The sudden execution of Tamir Rice and the false stories the Cleveland police were putting out about it have caused more than a little tension in Cleveland and elsewhere. The video evidence shows that the police arrived at the park where he'd been playing (albeit with a toy gun, and Negroes and toy guns tend to give white folk the heebe-jeebes. EEEE!) Anyway, the police arrive and immediately shoot the boy. The video is compressed, only two frames a second, but it is clear that literally no time at all transpires between the moment the police cruiser arrives and the boy is lying on the ground, mortally wounded.
Split-second decision? No, Tamir Rice was marked for death when the call came in and the warrior cops were dispatched to take care of him. Negro with a gun, that's all they needed to know.
These are the rules:
Job well done. Carry on.
Why is it that a Negro -- pretty much any person of color -- with a gun or said to be armed in any way is subject to instant execution, whereas white folk are not (though we should not come to think that white folk are immune. They are by no means immune -- as a cursory look at the stories documented at "Killed by Police" will demonstrate.)
The point is that Negroes are the primary targets for summary execution in this country, and they are the ones who take the brunt of today's Killer Kop culture. It's devastating families and whole communities. If we can get a handle on why that is and what can be done about it, we might simultaneously be witness to a reduction in police killing and violence of all kinds.
Police departments are aware that they are in some disrepute among a growing segment of the population, though they comfort themselves in the belief that a "majority" of the public still loves and appreciates them. The City Administrator who is in charge of the police in Albuquerque used that line in an interview before the release of the consent decree with the DoJ, and it was false. A "majority" of the public in ABQ indicated in a poll taken shortly before the interview that they did not have confidence in the police. Disconnect was stark. The public's confidence in the police had declined sharply from previous polls, in part because of the constant rat-tat-tat of police killings of innocent and/or mentally ill victims. They were killing too many people too often, too often over issues that could have been handled without violence or gunfire at all. And it was too obvious.
That fact had not penetrated the police culture, however. It had not yet reached the protected enclaves within the city administration. The police were still of the opinion that they were beloved by the people when they were not. The city was still convinced that if the community were annoyed with all the bloodshed, it was merely a matter of public relations and perception management.
In studying the issue, I came across a video-lecture by (Lt. Col.) Dave Grossman that seemed to me to encapsulate the philosophical, almost spiritual madness that has led to so many police killings and seemed to me to be a key to understanding -- and perhaps dealing with -- the police mindset that is primarily responsible. I posted the video last Friday, and have mentioned it in other posts.
Today, I'll try to transcribe and annotate it.
The video is titled "The Sheep, the Wolf, and the Sheepdog," and it comes from Grossman's book "On Combat."
I talk about the sheep, the wolf and the sheep dog, and I can't tell you how many people have come up to me over the years and said, "You know I always thought there was somethin' wrong with me. All my life people told me I was a 'wolf.' I'm not a wolf. I would never harm the flock. But I yearn for a righteous battle. I yearn for an opportunity to use my skills."
The sheep are all those kind, decent, gentle creatures who can only hurt ya by accident or extreme provocation, and the wolf will feed on the sheep without mercy.
Then there's the sheep dog. The sheep dog is a predator too. The sheep dog's a meat-eater, too. It takes a predator to hunt a predator. But that sheep dog, if if if you have no propensity for violence, then you're a nonviolent citizen. If you have a propensity for violence and an absence of empathy, violence without any emotion for others, pretty good definition of aggressive sociopath, or a wolf. But what if you had a propensity for violence and a love for the lambs? What if you spent a lifetime nurturing the capacity for violence and a desire to use it in a righteous battle?
You know the sheep heard about the 9/11 highjack and said, "Thank god I wasn't on that plane." The sheepdog heard about the 9/11 highjackings and said, "I wish I was on that plane. Maybe I coulda made a difference."
And that's that mindset. The amazing thing is that the sheep dog, they're not destroyed by combat. They thrive in it. We have got to go into combat with what I call a 'positive self-fulfilling prophecy.' People have scripts in their minds, and if you get in a gunfight and say "Oh my God, my life is gonna go to hell, I had to kill this guy, everything's gonna be shit," then that's a mental program you just gave yourself. "My life is gonna go to hell, everything's gonna go to shit."
Most people will tell you -- in private, one on one -- "that when I had to shoot that bad guy, it was the culminating achievement of a lifetime of preparation. I used my skills in a life and death event to stop a deadly threat and to stop a bad man. It was the ultimate achievement of my lifetime. The pinnacle of a lifetime of preparation. It was a moment of great adrenaline, achievement. All my training came together and and and it was one of the greatest moments of my life!"
