number of white supremacist hate groups. …

Because it doesn’t fit his narrative of black people good, white people bad, De Vega doesn’t tell you that during the Obama years, the number of black supremacist hate groups (yes, those groups exist) also grew significantly; in 2008 there were 112 of them, and in 2016 there were 193 of them, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (to which I have donated and encourage you to, too), which also notes that in 2016, there were 130 Ku Klux Klan groups in the U.S.

I have to suspect that the main reason that De Vega and his ilk don’t want to talk about black-on-white crime is that it doesn’t fit their politically and personally rewarding narrative that it’s only ever that blacks are the victims of whites; blacks always are the victims and whites always are the perpetrators, not just in crimes but even in everyday conflicts and disagreements.

So when things like the Fresno slaughter make the news, it’s wildly inconvenient. Cognitive dissonance is a beeeeyotch.

But De Vega’s claims about the statistics overall seem to check out, although his snark about “chasing [a] great white whale” is quite hyperbolic, based upon the actual statistics. The Chicago Tribune noted in January of this year:

The horrific beating of a mentally disabled white man in Chicago by four black assailants broadcast on social media is highlighting anti-white hate crimes at a time of increased racial strife in the United States. [I wrote about the Chicago incident here.**]

But federal statistics and experts say anti-white incidents remain a smaller percentage of overall hate crimes. Anti-black hate crimes are still the largest number of cases.

According to the 2015 FBI hate crime statistics, the latest available, there were 613 anti-white-related crimes out of 5,850 total cases. That’s around 10.5 percent of all reported hate crimes, and within the yearly average, federal numbers show. [To me, 10.5 percent isn’t “extremely rare,” as De Vega claims anti-white hate crimes are. To me, “extremely rare” would be something like 1 percent to maybe a few percent.]

By comparison, the FBI reports there were 1,745 anti-black hate crimes or about 30 percent of all reported incidents.

Jews were the most targeted religious group that year and were victims of 11 percent of all hate crimes. It’s not clear how many anti-Jewish hate crime victims also may have been attacked because of their race. …

Of course, there are a lot more white people to commit race-based hate crimes against blacks than there are blacks to commit race-based hate crimes against whites. Non-Hispanic whites make up about 62 percent of the American population, whereas blacks make up only about 13 percent. If we’re going to talk about the percentage of hate crimes, we have to look at the relative size of the population of the offenders.

Again, I wholly concede De Vega’s point that historically and presently, black Americans, who always have been outnumbered by white Americans, have had it a lot harder than have white Americans. That is inarguable.

But I find it incredibly cold-hearted to be able to feel nothing for the victim of a hate crime because he or she isn’t a member of one’s own group.

De Vega’s column, methinks, demonstrates that for many (if not even most) black Americans, “Black Lives Matter” truly means “Only Black Lives Matter.”

Whether the “Only Black Lives Matter” stance is justified or not — De Vega apparently believes that it is, but I have real problems with his apparent argumentation that compassion for the individual in the present should be disregarded because we should focus instead on entire groups of people throughout history to the present — I can tell you that the “Only Black Lives Matter” stance is not going to win a national (that is, a presidential) election.

And that’s because, again, around 62 percent of Americans still are guilty of the crime of having been born white.

And to tell them, the majority of Americans, that for a white person to murder a black person in cold blood out of racism is dead wrong and should induce us to take our anger to the streets — but that it’s not even worth our attention when a black person murders a white person in cold blood out of racism — is not the way to get them on your side.

Indeed, I surmise that, perversely ironically, the “Only Black Lives Matter” set is largely responsible for the rise of “President” Pussygrabber. If we’re going to say that white racism brought us “President” Pussygrabber — an awfully convenient excuse to wholly ignore what an incredibly shitty campaign that Repugnican-Lite sellout Billary Clinton ran — I’d say that it wasn’t only white racism, but black racism, too, that accomplished that wonderful feat.***

And memo to the “Only Black Lives Matter” set: You can’t win a presidential election with 13 percent of the population. That’s just math. You need allies, and you don’t gain allies by telling them that they’re evil because they don’t kiss your ass in the manner in which you decree they should kiss your ass.

In the end, the only way that race relations in the United States can improve is within our one-on-one interactions. Entire groups of people don’t interact with each other; only we as individuals interact with each other — as individuals.

If we’re going to see each other as only a representative of the worst of an entire group of people instead of as individuals, of course racism never is going to change.

Unfortunately, there are too many individuals out there whose entire sense of identity — and even some whose incomes — are based upon keeping racial differences alive and well.

*The Southern Poverty Law Center writes of black supremacist hate groups:

… Although the Southern Poverty Law Center recognizes that much black racism in America is, at least in part, a response to centuries of white racism, it believes racism must be exposed in all its forms. White groups espousing beliefs similar to black separatists would be considered clearly racist. The same criterion should be applied to all groups regardless of their color.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Violence begets violence; hate begets hate; and toughness begets a greater toughness. It is all a descending spiral, and the end is destruction — for everybody. Along the way of life, someone must have enough sense and morality to cut off the chain of hate.” …

Yup.

