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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.

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Time to turn our backs to the cops

Some police officers turn their backs in sign of disrespect as Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during the funeral of New York Police Department Officer Wenjian Liu at Aievoli Funeral Home, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Liu and his partner, officer Rafael Ramos, were killed Dec. 20 as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Associated Press news photos

Apparently right-wing, mostly white-male New York City cops have taken to turning their backs to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in public — even after New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton has directed them to cease and desist, proclaiming, “I remind you that when you don the uniform of this department, you are bound by the tradition, honor and decency that go with it.” (The mostly white male, classy cops shown turning their backs to the mayor in the news photos above did so today at the occasion of the funeral of one of two New York City police officers who were murdered on December 20. Hey, what’s a funeral for if not to use it for your own political purposes?) These rogue, neo-Nazi cops who believe that they are not required to follow orders have no honor or decency and need to be relieved of their uniforms. They are not irreplaceable.

At the time that our cops — most of them white men who are steeped in woefully outdated white-male privilege — whine that we stupid civilians don’t respect and support them enough, they repeatedly are demonstrating exactly why they don’t deserve our respect and support.

At least this is true of New York City cops. I hope that they’re not representative of all of the nation’s cops, but too many of the nation’s cops, being disproportionately white, share the same white-privilege mentality, along with the authoritarian personality and the right-wing, patriarchal, white-supremacist worldview.

Yet once again, today, New York City’s “finest” have turned their backs to democratically elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — a.k.a. their boss — this time at the funeral of Wenjian Liu, one of two New York City police officers who were gunned down by an apparently mentally ill young man last month. Classy to use a funeral to stage your little political protest!

(And, as I have written, it’s ironic, because the shooter of the two cops was not inspired by anything that Bill de Blasio said or did, but was inspired by white cops who had killed unarmed black men. [We have this motivation in the young, now-deceased black man’s own words.] The actions of cops very apparently got these two New York City police officers murdered last month, but these cops very conveniently blame someone else.)

Moreover, the cops had been instructed by New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton not to protest at today’s funeral. As Yahoo! News reports:

“A hero’s funeral is about grieving, not grievance,” Bratton wrote in a memo to officers on Friday, less than a week after officers turned their backs on de Blasio at the funeral of Rafael Ramos, the other NYPD slain officer. “I remind you that when you don the uniform of this department, you are bound by the tradition, honor, and decency that go with it.”

When police officers will not obey even the directives of their indisputable supervisors, it’s time for them to be fired. These punk-ass fascist/neo-Nazi bitches who denigrate the badges that they wear can be replaced — and they should be replaced.

Neo-Nazi cops — white, white-supremacist, right-wing cops who believe that if they disagree with the politics of our democratically elected officials, they may openly defy our democratically elected officials (and even their police-department supervisors) — are much worse than are the criminals/“criminals” from whom they (supposedly) protect us (in-their-eyes) stupid, clueless civvies.

Our police forces need to be reworked from the ground up as it is. In most parts of the nation, our police forces do not represent the demographics of the people whom they purport to serve and protect. We need to purge our police forces nationwide of the criminals in uniform — most of whom are stupid, thuggish white men who abuse their white-male privilege to the point that they are the lawless ones — and replace these bad cops with younger, much more diverse individuals who know how to humble themselves — and who respect and thus follow law and order, which includes following the chain of command, including their democratically elected leaders.

In the meantime, if our cops want our respect and support, they will have to earn it. Far too many of them have not. They have forgotten, or they simply ignore, the fact that we, the people, ultimately are their bosses — and not the other way around.

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News flash: Thug-cops (and those who love them) get other cops killed

Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, speaks during a news conference after the bodies of two fallen NYPD police officers were transported from Woodhull Medical Center, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, in New York. An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, killing one and critically wounding a second before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Associated Press photo

Ironically, the likes of New York City cops’ union president Patrick Lynch, who, steeped in his big-mouthed white-male privilege, probably would defend every and any murder by cop, is much more likely to get cops killed than are anti-thug-cop demonstrators or progressive New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Lynch is shown above braying at a news conference in New York City yesterday after two city cops were shot to death by an apparently mentally ill young black man, who beforehand had posted online, “I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let’s take 2 of theirs.”)

That two New York police officers were ambushed and shot to death yesterday by a young black man apparently claiming that it was retribution for the deaths of the unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of white cops is deeply unfortunate. But the politicization of the murders by the staunch, shameless defenders of white-male privilege and abuse of power, such as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Patrick Lynch, the aptly-surnamed president of the city’s Patrolmen’s “Benevolent” Association, compounds the misfortune.

