The above link is to a Think Progress article about what the police said in South Carolina before the Walter Scott video was released. I think this is really important, because it sounds like so many statements the police have made, about cases which we have heard before. Anyone can watch the video of Walter Scott’s shooting and know something is horribly wrong. (An unarmed man was shot in the back and died. If you don’t think that is wrong, there is something else going on in your judgment of the situation.) I have talked before about how more people were killed in the U.S. by police in March than in England since 1900. When you see anger in places like Ferguson, it is because of things like this. Again, I don’t think you can just blame the police for situations like this. There is a whole list of historical and cultural factors involved here. Hopefully though, this video will be our dogs on the bridge moment, which was when violence against protestors in Selma woke Americans up to the cruelty of segregation, the moment when the majority of America can no longer ignore what is being done in its name.
The trailer of Season 2 of True Detective is above. Although I was slightly let down by the very ending of Season 1, I really liked the show overall. Having been a longtime Twin Peaks fan, I liked that True Detective had some of that shows regional strangeness combined with an extremely horrifying murder mystery. Mix in other elements from noir and Southern grotesque and the show at its own thing going. Plus, the performances were excellent. Hopefully Season 2 will do the same.
Add On: I must also admit I have always liked Colin Farrell. He always knows how to chew up scenery when needed.
I mean, read the article. That statistic really says it all. The United Kingdom has gone through The Troubles in that time period. Two World Wars took place in that time period just across the channel, with bombing taking place in England, which one would imagine would raise suspicion. England has its own problems with immigration. I’m sure many of you have heard of the National Front, of soccer hooligans, of many problems. What I’m trying to say is that it isn’t like the UK is a land of peace and tranquility. Yet somehow their police don’t kill people at the rate ours do.
I give a lot of grief to police here at this blog. Just on my way home from Florida on the last tour I ran into an exceptionally kind one who let me off for speeding without a ticket. I don’t believe all police are bad. I’m not saying this to balance my argument or to extend an olive branch. I think we have a problem here, but I think it is complex and it is better to acknowledge that complexity rather than to just say police are bad. It has to do with our culture, our history, our unique racial problems that go back to the origins of this country, our politicians, our military industrial and prison complexes, and so many other factors. But as a country we must find the result unacceptable. It’s time to start asking some hard questions and beyond time to make changes.
Hat tip to JR
Here is another good piece on the attack in France that a friend sent my way. This piece is in the New Yorker.
One of the reasons I find this kind of attack so troublesome is that it is a direct attack on the culture of freedom of thought. This isn’t an attack with a political motivation at its core, as if these were people carrying out an attack in response to a particular war. I’m not saying that global politics don’t play any role, only that they are not the specific reason behind these kind of attacks. Whether it is the Koch brothers trying to destroy critical thinking in education, or fanatic Muslims trying to censor people through scaring them with violence, I am against any acts that try to prevent thinking. (And I am not equating the two. As much as I dislike what the Koch brothers are trying to do to public education, it is nowhere near as perverse as violence carried out against people in the name of religion.) Having the freedom to think through things, to have an open debate, even if it occasionally leads to places people don’t want to go, is crucial to creating a future worth living in.
The truth is never simple and yet it is. The truth is we did kill him. By silence we consented… because we couldn’t go on. But by Ares, what did we have to look forward to but to be discarded in the end like Cleitus? After all this time, to give away our wealth to Asian sycophants we despised? Mixing the races? Harmony? Oh, he talked of these things. I never believe in his dream. None of us did. That’s the truth of his life. The dreamers exhaust us. They must die before they kill us with their blasted dreams.
– The character of Ptolemy in the movie Alexander
I was reflecting on Lincoln and other great men today, like Martin Luther King, and was wondering why so many of them seem to be the ones we kill. I remembered this quote from the movie Alexander, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. One of the themes at the end of the movie is that we kill the dreamers. In aiming for a better world, the dreamers ask that the rest of society give up some of the things they are accustomed to. Even if it is for the better of all, this is rarely met with enthusiasm in some circles. Why do we kill the dreamers? In the end, I do not know completely, but it is worth reflecting upon.
I have been reading today about the death of Eric Garners, another black male that was killed by the police. Eric Garner was put in an illegal chokehold by the police while resisting arrest and died because of it, even after he told the cops he couldn’t breath. (I should note although he was resisting arrest he was not directing any violence at the cops. He was unarmed. He simply moved in a way that was trying to prevent the cops from handcuffing him.) As those of you whom read along know, I have been knee deep in reading about slavery and the Civil War. I also read Matt Taibbi’s The Divide this year, which is about our unjust justice system. If you read about America enough, you can be horrified about what happened, but you can’t really be shocked at this stage in the game. I completely and empathetically understand why black Americans are outraged over what is happening to their people.
I want to approach this from another angle to hopefully get some of you thinking. Earlier this year I went to Dealey Plaza, the place where JFK was assassinated. If you walk through that place you can’t help but feel something. Here is an article about changes that were made to the Secret Service after Kennedy was killed:
Someone was killed and the place that he was killed takes on a special meaning in our culture. There were also changes made at the highest level of our government. Pretty much everyone that was alive then can remember not only where they were when Kennedy died, but also the shock that was felt by them. Now, I know what some of you are going to say. You are going to say that this was a President and therefor it deserves more attention then an average citizen being killed.
Let’s forget any arguments right now that say one life is just as important as another life. Let’s for arguments sake even say that a President’s life is valued much more than several people’s. However, when you look at the history of the situation, black males being killed and brutalized by the police, it becomes hard to say that many lives aren’t worth as much as a President. When the numbers start adding up why do we not act with a similar sense of disbelief and outrage? Why are we not making changes at the highest levels of government? Why don’t we, as a nation, mourn and say enough is enough? Even if Eric Garner’s life doesn’t mean much to you, can you not look at the overall pattern and realize something needs to be done?