Friday, July 8, 2016

opening fire on whose police?

The rest of us wait in stunned stillness -- awed and yet completely understanding what is so, somehow, incomprehensible. Civil society was supposed to be civil and yet the civility has gone out of things. My assumptions and hopes -- the ones held quietly on some back burner of my tapestry -- are shredded ... again. And my shit is nothing when compared with the constant suspicions and disregard ladled out to a brown-skinned man or woman.

The apparent assassination of five Dallas police officers and the wounding of six others greeted my news-cruise this morning and without even thinking, I felt I positively knew why and how it had happened. How much shit can the black community eat before someone says "Enough!" and opens fire? Wouldn't I? You bet I would... or at least I imagine it. Of course there is no "black community" any more than there are nothing but "Arabs" in the Middle East. There are people who find connections between one white-police-on-community-black killing and the next. I have no doubt that the stunned silence I feel extends to many of those who, like me, feel a lightning flash of understanding and agreement: If you piss in my face long enough, at what point do I piss back?
Protests were held in several other cities [besides Dallas] across the country Thursday night after a Minnesota officer on Wednesday fatally shot Philando Castile while he was in a car with a woman and a child. The aftermath of the shooting was livestreamed in a widely shared Facebook video. A day earlier, Alton Sterling was shot in Louisiana after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers. That, too, was captured on a cellphone video.
Imagine is Donald Trump were president.

Was it just yesterday -- yes it was -- that I told a friend about my National Guard son's upcoming gun class -- the one that would allow him to carry a weapon. And I said to my friend that perhaps I would ask my son to provide a shotgun to be on hand around the house. Why? Because I sense a war in which the good guys, the ones who might be charged with keeping me and mine safe, could be employed to suppress the otherwise law-abiding ... irrespective of color. Is this the best solution? Am I some National Rifle Association enthusiast/nut job. I don't feel that way, but history proves that where central authority feels its foundations tremble, it is likely to deploy the troops at its disposal ... not to assure civil society so much as to protect the confines of authority and power. Consider the Bonus Army of 1932. Consider the labor upheavals in the late 19th and early 20th century. The cops were employed on behalf of the employers. Civil society was a term employed by a well-manicured and decidedly uncivil group.

"Fuck you!" is hardly a civil argument, let alone a fruitful rejoinder. But where recourse dwindles, maybe a shotgun is not as stupid as it sounds. As the comic-strip character Pogo once observed, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

1 comment:

  1. You can try to protect your self and family, but we are outgunned in spite of our numbers. And returning from the wars we have battle hardened volunteers, the majority of whom drank the kool-aid before the official indoctrination.

    We all feel that it's fair to shoot a burglar or robber to protect our stuff, even though the law speaks to the defense of life. And bankers and landlords of the 1% sort feel the same way. They will utilize our trained military and police to protect their wealth from fair wages among other things.