Also, I’ll note that while I use the term “black supremacist,” the Southern Poverty Law Center uses the term “black separatist.” To me the terms are synonymous, as white separatists of course are white supremacists.

**I wrote:

… Before any white people get all indignant and high and mighty over this unfortunate case, we must remind ourselves that also in the news is the ongoing trial of 22-year-old white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof, who shot and killed nine black church members in cold blood in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015.

Just as Roof is not representative of all white people, the four young black people who appropriately have been charged with hate crimes against the mentally disabled young white man (yes, black-on-white crime can be a hate crime, even though there are plenty of assholes and idiots who would claim otherwise) are not representative of all black people.

A minority of the members of all races are capable of inhumanity to other human beings, ranging from verbal abuse to torture to murder.

It’s ridiculous for the right or the left or for any member of any race to use incidents of race-related crimes to indict all or most of the members of an entire race.

These ugly race-related crimes come crashing into our national consciousness via the media, and the media should report them, but we shouldn’t take the incidents out of context, assert that they represent a larger pattern that they don’t represent, or try to selfishly use the incidents to reinforce our own pre-existing, narrow racial-political worldviews and agendas — or, worst, try to use the incidents as an excuse to commit our own crimes against other human beings, feeling “justified” in doing so. …

***Not only did the “Only Black Lives Matter” set, with their black supremacist worldview, offend some whites to the point that they were more likely to vote for Pussygrabber, but in the primary elections and caucuses, blacks supported Billary Clinton over Bernie Sanders by a ratio of about three to one.

I believe that blacks rejected Sanders largely if not mostly because they perceived him to be just another old white man. (How much black anti-Semitism played a part in blacks’ rejection of Sanders I can only guess, but apparently anti-Semitism is significantly higher among blacks than it is among whites.)

So out of their anti-white racism (and possibly if not probably also out of their anti-Semitism), the “Only Black Lives Matter” set supported the weaker Democratic presidential candidate, Billary Clinton (seen as the “black” candidate, despite her record and her husband’s record of harming blacks), helping to put Pussygrabber in the White House.

Way to go!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Let’s not allow the racial brush fires to become a racial conflagration

Four young black adults, aged 18 to 24, shown in the police booking photos above, have been charged with hate crimes in the kidnapping and torture of an 18-year-old mentally disabled white man in Chicago. Images of their victim, which they incredibly intelligently live-streamed via Facebook, are below. As visceral as such images in the media can be, let’s not let the stupid, cruel actions of the few make the rest of us also act in ways that are stupid and cruel.

The victim was made to drink from a toilet bowl and had a gag placed over his mouth

White supremacists must be thrilled to hear the news of four black young adults who have been arrested and charged with hate crimes in their kidnapping and hours-long torture of an 18-year-old mentally disabled white man, voicing their hatred of white people and of Donald Trump while they tortured him.

Reports The Associated Press today:

Chicago — Four black people were charged with hate crimes [today] in connection with a video broadcast live on Facebook that showed a mentally disabled white man being beaten and taunted, threatened with a knife and forced to drink from a toilet.

The assault went on for hours, until Chicago police found the disoriented victim walking along a street, authorities said.

The suspects, who were jailed, can be heard on the video using profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said investigators initially concluded that the 18-year-old man was singled out because he has “special needs,” not because he was white. But authorities later said the charges resulted from both the suspects’ use of racial slurs and their references to the victim’s disability.

It’s also possible that the suspects were trying to extort something from the victim’s family, police said. The man’s parents reported their son missing Monday and told authorities they later received text messages from people who claimed to be holding him captive.

The victim was a classmate of one of the attackers and initially went with that person voluntarily, police said.

“He’s traumatized by the incident, and it’s very tough to communicate with him at this point,” police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said.

Excerpts of the video posted by Chicago media outlets show the victim with his mouth taped shut and slumped in a corner of a room. At least two assailants are seen cutting off his sweatshirt, and others taunt him off camera. The video shows a wound on the top of the man’s head. One person pushes the man’s head with his or her foot.

A red band also appears to be around the victim’s hands. He was tied up for four to five hours, authorities said.

The victim does not appear to make any attempt to defend himself or to escape his attackers. He is a suburban Chicago resident described by Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson as having “mental health challenges.”

“There was never a question whether or not this incident qualified as being investigated as a hate crime,” Johnson said. But “we need to base the investigation on facts and not emotion.”

The case heighted political tensions on social media, with some conservatives suggesting it was linked to the Black Lives Matter movement. Police said there was no indication of any connection.

The incident began Dec. 31, when the victim and one of the suspects, 18-year-old Jordan Hill, met at a suburban McDonald’s to begin what both the victim and his parents believed would be a sleepover, police said.

Instead, Hill drove the victim around in a stolen van for a couple of days, ending up at a home in Chicago, where two of the other suspects lived, detective Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said.

The victim told police what began as playful fighting escalated, and he was bound, beaten and taunted with racial slurs and disparaging comments about his mental capacity.

A downstairs neighbor who heard noises threatened to call police. When two of the suspects left and kicked down the neighbor’s door, the victim escaped. A police officer later spotted the obviously disoriented man wandering down a street.

