Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Blood is on No One's Hand but the Guilty, and He's Dead

I suck.

I have a post on Ferguson that's been sitting in my draft section.  I have yet to post my thoughts about the shootings on those two NYPD police officers and the following marches/voices of support for the police.  Well, no time like the present.

In case you missed it, back around late December,
An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday afternoon, striking them both before running into a nearby subway station and committing suicide, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.
The shooting took place in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Both officers were shot in the head and rushed to a hospital, where they later died.

At a news conference Saturday night, Bratton identified the officers as Wenjian Liu, a seven-year veteran of the NYPD, and Raphael Ramos, who joined the force two years ago.
"They were, quite simply, assassinated -- targeted for their uniform," Bratton said. "They were ambushed and murdered."......
The gunman, identified as 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, shot himself inside the subway station, Bratton said. A semi-automatic handgun was recovered at the scene.....
Bratton said Brinsley had shot and seriously wounded his ex-girlfriend Saturday morning in Baltimore and made posts from her Instagram account that were "very anti-police."
Authorities didn't get into the specifics of the contents of the posts, but a police source told CBS News that Brinsley posted a photo of a handgun on Instagram a few hours before the shooting. CBS News could not independently verify that the message came from the suspect.

"I'm Putting Wings On Pigs Today," the post said. "They Take 1 Of Ours. Let's Take 2 Of Theirs. #ShootThePolice #RIPErivGardner (sic) #RIPMikeBrown This May Be My Final Post. I'm Putting Pigs In A Blanket"

While I have no problem with the public showing support for the police force, what PISSED ME OFF about that whole incident was the belief that the protests about recent police brutality and shootings somehow fueled the idea of violence toward the police, leading to the deaths of the officers. That if you protested the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, etc., that you're against the police.  Take this guy....

Some of his own words:  "Those that incited violence on the streets under the guise of protest that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn it must not go on, it cannot be tolerated," Lynch said. "That blood on the hands starts at City Hall in the office of the mayor."

Let me make something clear.

You can support the police and still be against police brutality.  You can support the police, know that there are many good police officers, and still protest against the unfair deaths of black men at the hands of some police officers.  The police are NOT above scrutiny.

Now with that being said, this happened:

This was taken around December 13th of last year in New York City in the wake of the police related death of Eric Garner.  The shooting of the officers was around December 20th.  Were the protestors in the video wrong, OF COURSE!

But out of ALL the protests that happened across the country, people took this one group - this one instance, and decided that ALL protests against police brutality (at least the ones in New York) caused the deaths of the two officers.  Ridiculous!   

Now were there instances of police officers being assaulted, yes.  People, especially black people are angry and tired of police brutality happening towards blacks.  But that still doesn't make assaulting police officers OK, and I'm sure most of those protesting against treatment by the police agree.  But the minority cases always take the forefront.

Funny.....police complain that the good cops are grouped with the bad; about how they are portrayed, and they always point out that most cops are good cops.  However, when it comes the protests against police shootings and abuse of power, the few incidents of violence during those protests are constantly used to represent the entirety of the protestors.  The good and bad are grouped together.  Look at how many times people brought up the rioters from Ferguson as an example of the protests over there.  The protestors and rioters were grouped together.   

About the shooter.
To blame the protests for his actions is like blaming violent video games/movies for the actions of school shooters.  Or that a movie/music video/show/video game having a character that think it's OK to kill people means that it tells someone that it's OK to believe that in real life and to act on it.  The shooter was already not right in the head.  He even attacked his ex-girlfriend earlier on, but no one seems to ever mention that..... 

In conclusion, as Jon Stewart said:
You can truly grieve for every officer who's been lost in the line of duty in this country, and still be troubled by cases of police overreach.  Those two ideas are not mutually exclusive.  You can have great regard for law enforcement and still want them to be held to high standards.
 Here are some more great comments from people online about the whole thing:
- This phony and logically baffling indignation is similar to that expressed by the St. Louis County Police Association when it demanded an apology from the NFL when several Rams players entered the field with their hands held high in the iconic Michael Brown gesture of surrender. Or when LeBron James and W.R. Allen wore his “I Can’t Breathe” shirts echoing Eric Garner’s final plea before dying. Such outrage by police unions and politicians implies that there is no problem, which is the erroneous perception that the protestors are trying to change.
- It's like people don't understand that the action of a single person does not represent an entire group. Then again, these are probably the same people who think the 9/11 attacks of an extremist group represents an entire culture and religion. Ignorance feeds ignorance.
- In a Dec. 21, 2014 article about the shooting, the Los Angeles Times referred to the New York City protests as “anti-police marches,” which is grossly inaccurate and illustrates the problem of perception the protestors are battling. The marches are meant to raise awareness of double standards, lack of adequate police candidate screening, and insufficient training that have resulted in unnecessary killings. Police are not under attack, institutionalized racism is. Trying to remove sexually abusive priests is not an attack on Catholicism, nor is removing ineffective teachers an attack on education. Bad apples, bad training, and bad officials who blindly protect them, are the enemy. And any institution worth saving should want to eliminate them, too.

