An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Power’

Cop Kills Unarmed Naked College Student?

Boy, it’s almost getting hard to take this stuff seriously, isn’t it?  I mean, how can this possibly be real?  What kind of cop in his right mind would shoot a naked college student?  Here’s the story

In south Alabama, a college student, named Gil Collar, was doing as college students are want to do, and was running around naked.  Hopefully this wasn’t the result of a stupid Frat pledge or some other dumb thing.  However, this student found his away to a police station.  He was banging on the doors there, and an officer came out.  According to the officer, when he came out, the kid adopted a fighting stance.  The officer claims to have repeatedly tried to back off and “diffuse the situation,” but the kid just kept coming.  It was then that the officer’s next course of action was to draw his gun and kill the kid.  Yeah…this explanation is as bogus as it sounds.

First, let’s look at the facts.  This is a 130lb college student.  He is butt-naked, and has no weapons on him.  He is banging on a police station window at 1 in the morning.  He supposedly took a fighting stance when a cop comes out after he was banging on a window.  This officer, who probably not only had a gun on him, but probably had a taser, or a baton, or some mace, and also his fists (which come equipped with hours upon hours of hand-to-hand combat training), shot and killed this kid.  Seeing the problems?

How could this officer have felt that his life was in danger?  This is a well-trained cop going up against a naked kid.  That is not only ridiculous, it is down-right silly.  And as you can imagine, this story that is filled with plot-holes has not been well-received by the community.  They think that it is just as bogus as this particular blogger.

There is no way, unless this was some idiot rookie who didn’t know that all that training can actually be used for something, this story makes no sense.  And of course, the “horrible” punishment for an officer who appears to have killed someone for no good reason is that he has been put on paid leave while they investigate.  These cases almost universally favor the cops, so you can bet that the officer won’t be punished in any significant way.  In fact, he is probably going to walk away unscathed, as police almost always do.

We have talked about this before, but it bears repeating – something needs to be done about the cops!  Are are giving thugs uniforms, badges, guns, and almost complete legal immunity.  These are a class of people who have no fear of the hammer coming down on them.  That has to go!  We need oversight on these guys!

Every week, it seems, we are hearing stories about the police killing people’s pets, like in Missouri, where the cops killed the family dog, pepper-sprayed the puppies, and were going to kill the puppies, all during what was supposed to be a marijuana bust (and they only found a bag, which was enough for a misdemeanor charge).  And the murdering of pets is nothing new.  There is a blog where it is documented when police kill a family’s animals.

There are a lot of states in this country where people are getting in trouble for filming the police.  That’s interesting.  Why would the police not want to be filmed?  Could it be because they don’t want their thuggish tactics and their blatant abuse of power getting out.

A warning to all cops – you are now being watched.  You are now in the public eye.  You are not safe.  The internet knows who you are, and the internet does not forgive and forget.  The internet will still be here tomorrow.  The public is wise to your game, and we are going to fight back.

We. Are. Watching you.

Something America Forgot: Absolute Power Corrupts

It is very true, you know.  The people of this country seem to have totally forgotten that having unlimited power and virtually no oversight is a guaranteed way to breed corruption.  But why does that matter?  What effect does it have on the world right now?  Well, to answer that question, one has to look at the police forces of America.  In this post, several stories of police corruption are going to show this very contention.

The first story is from New York City.  The story goes that a black man named Jatik Reed.  He was stopped by cops, claiming that they saw him smoking marijuana, and had a bag that supposedly had Crack residue inside of it.  The police then claim that he threw a punch at them, so they proceeded to brutally assault him.  Of course, video footage was released showing that this was an unprovoked attack.

All over the country, the police are filmed doing stuff like this, but one interesting reaction was during the case in Florida.  Police surrounded the parked car of Raymond Herisse.  They fire at his car with abandon, killing him and wounding several bystanders.  One witness describes that the police were shooting until their guns were empty.  With a half-dozen cops shooting the standard-issue Glock pistol that police are issued, that is a potential of 90 rounds going into the car of a man who is parked and from all evidence, never shot back or opened fire.  It was a revenge-killing.

The reason that this story is important is because one man filmed the cops with his phone.  When the police saw this, they went over and took the phone from him, smashing it on the ground.  Luckily, the footage survived of the police murdering this man because this man who filmed them was quick enough to hide the SIM card in his mouth, even as the cops assaulted him and took his camera.

All over this country, stories come up of the police arresting people and even sometimes charging them with crimes for filming them breaking the laws that they are trying to protect.  It is a right that is guaranteed that the average citizen can film the police, as a measure of ensuring justice, but the bigger question is – what is it that they want to hide?

Perhaps it is stories like one that happened in Fulton, Missouri.  The SWAT police there raided a house, looking for drugs, and decided that they would shoot the family dog.  When it got off of its chain, the police shot the dog six times with their pistols, and twice with shotguns.  But the story doesn’t end there.  The police went over to the puppies of this dog, who were in a cage.  They pepper-sprayed the puppies, and the were even about to shoot them.  Of course, they only found enough marijuana in this man’s house to get him a misdemeanor charge.  Pepper-spraying puppies, for a misdemeanor.

That’s another thing – murdering a family’s pet is nothing new.  There is an entire blog that shows the instances where the police have murdered a family dog.  But what would have happened had the cops who pepper-sprayed the puppies gotten filmed?  What would have been their punishment?  Well, in all likelihood, nothing.  They wouldn’t have gotten punished at all.