The man was bloodied and wearing a tank top that was inside-out and backward. He had on jean shorts and sandals, despite freezing weather, officer Michael Donnelly said.

Most hate crimes are connected to the victim’s race, but hate-crime charges can be sought in Illinois if a victim’s mental disability sparked an attack, though it is rare.

In addition to hate crimes, the four were charged with kidnapping, aggravated battery and aggravated unlawful restraint. Three were also charged with burglary. It was unclear whether any of the suspects had attorneys. They were to appear in court Friday. …

Cook County prosecutors identified the suspects as Brittany Covington and Tesfaye Cooper, both of Chicago, and Hill, of suburban Carpentersville. All are 18. A fourth suspect was identified as 24-year-old Tanishia Covington, also of Chicago. …

Before any white people get all indignant and high and mighty over this unfortunate case, we must remind ourselves that also in the news is the ongoing trial of 22-year-old white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof, who shot and killed nine black church members in cold blood in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015.

Just as Roof is not representative of all white people, the four young black people who appropriately have been charged with hate crimes against the mentally disabled young white man (yes, black-on-white crime can be a hate crime, even though there are plenty of assholes and idiots who would claim otherwise) are not representative of all black people.

A minority of the members of all races are capable of inhumanity to other human beings, ranging from verbal abuse to torture to murder.

It’s ridiculous for the right or the left or for any member of any race to use incidents of race-related crimes to indict all or most of the members of an entire race.

These ugly race-related crimes come crashing into our national consciousness via the media, and the media should report them, but we shouldn’t take the incidents out of context, assert that they represent a larger pattern that they don’t represent, or try to selfishly use the incidents to reinforce our own pre-existing, narrow racial-political worldviews and agendas — or, worst, try to use the incidents as an excuse to commit our own crimes against other human beings, feeling “justified” in doing so.

As far as the mindset of the four young black people who kidnapped and tortured the young white man is concerned, I’m not sure whether they truly have a deep-seated hatred of white people or whether they just thought that it was cool to kidnap and torture a whitey, apparently especially in the aftermath of the “election” of Trump as president.

In any event, because they used racial epithets, the hate-crime charges against them appear to be quite appropriate. You don’t get to use hate speech while committing a crime against someone and then later claim that you didn’t really mean it. You said it; there is evidence that you said it. That’s enough to establish your state of mind. Words having meaning. Let’s not pretend that they don’t.

And, of course, just as Roof was cowardly enough to shoot to death nine defenseless, unarmed people, these four attackers apparently were too cowardly to pick on anyone other than a mentally disabled person, whom they outnumbered.

What I hope doesn’t happen is that some white supremacists “retaliate” against some random black person or persons, incorrectly feeling that the entire white race was just kidnapped and tortured by the entire black race, and that it doesn’t devolve into a fucking all-out race war.

In the current poisonous, Trump-filled atmosphere, that could happen, and while it would cause plenty more pain and suffering, it would solve exactly nothing.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Cops’ first robo-killing is probably the scariest part of a week full of horrors

Corrected below (on Monday, July 11, 2016)

Last night in Dallas, Texas, cops for the first time ever used a robot to kill a perp on American soil, actually claiming that it was the only way. If we let this horrific abuse of police power pass, do we civilians not face routine robo-killings by the thugs of the state in the future? (Above is pictured one of the cops’ killing machines from the original movie “Robocop.”)

What a spectacularly fucked-up week it was, just after the Independence Day holiday on Monday, ironically.

The shooting deaths on Tuesday and on Wednesday of 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and 32-year-old Philando Castile near St. Paul, Minnesota, both of them black men, by white cops sure looked unnecessary.

It’s true that we don’t have every piece of information, and nor do we have full video footage of everything from beginning to end — the Sterling videos that I have seen start just before he is shot to death in a parking lot, and the Castile video starts after he already has been shot in a car (and is dying) — and the officers involved in the shootings deserve to be tried in real courts of law, not in the court of public opinion (which these days is held largely if not mostly on the Internet), but from what we know thus far, the shootings sure appear to have been wholly unnecessary.

My best guess is that these were spooked, adrenalized cops who were too trigger-happy, and, in a society in which black men’s lives are at the bottom of the pecking order where the value of human life is concerned, these cops just weren’t very concerned about not shooting first and asking questions later.

Then came the shooting deaths of five cops last night in Dallas (not far from where JFK was assassinated) by an-as-far-as-we-know-right-now militarily trained lone wolf, 25-year-old Micah Johnson, a black man of the Dallas area who reportedly had claimed that he especially wanted to kill white cops for the wrongful killings of black men by white cops.

On NPR today I heard the head of the nation’s largest cops’ union embarrass himself by stating that the shootings of cops because they are cops need to be treated as hate crimes. 

He further embarrassed himself by actually stating that just as we shouldn’t hate others because of the color of their skin, we shouldn’t hate anyone because of the color of his or her uniform (yes, he actually used those incredibly corny words). He asserted this as though the problem that so many of us have had with our cops actually were the color of their uniforms, or, OK, the fact in and of itself that they are cops — and not, oh, say, their rampant abuse of power and deadly force, such as by blowing away unarmed or otherwise non-threatening black men and by otherwise abusing their power against people of color and other vulnerable minorities.

