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Once we start from that premise and understand that capital punishment rests on a foundation of muck created by men, there’s nothing more that needs to be said. It is legal only because they say that it’s legal. It is legal because of citizens, who ought to be repulsed by shameless lawmakers, who use “tough on crime” to secure votes, permit that. It behooves our electorate to inform ourselves of the history surrounding the subject.
The fact of its immorality means that capital punishment cannot ever be justified and constitutionally acceptable. Running back and forth to the United States Supreme Court, to collectively ponder whether a particular case meets the test, the artificial standard, of “cruel and unusual punishment” is redundant and ridiculous. Being so because the actions of the State create circumstances of suffering that make it cruel and unusual.
But capital punishment extends further in its obscenity, corrupting each individual who facilitates the killing, from the judge who claims she’s only following the law, to the governor whose bloody hand approves the evil, all the way down to the brute that seeks the vein to administer the poison. Each participant, at every stage, makes a personal decision to kill the particular human being. There’s no excuse. Nothing decent can be found in what you chose to do. Stop the barbarity.
I woke up optimistic and went back to bed disillusioned. So I thought the least that I might do is bring attention to the plight of African-Americans caught up in America’s Criminal Justice System. An institution, if not by design, then surely by malice, IS determined to eliminate that particular segment of citizens. A protracted war could not have inflicted more suffering and human destruction. America’s Criminal Justice System is by practice, an evil institution.
One hears grudging admissions such as “well, the system is overwhelmed.” Platitudes about reform and trust building initiatives. If you refuse to believe that America can sort a billion Chinese, to find one prisoner unjustly incarcerated, then vehemently condemn China at international forums, as we do much the same at home, then I’m with you, because it’s truly incredible. So, the attached, though fictional, is worth imagining.
As a Black,Liberal,Pinko,Commie,Bastard, I would not unjustly criticize President Obama and the White House on anything. Fox and Rush are already making vulturous living off that. I know of no other President who commented on extra judicial killings of unarmed Black men more often than President Obama. He did so before international bodies, from the White House and several other occasions, going way back to Prof. Gates. And he called the victims by name. So, I am not really concerned about his speaking out. What I am troubled by are the solutions he suggests.
That the daily scourge of police atrocities happen to be common and on his watch is more than just unfortunate as to him. But it was inevitable. Black people in the U.S are the collective political football and the spectators are having generalized anxiety. I am unhappy with the tired, tried-and-failed solutions of more training. I am outraged that again, the public pays and miscreants dare citizens to even scold them.
Tell me why you are responsible to train racist attitudes out of me? Especially after you have screened, interviewed and hired me. Did his reference give no clue? Tell me which police officer does not know that it is criminal for eight, fifteen of them to club and kick a handcuffed man on the ground, confident that their Watch Commander would say nothing, the State Attorney would say nothing and the Judge would not ask why this bloody, contused man is standing before her on some petty charge to which the Public Defender would later offer a deal? Tell me what purpose it serves to have these hundreds of pocket police forces rotating bad cops and worst Chiefs, all jealously protected by a one-eyed,lousy hen called the Police Benevolent Association? The PBA will stand with their usual gaggle at a “press Conference” defending the discharge of one hundred and sixty seven bullets into a car in an apartment complex, even though the car is trapped and no one is firing back. All this recklessness just to execute a warrant for burglary.
I still ask our elected officials at all levels, why they are so willfully blind and tongue-tied, that they do not advocate for police forces to reflect the racial diversity of this country. Or is it easier to continue using taxpayer dollars paying suits in Federal Court?
I my years of public service, I have never seen a bureaucracy that, when a long foreseen calamity arrived, did not call for more training. Thank God for the courageous, indefatigable young people of Ferguson and all the people of conscience, taking to the streets all across this country. We demand change.
That something is dreadfully wrong with our law enforcement system would be evident to any unbiased observer. Whether it’s sufficient to be just an observer begs the question.
Well known, is that an interested, informed, active citizenry is not only vital to the government that we want, but its efficiency and values be in harmony with the whole society as well.
It seems that we, citizens and taxpayers, to whom all institutions are rightfully accountable, have neglected our own duty for so long that practices inimical to our safety and basic human rights have become acceptable to most. So little is demanded that we have new developing norms. We are failing our leaders at all levels and surprised that we are at each other’s throats constantly on trivial matters of the day.
Our leaders are failing us in that they now seem entitled by birthright to the offices they hold; they deliberate insignificant matters tailored to their longevity in office. Matters of public business that need to be explained, have become opportunities for a gaggle standing rigidly behind an official who may or may not answer pertinent questions. Lucky if you are not insulted in the process…..or maybe you get a spokesperson whose craft is evasion. Written complaints or queries by individual taxpayers get to the waste basket faster that Lebron James can dunk. In other words, public servants have developed an impenetrable wall around their fiefdom. Our citizens make pleas before panels of officials who are present in body only. The policy decision long since made.
Pity us the ever narrowing choice of candidates; visual media that have devolved to clowns 24/7; strident antagonists propagating the same issues of 300 years. I despair that we might have already been bought, sold or traded. All is well as long as it’s the “other guy, the other neighbourhood” that is excluded and suffers.
I refer to law enforcement in the broadest sense, including overlapping governmental agencies that together are the foundation of our culture. Also, they are the most visible and likely to have greater consequential contact, directly affecting citizens.
My challenge it is, to continue this article without appearing to be unappreciative of the dangerous work officers engage in daily; proudly self-sacrificing. They too would like to get home to their families after a night’s work, just like the rest of us. This about delivering the finest quality services to even the least regarded in our society, for they too, are our citizens.
Too many Americans do not become fierce in defence of the Articles of the Constitution except the Second Amendment contained in the Bill of Rights. The truth is that law enforcement’s degree of respect for and adherence to the Constitution seems synchronised with the citizens’ zip codes-conspicuous wealth spectrum. All at the lower end of income spread are treated as less-than. Females fare the worst.
From my own experiences the cardinal sin could be as small as asking the reason one is stopped. How dare you? Once an officer approached me for a traffic sign violation. He was so hostile that our positions were reversed in terms of de-escalation techniques. I wisely maintained a lower tone; slow, deliberate motions and spoke only when asked. His stance and other body language led me to have reasonable consternation of being shot for a $35.00 incident. Probably would not even have made the news because we were both black. Also sickening is that unless the Department of Justice gets involved the shooting, no the murder, would have been found justified by local authorities, if at all anything more that a nominal inquiry is done. The tired explanation of “he tried to run me over with his vehicle” would suffice. But who cares? Not even the citizens least protected.
What decent people owning the responsibility of citizenship, would laze as civil authorities become increasingly militarised, hooded, unaccountable, violate the Fourth Amendment as casually as entering a chicken coop. Do unnecessary damage and violence in the suspects’ homes in a so-called war on drugs. All searches and seizures have become lawful as Attorneys General, Judges and Attorneys of the Bar fail us.
Some sip the appropriate wine, unconcerned that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other major Amendments under Article Fifteen of the United States Constitution are whittled away by the shortsighted and ethically insolvent elected officials. Some for AND against legislation they never even read. They sip, mistakenly thinking that all is well, as long as the “other party” suffers. All done at taxpayers expense. No complaints.
What vibrant electorate would be comfortable with two millions of its citizens in prison? Most for non-violent crimes. Many innocent, having had the misfortune of an unconscionable plea bargain.
What free society permits forgiveness for debt, protect corporate bankruptcy while convicted felons, having paid for their crimes remain forever unforgiven, are denied work and robbed of their right to vote….just because?
You know, perhaps we don’t wish to be decent or free.