New York City

An American Priority

Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, 10 December 2014, via The Nib.Something about priorities goes here. And in our experience the underlying sentiment is not uncommon, yet many people do not like to admit it.

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Bors, Matt. “White People Problems”. The Nib. 10 December 2014.

Unfortunately Requisite

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Walking through the filth in the streets made me want to retch, but I hid it. Anyway, we all know Easterners are filthy, right? Look at how they live. Never mind that they can’t use sorcery to keep their neighborhoods clean the way Dragaerans do. If they want to use sorcery, they can become citizens of the Empire by moving into the country and becoming Teckla, or buying titles in the Jhereg. Don’t want to be serfs? They’re stubborn, too, aren’t they? Don’t have the money to buy titles? Of course not! Who’d give them a good job, seeing how filthy they are?

―Steven Brust, Yendi

Every once in a while, our friends show their (ahem!) “true colors”. Today it took the form of a post coming across a social media feed, one of those whining articles about, “Look! A black person committed a crime! And the victim was white! Where’s the racist Obama! What’s the matter with that racist Al Sharpton! Waaaaaaah!”

And no, we are not impressed. The following is a list of questions these people are skipping:

• Were the suspects arrested? (Yes.)

• Were the suspects charged with a crime? (Yes.)

• Were the suspects charged by a prosecutor directly or through grand jury indictment? (Prosecutor.)

• Why were the suspects not indicted by a grand jury?

• Why did the prosecutor not call them to testify on their own behalf at the grand jury investigation?

• Why did the prosecutor not call a string of witnesses with the intention of undermining his own case?

• Why did the prosecutor not falsely inform the jury of what the law says?

• Where are the lines of “law-abiding” people demanding due process for the accused?

And, certes, we might note that some questions can be answered according to the circumstance described in other answers. Why did the prosecutor not do this or that at the grand jury hearing? Because there was none. Why was there none? Because the prosecutor has the discretion to file charges on his own. Why did he do that? Because, under the circumstances, he could.

And, actually, that’s what it looks like for the vast majority of people accused of crimes, even those indicted by grand juries.

And that, in turn, is why the federal government is involved.

But wait … there’s more!

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Hope, Obscure, Refusing to Die

Detail of 'Animal Nuz #228' by Eric Lewis, 6 December 2014, via Daily Kos Comics.Sometimes amid the noise and bluster we might feel an angry impulse toward something that seems almost absurd by comparison. Yet it also seems inevitable that there is a lesson waiting to be learned. Eric Lewis reminds us of something very, very important that happened this week; the United States is moving back toward its very own manned space program.

But no. We can’t possibly pause to celebrate that, can we? Because we’re all too busy giving attention-hungry cops exactly the sort of sycophantic celebrity they’re after.

It is worth noting that controversial professor Leonard Jeffries used to denounce the space program as an effort by white people to spread their filth across the Universe. It’s only about a quarter-century later, and perhaps the most disgraceful thing about that rhetorical temper tantrum is the effort American society has devoted to proving it true.

Space exploration is something to be celebrated; getting the hell off its rock is one of the fundamental purposes of the living endeavor. This arrangement of matter and energy can last as long as the Universe itself allows, unless Life destroys itself first. Yet Lewis makes an important point: When the time comes, can we please leave the racism behind?

Everybody wins that way; the human endeavor can properly advance, and the hatemongers can finally start feeling like they’ve got a place to call home. And when they look around at the wreck of whatever is left, they can celebrate that they finally got what they wanted, the whole trash heap of human existence on planet Earth all to themselves.

Evolution is supposed to coincide with progress. Oh, you romantic American rebels, you.

Your United States of America

Detail of cartoon by Brian McFadden, 3 December 2014, via Daily Kos Comics.There are days when it absolutely sucks to be an American. Most days you can cheer yourself up by saying, “At least I’m not in Afghanistan!” Or Iraq. Or … well, yeah, that’s the thing, isn’t it?

Here’s the thing about that, the unspoken cheer-your-sorry-ass-up reality about life in the United States: Of course it could be worse. I could be black!

That ain’t gonna help our African-American neighbors cheer up, though. And, in truth, it shouldn’t cheer anyone, period.

A friend of mine noted, via Facebook, that now we’re going to see what a real riot looks like in the wake of a grand jury’s decision to not indict the blue-clad beast that killed Eric Garner. In truth, we should probably hope for a different approach; riots don’t seem to make the point. Then again, perhaps that is the point. The Huffington Post ran with the splash headline, “Strangler Cop Walks”, and perhaps there was a time when this would seem outrageous to suit-and-tie, church-going, patriotic Americans. That is to say, how dare anyone speak ill of the police, or something like that.

But the institutions of law have created extraordinary protection for homicidal law enforcement. Killer cops don’t really need an excuse. After all, as we learned in Missouri, being afraid of black people is a reason for a cop to shoot a black person.

Let us be blunt: When it’s two idiots calling themselves “New Black Panthers” plotting to hit the cops, or an ex-con gunning down badges in a coffee shop, it is easy for people to back even the worst of law enforcement officers. But just how much do our police officers think they can get away with before others decide it’s time to take up arms in defense against cops? And just how ugly do you think that will or won’t be?

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