To be clear, first and foremost, when one human being kills another by gun, unless the killing is in actual self-defense and/or in actual defense of another, the person who pulled the trigger is to blame. And in a case like the ambush of the two New York cops (whose names were Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40), we must assume, I think, that the trigger man, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who went on to shoot himself to death after he murdered the two cops, was mentally ill (duh). (It’s not being widely reported, from what I can tell, but before Brinsley shot the two police officers yesterday, he had shot and injured his ex-girlfriend, so his state of mind yesterday went beyond anti-cop sentiment, apparently.)

But in this case, if we must blame someone other than the apparently mentally ill trigger man, as Lynch and Giuiliani have blamed anti-thug-cop demonstrators, progressive New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, then I pick Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City thug-cop who killed Eric Garner — on video. There is some amount of blood, methinks, on his choke-holding hands.

Given that Pantaleo’s murder of Eric Garner happened in New York City, I assume that that murder by cop had more of an immediate influence on Ismaaiyl Brinsley than did the more distant killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri (which, as I have written, I cannot conclude was a murder by cop, but the Garner case is pretty fucking clear-cut).

White cops’ reactions to the push-back for the killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, et. al., and their reaction to the murder yesterday of two of their own starkly reveals their dangerous, fascistic mentality for all of us to plainly see. (Indeed, they’re too fucking stupid and too over-privileged to even try to sugarcoat their not-so-crypto-Nazi-like mentality.)

As Salon.com’s Joan Walsh accurately put it recently, Patrick Lynch and others like him very apparently believe that cops, especially white cops, are apart from and above the rest of us (as well as apart from and above the law), and that they should be fairly wholly immune from civilian oversight, since we stupid civilians who pay their paychecks couldn’t possibly know anything about policing, but should leave every micro-detail of every matter to the mostly-white cops. We clueless civvies should shut the fuck up, keep our tax dollars flowing to the cops, and not worry our pretty, stupid little heads about anything that the cops, who are wholly beyond reproach, do (or fail to do).

The bottom line is this: Cops who refuse to obey democratically elected civilian rule (unless they are given patently unlawful orders) should be removed from duty. Immediately.

The New York cops who have taken to turning their backs to Mayor Bill de Blasio in his presence are not simply exercising any First-Amendment rights that they might possess in their capacity as police officers. They are announcing that they, in their estimation, reserve the right to refuse to submit to civilian authority when they deem such authority is a threat to their out-sized white-male privilege.

To me, it is little different for New York thug-cops (most of whom are steeped in white-male privilege) to turn their backs to their democratically elected mayor because they disagree with his political viewpoints than it would be for members of the U.S. military to turn their backs to the democratically elected president of the United States of America because they disagree with his or her political viewpoints.

Given cops’ training and resources (that, of course, wouldn’t be possible without the tax dollars of us stupid civvies) — and given cops’ veneer of probable innocence in every killing that they commit — rogue cops are much more dangerous than is the typical street criminal, and we stupid civvies allow rogue cops to proliferate at our own peril.

This is a growing cancer that we need to cut out right now.

Patrick Lynch, who advocates the insurrection of New York City’s police officers against their democratically elected civilian oversight, should step down or be removed from his position of authority that he abuses. How Lynch apparently has the support of his fellow cops when his words and actions only inflame tensions between cops and the public — thus putting cops at even further risk — eludes me, other than that an awful lot of cops must just be so fucking stupid as to participate in a deeply dysfunctional dynamic that increases the likelihood of even their own deaths at the hands of an enraged public.

(Yes, indeed, in addition to the likes of Daniel Pantaleo, I blame the likes of Patrick Lynch also for the deaths of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, since Lynch so steadfastly publicly has stood behind the indefensible Pantaleo. Liu and Ramos, unfortunately, very apparently paid the price for the likes of the thuggish Pantaleo and Lynch.)

In the meantime, we, the people, must not shrink, and must never shrink, in the face of the abuses of power by our mostly-white-male cops. It is unfortunate that two New York City cops were gunned down yesterday by an apparently mentally ill young man. But the lives of cops are not more valuable than are the lives of civilians, as the thug-cops believe and wish all of us simple-minded civvies to believe.

The murders of Ramos and Liu yesterday are no excuse to stop the work that has begun to ensure that our law-enforcement officers nationwide, most of them steeped in their white-male over-privilege, do not abuse their power.

Indeed, the thug-cops’ public reaction to all that has been taking place over the past several months demonstrates that we, the people, cannot stop now.

