Black Lives Matter. Period.

Sorry I’ve been AFK for so long.  The past four years with President Dumpster Fire, and all the increased loud mouth, fact-denying bullshit that has come with it has been pretty overwhelming for me, and being a clinically anxious person already, sometimes my thoughts are just too chaotic to try to sift through.  But I do want to put this out there.  I do want to be one more person who says that, unequivocally, black lives matter.

It boggles my mind that so many people are more outraged by the occasional riots that can happen at what are arguably mostly peaceful protests, than they are by the violence that is causing people to protest and riot in the first place.  These SAME blithly privileged souls have virtually nothing to say about armed white men storming a capital building and shouting directly in officers’ faces.  When they do speakwspeak, it is with excuses. When two white lawyers stand on their lawn and point weapons at BLM protesters passing peacefully by in the street, the only thing we hear from them are things like “second amendment rights,” and “right to protests,” (both rights they almost never afford their black counterparts.)

 Or we get justifications and excuses that protesters were in a gated community, or on private streets.  I even had one person defend these numbskulls by claiming “they didn’t know their (the protesters)  ‘intentions.'”  Well, shit.  I don’t know the intentions of half the people who walk down my street, but I don’t wave my gun at them.  (And if I feared for my safety, the first thing I’d do is get my ass inside and call the police. )

When POC are involved, the same apologists and defenders of crazy white people usually offer something like, “he should have followed rules.” And “blue lives”  don’t seem to matter as much when angry white men are being categorically disrespectful and aggressive to police.  Let’s be real.  You’re lying to me and yourself if you claim black men could have gotten away with a display such as the one seen in the Michigan capitol.

Now, before anyone gets pissy, let me state, in case it is ambiguous for some, or you are tempted to build a strawman argument,  I am NOT saying Blue Lives don’t matter. But no one is BORN “blue.”  Conversely, black people, especially men, are unfairly profiled and targeted for simply being the color they were born. Citing such tidbits as “more white people are killed by police than black people,” is simply a diversion, a statistic without context*, when you consider two facts;
1) Police are using lethal force in situations where it is not called for, nor necessary.  I don’t give a shit if he stole something, or has outstanding warrants.  That man was not threatening him, he was fleeing, and aside from the fact that bystanders also were in peril, no one deserves to be shot at for shoplifting.  If you think that’s okay, you need Jesus or therapy or something, and you are part of the problem.

2) It is clear to anyone paying attention to multiple news sources (not just Faux news or even one single left -leaning media outlet,) that different unspoken rules seem to apply to whites and POC, not only in how they are approached by police, but how they are reported in the media.  Often black victims of police violence are shown in mugshots to engender mistrust and a feeling that “he deserved it” because he was a “criminal.”  Again, I ask, when did it become the police’s job to execute suspects without benefit of trial for petty shit?

Again refer back to the couple who waved their guns around outside their home in St. Louis.  This was after the mayor doxxed BLM protesters online.  So we can’t overlook the media’s role, particluarly right wing media, in attempting to paint all protesters as terrorists.  In point of fact, the male lawyer in the above video link, seen clutching his rifle like a security blankie, claimed he was the victim here (naturally), having been harassed and “assaulted,” although I have seen zero footage to corroborate an assault, and the couple didn’t seem fearful to me, so much as belligerent.  To be clear, I don’t care that the protesters were in a gated community.  Civil disobedience has always been a party of peaceful protest. The lawyers could have called the police for trespassers, and had the protesters come into their yard or attempted to damage their home, then I would say they had every right to try to scare them off.  But in the videos and photos I* saw, it was the home owners who looked combative and aggressive.  I don’t even care that according to the Missouri law, these people may have been within their “rights.”  (And nevermind neither of them look like they know how to handle their firearms, which is a whole different mess of bullshit in America).When did it become okay for citizens or police resort to resort to lethal force FIRST?!

Now let me drop some context for those aforementioned stats on you.*

Government officials, academic researchers and media outlets launched data-collection projects around that time to better understand the frequency of police violence and the risk factors that contribute to it. From these growing data sets come some disturbing findings. About 1,000 civilians are killed each year by law-enforcement officers in the United States. By one estimate, Black men are 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by police during their lifetime1. And in another study, Black people who were fatally shot by police seemed to be twice as likely as white people to be unarmed2.   (source)  <—–(additional sources in the article)

Don’t worry, I’m just about done here.  AT this point, many people have dug in their heels, and no amount of facts will dissuade or persuade them. And that’s unfortunate…and frustrating.  Because much like Covid -19 is surging here in the US because we can’t all get on the same page about, you know, demonstrable science, and reasonable precautions, (not to mention the value of individual lives when balanced with our economy-and I  can’t believe I even have to type that shit,) people will keep dying until we institute change.

If you want to help but don’t know how, even something as simple as using your own privilege to speak out.  Call out your friends and family when they try to lay the usual bullshit excuses on you.  Having privilege does NOT make us, as white people, bad. That’s not what privilege means, nor does it mean we’ve had an easy life. It just means our lives haven’t been made harder by our skin color. Use your privilege to help instead of hinder.

