A certain “journalist” from MSNBC explained that the violent tendencies of the police were due to the fact that civilians are allowed to own guns. This is a historically ignorant statement.
The American public has honored the right to keep and bear arms for nearly 240 years. The police aggression and violence that seems so commonplace today is a product of the last 40 years. The police have slowly been transformed from a group designated to “protect and serve” and “keep the peace”, into a paramilitary force that looks upon the general public as “the enemy”. This transformation has furthered the ideology that the police and the government they work for, make up a sort of over-lording authority that the general public is subservient to, rather than being the public servants in a free society. The continually reference of government “officials” signifies the existence of a separate class apart from the general public.
The real change within the police began with the federal government’s “War on Drugs” in the 1970s, and continues today. This was in fact a war on minorities, the poor and those deemed as ‘trouble’. This was the beginning of SWAT, where the police became federalized using military tactics and equipment.
Around this time was a ‘ramping-up’ of the decimation of African-American communities, which had began with folks like Lyndon B. Johnson and Margaret Sanger. Their respective goals was to “have these n****** voting democrat” through the creation of disempowering and domesticating conditions disguised as altruism, and the slow extermination of the “black weeds” through sterilization and abortion. Both goals have materialized quite effectively.
In the 1980s, crack-cocaine was introduced into Black communities, wreaking havoc and giving rise to gang violence that still persists across the country. It came out late through the Iran-Contra Scandal that federal agencies, specifically the CIA, had been trafficking cocaine and other narcotics into the country (and this is by no means an isolated incident). This corruption went all the way down into the police departments, where scandal after scandal of police dealing drugs has surfaced over the years. This has been exposed and documented at length by men like Frank Serpico, ‘Freeway’ Ricky Ross, Tosh Plumlee, and the late Gary Webb among others.
The federal government created the problem- bring in the drugs, disempowering and causing chaos in the disenfranchised communities; this created a public outcry demanding action, or reaction; in turn giving the government carte blanche to come in with their solution- a “War on Drugs’, a militarized police force, and a for-profit prison system with shares on Wall Street that makes more money the more prisoners it has and can provide cheap labor. This machine has only been empowered further with the “War on Terror”, which essentially equates to a war on the American people at large. With further militarization of the police through federal funding and an ever-changing “enemy” that includes pretty much everyone the government deems as a “threat”.
Many veteran police officers have been more and more outspoken about the training rookie police officers are given (and it should be noted that a majority of these police shootings involve rookie cops). Police departments across the country are adopting a “shoot first” curriculum for their trainees. This is the real problem. If you don’t change how the police are being instructed, i.e. change the rules of engagement; it will not matter how many body cameras you use, the office in question will just be “following his training”, and will be absolved of any wrongdoing.
It is this mindset that is instilled into today’s police that they are ‘going to war’, and that if they don’t shoot first, they won’t come home to their families. This battleground mentality is created by the institution of things like no-knock raids for non-violent offences, the drug war and the war on terror. All of these things create an environment of adrenaline-filled fear and danger for the police and the general public they are being taught are all potential suspects and violators of some law. Not to mention they have a quota to fill. Unless you change this military mindset; unless you change the consciousness of the police, nothing will change.
It is disheartening to see these neo-civil rights activists stating that they want action regarding the oppressive nature of the police, but that their idea of getting that done is going to the executive branch of the federal government- the very organism responsible for the current police tactics and training. This is absolute lunacy! The police state tactics have only intensified under each administration, so why would one think that there will all of a sudden be a change of heart in the machine? Is it because the President and the Attorney General happen to be black?
This will be used for nothing more than political grandstanding, creating further division among the population and obtaining more control. We need to be more creative here. You cannot go to a wolf and expect him to go and convince the other wolves to stop eating your sheep. It doesn’t matter if it is a black wolf or a white wolf. A wolf is a wolf first and that is the nature of government, like it or not.
The nature of a government is always about achieving an end through creating some form of control. It cannot help it that is just what it does. This has not changed throughout history, and will not change until there is a mass raising of the consciousness of mankind, and at that point there would be no “need” for a body of control to make sure people “behaved properly”. If we are choosing control, we are choosing fear, not love.
We choose control out of a desire for someone else to solve our problems for us. We seek to put band-aids on the symptoms of our collective problems rather than address the root causal factors. We are afraid to face these as it forces us to look at ourselves. It forces us to accept the fact that we are personally responsible for the reality we experience and the conditions of that reality. There are no true victims here, even though so many have a victim mentality.
This fear is why we would prefer to abdicate our responsibility as conscious creators and co-creators of reality to another. We want someone to protect us from the undesirable consequences of how we chose to live and what we chose to take into ourselves. We desperately want someone else to keep us safe from the “boogey men” of our own collective creation- to keep them locked in cages so we can be safe and free from the consequences of living unconscious and unexamined lives.
It would seem that the main priorities of the general public are safety and fairness. These are the same priorities of an elementary school. It’s time to grow up and take the responsibility of being conscious creators and co-creators of reality, because right now we are acting as un-conscious creators and co-creators of reality and we are ALL suffering because of it. We are acting as children who do not want to take responsibility for their actions.
I have heard activists say they don’t want aggressive force by the police they just want things worked out peacefully through legislation. Again, how is legislation en-FORCED? It is enforced through the threat of fines and imprisonment which ultimately falls on the police. We now have the president announcing his Taskforce on 21st Century Policing. Headed by Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey, this should be alarming to anyone who is familiar with the extensive issues of corruption and brutality that have been present in that department for the last several years. Again- Problem, Reaction, Solution.