Retrospective, Damn

Well it has been another year, we have all gotten through it despite the idiocy of the nation and constant upheaval to our peace. I wanted to wait before I said anything, before I looked backwards or forwards, you know dip my toes in the waters of 2016 before washing away 2015. So now I have waited, based on the first two weeks of the new year, well it doesn’t seem it will get better. Here is my quick look and thoughts on what was and what will be.

Politics, Damn

It does not seem that we are in for a civil debate leading up to the election of a new POTUS to bring our nation together. Indeed not, instead no matter who the two leading parties nominate I think we can look forward to a nasty year of sniping, pettiness and below the belt ugliness. Never mind, the world and the nation are burning like Rome and our political discourse has descended into the outhouse. An interesting view of all the current candidates was provided by the New York Times.

The GOP has brought to the table their ‘Best and Brightest’, if this is the truth we are in terrible trouble. This is what left swimming in their pool, it is a terrible thing the American people have done raising up the Id of the GOP to become the nominee for their party. I foresee a split in the ‘Grand Old Party’ coming soon. Truly, the sane ones (yes, there are still a few) remaining within the GOP are beginning to speak out, against the insanity that is Trump and Cruz, never mind the rest who are simply sideshows at this point.

The ratings are from the Conservative Review

The ratings are from the Conservative Review

The Democrats are not offering much better though, don’t hate. Where is the young blood we need for new ideas? What do we have leading the charge, a woman with questionable ethics who considers herself having the ‘right’ to be POTUS, that she is ‘inevitable’. A man who has some great ideas that are not sustainable and who frankly is 74 years old, yes I know ageism on my part but I think we need to consider the consequences of the office of President when we vote, the health and age of our nominee’s is an issue. I couldn’t find a similar map and rating for the two viable Democrats, but go here to Inside Gov, you can play beat the contender to your hearts content.

Democrats

Violence, Guns and Damn

We can’t look back without considering the violence, our addiction to it as a nation. Start with police violence, last year there were twelve hundred and two (1,202) American citizens killed by police. Do any of us wonder what is wrong with this? I certainly do. When do we start to demand a change in the behavior of those who are hired and paid by us to protect and serve us? At what point do we start to question the legitimacy of ‘internal’ investigations into police involved shootings? When do we demand all police involved shootings, especially those that end in the death of a citizen be reported to the FBI, just like all other murders; today the only way we know is private organizations such as Killed by Police who do painstaking data collection.

We had some terrible and tragic examples of what wholesale availability of guns, combined with ideological hate can do. Despite our blood soaked streets and churches, we continue the battle with little success to close the loopholes. We are a nation that loves our guns, loves our ‘right’ to own them, shoot them, carry them openly (unless you aren’t Caucasian). We are a nation that will make excuses for every Son-of-a-Bitch that shoots up a neighborhood, a theater, a church taking innocent lives in the process; well that is so long as the shooter is Caucasian. The Gun Violence Archives provide the clearest view of just how bad it is out there.

The President took action, too little too late in my humble opinion. The problem with Executive Actions? The next POTUS can, with the flourish of a pen undo each and every one.

Weather, Damn

We took it hard last year, or should I say Gaia put it to us. Between Earthquakes, Volcanos, Tornados and just plain old weather to kill we got hit hard across the world. Yet still there are those who would deny there is something wrong, something changing that perhaps we should be listening to what the earth and Climate Scientist are telling us.

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Refugee Migration, Damn

The politicians would have us believe there is one answer, most of us with even a single brain cell know there is more to it. We are a polyglot nation, it has always been our strength yet it has also been a source of struggle as new immigrant communities attempt to integrate. Now we have refugees from nations we broke, who are not like us and who we have painted as the enemy. The thousand year old war between Christianity and Islam continues, this shit isn’t new we just have better and more destructive weapons.

Can we deny we disrupted the peace? Can we deny we created much of the problem with our ‘Nation Building’, our ‘Manifest Destiny’ attitudes and our belief we have the ‘right’ to stomp into any nation and do as we wish. Now, we have created a problem for the world. On the other hand, shouldn’t we be asking the question; ‘Why are so many young men coming, without women and children?’ I think about this one, let the women, the children, the aged come let’s get them out of harm’s way but let their men fight for their independence and their safety. Is this harsh? Maybe it is, but in all honesty I don’t want our young men and women fighting for a nation or a people that will not fight for themselves.

