Monday, August 18, 2014

Bubble, Bubble. There's Going to be Trouble

I have been documenting police brutality and general savagery for some time. (Just click on "cops" in "Labels" over there on the right for a sampling.) The continuing crisis in Ferguson, MO, in the wake of yet another police killing of an unarmed black person, has not been far from the thoughts of anybody who's concerned with the fate of our country, not to mention the individual fates of people we hold dear like our children and grandchildren. And today I'm struck by a conversation Chris Hedges had with Lawrence Hamm, a longtime community organizer and chairman of the People's Organization for Progress, based in Newark. Their topic was Ferguson and here's part of what Hamm had to say:
The pendulum swung far to the right after 9/11. Now it is swinging back. Fear and paralysis gripped the country after 9/11 and the creation of our authoritarian police state. We are overcoming this fear. The rebellion in Ferguson was not planned. It was spontaneous. People said, ‘Enough.’ They struck out in the only way they knew how. All the other ways—and I have no doubt that the people in Ferguson and St. Louis, as we have, marched peacefully, sent letters and went to city council meetings to protest police violence—have proved ineffective. We will see other incidents like this one, but because of demographic changes these rebellions will occur in places that did not rebel previously.
All I can say is "yep." Think about those frantic years after 9/11. We got involved in two wars, we as a people authorized extraordinary rendition, torture, arrest and holding people with no charges, greatly expanded powers to national intelligence agencies, Gitmo, drone killings of American citizens. The list goes on. But all the while something else really sinister was happening: the militarization of police forces all across the country. Have you checked out the so-called "police" on TV in action in Ferguson? They look like the 82nd Airborne, complete with automatic weapons and armored cars.

This is the state we're in today. Doesn't make any difference where you are in the country. Your police force has a SWAT team, or several, and are armed to the teeth against . . . who? Against you, ordinary citizen, that's who.

Watch this video of one of John Oliver's monologs. Humor does a fine job of skewering the madness that's overtaken police forces all over the country.

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