Charles Kinsey > You

Aside

I am absolutely NOT here for the usual Status Quo Warriors, police brutality apologists and general Part-of-the-Problem folks coming in to say that unlike all those OTHER thugs who clearly deserved to get shot, Charles Kinsey is a REAL victim of ACTUAL police brutality.

It’s true that it’s basically impossible to design a better example of a person who didn’t deserve to get shot, but Mr. Kinsey is better than your white supremacist exceptionalism.

Oh, and also: “Sir, why did you shoot me?” “I don’t know.”

 

“But why didn’t she just—?” NOPE

Regarding the police assault on the girl at Spring Valley High:

As someone who remembers being a high school kid at one time, who remembers seeing how some of her teachers treated some of her classmates, and who was a teacher to high school kids at another time, I assure you that if a girl who looked like 16-year-old me had been acting the way that girl was acting, there is no fucking way that police officer would have been summoned to that room, and no way would it have occurred to anyone to slam her to the ground. NOOOOOOPE. Nope nope holy fuck all the nope I can’t even.

#BlackLivesMatter more than white folks’ fear of not being the center of attention.

Ah, this. Look at this. Why does anyone think this shit is okay? This ridiculous nonsense happened in Ottawa:

According to Colorlines.com, a #BlackLivesMatter mural was created by the rights group BlakCollectiv for TechWall, an area designated for graffiti and street art. It was completed by a group of 40 people including artists Allan André and Kalkidan Assefa on the morning of July 22.

The fact that the TechWall mural read #BlackLivesMatter reportedly angered white graffiti artists, who converged on the area and within hours had defaced the mural. By the end of the day, it had been completely painted over and replaced by the phrase “Wu-Tang is for the children,” a reference to 90s hip-hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan.

In response, André and Assefa painted the Sandra Bland mural, which was defaced on Monday night.

They defaced the Sandra Bland mural with the words “All Lives Matter.”

See my photo up top? See that woman pictured on this blog? I’m white. I’m unambiguously, glow-in-the-dark, WASP-bred paleness. If you look directly at my bare legs on a sunny day, you might suffer retinal damage. I am a Pumpkin Spice Latte topped with kale-infused quinoa foam. I once typed out a status having to do with walking out to Union Station because I was feeling adventurous after Sunday brunch, and I ACTUALLY POSTED THAT SHIT ON FACEBOOK. Okay? Just in case anyone’s wondering what from what angle I’m approaching the discourse on race.

And I KNOW my life matters. I know it because nobody in a position of any power ever manages to do anything to imply that I need to audition for the right not to be killed. You say we all bleed red when we’re cut, but nobody in the #BlackLivesMatter movement is disputing that! Of course we all bleed red! But whose blood is running in the streets? We’re seeing entirely too much blood spilled from black bodies for no good reason. That’s why the motto is #BlackLivesMatter. “All lives” are not being cut down at comparable rates. Whining about “all lives” makes about as much sense as asking why no one ever remarks about the fact that we’re breathing air.

“Protect and Serve” means do better than this.

All lawyers are expected to do their jobs, no matter how obnoxious their clients may be, and it seems that the lawyer for Officer Eric Casebolt, aka that one in McKinney, TX, who is now famous for pinning a bikini-clad 14-year-old to the ground, has basically given up on saying anything interesting. Amanda Marcotte at RawStory gives us this word salad:

“The video that everyone has seen only depicts a small part of Eric’s actions that day,” Bishkin said, noting that Casebolt had responded to two suicide calls earlier Friday that took “an emotional toll” on the 10-year veteran of the force.

“With all that happened that day, he allowed his emotions to get the better of him,” Bishkin said. “Eric regrets that his conduct portrayed him and his department in a negative light. He never intended to mistreat anyone, but was only reacting to a situation and the challenges it presented.

Oh, dear oh dear oh dear. “Eric regrets that his conduct protrayed him and his department in a negative light”? Not that he’s sorry about assaulting that child, or that the call was bullshit in the first place, but he’s sorry about how it makes him and the department look.

Fine, I’ll assume that Officer Casebolt cannot say anything to the effect of, “I’m sorry about how I handled that girl, and I hope she’s okay” without fucking up his case. The content of his lawyer’s excuse of the day is that he had just handled two suicide calls and the stress was making him do things he shouldn’t have.

