Outside Your Coverage Area
What happens when ‘Protect and Serve’ goes ‘Out of Service?’
A photograph liable to win a Pulitzer, for its biting irony as a police line driving a riot forward is followed by a bus with a hidden message about how “Protect and Serve” doesn’t mean what it used to.
In light of rioting done around recent shootings of clearly unarmed Black men who do everything required of them when confronted by police and still manage to die during these confrontations, I am less happy about seeing a police car in my rear view mirror with lights flashing, now more than ever.
It has become abundantly clear in our modern media age, two terrible things we don’t want to acknowledge but also cannot but hope to reconcile within our minds:
- In the past when police confronted Black men, news articles would always paint a picture of a Black man whose behavior, as told by the police who shot him, ensured the summary death he earned at their hands was rightfully and justly committed. The police were an unimpeachable source on this and as people of color, we were forced to accept this as the way of things. Even as we wept, we raged, no other solution could be found for this brother, this father, this son, this individual whose family loved him.
- Now our media reveals instance after instance of Black men complying with the demands of officers, if they even get to hear any demands. Tamir Rice for example, looked up, and two seconds later received bullets directly into his body, likely unsure as to why he was dying. It was only a video camera mounted on a nearby building which revealed this. We were told something else by the police but the video revealed all. But even when we are filmed dying, even when we are recorded from multiple angles, even when the wrongdoing is blatant and unmistakable, the police go free. They get a vacation from their jobs, with pay. They go before review boards manned by other police, who instead of holding them accountable, commiserate with them before releasing them, back into the wild, unaccountable, untouchable, unrepentant.
And we are forced to accept they will kill again. Smarter this time, making sure their cameras “malfunction.” Making certain they are out of line of sight of their dashcam. Scooping up cameras from the surrounding environment, crushing personal smartphones as needed until the evidence of their wrongdoing can be masked with the planting of a gun or drugs which they can say precipitated the need for deadly force. Then repeat as above.
This psychological warfare, because indeed, this is what it has become is a form of terrorism, a manner of releasing fear into a population already frightened at almost the epigenetic level to fear the government, to fear the police, to fear their unceremonious demise at the hands of a white man with a gun, badge and the autonomy to kill with impunity and without consequence. This warfare of the mind has begun to take its toll on a nation already living in fear, already living on the edge of the abyss.
Living in fear of another recession which would destroy those who have barely recovered, dismantle much of what has been regained by those fortunate enough to work in the right industries and are still young enough to be hired. Old people (anyone over 45) stay in fear of the slippage of the economy. They have already lost their money, their savings, their pensions. All they have left, may be their homes they are living in. For those who have lost their homes, they are still not free of fear.
They live in fear of violence. This free-flowing violence spewing forth from the mouth of the next potential candidate, a man known for bullying others, a man known for enjoying the terror his power and money place in those he considers beneath him. His laughter at his ability to inspire violence in those waiting, like dogs, to strike out at whatever he says is okay to attack. These are not new dogs, responding to a whistle. These dogs have always been here chewing at the side of a great racist beast called America, waiting for an opportunity for Freedom and Liberty to turn their backs on those less protected by wealth.
Trump has sounded the clarion: release the racist dogs of war upon the unsuspecting, the innocent, the unprotected, the unaware, and allow them to feast until my coronation. Upon which time he will release every dog at his disposal and allow them to chase whatever they will. Lo, the police will not stop them. They will join them in abandon and the streets will flow again with blood.
Fear, this all-encompassing fear, made resonant by ill-equipped media agents in the thrall of money, dependent upon their corporate masters to survive cannot say to the Great Orange Racist Upon the Throne: “You have no plan. You have no vision. You are a cruel and monstrous con-man who has shaken off his mask of compliance and instead shown your masters to be even greater fools than we ever knew. You sir, are a shill and a mountebank who continues to fool, with the help of the media, everyone around you. We are ashamed of enabling one such as you.”
If they were allowed to have shame. I suspect it was the first thing banned by media companies Human Resources department. Shame and integrity were out in the first restructuring.
What is left for us as people of color in the great Babylon? In the nation hungering for the opportunity to consume us physically as they consume us socially? Where will we be safe to lay our heads as the day of judgement draws near?
Will we be safe if the other choice is made? Or will the dogs of Trump run wild with anger? With disappointment at not being freed to feast freely? Who can say?
As I look out across the nation and see the fires of protest burning, I come to an inescapable conclusion:
- We were never allowed to be ourselves, wear our hair, or express our thoughts.
- We have never been free from the recrimination of doubt, free to share our best selves, to love ourselves and each other with impunity.
- We have always stood in the shadow of the great beast, atremble, never knowing why its gaze always withered our steps, oppressed our souls, but we always knew even when it wasn’t looking directly at us, we could feel its fetid presence. Always.
Strangely enough, a comic I started reading recently (The Black Monday Murders, Image Comics) revealed this to me in the guise of entertainment, but the truth screamed out to me.