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Notes on the mess in Ferguson

robberystrongarmedrobbery2.jpg

A screen grab (above) from a video apparently showing Michael Brown roughing up a convenience store clerk on the date of Brown’s shooting death by a white police officer apparently belies the idea of Brown having been a gentle giant, at least on the day of his death, but of course the unarmed Brown didn’t deserve to die for allegedly having stolen cigarillos. And law enforcement officers need to adopt non-lethal means of subduing subjects they deem dangerous or possibly dangerous, and of course we have way too many white cops shooting unarmed black men. All of that said, though, shit like torching police cars, as was done in Ferguson, Mo., last night (see news photo below), accomplishes exactly nothing.

A man runs from a police car that is set on fire after a group of protesters vandalize the vehicle after the announcement of the grand jury decision Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. A grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked sometimes violent protests. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Associated Press photo

I’ve yet to write about the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., for several reasons, including the fact that I wanted to wait for things to play out and the fact, to be honest, that I’ve been Fergusoned out, much like I’ve been Benghazi’d out. Not to compare the two (one is an event that is a symptom of our broad and deep societal ills, and the other a comparative non-event drummed up by the right wing), but because the sensationalist media have beaten both into the ground.

First: Let’s acknowledge, as taboo as it is to do so (on the left, anyway), that Michael Brown apparently was no angel. There very apparently is surveillance video, for fuck’s sake, of the 6-foot-4-inch, almost 300-pound 18-year-old (whose nickname apparently was “Big Mike”) very apparently roughing up a convenience store clerk on the day that he later was shot and killed by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson (that day was August 9), and Wilson has claimed that when he encountered Brown, Brown had a handful of cigarillos that he’d apparently stolen from the convenience store.

(Whether this is true or whether Wilson was lying in an attempt to retroactively “justify” his shooting of Brown by trying to link Brown to a crime that Wilson has claimed he had been aware of is quite in dispute. [It seems to me that it’s quite possible that Wilson had had no knowledge of the convenience-store robbery before he encountered Brown on that fateful day in August, and if memory serves, early news reports [such as this one] indeed were that Wilson had not known about the convenience-store robbery when he encountered Brown.])

I’m no angel myself, but the exact number of times that I’ve roughed up a convenience store clerk while stealing from him is, um, zero. As there not only is surveillance video, but as Michael Brown’s companion on that fateful day, Dorian Johnson, apparently also has testified that Brown committed the convenience-store robbery (to Johnson’s surprise), that Brown committed the crime is, methinks, fairly indisputable, and it is not “character assassination” to divulge unflattering facts about Brown’s unflattering actions on that day, as Brown’s defenders have alleged. Brown’s character, at least as it was on that particular day, it seems to me, rather speaks for itself. On that day, anyway, very apparently, Brown was no gentle giant.

But: Did Michael Brown deserve to get capped, even if he had committed a crime? Brown was unarmed, and photos of Darren Wilson’s “injuries” allegedly caused by Brown show only some red marks (maybe one light facial bruise) that appear as though they even could have been pre-existing. (Wilson, by the way, is 6 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs around 210 pounds and is 28 years old.)

The fact that it’s verging on the year 2015 and despite all of our technological advances we still have no widely used non-lethal way of effectively subduing those whom law enforcement officers deem need to be subdued is testament to what degree life (especially non-white life) is considered to be cheap here in the United States of America.

Sure, we have Tasers, but those are good for only a limited range, and whenever cops claim, correctly or incorrectly, truthfully or untruthfully, that they feared for their lives, they don’t use Tasers or the like, but they use live rounds. With all of our technological advances, why do we allow this beyond-sorry state of affairs to continue? Why don’t we care enough to force the cops to change their tactics?

And, of course, it’s inarguable that black men are treated as automatically guilty by many if not even most white cops, who often act as judge, jury and even executioner, and that cops disproportionately are white males, like Darren Wilson.

It’s also inarguable that Ferguson is just the tip of the iceberg. The main function of cops is to protect the socioeconomic interests of the plutocrats, the ruling elite. Cops serve and protect, all right, but whom do they serve and protect? Cops are tools of the elite, whether the cops know this or not, and whether the cops even care if they do know this.

So there is that dynamic that’s baked into the socioeconomic dynamics of the United States, as well as is the dynamic of institutionalized racism.

That said, while institutionalized racism rages on, we still must view every incident as an incident, with its unique details and factors and with its unique, individual actors, and we have to be careful not to allow individuals to become standard-bearers or stand-ins for our own views on race.

