Lawyers Guns and Money
I think implicit bias, as it relates to race matters, can be called a social disease, much like syphilis or those other diseases contracted through intercourse. It’s like a pathogen that works its way through a population by way of communication, and the consequence of that virus is most people with black and brown skin, residing in major and minor metro areas around the United States of America are living under conditions tantamount to residing in a Police State. How else can it be explained that unarmed black men are seven time more likely to be shot and killed by the police? This is according to a database compiled by the Washington Post.
The lack of diversity in police ranks speaks volumes. These men and women in blue who stop and interrogate black and brown skin people are usually white. And according to the law, you must submit, but they hardly ever harass other whites. Implicit bias about race is spread by many modes of communication: media, entertainment, ordinary conversation around the dinner table, Uncle Jim telling one of his racist jokes at a barbecue and so forth. The people we hired to police us are born, raised and conditioned by this infectious discord and the academy charged with training peace officers do precious little about curing them of this contagion.
The segments of the population most affect by this disease are police officers and the communities they serve. When these two groups collide the results are frequently deadly. The people hired to police a community, if infected, can do some terrible damage, which often includes killing unarmed citizens, and then claiming with an assured insolence that they feared for their lives. The police departments must be hiring a great number of cowards these days? These kinds of killings are investigated by member of the very same police force and the decision to bring charges are decided my the same prosecutors who collude with these officers on bogus charges against black and brown citizens on a daily basis to collect fines, maintain the Criminal Justice System and allow criminal officers to roam the streets with impunity. All percolating from what they learned as kids and carry into their adult life, and work.
I often wondered why black, brown and poor people run from the police. It became clear to me after a conversation with a young black man in Miami. Our discourse surrounded the idiocy of trying to elude the police. His explanation was quite enlightening. The reason is entirely economics, he told me. Being involved in the criminal justice system can be very expensive and damaging to a person earning the minimum wage. And if you do not pay the fine, you can find yourself with a price on your head, ordinarily called a warrant for your arrest. At that point, staying out of any kind of contact with the police become a prime concern.
Can a police officer arrest you for no legal reason and then makeup charges? They often do and the prosecutors and judges back them. The young man told me about one of his encounters with the police and the justice system that sounded quite Kafkaist. A police officer stopped him for purportedly running a red light when there was no traffic lights anywhere around. When he became indignant and began arguing about not seeing a red light the police accused him of resisting and placed him under arrest. At court, he tried to explain to the judge that the police stopped him for a non-existent light, the judge told him that he saw nothing about running a red light on the complaint, just resisting a lawful order of the police, and ordered the fellow to pay a fine of a hundred and fifty dollars and a surcharge of twenty-five dollars to the Police Benevolent Association. At the time, this young man worked at one of the fast-food chains and made about two hundred dollars a week. What would you expect from poor people who suffer these injustices all over the country on a daily basis? If you see the police coming in your direction you run like hell, save your weeks pay, and possibly your job. Taking time off to appear in court can be injurious in many ways.
I listen to men like David Clark and Rudi Giuliani deriding the Black Lives Matter Movement with words like “all lives matter, and blue lives matter”, and I see where they are coming from. These men have been sucking on the tit of the Criminal Justice System for so long that all they can do is defend it, maintain the status quo. They have no sensible ideas for improving policing in the United States and these are men familiar with the highest echelons of the system. God help us if they are ever called by Congress to testify about the state of policing in the United States because even the senseless death of unarmed men, women, and children of color do not seem to move those guys.
These fellows are dangerous, cartoon characters thrown at us by the media in a feeble attempt at intelligent discourse about why people of color are being killed by the very police charged with protecting them. A massive course in debiasing techniques should be administered to all police officer before they are allowed on the street. That would be a good start.
I know of no one having a grievance with the police about killing armed criminals who attempt to pull weapons on them. The problem is the huge proportion of black and brown unarmed people who lose their lives at the hands of the police in the United States of America — man in a Wall-Mart, child on a playground, woman arrested for a minor traffic stop and found hanging in a jail cell and the list of the atrocities continue. The police have no right to kill any unarmed person. That should not happen.
The statistics are all there, presented by multiple sources. According to a database pulled together by the Washington post, black men are only six percent of the population in the United States, but they account for forty percent of the unarmed men shot and killed by the police. The truths of the matter are not in dispute. I once heard a man called Allen West, a former congressman from South Florida, commenting on Fox News. The man had the nerve to say that the police need no more training they are doing their jobs just fine. And those were the words of a black man. I found him quite ignorant, disgusting and pandering to the oppressive forces that may one day step on his neck. I know Allen West is thinking this could never happen to me. Well just wait and see. What happens to that far-off person of color can happen to any person of color in the blink of an eye. The police will get more and more, comfortable as they kill with impunity. It should be very interesting to hear the outcry after the police start shooting some of those disorderly white boys who act up after some sporting event.
Everyone seemed shocked by the attack on police around the country. I don’t know why they are surprised. There is a certain rhetoric going around about guns, the government, and the citizenry. Buy and keep your guns, one day you might need them to defend yourself against tyranny. The killing of innocent men, women, and children, in disproportionate numbers by a branch of the government are tyrannical. In no way do I advocated attacking the police, but the conclusion of the discourse is quite obvious to me unless you do not consider black and brown people to be part of the populace listening to the conversation about guns and an oppressive government.
The police and their supporters are laboring under the delusion that killing a few people of color, armed or unarmed, will pacify the communities. Rule by fear. Remember the police are hired as guardians, not warriors. That kind of intimidation will work on some, but other will pick up weapons just like the patriots at Lexington and Concord. And then where will we be?
The relationship between communities and the police are based on trust. If they are no trust between a community and the people who police them, all that’s left is some kind of occupation force roaming the streets and gunning down people who dare to argue about any thing, run when told to halt or try to drive away from a minor traffic stop for some idiotic reason. The police may be laboring under the contention that the people should trust and respect them when the reverse is the truth. Trust and respect are earned commodities, and first and foremost the police should learn to respect and trust the people they are charged with protecting. Then and only then will we be taking that one tentative step toward a just and unbiased society.