I went to my hometown for a Black Lives Matter demonstration yesterday. However, I was given a bogus location. Even before then I couldn't confirm a time or place on social media, and I heard about the location through a second hand and unreliable source.
So, after driving around looking for the demonstration I wanted, I went to go grocery shopping. No demonstration there, just people coming and going. On my way back home though, I passed by a lake on the highway and saw three teenagers on the side with signs and demonstrating. One I could see clearly from the road was "Smash Racism."
I wasn't able to stop or return, having perishables in the car and a bunch of groceries for my mother. However, I was very impressed with the three teens I saw. One male, two female, and white. It's not our place to take over the conversation of racism, but I was pleased to see three young people who used their privilege to add their voices to the cause of equality and compassion.
On the Spot...
I realize that by telling you reader, that I missed the demonstration I said I would go to is something that might make me appear disingenuine to contributing to helpful change. However, if I were the kind of person who would fabricate a story saying "sure I was there" and creating a fiction of having partaken, I wouldn't be any better than the opposition. I ask for forgiveness, and I will move on.
On recent developments on social media, I have seen that "habeas corpus" has been suspended in New York City. This grants officers an unprecedented freedom to arrest and detain without the due process. To do so reveals that even the New York police don't even follow their own rules when a crisis hits. To abandon such a doctrine is to have already lost the moral high ground, on top of everything else they have done to make this problem worse.
Defunding the police is also something I have seen as a course of this movement. And I agree with that sentiment, because I know of some of the expensive toys that the police are given that can and are abused in typical use. Some of the horror stories I have heard of have been used in a prison.
One device was a taser shield. I worked with someone who had worked in a prison, and had to be certified to use this device. Exactly as its name suggests, it is a shield that one normally uses for mass uprising in a prison population, and has the electric shock needed to incapacitate someone. My coworker as he was being certified was subjected to the normal use of the shield, so he was shocked and immediately incapacitated on the ground. However, the training officer didn't stop there, he kneeled down and held the shield on him for a little while. Much more than was called for.
Another device, is a grenade that explodes rubber balls. Sort of like the rubber bullets being used now, but it is meant to be used in a wide open space. The same coworker told me about rounds he was making with another officer. The other officer, turns to the guy I got this story from and goes "watch this." He then takes one of the grenades and throws it into the cell of an unsuspecting inmate and shuts the door. The inmate had to be hospitalized.
The thing I am trying to get across is the kind of people we are facing. People who are sworn to uphold the law, who are suspending the law in a moment of convenience. People who use their weapons as playthings against each other for amusement. People with no regard for innocents. It's literal madness.
I know people would say things like, "Oh it's probably just that one officer." Or, "you can't judge from a few bad apples." Regardless of the simple arguments that can counter both of those statements like "if you thrown a rotten apple into a barrel the whole barrel is rotten in time." I'm going to give you another reason to take me seriously. It may have just been one officer, but that's the one you know about. How can you be sure that the next one you don't know about isn't in front of you now?
People love to use the argument that "looting isn't protesting," but my favorite counter is "murder isn't policing."
As scary as all of this sounds, it's an absolute horror to conceive of for people of color. The burden of law enforcement is supposed to be that they are to be held at a higher standard of conduct than an ordinary citizen, because even though ignorance of the law is no excuse, a police officer cannot claim ignorance of the law because they are responsible for learning it and enforcing it.
Defunding the police is about doing away with a budget that is disproportionate to arming police with these vindictive weapons, and investing it into the communities that are less fortunate. Helping one another, instead of running the police like a business.
It is a well known fact that prisons run by private corporations are a "for profit" business. And that there are lobbyists of these corporations that are making hefty donations to politicians who are in a position to keep major punishments for small offenses on the books. Police are a part of that industry, whether they know it or not, even in the best of times. We have to rebuild the system of policing and of making laws from the ground up so that they don't discriminate against people of color.