More Spontaneous Public Executions

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criminal justice

Two more horrific murders of black men at the hands of police. Details are still coming to light, but it appears Alton Sterling, 37, was selling CDs on the street outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge. A homeless man called the police to tell them Sterling was “brandishing a gun,” but so far no one else who saw Sterling noticed this.  Police showed up, immobilized Sterling on the ground, and then shot and killed him while he was immobilized. I don’t see any other way to interpret the videos of the incident. Sterling may or may not have been carrying a gun, but we’re talking about Louisiana here — very lenient gun laws.

Philando Castile, 32, died in a Minneapolis hospital after being shot by police after being pulled over for driving with a broken tail light. My understanding is that Castile informed the police officer that he was carrying a concealed weapon, for which he had a permit. Then the officer told him to show some ID. Castile reached for his wallet and was shot.

Of course, Sterling and Castile were black. Meanwhile, some white yahoo in Raleigh actually shot at cops and was apprehended without injury.

But right now I want to talk about reactions. As of this writing I don’t believe Donald Trump has made any statement whatsoever about the shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. He’s still whining that people called him an anti-Semite, for some reason.

After Alton Sterling’s death Hillary Clinton issued a fairly standard this-is-just-awful statement that says a lot and nothing at the same time. Here ’tis:

“The death of Alton Sterling is a tragedy, and my prayers are with his family, including his five children. From Staten Island to Baltimore, Ferguson to Baton Rouge, too many African American families mourn the loss of a loved one from a police-involved incident. Something is profoundly wrong when so many Americans have reason to believe that our country doesn’t consider them as precious as others because of the color of their skin.

“I am glad the Department of Justice has agreed to a full and thorough review of this shooting. Incidents like this one have undermined the trust between police departments and the communities they serve. We need to rebuild that trust. We need to ensure justice is served. That begins with common sense reforms like ending racial profiling, providing better training on de-escalation and implicit bias, and supporting municipalities that refer the investigation and prosecution of police-involved deaths to independent bodies. All over America, there are police officers demonstrating how to protect the public without resorting to unnecessary force. We need to learn from and build on those examples.

“Progress is possible if we stand together and never waver in our fight to secure the future that every American deserves.”

Can’t really argue with it, except I would have said “atrocity” instead of “tragedy.” But we don’t want to piss off police unions, I guess. And the statement has a kind of boilerplate quality to it that skims the surface too much, to my mind. And how’s about making DOJ reviews automatic after police shootings? Still, it’s something, when what we got from Trump was nothing.

What was it T. S. Eliot wrote — not with a bang, but a whimper? Instead we get lots of bangs, followed by whimpering.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 7, 2016 @1:54 pm

    An armed society, makes for a nervous police force, with hair-triggers.
    But only for minorities.

    Angry – armed to the teeth – white dudes can march around, pack in their cars, pack while getting a burger, and actually shoot at police.
    But if you’re black, your best bet is to have your ID our on the dashboard at all times, so the police can see that you’re reaching for that, instead of something in your pocket. But, I suspect that won’t be good enough, either.

    It’s pretty apparent that being bigoted and afraid of minorities is baked-into policing. Even minority officers have hair-triggers when facing minorities.

    Gun all over is its own problem. But the execution of minorities is its own atrocity.
    Are the two intertwined? Probably.
    But the cracking of the heads of minorities, and the execution of them, came long before the NRA convinced everyone that they needed to be armed to the teeth.
    THAT’S where we need to start – and then, work our way up the gun-chain.

    Don’t tell me we all need to be armed at all times, when the hypocrites in the NRA and Congress allow everyone to be armed in their facilities and all of their own meetings, then they can make their case.
    But, they’re not stupid, so they don’t allow guns near their precious selves.

    Until they do, STFU!!!!!

  2. DMC  •  Jul 7, 2016 @4:59 pm

    Bang or Whimper actually sums up the presidential election pretty nicely.