The cops have had a long history of abusing their power in the United States of America. Many of them have been little more than state-sanctioned thugs, and let’s face it: The cops’ main job is to maintain the socioeconomic status quo, a status quo that isn’t about liberty and justice for all.

That said, don’t get me wrong; I don’t advocate the killing of one member of a group because you’re pissed off at another member of that group, be that group a racial group, a religious group, an occupational group, or any other group of people. I believe that we must deal with individuals, and not with entire groups of people. Micah Johnson’s “logic” that because two white cops in Louisiana and in Minnesota apparently unnecessarily killed — maybe murdered (well, maybe it was manslaughter; it’s all in the intent) — two black men, he should kill cops (especially white cops) in Texas speaks for itself.

And let’s be clear in our thinking and in our words: Blacks didn’t kill those cops in Dallas; one apparently mentally ill, or at the very least seriously unhinged, young black man did. (I don’t assert that Johnson had no legitimate grievances, but murdering random cops because they’re cops isn’t OK.) And all (white) cops did not kill Alton Sterling and Philando Castile (and way too many others); specific (white) cops killed them.

The problem is when we hold an entire group of people guilty for the acts of a relative few. It’s a mistake that often has deadly consequences and that can spiral into something like a civil war.

On the issue of hate crimes, I don’t argue that Micah Johnson didn’t hate cops; he very apparently did. (Again, I don’t argue that he had no grounds for his hatred; I only point out that he apparently had that hatred.)

But let’s be crystal fucking clear on what a hate crime is. Wikipedia defines a hate crime thusly:

A hate crime … is a prejudice-motivated crime, often violent, which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her membership (or perceived membership) in a certain social group.

Examples of such groups can include but are not limited to: sex, ethnicity, disability, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. …

“Hate crime” generally refers to criminal acts that are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the types above, or of their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, … or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail).

Cops aren’t listed among the groups that so often are targeted in hate crimes, and implied but not explicitly spelled out in Wikipedia’s entry on hate crimes is the power differential that we have seen in the vast majority of hate crimes committed in the United States of America.

Whites who have committed hate crimes against blacks, for example, usually have far outnumbered blacks; ditto for “Christians” who have far outnumbered Jews and Muslims; heterosexuals and gender-conforming individuals who have far outnumbered non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals; etc. With the vast majority of hate crimes, it’s the relatively powerful who are targeting the less powerful to even the relatively powerless.

One thing that we can’t say about cops is that they are relatively powerless compared to the general population. Um, they are not. Sure, we commoners far outnumber the cops, but most of us commoners don’t have their arsenals or their training — or their being backed up by the U.S. military if they need such backup. (All of this is made possible with our own tax dollars, but that’s another blog piece.) And, of course, the cops often if not usually have the full cover of the “justice” system should they ever actually be held to account in a court of law. And, of course, they know this fact even before they unnecessarily shoot someone to death, carelessly (manslaughter) or even intentionally (murder).

Therefore, call what Micah Johnson did last night in Dallas an act of terrorism — the use of fear and/or violence to try to achieve a political objective — but let’s not fucking call it a hate crime and by so doing shit and piss on all actual victims of actual hate crimes, past, present and future.

Let’s not buy the cops’ union thugs’ bullshit rhetoric that cops (as a group) now are the poor victims when American history is filled with incidents of cops’ thuggery against the populace, usually the relatively powerless.

Clearly, having had the first black man in the Oval Office hasn’t magically solved our problems. We, the people, have much work to do, primary among which is to devise non-lethal ways of neutralizing individuals whom cops deem need to be neutralized. It’s unfuckingacceptable that shooting someone in the year 2016 still is seen as an acceptable way of neutralizing him or her.

With the technology that we have, we should have solved this problem years ago.

On that note, we, the people, also must NOT allow state-sanctioned killing by robot to become the norm.

The cops in Dallas last night killed Micah Johnson by affixing a bomb to a robot, directing the robot to Johnson’s vicinity, and then detonating the bomb. It was the first time that cops anywhere on U.S. soil used a robot to kill someone.*

What the fucking fuck?

A robot that can deliver a bomb can’t deliver a tranquilizer dart or a knock-out gas? Really? Blowing Micah Johnson up via R2-D2 was the cops’ only option?

No, the cops blew Johnson up because he’d killed cops, and they wanted their instant revenge on him. The actual justice (well, “justice”) system might have allowed him to live, so they, the cops, had to be the prosecutors, judges, juries and executioners, you see.

And by so doing, the cops only further demonstrated last night that they have become a serious problem that we, the people, need to solve — lest the cops’ killer robots come for us next.

Correction (Monday, July 11, 2016): My bad: Apparently the cop who shot Philando Castile to death is Mexican American, not white. (In the viral video, only the cop’s forearms are visible, and he is light-skinned, so I’d thought that he was white.)

This is a rather ironic photo of the cop:

St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights on July 6, 2016, is shown taking part in the Standing of the Memorial Guard event during Law Enforcement Memorial Day and National Peace Officer's Day at the Minnesota Capitol in May 2014. (Courtesy of city of Falcon Heights)

(No, it’s not a Photoshop job. It was taken two years ago and it’s from here.)