And lastly:
The idiots who killed these people are responsible for their deaths!  Can we say that all white people are responsible for over 200 years of slavery, followed by generations of jim crow laws, and now institutional racism?  absolutely not.  some white people are hateful racists, and some are not.  some people are idiots and take the law into their own hands , and others, such as myself,  respect and obey the law.  place the blame where it belongs-on the heads of the idiot criminals who killed these officers!

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six-time NBA champion and league Most Valuable Player; also an author, filmmaker and education ambassador) also had thoughts to share of his own.  From his article, The Police Aren’t Under Attack. Institutionalized Racism Is:

The recent brutal murder of two Brooklyn police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, is a national tragedy that should inspire nationwide mourning. Both my grandfather and father were police officers, so I appreciate what a difficult and dangerous profession law enforcement is. We need to value and celebrate the many officers dedicated to protecting the public and nourishing our justice system. It’s a job most of us don’t have the courage to do.
At the same time, however, we need to understand that their deaths are in no way related to the massive protests against systemic abuses of the justice system as symbolized by the recent deaths—also national tragedies—of Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and Michael Brown. Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the suicidal killer, wasn’t an impassioned activist expressing political frustration, he was a troubled man who had shot his girlfriend earlier that same day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How Darren Wilson Demonized Michael Brown - from the Root

Some excepts I wanted to share.....Read the whole thing at the source.  It's pretty good.

Stereotypes are dangerous. And for Michael Brown, they proved to be deadly.
Of all that we heard Monday night about the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Brown, what kept me awake for hours after the announcement was made was Wilson’s testimony.

Testimony in which Wilson said that Brown “had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.”

It was rife with imagery that dates back hundreds of years as it relates to how white men often perceive black men. His use of vivid language, describing Brown like “Hulk Hogan” while describing himself, in comparison, like a small child holding on for dear life, is troubling. This is the power and danger of racial “stereotypes.”

When we believe that another human being is in fact, not human, we remove ourselves from how we treat, and entreat, them. We justify prejudices. We justify disrespect. We justify dehumanization in ways that can, and often does, lead to tragedy.

The anger and violence that erupted last night in Ferguson is so much bigger than Brown’s tragic death though. It’s not really about whether Wilson was “justified” in taking a life. Or whether Brown robbed a grocery store for cigars, “charged” Wilson or caused the officer to fear for his life. It’s about a community that feels disenfranchised—and assaulted by the very officers sworn to protect them.

This American tragedy is about a longstanding history of “fear” between white law-enforcement officers and young black men (unarmed, in uniform, in suits or driving while black). And until we address that issue, we will continue to see more teens like Trayvon Martin stalked and gunned down by unarmed vigilantes like George Zimmerman. And we will continue to see the use of deadly force to “subdue” black male suspects who have not been given their fundamental rights of due process.

Ferguson Post Part 1

Well, by now, we all know that Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted for killing unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.  The jury believed that the officer acted within the rules of police conduct and that he was right to feel threatened by Brown.  According to prosecutor Bob McCulloch, the jury reached their decision based on the evidence and testimony from Wilson and black witnesses. 

I don’t know about you, but there’s something fishy going on here.  But I'll save that for the next post.  

Let me take a moment to say this. 

I’m sick of those who are on the side of Wilson, painting those who think he was wrong to shoot Brown as only going by emotion; constantly sprouting that blacks who are against Wilson believe that because Michael was black, he's innocent, and that white cops are always in the wrong!  Or those who believe that racism is only about whether someone is gunned down BECAUSE their black.  Or constantly complaining about Jesse Jackson this, Obama that, the mainstream/liberal media also!  These people miss the point entirely.

