Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Killings

Once again we are awash blood. I used to say that Los Angeles suffered from a Killer Culture, but in fact, the Killer Culture pervades the United States, has done from the beginning, and every now and again the blood-baths and deaths break out domestically and abroad. Shooting and killing at home, assassinations and wars of choice abroad.

Interesting that the identified shooter in Dallas is said to have served in Afghanistan, yet another victim, I'd say, of that Killer Culture that sees all defined Others as expendable and worthy of death. US official killing sprees, domestically and overseas, have been with us from before the beginning. It's an identity thing. 

The identified killer in Orlando was a trained security guard who wanted to be a cop so they say.

Two black men were killed by police a few days apart, essentially because the police were... scared. Not for any other known reason. Say "gun!" in the presence of a black male suspect and that's it. Bam bam bam. Dead.

Hundreds and hundred of Americans have been killed by police so far this year, killings that are on pace to exceed the death rate from police action in 2015. An average of three or more a day, dead at the hands of police, year in and year out.

That's the norm. Three a day, day in and day out, year after year, and if somehow the target is missed over a period of days, our valiant boys in blue make up for it with a spate of killings all in a row.

The wonder is that something like the Dallas shootings of police officers hasn't happened before now. Except something like it, without the dead officers, did happen. In Dallas. Just last year.

A man bought a de-commissioned Dallas PD SWAT van, loaded it up with weaponry and went over to the DPD HQ and commenced firing. Oh yes. Shot the place up good he did, but it was late at night and there weren't a lot of people around. He is said to have placed bombs, too. There was a shoot out down the road, and according to accounts the perp was... dispatched when one of his bombs blew him up. Or something. The denouement was never entirely clear.

The incident was considered bizarre at the time, but now it seems to fit somehow. A prelude, let's say.

But the wonder remains that attacks on police officers and police stations are exceedingly rare. No more than a handful of police officers have been killed in the line of duty over the last few years. In fact death from heart attack, car wrecks and so on are far more prevalent among officers than death by perp.

Yet cops kill more than a thousand civilians every year, and they almost always get away with it  -- by saying the magic words: "I feared for my life and the safety of others."

In most cases, that's all they have to say, no matter what the objective facts of the situation, and they are home free.

How anyone can live in that kind of constant fear, I don't know. But because black and brown (and homeless and mentally ill) victims are targeted and killed by police disproportionately, one can or should understand that these segments of the population live in constant fear of the police, no?

The killings must stop, but nothing seems to be done to stop them in the aggregate. The rate of killings -- both by police and homicides among civilians -- seems to be a constant, baked in. How odd, but there you are.

And so we are led to mourn, to offer up "thoughts and prayers," to express our impotent rage, to march and to hold vigils.

Nothing more.

Nothing more.

How strange. How bloody and strange.

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