Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Little Rational Thinking

...goes a long way.  From Rolling Stone:
After months of escalating protests and grassroots organizing in response to the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, police reformers have issued many demands. The moderates in this debate typically qualify their rhetoric with "We all know we need police, but..." It's a familiar refrain to those of us who've spent years in the streets and the barrios organizing around police violence, only to be confronted by officers who snarl, "But who'll help you if you get robbed?" We can put a man on the moon, but we're still lacking creativity down here on Earth.
But police are not a permanent fixture in society. While law enforcers have existed in one form or another for centuries, the modern police have their roots in the relatively recent rise of modern property relations 200 years ago, and the "disorderly conduct" of the urban poor. Like every structure we've known all our lives, it seems that the policing paradigm is inescapable and everlasting, and the only thing keeping us from the precipice of a dystopic Wild West scenario. It's not.
I have no plans to stop bitching about things - when I think something's wrong, I'm gonna bitch about it.  But while it's really lotsa fun to unleash a good cathartic-feeling tirade, eventually, there's no point in it if all I ever do is bitch about it.  So here's the thing: we've gotta come up with alternatives.

We have a problem with violence.  Recognize and deal effectively with that problem, and we're a big step closer to being able to solve some of the other problems that grow out of our problem with violence.

Right now, we look a lot like the townsfolk in the old westerns who hire a gunslinger to deal with (insert local bad guy here), but then realize they've only substituted one bully for another.

Violence in service of politics is at the heart of what we're supposed to be the exception to.

Let's try something else.

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