The cop, named Jeronimo Yanez, has claimed, via his attorney, “This had nothing to do with race. This had everything to do with the presence of a gun.” (Of course, it’s not like any cop actually would admit it if his [or her] shooting death of someone had been racially motivated…)

Our society’s racial pecking order is fairly ingrained, it seems to me, and we can internalize and act out that pecking order unconsciously, methinks.

I just can’t imagine Philando Castile having been shot to death as he was had he been white (or perhaps Asian or Latino).

*NPR quotes a subject-matter expert as saying that bombs/explosive devices affixed to robotic devices have been used by the U.S. military in Iraq, but that last night’s was the first such use here on American soil.

Indeed, our police are becoming more and more militarized, and we, the people, fail to put a stop to this anti-constitutional bullshit at our own peril.

I vehemently oppose the use of armed/weaponized robots or drones to kill civilians on American soil — and their use in all other nations should be prohibited as well.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Was the London murder a murder or a ‘terrorist attack’?

Updated below

Michael Adebolajo: Murderer or “terrorist”? Is he a “terrorist” because he’s Muslim? And of Nigerian descent?

First off, let me be clear: I am not at all OK with the grisly murder of 25-year-old British soldier and Afghan war veteran Lee Rigby just outside of his barracks in London yesterday. And I reject the idea of killing one person in retaliation for killings that other people committed. In my book, revenge, if it is going to be exacted, should be exact, not approximate.

One of Lee Rigby’s two very apparent murderers, 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo of London, “a British-born convert to radical Islam,” according to Reuters, notoriously calmly explained to someone with a video camera — while he still held a knife and a meat cleaver in his bloodied hands (see the video still above) — why he and his companion, also of Nigerian descent, according to Reuters, attacked and killed Rigby, whom they reportedly first ran down in a car and then started hacking with a meat cleaver and knives: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

In Greenwich Village this past weekend, 32-year-old gay man Mark Carson was shot to death in an apparent hate crime; reportedly, Carson’s accused murderer, Elliot Morales, 33, who was apprehended by police, had used anti-gay hate speech before he shot Carson to death.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said of the murder: “It’s clear that victim here was killed only because, and just because, he was thought to be gay. There’s no question about that. There were derogatory remarks. This victim did nothing to antagonize or instigate the shooter. It was only because the shooter believed him to be gay.”

Reuters reports that many posit that recent advances in same-sex marriage rights in the U.S. — including three states having gone for same-sex marriage earlier this month — might have been behind the murder of Carson.

Yet the murder of Carson is called a “murder” and the murder of Rigby is called, automatically, a “terrorist attack” or “act of terrorism.”

What’s the difference between an act of murder and an act of terrorism/“terrorism”?

The murder of Carson, I surmise, was meant to send this message to all gay men or even to all non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals: You are not safe walking the streets. You might be the next one to be shot (or stabbed or beaten up or whatever).

That’s not a form of terrorism — an act of violence (a murder, no less) apparently committed with the intent to strike fear within a whole class of people?

Michael Adebolajo very apparently was using Lee Rigby as an example — he killed him in effigy of all British soldiers, in effect — just as Elliot Morales very apparently was using Mark Carson as an example — he killed him in effigy of all gay men, in effect.

So if Adebolajo and his cohort are “terrorists,” why isn’t Morales a “terrorist”?

My answer to my own question is that when a member of a historically oppressed minority group (like gay men) is murdered, it’s not considered to be a big deal. We can call it just a “murder,” as though it didn’t extend beyond just the murdered victim at all, but was just one of those random things — an act of God, Wolf Blitzer might say.

But when even one soldier is murdered — even on a public/civilian street, and while not on duty, which very apparently is how Rigby was murdered — that’s considered an attack on the plutocrats, the elites, of whom the commoner-funded military (Britain’s as well as the United States’) is just an arm.

The plutocrats, the elites, can’t maintain their overprivileged status without whole armies at their command, and the plutocratic elites are far, far more important than any of the rest of us ever could be, so the murder of just one of their soldiers — even in a non-combat situation — automatically is branded as “terrorism,” a more serious crime than plain-old murder.

I disagree that Rigby’s murder was an act of “terrorism.” Rigby’s murder was much closer to a murder than to an act of “terrorism.”

If we’re going to call Rigby’s murderers “terrorists” instead of just plain-old “murderers,” then we’re going to need to call Elliot Morales a terrorist, too — because his crime very apparently was motivated by his religious and political beliefs, just as Adebolajo’s and his partner’s crime was motivated by theirs.

The act-of-murder-vs.-act-of-terrorism problem largely can be solved if  the usage of the “t” terms — “terrorist,” “terrorists,” “terrorism” — returns to the terms’ status before 9/11. Cases of murder committed by an individual or two people apparently acting on their own and not as part of a known terrorist/“terrorist” group — such as the apparent case with the Boston Marathon bombings (I refer to the two Tsarnaev brothers, of course) and the apparent case with the British soldier who was murdered yesterday — are probably much closer to murder cases than they are to terrorism/“terrorism” cases.

