09/25/2013 by syrbal-labrys
There have been entirely too many stories in recent years about police using tasers, guns, nightsticks…and yes, now, a police car on citizens. Tasers are considered “non-lethal” and yet a good many people die under police tasers...especially if the taser is used more than once. Furthermore, the police often justify their excessive use of force by claiming they had to protect themselves….from entire families, at times.
What is going on here? I admit, I never used to fear the police; I’m a white woman in the Western US with no criminal record. But once the WTO debacle in Seattle showed me cops pepper spraying women merely sitting in cars? I stopped going to Seattle. My first reaction when seeing a police car now IS fear.
We have a younger friend who had a life-goal to BE a police officer in Seattle. She finally did it, and made it through the academy training. She didn’t last a year on the streets. She told the Minotaur husband that she couldn’t take the daily briefings. They were constantly warned not to come to work already in uniform, for instance. They were told they were in DANGER from the citizens when dressed as police officers. So, IF the cops themselves are told fairly often that the citizens they allegedly protect and serve are the danger, the enemy, so to speak….how can ANY police officer cope with that level of fear-flogging? This isn’t Afghanistan, where Afghani cops are murdered and blown up by suicide bombers every week. SO WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF, YOU DEFINITELY HAVE THE UPPER HAND!
And American cop-shops, since 9-11, have been increasingly militarized. And SWAT teams are not just sent to dire situations with bank robbers or holed-up murderers; they show up when an old man is trying to not be evicted from his own home by his own daughter. And they killed him. Now, seriously, was that the only and best way to handle that situation? Are all these guys bristling with military grade weaponry and armor REALLY trained to handle that much fire-power and deadly force? Or are they just indoctrinated that the citizenry itself is deadly scary and has to be taken down?
I hear an awful lot of talk in America about “evil” and the Religious Wingdings going on and on and on about our need for punishment. Me? I think FEAR and IGNORANCE are the big enemies, and if there was ever anything deserving the title of “original sin” (tho’ it is neither original nor sin) it has to be apathy.
Are you asking your city/county council why the hell they think the local cops need to look like they are policing the borders of Israel? Are you asking why they seem so much more casual about tasering, beating, shooting/running over people of color?
There is more and more rhetoric about the “system” not working. And a lot of idiots screaming for “less government” when what they actually are demanding means MORE government interference, not less. A real discussion needs to be had when the police in charge of protecting the citizenry is, to all appearances, so afraid of the people that they react with such inordinate amounts of force even when all that person is doing is running in terror. Giving the cops more weaponry instead of more training and courage seems a recipe for disaster.
And me? Yes, we have a neighbor who is “not quite right”, as they say. He often frightens me with his mad behavior and endangers any creature…four OR two legged…on the roads when he roars out of his driveway in a fury going 50 in the 35 mph zone. I worry for the safety of his mother when violent verbal altercations break out next door. But I am afraid, also, to call the cops to report him. Because I am afraid they would KILL this poor, damaged young man. Because it really seems that deadly force has become far too common as a first choice for the police.