Just as Michael Brown apparently was no angel, I’m sure that Darren Wilson is no angel, either, and so to see black Americans portray Brown as what he apparently wasn’t (an innocent angel) and to see white Americans portray Wilson as what he probably isn’t (a “hero” who was just doing his job and protecting himself from a dangerous thug) has been disappointing, to put it mildly, because this is much more about sticking up for one’s own race than it is about any respect for the truth.

Indeed, the Ferguson case has been turned into a race war, in which Brown has been the proxy for black Americans and Wilson the proxy for white Americans – to the point that the grand jury’s decision, to many if not most Americans, apparently was supposed to go far, far beyond the very specific events surrounding Wilson’s shooting of Brown on August 9 in Ferguson, and was supposed to be a decision, a judgment, on whether or not American cops (most of them white) on the whole treat black American males unjustly, or even, more broadly, on whether or not the United States still has problems with racism.

That’s an understandable misunderstanding, I suppose, but it is a huge misunderstanding of the purpose of the grand jury nonetheless.

There was or there was not enough evidence to show that Wilson, in his capacity as a law enforcement officer, probably illegally shot Brown. (If the laws governing this question are fucked, that’s something else, and if the laws are fucked [and they are], then we need to change the laws.) That, however, was what the grand jury was to have decided: whether or not Wilson probably violated the letter of the law. That was the only job of the grand jury, and it was a narrow job.

And neither you nor I was there when Wilson shot Brown, which is another reason that I’ve yet to write about Ferguson until now: Most of us have an opinion on an event that we didn’t even witness, and for which we have only significantly different claims from different parties as to what did (and did not) transpire. Lacking that specific information, we fill the vacuum with our own opinions and prejudices and our biases that stem primarily from our own racial-group identity. Which is a sort of mob mentality.

Speaking of which, lobbing rocks and bricks and bottles and Molotov cocktails and smashing store-front windows and setting cars and buildings ablaze, while perhaps loads of fun for the participants, doesn’t do anything, that I can tell, to even begin to change the entrenched socioeconomic ills that plague the nation, the socioeconomic ills that are behind Michael Brown’s death.

I’m not staunchly against the use of violence as a political tactic – the plutocrats, our overlords, certainly never rule out the use of violence against us commoners, so we commoners never should rule out the use of violence against our plutocratic overlords, either – but violence, if used, should be strategic and it should get results. I don’t see that vandalizing store fronts and blocking roads and even setting businesses and other buildings and cars, including cop cars, ablaze do anything to even begin to change our corrupt system.

While the sources of the rage that induce individuals to take it to the streets are entirely understandable – those sources include institutionalized racism, ridiculous socioeconomic inequality from an economic system (capitalism) that is all about screwing others over for one’s own selfish gain, and the police state that we live under that protects and preserves this ridiculous socioeconomic inequality and institutionalized racism – again, I don’t see that the tactics that most of the enraged use on the streets actually are effective in bringing about real change.

Our fascistic, plutocratic overlords don’t exactly quake in their jackboots at the specter of small businesses having their front windows smashed out, and of course if a police car is torched, it is we, the taxpayers (which doesn’t include the tax-evading plutocrats), who will pay to replace that police car, of course. What do the plutocrats lose in these cases?

The plutocrats are perfectly willing to sacrifice a small, token amount in periodic property damage in order to perpetuate their ongoing socioeconomic rape, pillage and plunder of the masses and of the planet itself. (And it goes without saying, of course, that our plutocratic overlords are entirely untroubled by the periodic shootings of black men by white cops. After all, thus far the responses to these shootings, while they gain plenty of media coverage, haven’t threatened in any serious way the plutocrats’ iron grip on wealth and power.)

Finally, we Americans need to recognize that it wasn’t only Darren Wilson who killed Michael Brown. Almost all of us killed Michael Brown. (Ditto for Trayvon Martin, as I have stated, and for many others.) Because we have continued to allow the inexcusable bullshit to continue, and as long as we continue to do so, as long as we continue to refuse to dive more deeply than the surface (such as by looking primarily or even solely at race and not nearly enough at class, and by failing to effectively hold accountable the plutocratic puppet masters who always are hiding behind the scenes and thus always get away scot-free), and as long as we continue to refuse to do the long, hard, sustained work of making – of forcing, if necessary – significant systemic changes (yes, including up to true revolution [“reform” always leaves the power structure intact, doesn’t it?]), there will be plenty of more Michael Browns and Darren Wilsons.

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