The Republican National Convention is happening in Cleveland this year. As part of the standard convention process of turning the city into a dystopian prison state, the head of the Cleveland Police Union wants open carry banned. The best part is how blatant his he about not caring whether or not such a ban is even legal:
“We are sending a letter to Gov. Kasich requesting assistance from him. He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something — I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point,” Cleveland Police Union president Stephen Loomis told CNN.
Law enforcers are supposedly tasked with upholding the law. If Governor Kasich were to issue an unconstitutional, that is to say illegal, executive order then the police, if they were actually interested in upholding the law, should arrest his. But we have the president of the Cleveland Police Union stating in no uncertain terms that he’s okay with the governor breaking the law. Once again we see that laws only apply to us little people, not to the State.
This week we’re listening to a band that I would describe as a synthesis of power and folk metal.
A lot of boot lickers have called Castile’s girlfriend’s claim that he had a carry permit into question. If he did have a carry permit that necessarily means he had no felonies, history of domestic abuse, or any notable history of violence. Since those are the go-to excuses boot lickers usually use to justify what appears to be an egregious use of lethal force by police, the fact he had a carry permit really threw a wrench into their mechanisms.
Earlier this week the Star Tribune said it had confirmed that Philando Castile had a carry permit. The boot lickers called this claim into question as well because the source was anonymous (due to the privacy laws surrounding permit holder data in Minnesota anybody with access to the data who shares it can get into trouble). However, the family of Castile has released a copy of the letter sent by the Hennepin County Sheriffs Office when they issued Castile his permit.
I think we can put the issue of whether or not Castile had a carry permit to bed now.
In computer science the term garbage in, garbage out is used frequently to note that if you have garbage data as an input you will get garbage data as an output. This is applicable in any research. A new study has been released that claims there is no racial bias in polices’ use of lethal force in the United States. Quite a few people have jumped on this because it supports their bias that there isn’t a problem with policing in this country. However, Radley Balko points out a serious flaw in the study. It uses reports written by police officers:
For the purpose of the discussion, let’s break shootings and killings by police into three categories: incidents that were illegal and unnecessary, incidents that were legal and necessary, and incidents that were legal but unnecessary. If you’re asking whether current laws and policies allow for too many police shootings, looking at how many shootings are justified under current law and policy is just question begging. It’s that last category — legal but unnecessary — that we want to explore. Unfortunately, it’s also a category that is plagued by subjectivity and the simple fact noted above: Most of the data we have comes from police reports themselves.
If we were to compile statistics on, say, medical mistakes in an effort to make policies that would improve the state of medicine, we wouldn’t get all of our data from written statements by the accused doctors or hospitals. If we wanted to compile data on conflicts of interest in politics, we wouldn’t rely on members of politicians to self-report and adjudicate when their vote may have been influenced by a campaign donation. But this is essentially what we do with shootings by police officers.
The study is simply an extension of the phrase, we investigated ourselves and found that we did nothing wrong. Studying police use of force in the United States is difficult because most of the data is created by the police themselves. There is very little third-party oversight and what little exists is usually tied to the law enforcement community in some manner.
I’m sure Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who killed Philandro Castile, wrote a report that exonerated him of wrongdoing. This isn’t just because he wants to avoid punishment but also because he probably wants to justify his actions to himself. We humans are great at twisting logic to justify our actions to ourselves. Thieves will tell themselves that since the person they were stealing from was wealthy no real harm occurred to him and therefore the theft was justified. Domestic abusers will tell themselves that they have to hit their partner in order to teach them important lessons. Police, likewise, will tell themselves that lethal force was necessary to preserve their lives. We cannot rely on the reports thieves, domestic abusers, and police write about their own actions because they are necessarily biased. So long as rely on such data as our input we’re going to get garbage as our output.