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Some Things That Didn’t Suck

The Stars and Bars came down over the State House of South Carolina, finally. This was a hard fought battle but it happened and it was in my opinion epic.

Marriage was made legal nationally, the Supreme Court ruled that all people could legally marry and have their marriages recognized. It was another hard fought battle, it was an epic win and many of my friends rushed to make their long standing partnerships ‘legal’.

This year saw the proliferation of transparency, technology in the hands of everyday citizens is adding to our discourse. We are using the tools we have for more than selfies and pictures of breakfast, instead stopping to film what might be critical to stopping racism, police violence and other acts that have always been part of society, but never part of our dialog.

Closing, Damn

There are other notable things, good and bad. I simply picked a few. I could go on and on and on. Do I think 2016 will be significantly better? Truthfully? No, I think we are scraping the bottom of the barrel right now, I think Presidential politics will see us with the tragic and terrible before November. I think the inbred idiots in Oregon with their guns and chest beating are the tip of the iceberg. I think those who hate government but desire to be part of it are the problem and we, the people get the government we deserve.

 

Sheets of Blood Streets of Pain

OpEdI have two sons and two grandsons; I am safe in knowing they will under all but the very worst circumstances be safe on the streets of most cities. Why and how do I know this? My sons and grandsons are White, they are Caucasian and they aren’t mentally ill, they are not in the targeted group commonly at risk when walking down the sidewalk in any city or town. For that matter, they are not at risk in their own homes except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

Other mothers, mothers of Black sons and Brown sons cannot say the same thing. Mothers of Black and Brown sons and even of Black and Brown daughters must caution their children to be wary on the streets of their neighborhoods. They must caution their children to be afraid of the police. They must be afraid each time their children go out to play, go to the store even go to school; they must be afraid their child may not return. Other mothers, an estimated five hundred (500) a year bury their children due to police violence; violence that is rarely prosecuted, frequently ignored by the press and all too often excused as ‘justified’.

2012 Compare

Racism is not dead in this nation. Shame on any of us for trying to bury the inherent and blatant racism of the United States and its people, it has always been part of our makeup and it has come roaring back in its full and awful glory in the past decade, especially since the election of our current President. It did not start in 2007 with his win over John McCain though, it started emerging as accepted political and social fodder long before this, the best example is New York City and the Stop and Frisk policy initiated under Rudy Giuliani and escalated under Michael Bloomberg.

StopNFrisk

It seems instead of moving forward toward more acceptance of diversity within society we are reverting to our inglorious past of injustice, lynch mob mentality and criminalization based on melanoma content.

What is good for one is surely not good for another; we have examples of this across the nation. In Florida, Trayvon Martin was shot down by vigilante George Zimmerman; he lay on the cold ground out in the rain and then in the morgue for hours before his family was notified their child was dead. In a travesty of justice where Trayvon was put on trial, where Trayvon was depicted as a ‘thug’ and a ‘banger’, where Trayvon’s humanity and his right to exist were called into question, his killer was exonerated for his murder. This because he, this grown man, was ‘standing his ground’. In Florida, this very same state a Black woman in fear for her life, shot a warning shot at the ceiling as her abusive husband advanced toward her, now Marissa Alexander faces the possibility of sixty (60) years in prison. Her life, her motherhood, her fear is not as palatable to the judge or the district attorney, Angela Corey, as that of George Zimmerman.  Clearly, the life of Marissa Alexander, a Black woman is not of the same value as that of George Zimmerman or Angela Corey wouldn’t be so hell bent on pursuing her with such vehement hatred where she didn’t pursue George Zimmerman with the same vehemence.

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There is clearly a war on, the lives of primarily Black men and mostly those under thirty-five are definitely at risk when out on the street of any US city or town. It doesn’t seem to matter what they are doing, whether coming home from a day at the office, sitting on their porch having a beer with friends, returning from the store or in fact otherwise engaged in legal or illegal activities; the police assume the worst and open fire. All too frequently, the police are shooting first, shooting more times than required and shooting in the back.  Let me just say this, you are not at risk or in danger if a subject is fleeing, that is running away from you. So why in the hell are you shooting to kill if someone is running away from you? Why are some of these men being shot up to ten (10) times, or even more, in the back? How does anyone justify this as a “Justified” shooting? Why are these cops still on the job?

