Monday, July 18, 2016

Praying for hypocrisy

Last week I was at the Fort Bend County Courthouse in Richmond and noticed a church down the road with a sign announcing a prayer service for the Dallas police officers who were killed the previous week.

I couldn't help but wonder if they held prayer services for Alton Sterling or Philando Castile, too.

Pronouncements such as this are the subtle ways we perpetuate racism and prejudice in this country. Bumper stickers reading Back the Blue and Cops' Lives Matter are ways that folks can express their prejudice without being so blatant. And just what the fuck is Pray for Police supposed to mean? They're the ones killing black men at point blank range. Do they want absolution or something?

This is how we indoctrinate our children to accept blindly what they are told by authority figures. This is how we indoctrinate them to hate and look upon those who are different with disdain or fear. Through religion we attempt to paper over the hypocrisy of murder as a sin and blind support of the military and the permanent war.

Interesting how the Jesus fought for the benefit of the downtrodden and spoke for those without a voice while the modern churches that use his name speak for those in power and those with money.

We'll just have to wait and see for whom prayer services are held the next time a young black man is gunned down by a man wearing a badge.


Lee said...

My Letter to Governor Abbott:
RE: Your Proposal of a Police Protection Act in the 2017 State Legislature

Dear Governor Abbott,

I am horrified to learn that you wish to proposed this legislation which enhances any crime committed against a police officer as a hate crime. I fear that you do not fully understand the implications that this legislation has.

Your proposal of this is a major violation of the basic separation of powers doctrine that we all learned about in grade school. Your job is not to propose or write any laws as that this the job of the legislative branch but only to administer the current laws that are already on the books.

The problems start with the many lines that the federal government and state governments continue to draw between citizens and the police that make it look like United States is less a free country but a militarily occupied one. An example of this are the many current statutes on the death penalty (in Texas for example) and which murders qualify as a capital offense. The single crime of homicide against a barber, chef, engineer, teacher, physician, dentist, sailor, fishermen, priest or any number of other civilian jobs have the maximum punishment of a life sentence. However, the homicide of a police officer (judge and prosecutor as well) must be punished by death (especially in Texas). The message that these kind of laws sends out is that some lives are worth more than others and not all human lives are equal. Some people are but mere pawns and others more important pieces. The message is that if you kill a police officer you will face the death penalty. However, the murder of any other civilian (for example the barber, chef, engineer, teacher, physician, dentist, sailor, fishermen or priest) is more tolerable and the punishment is less.

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Lee said...

This separation creates two separate castes determined by employment. The first class citizenry consisting of police (including judges and prosecutors) and the second caste citizens being everyone else. With the state choosing what lives are of more value than others I would expect significant animosity to breed and occasional violence to erupt between the first caste and the second caste. Under the current logic of this part of the capital murder statutes we could probably create a third class or citizens based on employment including the homeless, drug dealers and prostitutes with the murder of these individuals punishable by maybe 10 years in prison. This follows the logic of the state that certain lives are worth more than others based on the occupation of the victim. This distinction not only undermines that jargon of all life being created equal but also creates an additional barrier that continues to erode the relationship between civilians and police. A human life lost to the violence of murder is equally appalling as the next and one’s occupation should not be relevant. Would you consider passing legislation entitled the Plumber Protection Act or the Electrician Protection Act?

This conversation reminds me of murder of Walter Scott that occurred on April 4, 2015, in North Charleston, SC. Mr. Scott was pulled over for a daytime traffic stop for a non-functioning brake light for a non-functioning brake light by Officer Michael Slager. As Scott attempted to flee on foot nonviolently (for fear of being arrested on a warrant for delinquent child support), Officer Slager fatally shot Mr. Scott. Only when a video of the incident was released to the media which contradicted the information provided by Officer Slager in his police report, was Officer Slager charged with murder. Slager’s range of punishment for this murder will not include the death penalty because Scott was not a first class citizen as demonstrated above. Interesting to consider is that had Slager been the victim of homicide at the hands of Mr. Scott that day, Mr. Scott would face the death penalty. My point is that the field should be completely fair and leveled, not skewed by one’s occupation.

I also remind you that according to the international rules of conflict targets that are off limits includes churches, schools, shopping malls, grocery stores and civilian targets. Targets that are more acceptable are the police stations, and state or military targets (White house, FBI Hoover Building) because they have weapons and the ability to fight back. There are always 2 fighter jets flying over the Whitehouse and armed law enforcement or military personnel ready to go. I would consider by this logic that the murder of a civilian is far worse than that of a police officer because the civilian does not have the same means of defense that law enforcement or government does. When one violently attacks law enforcement they at least have weapons, assume the occupation knowing the risks, and have the chance to defend themselves.

I should hear no more of you advocating for any Police Protection Act or any other legislative garbage that continues to separate the police from the citizens in a caste system. Police will be fine with the same legal protections as everyone else in a nation where all citizens are to be equal.

You should instead be concerned with the victims of police violence and misconduct while holding these rogue police officers accountable.

Mark said...

I was taught as a child to respect cops and always do what they say. That was fifty years ago though, and today's cop is different. Ex military cops straight from Iraq and Afghanistan have no business patrolling our streets as they seem to be far more aggressive than cops of yesteryear. The phrase "you may beat the rap, but you won't beat the ride" makes my blood boil.