It can’t be denied that there is little to no fire that the police in this country’s feet are being held to.  It is every week that a story comes out of some cop who arrests a girl for “abusing 911” when her dad was having a seisure, or brutally assaulting somebody on the street, or pepper-spraying puppies.  These cops do these things, and little to nothing happens to them.  In fact, the legal system of this country is complicit in this abuse of power

For those who deny that, here is another story.  In the city of Philadelphia, there was a police officer named Michael Paige.  He forced a man, named James Harris, to give him oral sex in his police cruiser.  When charges were pressed against him, the judge came to the decision that Harris was lying, and that this was consensual sex that he was claiming was sexual assault.  This cop forces a man to perform oral sex, and he has no punishment whatsoever.  The legal system is absolutely in favor of this abuse.

Finally, a story from all over the country.  Police are seizing people’s assets, not even charging them with anything.  They pick targets who are poor enough so that they can be reasonably sure that this person will not fight back against them.  They take their stuff and auction it off to make money.

America has created a culture where we are giving badges and guns to people, requring very little training for them.  They are given nearly-infinite authority over other people, and are now being affirmed that the hammer of justice will not come down on them when they do something wrong.  Why do people think that such a position wouldn’t attract some total and complete deranged lunatics?  Why do they think that there wouldn’t be a large number of people in that profession who are sociopaths, looking to exercise their authority over others?

Absolute power corrupts.  This is something history has taught us.  And yet, we are not hearing anything from the public.  When one comes onto a website and says something, or video footage is released, what is the reaction?  For the most part, blind compliance.  People simply choose not to listen to it, or claim, “it’s just a few bad apples.”

The problem goes deeper than that, and until we get some oversight on the cops, and hold their feet to the fire, this kind of rampant abuse will continue, and Officer Paige will force more men to blow him.  More puppies will get pepper-sprayed.  And more people will get beaten on the side of the road for no reason.

Of course, they will do that, with the parents of all the children saying, “the police officer is your friend.”

Peace out,

Lefty

Lefty and Music

Several of the people that I keep in touch with saw the post where I reviewed the performance here in Anchorage by the jazz musician, Chris Botti.  They found it kind of odd that that is what we were writing a review about, and more specifically that I seemed to have been incredibly amazed by this concert.  In the interest of explaining things, I thought that I would touch on why this concert was something that I was so glad to be able to see.  This going to be a rather personal post, which isn’t something that we do often, but it was needed to be discussed.

The love of music that I have goes back almost to the beginning of my life.  The first Disney film that I ever saw was “Fantasia.”  It was a work of cinematic mastery, and remains my second-favorite film to date.  It’s ironic that for their third film, Disney did something so absolutely different from everything that they had done before.  And not only that, but this film wasn’t really made for kids.  There were parts that they could enjoy, but to be honest, this film was made almost entirely for adults.

For those who haven’t seen it, Fantasia is a film that combines beautiful classical music with artistry.  There is almost no speaking, aside from the host.  It is pure expression, and the beauty of it is beyond words.  It is, by far, Disney’s best animated film.  But from seeing that film, at the age that I saw it, I was able to get an appreciation for great music.  Complex harmonies, the chords all working together to form the artistic vision, the mass of instruments that had made this creation, I didn’t know what any of those things were when I was a little kid.  But I could see the beauty of the music that I was able to hear and see.  It forever changed the way that I look at music, and how it has had an effect on life.

I think that you can get a glimpse of what a culture is like during a time period exclusively by looking at its music.  Forget the politics, forget the economy, all you need to see in order to determine the state of a culture is to see what music that it creates.  So, the question becomes – what do you see now?  Well, unlike the 60’s and 70’s, where you saw rebellion and deep love, today we see conformity, the need to be up to the horribly low standards, a complete lack of emotional intimacy with the words.  The power of singers like John Lennon, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain is replaced by the emotionless drek of singers like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.  Never singing about the hard parts.  Love is easy, available, and life is awesome.  Such lies, but we are meant to stomach it.  And let’s not even get started about the fact that nobody seems to have any appreciation for wordless music, which gets its passion from the chords it plays and the instruments playing it.

Probably the only disappointment about Botti’s concert was that I was one of about 20 people in that packed auditorium who was in my own age group.  The bulk of the people in that room were middle-aged to senior.  Botti is a young artist, trying to play to a style that is young.  It should have had a much younger audience.  But it didn’t.  It had so few.  The lack of love for music that we are seeing in the modern culture is truly heart-breaking, because music is something that has absolute power.

The Beatles effectively ruled the world.  When Igor Stravinsky wrote his ballet, the Rite of Spring, it was so controversial that he was driven out of town with the threat of death on his heels.  Music has challenged leaders and ways of thinking, as it should.  Like the written word, it should be about more than just entertaining people.  Millions of neurons fire every single day, and the more you think, the more connections are made through this process.  With our new culture of brainless entertainment, it becoming increasingly clear that good taste is falling through in favor of something that is bright and loud.

If nothing else that I have said means anything to any of you, please take this away – the love of great music should be uniting our culture, and instead, while the Botti concert did sell out, and that is awesome beyond words, it should be selling out by the young.  The youth should have beaten the old people there, with a stick.  Oh yeah, I went there.

Music is power.  Music is passion.  Music is art and it is beauty and it is everything that makes our culture work.  The culture of America is dying, and this is sad beyond belief.  Botti touched on this when he said that one of his favorite places to go was Poland, because of their deep respect for musical artistry.  He was even asked to go there and perform in honor of Frederic Chopin.

We need our culture back.  Though that may be too much to ask.

Peace out,

Lefty

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