  3. bernie  •  Jul 7, 2016 @5:04 pm

    The British seem so happy that we have taken a bit of attention off of their misguided Brexit vote. Their news people seemed more than happy to focus on ineptitude and crude class warfare in the United States as they wallow conspicuously on the world stage with self inflicted economic and social wounds and a bit of class warfare of their own. For those that missed Brexit fallout it seems that Polish natives in England have became their new scapegoat. Not a scapegoat anointed from four slugs from an officer sworn to serve and protect, but still.

    Trust is the victim. Not just for minorities but for all of us. These are not acts done by the officer friendly you send to talk to your children in elementary school. If these acts are not what officer friendly can honestly tell and show to all elementary school age children, they should not occur.

  4. Swami  •  Jul 8, 2016 @12:08 am

    Here’s what you can expect from Trump.. http://therealdeal.com/2014/06/21/trump-weighs-in-on-central-park-five-settlement/
    For those who followed the story of the police misconduct and the travesty of justice in the Central Park Five case, and then listen to Trump dismiss all that suffering in a comment about the five young men as not having a past as angels kinda shows you what a psychopath Trump really is. Trump is sick beyond description. If anybody can look at that story and not feel an ounce of empathy or a tinge of regret for believing that they were guilty before the truth came to light, and acknowledge the injustice.. then they have to be a cold hearted psychopath.. AKA Donald Trump.
    Trump won’t issue a statement about either one of those men being killed. Because to Trump’s mind the color of their skin was crime enough to warrant their execution.

  5. goatherd  •  Jul 8, 2016 @7:17 am

    I remember hearing that insufferable jackass, Sean Hannity discussing his CCW permit. He said that if he were stopped by a policeman, he would simply say, “Officer I am carrying a hand gun and I have a permit to carry.”

    Evidently, that approach doesn’t always work out so well.

    As long as we’re citing Eliot, I kind of like the “madman shaking a dead geranium.” The primary flaw with this is that horrific events seem to happen with such frequency, that we no longer need a midnight to shake our memory, there hasn’t been enough time to forget.

  6. csm  •  Jul 8, 2016 @9:53 am

    The Clinton statement, as did Obama’s, pretty much followed the standard template — pray for the families, rote praise and empathy for the “difficult job” that police have to do, a call for unity that puts equal responsibility for the solutions on the victims and empty talk about task forces whose sole purpose is to mask the fact that nothing is really being done.

    Been reading about the horrific events in Dallas. Compare the no holds barred responses to this by our leaders vs the template I mentioned above.

    What’s obvious is this: until our leaders and elites start responding to these murders of unarmed black men the way they respond to police killings, e.g. get really serious about it, nothing will change.

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 8, 2016 @9:53 am

    It looks like the suspects in the vicious Dallas sniper attack are black.

    Decidedly NOT helpful
    Harmful, in fact. VERY!
    It probably guarantees MORE black people get shot by cops.
    Jayzoos!
    How f’in stupid do you have to be to do something like this?

  8. csm  •  Jul 8, 2016 @10:15 am

    Gulag, are you sure the suspects were black? The police earlier released a photo of a black man open carrying during the protest (not a good idea) as a suspect, but he turned himself in, was questioned and released. The police said this about the suspect:

    “Before he died, the suspect told the negotiator he was upset about Black Lives Matter and the recent police shootings of black men, the police chief said. The suspect was also upset with white people, the police chief said at an early morning press conference. The suspect also said he wasn’t affiliated with any groups and was acting alone, the chief said.”

    Being upset with BLM and white people?

    One of the suspects was killed by a bomb he himself created that was detonated.

    I have scoured the interwebs and have yet to find anything identifying the suspects.

    Gulag, as a black man, I hope and pray you are wrong. If you are right, that would not be good.

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 8, 2016 @11:21 am

    csm,
    Believe me, I hope to hell I’m wrong, too!!!



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