New York City Police Boo Mayor

New York City Police Boo Mayor

I just touched upon the subject of the, as of late, childish behavior of the New York City Police:

Police Turn Their Back On NYC Mayor

I pretty much said what needed to be said there.  I basically just want to catalog what is going on.  I want to point out that this kind of behavior by police is actually why so many people dislike and distrust these officers, people that should be a valued part of the community.

They say, ‘To protect and to serve’
But what they really mean to say is
Get back to the ghetto, the ghetto
Get yourself back to the ghetto

– Lyrics from the song Ganglord by Morrissey.

I hope there is a day when lyrics like these no longer ring true.  Maybe the police will eventually see so much backlash and ill will towards their current behavior that they will have to be reformed.  It is currently looking like it might have to be from outside forces.  Wouldn’t it be so much better for everyone involved if they took it upon themselves to make the necessary changes?

Police Turn Their Back On NYC Mayor

nypd_cops_turn_back_de_blasio_122714_ap_606

Cops Turn Their Back On New York City Mayor

Police officers have again proved that they don’t get it.  One can think that the justice system is out of control, that too many young black males have lost their lives or have been sent to prison, AND that cops shouldn’t be killed.  However, they are turning their backs on people that are peacefully criticizing what some of their officers do.  Instead of realizing that there might be a problem, starting an open dialog, some of these officers are blaming people that are reacting peacefully when officers have overstepped their bounds, and blaming those people for violence.  It is some of the police, and definitely the police killer, that have violence problems.

A police force’s only reason for existing is to protect and serve the community.  This means protecting free speech and the right to assembly as well.  They should recognize that as long as protestors don’t get violent, they are exercising their rights as American citizens.

Anyone with two eyes can tell you that are justice system is completely flawed.  Although we only have 5% of the world’s population, we have 25% of the world’s prison population.  Unfortunately, even the many police officers that are good people, are part of a bad system.

Instead of trying to protect the community, joining with the protestors to request a more fair justice system, that doesn’t put them at odds with their community, they are closing ranks.  They are learning nothing.  I once read that a comedy is when a hero goes to the innermost cave and learns nothing.  If there wasn’t so much sadness surrounding this issue, this would indeed be an absurd comedy of the highest order.

Jobs Swallowed by Technology

I don’t mean to bum you out on such a day as Tuesday.  Tuesday is, in my mind, the worst day of the week. You at least get some Mondays off, there is Monday night football, etc.  Wednesday you are already at hump day.  Tuesday, even when I was drinking heavily, was a night I normally don’t go out.  My brother and I always joke about making a horror film called, “Night of a Thousand Tuesdays.”

Anyway, earlier this week, I downloaded an app turning my phone into a flashlight.  It works incredibly well, better than the last real flashlight I bought.  My current Kindle doesn’t have a light on it and I needed something to see my book when I go on tour.  But then I thought to myself, “What is going to happen to all the people that make flashlights?”  I have a guitar tuner on my phone as well.  What is going to happen to all the people that made and sold guitar tuners?  And I was thinking about how my phone does a thousand things that I used to need a thousand things to do.  On one hand, for someone that travels, this is great.  On the other, how many jobs is this technology putting out of business?  (How many people that worked for companies associated with books were put out of business by the Kindle and other reading tablets?)

I’m not claiming these are new thoughts.  These kind of thoughts have troubled people all along during our technological revolution.  What they make me think is that now, more than ever, we need a safety net for people whose work disappears as these tech giants kill jobs.  When the Republicans in power twist and twitch to dismantle every safety net they can, we need to think about how this is even worse than in the past.  We also need smarter consumers, that make decisions not only on what is based upon their needs, but the good of the community.  I’ll admit, I’m as lazy as anyone.  And to some degree the genie is out of the lamp.  But I think it is at least good to start thinking about these things.

This is just a hunch, but I feel like the places that stick together as communities are going to live lives worth living, and the places that let inequality be the law of the land are going to become more and more hellish.  Call me crazy.

The Common Good and Lesser Deities

One of my favorite towns on earth is Bend, Oregon.  I almost don’t want to admit this, because I am greedy and don’t want too many people to discover this place.  The way it is right now is perfect.  Not only is it stunningly beautiful, but it is exactly the right size for a town.  It is big enough that things go on here, but small enough that it is built on a human scale.  You can walk to most places.  I have been here on tour about six times, give or take.  I have spent many hours walking the town and the trails just outside of it.  It never ceases to captivate me.
In Europe there are many cities that seem to be designed for actual people.  Even larger cities have adequate public transportation.  A city as large as Rome or Berlin can be crossed with ease, without even speaking the language.
I have an affinity for the people of Houston, Texas, but I doubt anyone from that town would say it is built on a livable scale.  Often you will see a fururistic skyscraper next to a taco shack.  There are no zoning laws.  There are great neighborhoods and great people, but without a car there, you would be doomed.
I wish we would spend more time in this country contemplating our communities and how they are designed.  I wish we would not be so attached to our cars.  Until you have spent time in a beautiful walkable town, or a city that has great public transportation, you really have no idea what you are missing.  Our quality of life could be so much higher.
When I worked my last day job in Austin I lived 12 miles from work.  It would take me an hour or more somedays to get home in rush hour traffic.  You would begin by taking the Lord’s name in vain.  Slowly but surely you would curse other lesser deities as well.  Eventually you would find swear words for the gods all the way back to antiquity.  No matter how easy your day was, you would get home broken and defeated after a commute like that.  A shell of a man.  As one of my friends stated, “How inefficient is that shit?!!!”
As I have stated before, the free market is great for many things.  It is just not good at doing things that are part of the common good.  Parks and other public spaces, good transportation, these things can make a community and not just a city.  Hopefully at some point we can have a smarter national conversation about these things.  If not, please forgive me in advance, if my middle finger makes itself known next time we are in rush hour.  I might be more animal than man by then.  My patience gone and out of gods to curse.