Could it be that people are against Wilson because what he did was wrong, and that the evidence and witness testimonies leave much to be desired, even straight up questionable (I'll get to that later).  Many white people say that the right decision was made and it was based on evidence, yet it was mostly white people who cried fowl when O. J. Simpson was set free.  The jury found him innocent based on evidence too....   

Racism isn't only about something being done to someone BECAUSE they're black.  It involves the views, feelings, and fear someone has, and stereotypes people hold, of another person that fuels their actions towards them.  Darren didn't kill Brown solely because he was black, but Brown being black influenced Darren to take actions he wouldn't necessarily have taken had Michael been white or even a hefty white woman.  The point is, many cops out right FEAR black people, especially black men, and that fear causes them to be skittish and jumpy.  And you can't be a cop and feel skittish. 

I heard this on the Steve Harvey Morning Show.  Blacks are used to being "the only one" in groups, whether it be in a class or work environment.  But whites, truth be told, aren't used to that.  Add being sent to areas where there are issues with crime and you got some scared white cops.

Another thing, the protesters in Ferguson being seen as ALL violent really upsets me.  I'm not excusing the rioters, but there were rioters and there were protesters.  Apparently, there was indeed peaceful protests in front of the police station, but of course no one mentions that.  And I got to tell you...while watching the live feed on MSNBC, at times it seems as if the cops were overzealous in controlling the citizens.  For example, threatening to arrest people if they didn't get out of the street and onto the sidewalk....really?  Not to mention at one point sending in TRUCKS that shot out teargas/smoke bombs/whichever it was.  The location where that took place, if I recall correctly, I didn't see any outright rioting.  To make it worse, people claim that tear gas was being flown into people's yards.

Again, I'm not excusing the rioters.  I know that bricks were thrown, a couple of cars set on fire, businesses vandalized, etc.  I'm just saying to not combine the rioters and protesters into one group.  And with the rioters being mostly black, people (especially whites) like to base the entire group on the actions of some.   

Up next, my thoughts on the shooting itself.

Thoughts about Rape and Risks

Something I saw over at Youtube under the comments section:

This comment touches on something I've always wondered about.  Is how a woman dress really THAT MUCH of a factor in increasing the risk of a woman being raped?  Does it really play a role?

We all know that women and girls can wear anything from sweats to a cocktail dress and be raped.  So is there truly any validity to the belief that what a woman wears will increase her chances of being raped?

There are those that believe that rape is about power and those that believe it's more about sex, or more perhaps unhealthy sexual urges.  Because of the latter belief, people believe that if a woman dresses a certain way, whatever that may be, that a certain male sect of the population would target her for rape.  Or something like that.

Here's what I think.  If someone's planning on raping you, they're going to do it regardless of what you wear.  With that being said, unlike the belief that rape is only about power, I see it as being both about power and about warped/uncontrolled sexual desires.  So is it possible for a rapist to see someone wearing something sexy/flattering and be turned on to the point of wanting to rape them?  Yeah I think so...but a pair of skinny jeans and a nice shirt can be seen a sexy, so can a professional pencil skirt or a nice turtleneck.  Does this mean that women should not wear cute skinny jeans, a flattering top out in public, or heck wear workout outfits while jogging (or even jog outside), out of fear of attracting the wrong attention?

Absolutely not.  That's like saying that we shouldn't EVER carry around expensive purses or wear expensive jewelry out in public - AT ALL -, out of constant fear of being robbed.  

Something else I want to touch on.

All this talk of how women shouldn't go off with strange men...what makes a guy a "strange man"?  Many rapes and sexual assaults occur by someone the victim knows so I wouldn't think they would be considered "strange".  So what is a "strange man", one you don't know?  In that case any guy you don't know that well or just met is "strange", which is funny considering how much guys around the "man-o-sphere" hate how females (to them) throw around the word "creepy" when referring to guys they aren't attracted to, who tries to hit on them or stare at them a little too long (God forbid, guys are called creepy because they act, well...obviously creepy).

Look, I'm for taking precautions, but there's that and there's this ever ending list of reasons why you were raped or risks of being raped that's brought up time and time again.  You know, those discussions that happen whenever a girl is raped that focus on what she did wrong.  Even worse are those discussions that focus on what she was wearing.  Why even mention what the victim had on or not have on?  All it does is insinuate that the victim was partially to blame in inciting that rapist.  It's saying....he wasn't going to rape her if she was wearing something else.  As if it was solely because of what she was wearing.  It also insinuates that women and girls have to be careful in what we wear because all men have the potential to be rapists, which is a big lie, and it's something MRAs (men's right activists) accuse feminists of believing and teaching to the masses.    