For being a super power the United States certainly doesn’t put much effort into its monuments. The Washington monument, for example, is just a giant phallus. The Lincoln Memorial is a bit neater since it does have a giant statue of a man on a chair. Mount Rushmore may be one of our most impressive monuments but it’s still just the faces of four dudes carved into stone. Other superpowers put a bit more effort into living up to the title. China, for example, just showed us who’s boss by building a gigantic 1,350-ton statue of a war god:
The statue has just been unveiled in Guan Yu Park in Jingzhou, China. It’s 58 metres (190ft) tall and weighs over 1,320 tonnes, and it contains over 4,000 strips of bronze. It was designed by Han Meilin, who is probably best known for his designs of the 2008 Beijing Olympics mascots, and the monument is so big that there’s even an 8,000sqm museum inside it! Guan Yu lived during China’s turbulent Three Kingdoms period. He carried an axe-like weapon called a Green Dragon Crescent Blade, which has been immortalised with him as part of the statue. The only difference is that the weapon now weighs 136 tonnes!
It truly puts everything the American Empire has built to shame. Not only is it huge but it also looks awesome:
Online harassment is pervasive. Death threats on the Internet are a dime a dozen and if you’re a woman there’s a good chance punk kids are going to subject you to a constant stream of variations on “Show me your tits,” followed by accusations that you’re a whore and should be killed. Anybody who has played online games has probably lost track of how many times pissed off children have claimed to have slept with their mother and challenged them to a fight in real life.
I’ve received enough threats online that I could paper my living room walls if I printed them all off but I mostly ignore them because I don’t really care. However, if you do feel the threats are credible and report them to the police you’ll likely receive little more than a shrug and a claim that there’s nothing the department can do. Things are a bit different when the harassment is aimed at police officers though:
Five police officers were killed in the Dallas shootings, constituting the highest number of police casualties in an attack since September 11. And as a result, law enforcement officials everywhere are suddenly much more sensitive to threats against their lives.
But one result has been that several police departments across the country have arrested individuals for posts on social media accounts, often from citizen tips — raising concerns among free speech advocates.
The police are like you and me, only better.
Another issue here, as pointed out by The Intercept, is free speech. A lot of people will argue that since many of the posts in question were threatening in nature that free speech doesn’t apply. But statements such as “I have no problem shooting a cop for simple traffic stop cuz they’d have no problem doing it to me,” aren’t threats in my opinion because the person is stating an opinion, not a course of action that they’re planning to pursue. If the statement had been “I will shoot any cop for pulling me over,” then it could been seen differently as the statement is expressing a potential planned course of action (of course it could also been seen as a statement expressing a willingness to defend one’s self). But then questions of means must be answered because a threat is meaningless if the person making it doesn’t have the means to go through with it.
Regardless of your opinions on threats in regards to freedom of speech, there is no question that the police are treating people who threaten them online different than people who threaten regular Janes and Joes. It’s no different than a politician who argues regular people shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun but then carries a gun themselves or hires armed body guards to protect them.
The Minneapolis Police Department is well known for its high speed, low drag attitude. Instead of deescalation and conflict avoidance the MPD prefers throwing down with anybody it can create an excuse to throw down with. In fact the department is so cocksure that it didn’t even try to hide its love of violence in its recent recruiting video. However, many people weren’t amused by the video so the MPD was a bit red in the fact and decided to abuse the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in an attempt to erase the video from the Internet:
Less than a week after an officer from a nearby force shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop, leaving him to die in front of his child and girlfriend (and the world on livestream) the Minneapolis Police Department has perjured itself in issuing a copyright takedown notice to Youtube in order to suppress a controversial recruiting video that depicted the jobs of MPD officers as being a firearms-heavy shoot-em-up.
The video had attracted alarm and criticism by officials and the public, who saw it as indicative of a deep culture of violent, shoot-first policing in the Minneapolis police.
When you start repeating a lie often enough you also start to believe it. The MPD believes that their job is to be domestic soldiers. Who are they at war with? The people. At least that’s the only enemy that exists in Minneapolis because the city isn’t really known for being in a state of civil war. That leads the department to choose violence before deescalation. At this point the attitude is so prevalent that the department’s recruiters can’t even make their recruitment videos looks like anything other than an Army recruitment video. When their videos are finally criticized by the public the MPD resorts to its default tactic, government violence, by threatening anybody hosting the video with a DMCA takedown notice.