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Riot this

Most of you are aware of the riots going on in Baltimore right now. Supposedly it is because of that poor fellow who died in police custody.  That shouldn’t have gone down the way it did. But what is going on now- this is not about that man who died in custody. It shouldn’t have happened… But this is nothing more than cruddy people taking advantage of a situation to try to get away with shit behavior and get free shit. They figure if everyone is doing it, they have safety in numbers.  Really, how are your free Slim Jims and stolen pharmacy drugs going to get “justice for Freddie Gray?”  The basis of this riot in supposedly seated in race inequality, the media and the deliberately ignorant happily perpetuating the hate by shamelessly race baiting with inflammatory headlines and ignorant memes.  I’m not saying race inequality does not exist, but that’s not what all this chaos is about.

Not that long ago, there was a big riot in KY (mostly white people, guys), after of all things, a fucking (sports) game! Obviously, in regards to the Baltimore riot and the death of Mr. Gray, race is being thrown around (again) a lot by all sides.  But to me, the Kentucky riot is just further support for the fact that when it comes to behavior like this, race is not the issue.  Watch some of the videos circulating.  There were  peaceful protesters initially, but what you see in common in both the KY and MD incidents has nothing to do with race.  It’s nothing but a mob of opportunistic scavengers.

And to those people I say:

U MAD, BRO?

U MAD, BRO?

You either get it or you don’t.  That’s it.  I’m out.

Police and the Use of Force

Watching a little more mindless entertainment on Netflix.  Crossing Jordan.  I love crime dramas, and I watch a lot of different ones, (much to my husband’s dismay.) But it’s interesting to me how often this so-called “mindless entertainment” actually leads to thought provoking…er…thoughts.

So this particular episode of Crossing Jordan deals with an alleged cop killer who dies in police custody.  (*I say alleged because there is no question in the scope of the show that the suspect did kill a cop, in real life he is of course presumed innocent until trial.)  Upon examination by the coroner  it’s discovered that the suspect has petechial hemorrhages in his eyes, which although possibly indicative of many things, often indicates strangulation.  Upon opening his head, it’s discovered he has a bruise on his brain, basically the result of hitting his head/being hit in the head so hard that his brain slaps against the inside of his skull.  Though he is alive when apprehended, he dies sometime during transit to the station and is instead taken to a hospital.

There is pressure from all sides to either discover or cover up what happened.  There’s a coroner’s inquest.

In the end it is revealed that one of the arresting officers did indeed kneel on the suspect’s back to (in his own words) maintain control of the situation.  The suspect was, according to the officer, acting erratic (as if on drugs), and was also quite large (6’4″,) and a known* cop killer.  It is implied that perhaps a stranglehold was used to subdue the suspect, something that is against police policy, according to a senior officer.  There were no drugs found in the suspect’s blood, so again it is suggested excess force was used.

Eventually, it is discovered that the brain injury sustained by the deceased suspect occurred three days before the arrest (essentially around the time the suspect killed the officer victim.)  Not only is the injury the cause of the suspect’s erratic behavior, but likely contributed to his death in custody.

And as often happens, a TV drama leads hubby and I into a serious discussion:   Why is it against police policy to use force?

I know a lot of people mistrust cops.  I know a lot of people hate cops.  Lastly, and most importantly, I know there are bad cops.  However, I have immense respect for cops.  You may not trust them, or like them, but chances are, if you’re in trouble or need help, you will call them. And you expect them to come, and to protect you.  So why do you expect them to do this, essentially without being allowed to use force to defend themselves?  There is necessary force, and unnecessary force, but in a given situation, it has to be up to the persons involved to decide what is necessary.

Sadly, incidents like the Rodney King incident in 1991 taint the reputation of the police force and have far reaching and damaging repercussions on police procedure.   And with suspects able to file even illegitimate claims against officers for brutality, police officers are daily in situations where they may face bodily injury or death if they run across the wrong suspect, but face inquest, job loss, and possible criminal charges for using “excessive force” to defend themselves.

Am I alone in feeling that if a person violently resists arrest, tries to harm an officer (either intentionally or due to drugs or mental instability) that an officer should be able to use force to defend themselves and keep themselves and their partner safe, even as a preemptive measure?

Am I the only one who feels like most people know that cops have guns and can use lethal force if a weapon is waved at them, and consequently, if a suspect becomes violent or resists, it’s their own damn fault if they get their ass kicked or killed?  To be clear, I’m not advocating cops beating on people for no reason, or using excessive force on non-violent offenders, or in any way taking advantage of their position of authority, but I do believe we expect police to do a generally dangerous and thankless job for relatively little pay, and we should give them the benefit of the doubt in most situations where force is necessary.

I don’t know much about the supposed blue wall.  I’m sure it does exist in some departments, among some cops.  But is it at all possible that if those officers felt safer in their jobs, and felt as if they were backed up by the law in cases where force was required, they might not need to “cover” for one another in some cases?

In conclusion, these are just my personal thoughts and feelings as related to police– they’re not backed by statistics or science, that I know of.  But since police are essentially civil servants with whom virtually everyone has either tangential or direct contact at some point in their lives, I figure we are all entitled at least to an opinion (as I’ve said before, opinions are one of the only true rights humans really do have!)

Police Brutality?  Bitch, please!

Police Brutality? Bitch, please!

The Unique Challenge of Serial Murder (orig. 04/2004, revised 2012)

All homicide cases represent their own set of investigative and administrative challenges for the police departments who must close them.  Although each police department’s administration may be slightly different, many aspects of murder investigation are similar and even standard.  Serial murder, however, is a unique crime, with unique characteristics, that often spans the boundaries of a single jurisdiction. Continue reading