The biggest global civil rights protest in history is unfolding as I write this. I fucking love it. All 50 states and 18 countries have had massive peaceful protests in solidarity behind the statement “enough being enough”. This incident ignited people. Enough unarmed people getting killed. Enough of the police so rarely being held to account. These incidents just keep on happening and it is a rash on humanity tolerated far too long and we may finally be seeing the global agreement among free citizens that our police need to be an ally not an enemy.
The amount of data being collected as evidence of a policing system gone haywire is mind bending. The world is observing in real time that peaceful protests are being attacked by the very group being protested against. A young girl being smashed with a shield in gritty detail accompanied an article I read today. And the president issued a statement denouncing a 75 year old protester shoved to the ground as being part of a conspiracy with Antifa, an resistance movement in reality but apparently being used as the new name du jour for any and all protesters. Prior to the release of video evidence a statement was issued that the man “tripped and fell”. A shining example of why citizen journalists are so critical.
However, the protest did begin as a riot. Regardless of how justified a reaction is those actions did set the stage for a standoff. From what I am reading it looks like the ones misbehaving are not being tolerated by legitimate protesters and efforts are being made to maintain a peaceful unified front. from inside the movement.
I learned that “duty to intervene” laws are being pushed. Learning this also brought me to the realization that this wasn’t already a thing?! Why isn’t this already a thing?! (can we bring the interrobang back please?) The ethic among police officers resembles the mob to a concerning degree. A culture of keep your mouth shut and to circle and defend misbehavior exists. I do not believe for a moment that this is entirely systemic but these incidents have to stop. “Duty to intervene” need to be the first two rules of Police Club.
A counter intuitive approach I find myself supporting is in opposition to the one I am hearing the loudest. Defunding and dismantling the police is a chant that is persisting and I hope it reduces temperature soon. I hope the strategy we decide upon is one where we increase efforts to self police as a way to support efforts by the actual police police to become better police. The standards and requirements for employment need to increase dramatically and so does the pay. How did we ever let being a police officer come with a modest wage??? Why do they or their families pay for movie tickets or fast food? The people who answer the phone when we in trouble need to be given the respect and compensation they deserve.
There is way too much nonsense that puts people in conflict with the police. Speeding tickets and parking tickets. When the party is too loud or during a big screw up. That is just enough festering friction for fomenting folly. The perception that any interaction with a police officer may be your last is unacceptable and unfortunately it is a far more real possibility for some than it is for others. This has to end now.
To shift gears a bit one thing I am dumbfounded by is the lack of dissent. Police en masse are being deployed on their own communities and engaging. How high is the penalty for dissent that people are firing on their neighbors? Nobody is stepping away and saying we can’t do this? The president was intent on deploying the U.S. Military domestically and it was supported!! People who consider themselves patriots were being receptive to the thought of our military engaging Americans on American soil. Would there have been dissent if that plan had materialized or would we have seen U.S. soldiers kill American citizens?
These protests are turning out to be where goodwill and restraint are being demonstrated by the side without armor, tanks and crowd repellent weaponry. The more peaceful the protesters remain the farther the needle of progress will move. People are showing up. People are fed up. History is being made and I think this is going to be a launching point for positive change.
I hope that a “duty to intervene” policy becomes a global standard for police. I hope that police budgets are redeployed to training and compensation establishing a new era of exemplary police behavior. If peace is going to be brokered it needs to start with the police. But it needs to end with everyone else.
The positive steps that the police take in response to these demonstrations need to be supported by everyone. People need to act right. Every incident can’t be treated as an injustice. Shootouts happen. Car chases happen. It is a dangerous job. Every time tragedy strikes needs to be treated objectively. If the person was shooting at the police during a high speed chase it can’t spark a riot. An unarmed man dying while the public is pleading with the officers to be considerate of the persons life and his is crying out for help should always mobilize resistance.