We hear this a lot, when we discuss police brutality. We’re told that policing is a really stressful job, so we need to be understanding with police officers, and withhold punishment when they fuck up.

I get it. I really do. I have no doubt that policing IS a very stressful, emotionally exhausting job. I have no interest in being a police officer! I don’t envy them.

Here’s the thing, though: there are a lot of stressful, tiring, emotionally taxing jobs that need to be done. For most of those jobs, we expect the people doing them to be able to handle their stress in a way that doesn’t endanger the people who depend on them to do their jobs appropriately. In other words, we expect people to be better than the rest of us before they take those stressful jobs. Policing should be no different. We need our police to be better than this at handling the stress of their work. If they’re not better, they should find other ways to make a living. Ways that don’t include a license to perpetrate violent acts on the bodies of unarmed children.

If police are the only ones we’re expected to forgive, repeatedly, for taking out their emotional exhaustion on the bodies of regular people like defenseless bikini-clad 14-year-old girls, why is that? Is there something about policing that attracts more than its fair share of shitty personalities? Almost like the schoolyard bullies grew up and needed to make a living.

Now, think of how stressful it is to live in fear of the people who are supposedly here to “protect and serve” us. How exhausting it is to associate the blue uniform with the threat of being killed for no good reason.

Dr. Carson is Not Even Wrong.

This could’ve gone a lot worse.

(Note: I felt the same way about watching Tiny Furniture.)

Someone invited Dr. Ben Carson, the brain surgeon who dazzles with his wrongness, to talk about the Ferguson demonstrations and Mike Brown’s death. What he had to say was simply more Status Quo Enforcement, which is what they wanted from him in the first place:

“Certainly in a lot of our inner cities, in particular the black inner cities, where 73 percent of the young people are born out of wedlock, the majority of them have no father figure in their life. Usually the father figure is where you learn how to respond to authority. So now you become a teenager, you’re out there, you really have no idea how to respond to authority, you eventually run into the police or you run into somebody else in the neighborhood who also doesn’t know how to respond but is badder than you are, and you get killed or you end up in the penal system,” Carson said.

“If the so-called leaders were really interested in the community, they would be trying to deal with that problem, because that’s happening every single day,” he added.

It’s actually not Dr. Carson who dragged feminism into this discussion. That was the radio host, Lauren Kitchen Stewards, who decided to blame the women’s movement of the 60s for kids these days being so selfish. She’s conflating a lot of social changes that probably ought not to be conflated, but ultimately, both of them are pointing to a lack of youthful deference to authority as the real problem, rather than abuse of power by police forces. The idea doesn’t occur to them that perhaps they should be asking what’s wrong with the Darren Wilsons of the world before they get started on the Mike Browns.

Marijuana is the new “slut.”

I just made up that analogy on the spot.

Latest news from Ferguson, MO is that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system at the time of death.

So my response is: Yeah, okay? If someone shot me in the coming week, my blood chemistry might show evidence of recent alcohol consumption. And?

Cannabis is not the type of substance that makes you behave in such a way that the people around you might fear for their lives. From what I hear about the effects of cannabis, it actually does just the opposite.

Renisha McBride had alcohol in her system at the time of her death. That explains how she wrecked her car, which explains why she was asking for help, but it does not explain why Ted Wafer decided to shoot her.

Michael Brown smoked weed at some point in the last 40 days before Darren Wilson shot him. That gives us nothing about the reasons why he had to die.

It reminds me of the range of reasons that many people have for labeling certain women and girls “sluts” after their rapes enter the news cycle. The word “slut” no longer says anything about their decision-making prior to victimization. They’re sluts because other people decided to do them harm. So it is with Michael Brown’s blood chemistry. He didn’t die because he was a cannabis user, he died because Officer Wilson shot him repeatedly.

Another for the “people suck” files.

Oh, please tell me you’re joking, Pittsburg plainclothes cops.

18-year-old arrested, beaten for being black after dark “resisting arrest.”

They say he was “standing against the building as though trying to be avoid being seen.” Is trying to avoid drawing attention to yourself a crime now? With the way cops are known to treat young black guys, trying to be inconspicuous was probably the most sensible way for Jordan Miles to handle himself. Now even that will get your ass beaten down? Shit. Great way to contribute to race relations, officers!

(I snatched the link from Ta-Nehisi Coates.)