Friday, February 8, 2013

Speaking of Which -- The LAPD Thing

Newspaper delivery truck shot to pieces. Oops.
Yes. Well.

When I saw a brief mention on the news yesterday that a former LAPD officer had shot a bunch of people, had issued a "manifesto", and disappeared and then saw something about Torrance police shooting two women in a blue pick up (Oops! Sorry! Wrong one!) it was all I could do to keep my blood from boiling. This is the kind of impunity by those with guns -- and that includes the police and in this case ex-police -- that gets people into a froth and frenzy. Why are people with guns going around shooting like this seemingly more and more often? Why do they think they have a right to do it with impunity?

During the day, I didn't really follow the events of the manhunt, and I had no idea whether other people had been shot by police or by the fugitive ex LAPD officer, but if any had been, I wouldn't have been surprised. Later in the evening, I found a site that posted the uncensored version of Christopher Dorner's "manifesto," and I read part of it, and...

Oh dear.

I saw why LAPD was in such a total meltdown. It's not just police departments, it's practically the entire government at every level dreading the day when one of their "own" as it were goes on a rampage like this and tells the world exactly -- and truthfully -- why. It's similar to the days when "going postal" became a meme and a metaphor for abused workers taking their anger and frustrations out on their bosses and fellow workers.

The LAPD has been a witches brew of intrigue and corruption, lies and brutality, murder and worse, going back generations. All the efforts at reform dating especially from the Rodney King Thing in 1991 have largely been eyewash, and everybody knows it. The system carries an incurable disease within it. The only real answer is to abolish the Department (and all kinds of ancillary and dependent agencies) and start over. This is true of many urban police departments and not a few non-urban ones. When operated with such impunity, it's hard not to become corrupt.

Dorner's specific complaint, that he was unjustly accused and fired because he broke internal omerta regarding an instance of police brutality rings very, very true. No doubt this has happened to many well-meaning and idealistic officers over the years, and not solely in LA. Witnessing misbehavior and brutality and worse on the part of fellow officers is pretty much a daily occurrence, and what to do about it is a dilemma for officers who want to do what's right but who don't want to lose their jobs for exposing what they witness.

That's a real threat: say something and you're out. Object and you're out. And you will be smeared and denounced, you may be threatened or actually endure great bodily harm, and on occasion you may be murdered.

So what to do? What to do when internal controls and "reform" doesn't work? What to do when you are targeted?

Most people will try not to get into that situation to begin with, which means going along to get along. That's basically how most government and large corporate employees at very level typically endure. They have, they think, little choice if they want to stay with the Company.

Whistleblowers are not welcome, and their supposed protections are a joke.

So now we have a situation in Southern California where one of the LAPD's (former) "own" has had enough of the abuse and is taking matters (and guns) into his own hands to exact revenge.

Police forces in Southern California appear to be in full panic mode because they know or believe Dorner can do it -- get plenty of revenge at the place and time of his choosing. Almost nothing is more terrifying to authority.

In their zeal to capture or kill their enemy, they shoot at anyone and anything they think might pose a threat. Thus two newspaper delivery women are shot in Torrance -- because they I might be someone who threatens them, Dorner or someone, anyone, and they're in a scary blue truck which looks something like the one Dorner is said to be driving. C'est la vie. Oh well. Too bad, so sad. The women, they say, will recover.

In the nearly endless series of mass murders in this country, police and government, the rich and powerful, the High and the Mighty, Authority, are almost never the targets or the victims. There are exceptions to be sure, and when there are -- as in say Tucson, or Oklahoma City -- the response is almost always the same: panic.

Nearly every level of government in this country now operates behind high barricades, protected by phalanxes of armed guards and elaborate protocols for responding to threats. Protest or refusal to comply is equated with terrorism, and terrorism is the excuse for suspending the Bill of Rights (well, except for the Sacred Second, so it isn't "tyranny" yet!) and plenty of other provisions of law and custom which once protected the People from rampant abuse.

No more.

The culture of oppression, corruption, and impunity has become institutionalized among those in power to the point where they barely recognize the fact.

All they know is their right to power and their fear. When someone with a gun goes after them, they panic, as the police in Southern California have panicked. It is their worst nightmare.

I sincerely hope that no more innocents are targeted and victimized -- by anyone -- in this current state of fear and panic, but it's a wan hope.

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