We don’t refer to the two Columbine High School killers as “terrorists,” for example, even though they slaughtered many more people than did the Tsarnaev brothers or Michael Adebolajo.

That’s at least in part, of course, because the two Columbine killers were two white “Christian” kids, and you’re much more likely to be branded as a “terrorist” if you are Muslim — and even more so if you are a non-white Muslim.

That shit needs to stop. We can’t have a two-tiered system of “justice” in which it’s only “terrorism” if the (accused) perpetrator is Muslim or non-white or both. If we must go hog wild with the “terrorism” thing, then it must apply to so-called “Christians” and to other non-Muslims and to whites and to other non-blacks as well.

Update (Sunday, May 26, 2013): Columnist Glenn Greenwald, who once wrote for Salon.com but now works for The Guardian of the United Kingdom, on Thursday also tackled the question of “Was the London Killing of a British Soldier ‘Terrorism’?”

In his column, Greenwald notes that

An act can be vile, evil, and devoid of justification without being “terrorism”: indeed, most of the worst atrocities of the 20th Century, from the Holocaust to the wanton slaughter of Stalin and Pol Pot and the massive destruction of human life in Vietnam, are not typically described as “terrorism.”

Yup. Here, I think, is the money shot of Greenwald’s analysis:

The reason it’s so crucial to ask this question [of whether or not an act of violence constitutes “terrorism”] is that there are few terms — if there are any — that pack the political, cultural and emotional punch that “terrorism” provides. When it comes to the actions of western governments, it is a conversation-stopper, justifying virtually anything those governments want to do.

It’s a term that is used to start wars, engage in sustained military action, send people to prison for decades or life, to target suspects for due-process-free execution, shield government actions behind a wall of secrecy, and instantly shape public perceptions around the world.

It matters what the definition of the term is, or whether there is a consistent and coherent definition. It matters a great deal.

There is ample scholarship proving that the term has no such clear or consistently applied meaning. … It is very hard to escape the conclusion that, operationally, the term has no real definition at this point beyond “violence engaged in by Muslims in retaliation against Western violence toward Muslims.” …

Actually, it seems to me, in the Western world, especially in the U.S. and the UK, “terrorism” has come pretty much to mean just “violence engaged in by Muslims.” Even the acknowledgment that such violence might be “in retaliation against Western violence toward Muslims” usually never is made in Westerners’ discussions of “terrorism,” since that obviously would be to bring Westerners’ guilt into the discussion, and most Westerners, it seems to me, will have none of that.

Greenwald also notes that “earlier this month, an elderly British Muslim was stabbed to death in an apparent anti-Muslim hate crime and nobody called that ‘terrorism,'” and adds that the term “terrorism” “at this point seems to have no function other than propagandistically and legally legitimizing the violence of western states against Muslims while delegitimizing any and all violence done in return to those states.”

Yup.

There are news reports, such as this one, of actions perpetrated against Muslims in Britain by non-Muslims in “retaliation” for the slaughter of the British solider in London. This report (from Slate.com) states that “The incidents [so far have ranged] from name calling and abuse on social media, to the painting of graffiti, attacks against mosques, and pulling off women’s headscarves in the street.” (“Attacks against mosques” is so vague as to be almost meaningless. I wish that the writer had given us the details there, or if he didn’t have the details, to have stated that fact.)

Of course, such low-level, “harmless” terrorism is what the Jews in Nazi Germany experienced before the Nazis ratcheted things waaay up.

This leads to yet another question: Is an act in which someone is not injured or killed “terrorism”? Is it only “terrorism” if someone is injured or killed? These thugs pulling Muslim women’s headscarves off — that is not done with the intent of terrorizing these women?

Is such terrorizing OK if it’s considered in “retaliation” of, or just in reaction to, another incident? Would this be “counter-terrorism”? Or would this be something like just plain-old “justice,” since we non-Muslims never use the “t-” word to refer to any of our own actions?

Anyway, as I wrote in my first paragraph of this post, “In my book, revenge, if it is going to be exacted, should be exact, not approximate.”

As a gay man, I’m never happy to read about the slaughter of a gay man because he’s gay. To use an example that hit close to home, in July 2007, 26-year-old Satender Singh, a Fijian of Indian descent, was killed in my area (Sacramento) because he was suspected of being gay.

Whether he was gay or not I don’t know, but the two men from Eastern Europe who were charged with his murder very apparently thought that he was, because, witnesses said, the Slavic thugs who attacked Singh expressly targeted him because he was, they said, a “faggot” and a “sodomite,” among other things.

According to the hate-group watchdog Southern Poverty Law Center, witnesses also reported that these Slavic thugs “bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singh that he should go to a ‘good church’ like theirs.” This was right before one of the thugs delivered a blow to Singh’s head, a blow that later caused his death. (Great “Christians,” eh? Well, even the Nazis considered themselves to be great “Christians.”)