A lot of venues recognize the importance of having onsite security personnel. Unfortunately, many of those venues mistakenly hire off-duty police officers instead of professional private security agents. If you work for a venue that does this be warned that the agents you hired may walk off because they saw somebody wearing a t-shirt that offended their sensitive little feelings:
Four off-duty Minneapolis police officers working the Minnesota Lynx game at Target Center on Saturday night walked off the job after the players held a news conference denouncing racial profiling, then wore Black Lives Matter pregame warm-up jerseys.
Lynx players did not wear T-shirts supporting the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of Tuesday’s game in San Antonio.
“The Lynx organization was made aware about the concerns of the off duty Minneapolis police officers,” the team said in a statement. “While our players message mourned the loss of life due to last week’s shootings, we respect the right of those individual officers to express their own beliefs in their own way. … We continue to urge a constructive discussion about the issues raised by these tragedies.
What a bunch of cry babies. Were I in charge of their police department I’d fire those officers as they’ve proven themselves to be unreliable and too emotionally sensitive to perform police work.
Let this be a lesson to everybody though. When you need security for your venue hire professionals. There are a lot of quality private security firms out there that won’t leave you high and dry just because your employees do something that disagrees with their beliefs.
I’m a firm believer that respect is earned, not given. But I’m also not a statist. In the mind of a statist respect is owed to anybody in a position of authority, no matter how ridiculous the authority is. With the police’s war on the people being waged across the country a bunch of statists have gone into victim blaming mode. Rudolph Giuliani, the former warden of New York City, made sure to take time out of his day to blame black people for not being good enough slaves:
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani thinks black Americans need to worry less about police violence and more about teaching their children to respect police and fear other black people.
In light of the killings of five police officers in Dallas last week, Giuliani went off on the Black Lives Matter movement, in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. He called the slogan “inherently racist” and “anti-American,” while neglecting statistics that show black people are disproportionately targeted by police.
“There’s too much violence in the black community,” he said. “[I]f you want to deal with this on the black side, you’ve got to teach your children to be respectful to the police and you’ve got to teach your children that the real danger to them is not the police; the real danger to them, 99 out of 100 times, 9,900 out of 1,000 times, are other black kids who are gonna kill them. That’s the way they’re gonna die.”
Why should anybody respect the police? They spend most of their time enforcing victimless laws such as drug use, driving faster than arbitrarily selected speeds, parking in the wrong place or for the wrong amount of time, and other such nonsense that their department usually get a nice payout for. Meanwhile, if you call the police because somebody has broken into your home and is trying to murder you you might be left waiting for hours, if the police dispatch anybody at all. If a burglar breaks into your home and steals your valuable the only purpose the police generally serve is giving you a report that you can give to your insurance company.
In other words, the police aren’t working to earn our respect so why should people be expected to respect them? If Giuliani actually cared about reducing the number of deaths of black children, or anybody else for that matter, he would be demanding an end to the drug war, which is probably the single largest contributor to police militarization in this nation. After ending the drug war he could move to advocate for the repeal of all victimless crimes so that the police were focused on something other than revenue generation. But he doesn’t give a shit. He’s just upset because he can’t own a few black people to perform manual labor for him anymore.
I’ve been focusing a lot on the law enforcers as of late but I think it’s important to also take a look at the people who create the laws. Specifically, what incentives they put forward for enforcing different laws.
What does a law enforcement department receive when they solve a murder, robbery, or rape? Perhaps some respect from the community and the gratitude of the victims.
What does a law enforcement department receive when they go after a suspected drug user or seller? A percentage of the proceeds from the property taken under civil forfeiture.
What does a law enforcement department receive when they write a traffic citation? Here in Minnesota, as I’m sure is true with most other states, a percentage goes to the cities, which usually give that money back to their law enforcement department.
The law enforcers are focusing on the crimes that the politicians have incentivized them to focus on. The fact that the politicians are incentivizing crimes such as drug manufacturing, selling, and use over murder, robbery, and rape should be damning.