- Money is the power which drives all of this behavior. It drives the fearmongering of news for ratings. It drives the police and judicial behavior, a vehicle for control, for regulating how many people will go to prison, how the prison industrial complex maintains its numbers and mastery over people even after they leave prison.
- This money controls the entertainment messages we consume, preparing us for lives as proles, servants of great powers, willing and able to subsume our wills to their greater genius, their innovative powers, their overwhelming hubris, their belief we should serve those mighty masters who remind us daily of their implied greatness.
- We drive ourselves into debt through school, thorough the purchase that which we do not need, all in a quest to feel worthy, lowly penitents seeking the approval of an unseen master.
As hinted in the last panel we are not worthy of the truth.
Our ancestors were just another cog in this grand and terrifying machine. They withstood the worst this nation could throw at us with a fraction of the opportunities we had. Does their survival undermine our current crisis? Does it make light of our current circumstances?
No. Not one bit.
Our ancestors did not know the taste of something we think we already have. Thus they fought harder for it.
We think we are safe. We think we are secure in our rights. We think that we are equal.
It is such thinking which undermines our present dilemma. Our ancestors knew better. Such knowledge drove them harder than any whip. It drove them to succeed. It drove them to strive in the face of adversity. It made them willing to fight for the future. They were willing to fight for rights they would never know.
I will say to you again: You are not safe. You are not equal. You have no rights you are not willing to secure with your very life. This is the nature of our struggle. We will not be free until we are all free. We will not be learned until we are ALL learned. We will not have prosperity if any of us are without it. For us to rise, we must all rise together.
The Beast separates us with our fear of it.
Our fear of the police, our fear of engendered poverty, weaponized to keep us dependent upon the Machine. Debt is a weapon to be used to keep you subservient.
So is ignorance. Our media does not inform, it confuses, it obfuscates. Thus we cannot see. We cannot make good choices.
We must free ourselves from it as well. Only true, hard won knowledge can free us. Only willful understanding of the system will give us choices.
If you would be free, you will have to fight. You will have to risk. You will have to say: ENOUGH!
And mean it.
You will have to stop traffic. You will have to go to school. You will have to make people uncomfortable with the truth. You will have to stand up to Texas when they say chattel slavery was instead a “worker program.”
You will have to read between the lines when media says whistle-blowers should be punished, instead of looking at what news they have released to you. If you don’t understand its significance, you will have to learn why they are risking imprisonment for you.
You will have to protect your waterways, your aquifers, your residences from the scourge of corporate driven pollution. Look into other countries, see the atrocities they produce in the name of profit. Look into conflict minerals. Learn about fashion sweat shops. Discover the horrors of the sexual tourism.
These do not happen in a vacuum. They take money to maintain, to create and to prosper. They are making someone fabulously wealthy. A level of wealth which makes Oprah seem impoverished by comparison.
Gather your loved ones to you. There are hard times ahead. Times unseen for people of color in a generation or two. But there are not insurmountable, if we keep our wits about us.
If we remain mindful of the fact, the wealthy divide us because they fear us.
They are right to do so.
If poor Whites in this nation were to side with Black, Brown, Asian and other people of color, consistently, we could change this from a nation of fear to a nation of Justice. Where accountability for actions are real. Where judges can’t allow rapists and murderers to walk away. A land where whistle-blowers can survive the revelations which truly keep us safe.
A place where schools can thrive, teachers can be paid, where education has an intuitive merit outside of creating a slave class to work in our digital sweatshops of the future, grinding out code until computers can replace those workers as well.
Can such a place exist? I believe it can. I have children who will live on after I die. I have prepared them with the understanding they will have to fight for what they believe in because no man in power willingly relinquishes it.
America is no different. It is helmed by men who love their power, their influence. Your efforts are their drug. Your striving for power like theirs, is how they maintain their grip upon you.
If you would be free of them, these hidden men who rule your lives, create the society you struggle in then you must be free of their dreams of avarice.
Choose to return to nature to a life more natural, more filled with the good effort of living, loving, protecting, serving, being, and dreaming. See prosperity, not crazed levels of wealth. That ways lies madness. Look around you, see it for what it is.
Return to frugality, return to the idea you don’t need to buy the most important things in life. They are already abundantly around you, if you know where to look. Plant a tree, clear a stream. Reclaim your world from them.
Hold your family close in these trying times, remind them of the struggle of those who came before them and the struggles ahead. You are entering a low-service century, where those in power feel no obligation to you.
It is time to remind them who truly holds the power. Their wealth is built on your effort. Remind them of that. I assure you they already know.
They also know you are unaware of your true power and potential. They work daily to see that you do.
Make the future you want to see. I assure you, the one they want to see looks just like the world you are already standing in and growing less free by the second.
You are outside of your service area. Expect quality of connection to be significantly reduced. If you allow it.
Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. You can follow him on Twitter or support his writings on Patreon.