While I truly wish that the homophobic Eastern European immigrants here in California would fucking respect and honor how things are done and are not done here in California (and not act here as it’s OK to act in their backasswards countries in Eastern Europe) — and if they don’t like our freedoms here, including our freedom from their brand of theofascism, they are free to return to Eastern Europe — never would it have occurred to me that it would have been OK to randomly attack (apparent) Eastern European immigrants on the street in “retaliation” for the murder of Satender Singh.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Assorted shit

Obama gets his balls back?

President Barack Obama has endorsed a plan that would allow the Democratically controlled Congress to pass health-care reform with a simple majority vote without being hamstrung by an obstructionist Repugnican filibuster.

Repugnicans are agog, of course, but the filibuster is only a Senate rule, and Senate rules can be changed. (Indeed, during the years of rule by the BushCheneyCorp, the Repugnicans threatened to do away with the filibuster with their “nuclear option.”)

Perhaps the Democrats should kill the filibuster altogether; that would suit the minority — again, the minority — Repugnicans right.

The Senate’s Repugnican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said that the Democrats’ doing away with the filibuster would be “met with outrage” by the American public — never mind that the Repugnicans themselves were poised to do so. (Do as the Repugnicans say, not as they do, please.)

McConnell is full of shit. The majority of Americans, who voted for Obama in November 2008, are fine with Obama’s agenda being enacted on simple majority votes. They prefer that progress over the gridlock that the Repugnicans want.

The tea-baggers will fume once health-care reform is passed on a simple majority vote, but fuck them — they’re going to fume anyway, as long as Obama continues to commit the crime of presiding while black.

Supremes refuse to kill same-sex marriage in D.C.

WTF?

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to kill same-sex marriages in Washington, D.C.

Notes The Associated Press:

Washington, D.C., [now] is the sixth place in the nation where gay marriages can take place. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont also issue licenses to same-sex couples.

To prepare for [same-sex marriages], the [D.C.] marriage bureau changed its license applications so they are gender-neutral, asking for the name of each “spouse” rather than the “bride” and “groom.” …

The [same-sex] marriage law was introduced in the 13-member D.C. Council in October and had near-unanimous support from the beginning. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty signed it in December, but because Washington is a federal district, the law had to undergo a congressional review period that expired March 2.

Notes AFP:

Although the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday refused a request to hold a referendum on gay marriage, which would have delayed the day the law took effect in Washington, it said opponents of gay marriage could seek to hold a “ballot initiative” in the capital to try to get the act repealed.

That would be similar to what happened in California, where residents voted in a referendum in November 2008 — known as Proposition 8 — to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, overturning a state supreme court decision six months earlier which legalized gay marriage.

Interesting… The U.S. Supreme Court apparently doesn’t want to decide on the matter 0f same-sex marriage, but is willing to allow the people of each state (and D.C.) to decide the matter for themselves.

While that’s not as bad as the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage (because there is), I still find it fucked up that anyone’s equal civil and human rights should be put up for a vote.

Whose equal civil and human rights should we put up for a vote next?

The response from wingnuts to the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to stop the D.C. same-sex marriages was predictable. Reports AFP:

Outside the courthouse, a handful of protesters held up banners and chanted slogans, saying the United States was doomed because it has allowed same-sex marriage.

“When this Congress acted to let fags marry in D.C., they bound this country,” anti-gay activist Shirley Phelps-Roper, who had travelled to Washington from Kansas, told AFP.

“This is the last generation. This nation’s destruction is imminent and they did it to themselves,” said Phelps-Roper, brandishing signs reading “America’s doomed,” “God hates you,” “You’re going to hell” and “Fag marriage.”

You know, if these are the “end times,” it’s only because the end-timers have brought the end times on. It wouldn’t be a “fag” who causes Armageddon; it would be a wingnut.

KKKopycats plaguing University of California campuses?

There are news reports about racist/white supremacist and anti-Semitic incidents cropping up at University of California campuses, including UC San Diego, UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz.

While I believe that university students — and everyone — should not be subjected to hatred and intimidation, I have to wonder how many of these acts (which thus far have been acts of vandalism and the intentional or unintentional creation of offensive displays, and not of violence) are the acts of actual haters and how many of them are the acts of copycats who don’t hate nearly as much as they just get a thrill from stirring shit up.

I can see male students who are young, dumb and full of cum thinking that it’s great entertainment to put a swastika on something, or to put a mock Ku Klux Klan hood on display, and then watch the ensuing reaction.

Stupid, yes. Racist/white supremacist? Not necessarily, not if the perpetrators aren’t actually racist/white supremacist.

Things not intended as racist or white supremacist can be interpreted that way, too.

For instance, The Associated Press reports that at UC San Diego recently, a noose was found dangling from a library bookshelf and that

UC San Diego campus police said they had completed their investigation into the noose incident and turned their results over to the city attorney on Tuesday for possible hate crime charges.

One of the students responsible for the noose apologized to the university community in an anonymous letter published Monday in the campus newspaper. She said the noose was formed while she and friends were playing around with a piece of rope and had no meaning as a lynching symbol.

The student said she is not black, but is a minority.

The student’s story is plausible, but the noose put the campus into an uproar nontheless. So think of what a display that is meant to stir people up can do.