If if if you think about going into combat that way -- and the sheepdog does, the sheepdog yearns for that opportunity -- then then when combat comes, you're not destroyed, you got a positive self-fulfilling prophecy. And and and it's so important that we don't sink into what I call the "pity party." That we have this positive self-fulfilling prophecy as we go into combat.
The sheepdog. They yearn for that righteous battle, and when the moment comes they thrive on it, they take pride in it, and and and they get on with their lives and are able to sustain themselves and be triumphant and stronger for their experience."
Well, there you have it.
I only saw some of the interview with Brave Officer Wilson the other day, and I don't see much reason to watch it all. It was clear enough from what I saw that Brave Officer Wilson believes himself to be a sheepdog and for him, killing Michael Brown was a high, if not the highest, achievement of his lifetime. He had to shoot that bad guy, a weaponized NegroDemonHulk, and it gave him a rush. He's still high from it.
How many police officers have adopted this cultic belief -- propagated by this man, (Lt Col) Dave Grossman -- that killing is their highest achievement, what they live for, and how many carry a positive view of killing? A positive self-fulfilling prophecy about their coming opportunities to kill?
I've pointed out that many police departments maintain and deploy kill-squads, snipers. Many deaths caused by police are due to the deployment of these kill-squads, but not all. Quite a few are the result of trigger-happy patrolmen confronted with what they think is a Bad Guy who needs killing, and here is their opportunity to fulfill that "positive prophecy." They then reach their highest achievement. They've killed the Bad Guy/Gal for the good of the flock...
Imagine how this madness infects rookie policemen especially, and then imagine how the killer of Tamir Rice must have seen himself as the cruiser pulled up to the boy and he got out and shot little Tamir (he was a small boy) bam, bam, and he knew it was a Good Kill, for Tamir was a Negro With A Gun, and that is absolutely all he needed to know to designate him as a Wolf from whom the rest of the flock of Sheep had to be protected. Bam-bam.
A little boy.
And so it goes. In Albuquerque and many other places, the primary victims of police killings are mentally ill individuals having some kind of episode or breakdown. Police are always dispatched first on these calls, and they almost always approach them with weapons at the ready. Far too often, the result is a dead mentally ill individual. In the police mind, "the Bulletproof Mind" (another of the training videos and seminars Grossman offers), the mentally ill are nearly as dangerous to the flock of sheep as the Negro With A Gun, and they are treated with almost as much deadly contempt and force.
Supposedly, police aren't trained to deal with the mentally ill, but they ARE trained. They're trained to kill them if they feel there is a sufficient threat from the individual. They are trained to kill suicidal individuals who threaten no one but themselves. They are trained to kill Negro males in their multitudes ("thugs" don'tcha know). They are trained to kill Hispanic males ("thugs" and drugs, don'tcha know), and they are trained to kill poor whites ("meth monsters" don'tcha know) of whatever gender.
And they do. They kill them day in and day out, and they see every one of these killings as a high achievement, perhaps the highest achievement of their lives.
You can see it in Brave Officer Wilson's apparently passionless description of what he did to Michael Brown. He's still jazzed. Thrilled. He killed. He killed a Negro Demon Hulk, a weaponized black man, a jibbering savage, an animal to be put down. He killed! There is no higher purpose or calling than that. He did his job.
Insane freaks like (Lt. Col.) Dave Grossman are the reason why.
They are the ones who inculcate the theories, theology, "killology," and philosophy that leads police to kill so many and so inappropriately.
I'm convinced that 90% or more of lethal force incidents do not require lethal force at all. The blanket use of lethal force in so many of the incidents that do take place leads to contempt for police and worse. The abject failure of the injustice system to hold police accountable, indeed its celebration and rewarding of police killing, leads to contempt for law.
This is a self-fulfilling prophecy, however. The police do not have to kill, certainly not as often as they do, but they do it because of insane beliefs that are inculcated by people like (Lt. Col.) Grossman, by use of lethal force policies which propose that "force protection" -- that is protection of the officer -- is the highest value, and by laws which protect police when they kill.
But they are on the wrong side of history. Their cult of killing is self-fulfilling the demise of the killer cop. It won't come quickly, not quickly enough to save the lives of the thousand or more killed this year and probably next, but it will come.
Too many police forces have faced too much public outrage at their cult of killing to sustain the practice much longer. They've gone too far for too long.
A reckoning is on the way.