The ONLY time I think it's OK to know what an alledged victim was or was not wearing is in cases of he said/she said.  Like, if the guy being charged claims the sex was consensual and it was found that the alledged victim did go into his bedroom voluntarily, wearing lingerie at the time.  But even then, one shouldn't automatically disbelieve the victim.

Hopefully this post didn't go all over the place.  Sorry if it did...just wanted to share my two cents, or three, or a dollar lol....

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tweets and Commentary from those in the Ferguson protests

From actor Jesse Williams tumblr site.  I didn't know how to embed the video.  You can see it in the link:

They have 3 [Black] eyewitnesses, which they completely disregard by framing a false equivalency with— and I’m not making this up, "an anonymous caller who did NOT witness the shooting BUT is a friend of the officers"

Whaaaaaat? You’re rebutting 3 eyewitnesses with  an anonymous caller who did NOT even see the events AND is a friend of the shooter? Really?

Where they do that at?

CNN continues, “"an anonymous caller who did NOT witness the shooting BUT is a friend of the officers says Michael Brown was the aggressor, which CNN has CONFIRMED matches the account officer Wilson gave authorities.”

Oh, you confirmed it did you? Of course it matches, she’s representing the guy who will literally say anything to stay out of jail. She already admitted that she could not possibly know if what she’s saying is true, and CNN broadcasts it around the world. Think about that. They use the word “confirmed” in an attempt to add validity to propoganda, while making it sound like they did some work.

Then, as if that wasn’t crazy enough, they immediately play the ANONYMOUS person’s call/version of events on TV!! (With captioning to make sure the narrative really burns into your consciousness.) Her version has literally zero merit. They did not play any of the eyewitness accounts and went straight to a play-by-play from someone who WASN’T EVEN THERE??!!

That is a gross violation of journalistic responsibility and public trust.

The question is not “if” but why; why have news networks chosen a side?

(Granted, none of these accounts are given under oath; none are automatically true. But at least ask people who could possibly be of value.)

If you really want to understand the fear that blacks have toward the police and the anger and claims of racism, visit Jesse's page.  You'll find first hand tweets and accounts of those actually in the Ferguson protests, among other things.  Some examples:

Officer threatens to kill Ferguson livestreamers
Ferguson advance on protestors with guns drawn...
An interesting report from a protestor
People trying to go home, get detained
Police forced Amnesty International to leave
Officers wouldn't display identification...
90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein arrested for peacefully protesting...in Ferguson
Autopsy report
"Tonight cops have...."
It's perfectly legal to film cops...
When the media treat white suspects and killers better than black victims

Like I said, these are only some examples.  His tumblr page is awesome.   

And....just in case you don't know who Jesse Williams is:

Yes, he's the one that plays Dr. Jackson Avery on the ABC Television series Grey's Anatomy.

Something else that's pretty cool.  This month he joined in the latest protests in Ferguson.

And I'll end with a link this video of him on CNN

Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly Discuss White Privilege

If you want an explanation of white privilege, here it is.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Thoughts on Ferguson

I know the whole Ferguson incident has been out of the media for awhile, but I wanted to get this off my chest.

In discussions and arguments I've read online about the Michael Brown shooting and Ferguson protests, common responses from mostly white people are along the lines of "what about black on black crime" or how no one makes a big deal about black on white crime.

For one thing, the blacks HAVE expressed concerns over issues like violence that goes on within the community.  There have been marches, meetings, etc., they just weren't nationally televised. 

Second point - when it comes to black on black crime, more often than not there's no question of guilt and the guilty party is rightfully put away.  On top of that:
On average, blacks receive almost 10% longer sentences than comparable whites arrested for the same crimes
And while we're at it:

From the Huffington Post
  • Drugs. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of current illicit drug use was 11.1 % among whites, and 9.3% among African Americans. [5] In a previous year, the same survey found that white youth aged 12 to17 are more than a third more likely to have sold drugs than African American youth. [6] The Monitoring the Future Survey of high school seniors shows that white students annually use cocaine at 4.6 times the rate of African Americans students, use crack cocaine at 1.5 times the rate of African Americans students, and use heroin at the same rate of African Americans students, and that white youth report annual use of marijuana at a rate 46% higher than African American youth. [7] However African American youth are arrested for drug offenses at about twice the rate (African American 314 per 100,000, white 175 per 100,000) times that of whites, [8] and African American youth represent nearly half (48%) of all the youth incarcerated for a drug offense in the juvenile justice system. [9]
  • Weapons. According to the Center on Disease Control's annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, in 2001 whites and African Americans reported similar rates of carrying a weapon (whites 17.9%, African Americans 15.2%), and similar rates of carrying a gun (whites 5.5%, and African Americans, 6.5%). [10] African American youth represent 32% of all weapons arrests, and were arrested for weapons offenses at a rate twice that of whites (69 per 100,000, versus 30 per 100,000). [11]
  • Assault. According to the Center on Disease Control's annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, African Americans report being in a physical fight at a similar rate (36.5%, versus 32.5% for whites), but were arrested for aggravated assault at a rate nearly three times that of whites (137 per 100,000, versus 48 per 100,000)
And I'll leave this here for the heck of it.

More about black on black crime.  From the Daily Beast:  The Trayvon Martin Killing and the Myth of Black-on-Black Crime.
 ....in Chicago, 16-year-old Darryl Green was found dead in the yard of an abandoned home. He was killed, relatives reported, because he refused to join a gang. Unlike most tragedies, however—which remain local news—this one caught the attention of conservative activist Ben Shapiro, an editor for Breitbart News. Using the hashtag “#justicefordarryl,” Shaprio tweeted and publicized the details of Green’s murder. But this wasn’t a call for help and assistance for Green’s family, rather, it was his response to wide outrage over Saturday’s decision in the case of George Zimmerman, where a Florida jury judged him “not guilty” of second-degree murder or manslaughter in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Shapiro, echoing many other conservatives, is angry over the perceived politicization of the Zimmerman trial, and believes that activists have ”injected” race into the discussion, as if there’s nothing racial already within the criminal-justice system. Indeed, he echoes many conservatives when he complains that media attention had everything to do with Zimmerman’s race. If he were black, the argument goes, no one would care. And so, Shapiro found the sad story of Darryl Green, and promoted it as an example of the “black-on-black” crime that, he believes, goes ignored. Or, as he tweets, “49% of murder victims are black men. 93% of those are killed by other blacks. Media don’t care. Obama doesn’t care. #JusticeForDarryl.”
......But there’s a huge problem with attempt to shift the conversation: There’s no such thing as “black-on-black” crime. Yes, from 1976 to 2005, 94 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders, but that racial exclusivity was also true for white victims of violent crime—86 percent were killed by white offenders. Indeed, for the large majority of crimes, you’ll find that victims and offenders share a racial identity, or have some prior relationship to each other.
What Shapiro and others miss about crime, in general, is that it’s driven by opportunism and proximity; If African-Americans are more likely to be robbed, or injured, or killed by other African-Americans, it’s because they tend to live in the same neighborhoods as each other. Residential statistics bear this out (PDF); blacks are still more likely to live near each other or other minority groups than they are to whites. And of course, the reverse holds as well—whites are much more likely to live near other whites than they are to minorities and African-Americans in particular.
.....“Black-on-black crime” has been part of the American lexicon for decades, but as a specific phenomenon, it’s no more real than “white-on-white crime.” Unlike the latter, however, the idea of “black-on-black crime” taps into specific fears around black masculinity and black criminality—the same fears that, in Florida, led George Zimmerman to focus his attention on Trayvon Martin, and in New York, continue to justify Michael Bloomberg’s campaign of police harassment against young black men in New York City.
Now about black on white crime.

It turns out that "most death sentences are handed out for killing white people, even though African-Americans make up 50% of murder victims (they are only 12% of the population)".

In other words,
....if an African-American male had fired ten shots into the SUV of some white suburban kids playing their music too loud, killing one of them, I think we all know there would have been a murder conviction and almost certainly a death penalty imposed.
In case of conviction for murder, African-Americans are 38% more likely to be handed the death penalty than members of other racial groupings.
So basically, when it comes to black on white crime, the conviction of blacks is pretty much guaranteed.  Again, there's not really a questions of guilt.

Then there's this article.

Lastly, one thing that bothered me was the news and media take on the protests.  They basically combined the rioters and the protesters into one group and gave the impression that the protesters were the ones violent.  That was not true; there was no differentiation between the rioters and the protesters.  To make matters worse, the police treated the protesters as if they were the violent ones.  In a continuation post, I plan on posting tweets and pictures recounting the protests and violence from the ones there.