Sandra Bland and the Death of the Police Myth
Sandra Bland was a 28-year old woman who was traveling to a new job and was not committing a crime. After her interaction with American police, she was dead and they were free to claim she committed suicide over the guilt of having changed lanes without using a turn signal.
They released the dashcam video. It shows a young woman totally in control of her faculties who knows her supposed rights as a citizen of this nation. It also depicts the behavior of an agitated, thin-skinned bully who escalated and provoked and physically aggressed a woman who posed no threat to the public or him in any sense. As his abuse increased, her retorts were not irrational, but clearly logical, including her ardent wish to get this video in front of a judge.
Then she was dead. The police actually want you to believe that she was the insane one who was instantly suicidal and had…a plastic bag?
America — you know what’s insane? Anybody who thinks this is normal. Any person who looks at 1000 police homicides per year and does not compare them to the other civilized, industrial, prosperous nations of the world whose police only kill 0–5 citizens per year. Insane is to claim conservative, small government values out of one side of your mouth, and with the other side remain silent about a government institution that has no problem picking up young girls in Colorado and smashing their teeth out of their head, or mysteriously disappearing future lawsuit witnesses under the guise of suicide.
Americans are free to wake up at any time, to cease believing that this culture of abuse and murder is all part of a functioning society. This is not functional at all, but rather the worst aspect of this nation, and we can fix it simply by changing our awareness, speaking up in great numbers, and refusing to accept this reality.
Our mythology has helped us stay asleep, particularly the myth that our police are heroes who protect us at all times from violent foes, “the worst of the worst,” and whose deadly force is always meted out uniquely in the public interest. Two years with video camera-enabled phones has finally ripped that myth out of us without the use of anesthetic. In addition to statistics showing that police officers are 40% less likely to die at work as bartenders and half as likely as farmers, we see who these “threats to the public” really are. They are the Walter Scotts, running unarmed, shot dead and framed up with a taser. They are the Eric Harrises, dying with a man crushing their head screaming “F**k your breath.” They are Sandra Blands, daring to show anything other that complete submission in the face of a lawless bully, and turning up dead within hours. The police myth is now deceased.
Instead, we have the harsh, cold, waking reality of a nation that is saddled with a perverted social institution — a police force that was supposed to protect the public, but which has been armed with military weaponry and told that its union bosses and allies in the prosector’s office will make everything look clean and straight after the blood gets spilled. For those of you asking what to do about it, I have written a policy proposal to place every single police department in America under federal consent decree. We must break every single police department down and rebuild it, a Manhattan Project for justice.
You do not have to take this seriously, but you no longer get to pretend that this is normal. Future generations are staring at you America, wondering whether you will wake up or continue to act out bloody mythologies that will bewilder and disgust our descendants for centuries to come.
Time to choose.