Send In The Clowns

“They make a desert and call it peace.” Calgacus; enemy of Rome.

Officials in Baltimore today praise the results of their draconian collective punishment, a city-wide curfew, in response to the bursting boil of built up disgust with police brutality from high school kids rampaging after being pepper sprayed. The Governor crows “we have turned a corner” while residing over a police state. Ray Lewis, a one in a million prodigy, extols those same kids with his personal hard luck story while their unemployment rate hovers at 50% and their life expectancy is 20 years less than their white counterparts just a few neighborhoods away. Even my beloved president Obama, so far removed from inner city community organizing, chokes out the simple catch word “thugs.” It’s a clown parade of clueless elites.

I’ve got radiation burns on my eyeballs from watching wall to wall CNN coverage of the Baltimore riot but I’ve yet to see one interview of the people who rioted. If we want to know why it happened; ask the people who did it; not the cloistered city fathers or the cops who say they don’t know what happened to Freddie Grey. To not know is to not want to know. Set up your cameras in those classrooms of the high school where this all started. Send in your correspondents. Those kids will be happy to give us all an earful.

Police, charged with the duty to apprehend; not to convict or punish, but to act as guardians, protectors, until the courts can rule, should not be armed with any officials ad hominem like thugs or criminals. It is crime they interject, not fight; crime, not criminals. No one can resist the truth that police, the criminal justice system and prisons are being used to keep the poor in check. Can we at least test those we anoint with the awesome power of lethal force for drugs, alcohol and steroids. Have you seen the muscles on some of these cops? Still, cops complain they feared a handcuffed Freddie Grey would spit on them; so never seat-belted him in the paddy wagon.

Todays search for villains to execute or banish diverts us and perpetuates the circle game we are caught up in. Conditioned to respond to language we have allowed to creep in to our lexicon keeps the whirligig spinning. We no longer speak about crime to fight; but criminals to capture. It’s no longer terror we wage war on; its terrorists. Thus, in this process, make some people evil and some good. If we continue down that road; surely we are lost.

We’ve seen this movie before. It was made all the easier to first demonize and then dehumanize the Vietcong by calling him Charlie; by labeling him a Gook. Today insurgents, a strange name for indigenous folks, are Hadjis, (actually a term of respect for Muslims who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca), labeled terrorists; made all the easier to see as sub-human; and thus easier to kill without remorse.

Once conditioned to respond to these dog whistle phrases; dividing lines are drawn, separating us from them; sides are chosen. It’s no longer We; its Them vs Us. Once drawn the lines barricade behind their fears and see the “other” as enemy. The results of this vicious circle is what we are reaping today. So the arm that chokes the life from Eric Garner is as motivated and justified to act as the hand that violates the detainee and the finger that pulls the trigger that send the bullets that executed Mike Brown and Tamir Rice and the muscle-bound knee, hell-bent for leather, that crushed the neck of Freddie Gray; snapping his spine.

Americas children in the streets of Baltimore want to live. They watch those that look like them being brutalized, murdered in the streets by the most vicious gang, as they see it, out there; in charge of their streets. They have watched the wisdom of their parents, talk and talk, asking for justice; until blue. What they said last week was “can you hear me now”? The math on this problem is easy. Like the mechanic in the popular TV commercial said: “you can pay me now or you can pay me later”.


Tipping Point

Reblogged in memory of Freddie Gray

Nick Masesso, Jr.

“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, on the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all”! – Mario Savio – Sproul Hall, U.C. Berkeley: December 2, 1964.

Announcing the birth of Rap music in 1970, Gil Scott-Heron spit “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised; The Revolution Will Be Live.” Witnessing the radical experiment in empathy on our streets these days is what he meant; proof of the theory that when something becomes true for enough of us, a tipping…

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