Yesterday eighteen year-old Michael Brown was shot down in the street of Ferguson, Missouri. His body was left where it lay for four hours or more. Now as reports of this ‘sanctioned’ murder come out the police are glossing facts with fiction, making Michael into the aggressor and trying to justify yet another police kill of a young and promising Black child. The police have a very different version of the facts than what witness reports, who do you think will win in this battle? It certainly will not be young Michael Brown; his life is over before it started.

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Just two days earlier, twenty-two year-old John Crawford was gunned down in Walmart for wielding a toy gun. A toy gun you all, in Ohio one of the bastions of Open Carry. I guess Open Carry only applies to those with limited or no melanoma, certainly it didn’t apply to John Crawford who at the time he was gunned down in WalMart had in his hands an unloaded MK-177 BB/Pellet Gun he had picked up off the shelf. According to the mother of his two children, who was at the time of his sanctioned murder on the phone with him and heard everything, the police shot first and ordered him to the ground after he could no longer obey their orders; he had been put down by their bullets. Clearly, John Crawford wasn’t afforded the same legal rights, as others with pale skin would have been. Now a young man is dead and three children will grow up without their father.

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Others like these assclowns in Aurora, Colorado who walked up and down the streets with loaded shotguns trying to ‘sensitize’ civilians to open carry. I am going to guess had these young men been Black or even Hispanic the outcome would have been very different.

This is what I find ugly and horrifying, tragic.

Reasons

What is important to know, there are no official records anywhere; the police are not required by any federal agency to self-report their own bad behavior. They are not required to track or maintain records on brutality, violence or murder. They do not provide this information to any other agency. Though there are some records, they are gathered through many sources and backbreaking legwork. Trying to find any sort of statistics, especially on a national level is nearly impossible since there is no single source. I commend those who have done the work to try to gather the information and provide at least some evidence of vigilante brutality that exists today, not just within the police forces nationally but across our justice system and embedded in our psyche.  The two reports I found that seemed to provide the best I have included here:

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Information Clearing House

I have included others as well, where information on both recent and historical data can be found and is important to read.

Based on the information I found, there is a person of color, primarily a Black Man and primarily a young Black Man murdered in vigilante justice, usually by the police somewhere between every 24 to 28 hours in the United States. We do not hear about most of these killings. The murderers are rarely penalized for their actions. Since 9/11 there have been approximately five thousand (5,000) vigilante murders by on-duty police / security guard and stand your ground murders in the United States. More than 75% of these are against Black people, less than 10% of these are against White people and most White people killed by police are killed after police stand-offs in highly publicized cases.

Something has to change. The motto of ‘Protect and Serve’ is no longer valid, especially not in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods of our cities and towns. The police are militarized and the “War on Drugs” has turned into something far more insidious and damaging to our nation and our people. We must stop turning away and pretending this isn’t genocide, it is. We must stop looking at other nations and speaking out against the genocide there until we begin to clean up what is broken here. This isn’t just bad behavior, it is murder and it is more than killing individuals, it is killing of entire communities and vital lifeblood within them.

We must stop this. Those of us with the will, the heart and the soul to stand up must stand up and say enough. We must stop turning a blind eye to the terrible ugliness within this nation and our people. We must fight back and demand justice for all the dead children, they are our children and our future.

Sign the petition for federal laws to force better policing:http://www.change.org/petitions/president-barack-obama-please-enact-new-federal-laws-to-protect-citizens-from-police-violence-and-misconduct?share_id=oCtNFmJSac&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

 

http://www.nyclu.org/node/1598

http://www.nyclu.org/content/stop-and-frisk-data

http://theobamacrat.com/2014/08/10/are-black-lives-important-in-a-caucasian-world-of-white-privilege/

http://ushypocrisy.com/2014/08/10/ferguson-police-shoot-and-kill-another-unarmed-black-teenager-in-cold-blood-refuse-to-identify-name-of-shooter/

http://www.infowars.com/americans-killed-by-cops-now-outnumber-americans-killed-in-iraq-war/

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