Everyone needs to take a deep breath and act rationally, not emotionally. WWOD? (That’s “What Would Obama Do?”) He would be as cool as a cucumber high on weed. He wouldn’t freak out.

Actual racists and white supremacists shown to have violated laws against hate speech and hate crimes should be prosecuted. Dumbfucks who thought that it sure would be funny to stir up shit by making it appear as though their handiwork were the handiwork of an actual hater should be prosecuted under the appropriate criminal law, such as vandalism or disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace.

And again, we need to calm the fuck down.

There are crazies out there who feed on our frenzy, and if we don’t feed them, they’ll just go away.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Oh, yeah, racism is no longer a problem in the United States

The battle hasn’t been won; the battle has just begun.

I rarely do this, but here is an Associated Press story in its entirety. It needs no commentary, as it speaks for itself:

Cross burnings. Schoolchildren chanting “Assassinate Obama.” Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars.

Incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are dampening the postelection glow of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America.

From California to Maine, police have documented a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack. Insults and taunts have been delivered by adults, college students and second-graders.

There have been “hundreds” of incidents since the election, many more than usual, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes.

One was in Snellville, Ga., where Denene Millner said a boy on the school bus told her 9-year-old daughter the day after the election: “I hope Obama gets assassinated.” That night, someone trashed her sister-in-law’s front lawn, mangled the Obama lawn signs, and left two pizza boxes filled with human feces outside the front door, Millner said.

She described her emotions as a combination of anger and fear.

“I can’t say that every white person in Snellville is evil and anti-Obama and willing to desecrate my property because one or two idiots did it,” said Millner, who is black. “But it definitely makes you look a little different at the people who you live with, and makes you wonder what they’re capable of and what they’re really thinking.”

Potok, who is white, said he believes there is “a large subset of white people in this country who feel that they are losing everything they know, that the country their forefathers built has somehow been stolen from them.”

Grant Griffin, a 46-year-old white Georgia native, expressed similar sentiments: “I believe our nation is ruined and has been for several decades and the election of Obama is merely the culmination of the change.

“If you had real change it would involve all the members of (Obama’s) church being deported,” he said.

Change in whatever form does not come easy, and a black president is “the most profound change in the field of race this country has experienced since the Civil War,” said William Ferris, senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina. “It’s shaking the foundations on which the country has existed for centuries.”

“Someone once said racism is like cancer,” Ferris said. “It’s never totally wiped out, it’s in remission.”

If so, America’s remission lasted until the morning of Nov. 5.

The day after the vote hailed as a sign of a nation changed, black high school student Barbara Tyler of Marietta, Ga., said she heard hateful Obama comments from white students, and that teachers cut off discussion about Obama’s victory.

Tyler spoke at a press conference by the Georgia chapter of the NAACP calling for a town hall meeting to address complaints from across the state about hostility and resentment. Another student, from a Covington middle school, said he was suspended for wearing an Obama shirt to school Nov. 5 after the principal told students not to wear political paraphernalia.

The student’s mother, Eshe Riviears, said the principal told her: “Whether you like it or not, we’re in the South, and there are a lot of people who are not happy with this decision.”

Other incidents include:

  • Four North Carolina State University students admitted writing anti-Obama comments in a tunnel designated for free speech expression, including one that said: “Let’s shoot that [n-word] in the head.” Obama has received more threats than any other president-elect, authorities say.
  • At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: “Osama Obama Shotgun Pool.” Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. “Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count,” the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written “Let’s hope someone wins.”
  • Racist graffiti was found in places including New York’s Long Island, where two dozen cars were spray-painted; Kilgore, Texas, where the local high school and skate park were defaced; and the Los Angeles area, where swastikas, racial slurs and “Go Back To Africa” were spray painted on sidewalks, houses and cars.
  • Second- and third-grade students on a school bus in Rexburg, Idaho, chanted “assassinate Obama,” a district official said.
  • University of Alabama professor Marsha L. Houston said a poster of the Obama family was ripped off her office door. A replacement poster was defaced with a death threat and a racial slur. “It seems the election brought the racist rats out of the woodwork,” Houston said.
  • Black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. The president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas said a rope found hanging from a campus tree was apparently an abandoned swing and not a noose.
  • Crosses were burned in yards of Obama supporters in Hardwick, N.J., and Apolacan Township, Pa.
  • A black teenager in New York City said he was attacked with a bat on election night by four white men who shouted “Obama.”
  • In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying “now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house.”

Emotions are often raw after a hard-fought political campaign, but now those on the losing side have an easy target for their anger.

“The principle is very simple,” said B.J. Gallagher, a sociologist and co-author of the diversity book A Peacock in the Land of Penguins. “If I can’t hurt the person I’m angry at, then I’ll vent my anger on a substitute, i.e., someone of the same race.”

“We saw the same thing happen after the 9/11 attacks, as a wave of anti-Muslim violence swept the country. We saw it happen after the Rodney King verdict, when Los Angeles blacks erupted in rage at the injustice perpetrated by ‘the white man.'”

“It’s as stupid and ineffectual as kicking your dog when you’ve had a bad day at the office,” Gallagher said. “But it happens a lot.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized