There have been more (and more. and more…) bodies piled up by cops in the US since Ferguson. Feels like there’s a new one every day. Latest life extinguished in police custody being talked about is Sandra Bland: pulled over in Texas for trying to move out of the way of a police vehicle without signaling, then dragged from her car, assaulted, and arrested for not genuflecting to the cop that pulled her over and continuing to smoke in Her Own Damn Car. She was later found dead in her cell — the cops claim she committed suicide, but indications are ultra fishy about that, and her death is being investigated.
A few things to note: she just so happened to be an active critic of police brutality. Also, there’s been discussion online about the mugshot released of her afterwards along the lines of cues in the picture suggesting it may, rather than being a picture of her angry yet alive against a wall, actually be a picture taken of her on the floor after she died — which would indicate a coverup… which would pile onto the appearance of the dashcam video of her arrest having been edited. Which has been lately followed by leaking the completely irrelevant report of marijuana in her system — the cherry on top of the sundae straight from the outright fascist Eric Cartman School of Policing.
It’s The Boot all the way down, folks: assert your rights, they assault you. Question their reason for stopping you, they assault you. Hell, run and they assault you! Even the total compliance they scream for doesn’t save you — ask Oscar Grant about that one. The police will do any and everything they can do to make examples, to strike fear in people, to control and subjugate us and enforce the class hierarchy, particularly the racial aspects of it.
Something that has stuck with me about this is what her mother said about experiencing the pain of a parent having to bury their child:
I have a baby to put in the ground. She wasn’t my convict, she wasn’t my suspect- she was my baby. Once I put this baby in the ground, I’m ready…This means war.
The understandable anger is itself important, but I also think of it in the perspective of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, a movement that while I for obvious reason sympathize with, I at times ask myself how far people are really willing to go to achieve justice. What is it all coming to? Sure, protests are gaining attention, but we cannot march and chant forever. Some respond to the pressure by proposing piddling reforms like body cameras on police officers, which has multiple obvious flaws (for one, they have control of those cameras — there’s already been a case of a cop in a brutality case shutting off theirs). Others do even less, responding to the phrase Black Lives Matter with “All Lives Matter!” as if merely asserting that the people being constantly assaulted by badged thugs are not to be treated as disposable is a threat to anyone else.
Yet… going back to the words Sandra’s mother spoke in her honor… maybe we should change that.
We have and use the ability to record police encounters, and it’s important to show a side beyond the cops & their slurpers in the media. But what about direct action? What if the recognition was made that their implied legitimacy because of the shiny badge and uniform were a figment of imagination, an enabling lie to serve an unjust system? What if the next time we saw a cop using force against people who are not harming anyone… we went and stopped the cop? What if many people did that?
What if we all did?
I don’t like war. But when you’re actively being attacked, you don’t have a choice. Media puppets and members of the executive committee of the ruling class can bark about ISIS, or Iran, or Russia all they want, our last moments are more likely to come at the hands of Johnny Law than any of them.
I hope to live a long and fruitful life. But mark my words, if my last breaths are taken in the hands of the police… may that mean war.