Monday, July 18, 2016

Shoot First, Ask...Oh, What the Hell

(Yet Another Thurber Brigade Sidestep)

Shocking opening statement: police are human.  I know, I know, you are saying "duh!" very loudly to this blog, but when we hear about the police or interact with them we often forget that. We often think they are just automatons doing a job.  To a point that is true, we hire them to do the things we don't want to do. However, although they are human we expect them to be able to overcome that and not resort to human behavior. In other words, we expect them not to brutalize or kill us.

Too often police in this country let their human side come out and they panic and overreact to a situation. For example, in the murder (you heard me) of Philando Castile in Minnesota, just listen to the voice of the cop who shot him. He's freaking out. He's let his human side, that sees all blacks as potential thugs and possible threats, override his duty to execute the laws fairly and killed an innocent man.

The same thing happened to Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge. The cops had this idea in the back of their minds that this black guy, overweight, with gold teeth and poorly dressed, was probably an evil thug and so when he began to react to having his arms put in unnatural positions, they assumed he was reaching for a weapon and killed him--before he even had a weapon on display!

If you go to a football game, watch the line judge. He stands on the sideline and usually has some coach yelling in his ear about how lousy all of his fellow refs are behaving. He doesn't flinch. We need our police to have that ability. They are paid to be more human than human.
I mention that quote (you got it right?) because in  "Blade Runner" there is a scene in which someone is going through a psychological test. He freaks out at a question and kills the guy giving the test. Yeah, he's not human. We need to have a test like this for our police.  Too many of them do not have the temperament to carry a weapon.

Not only that, but most don't have the training they need. In the US it takes more training to be a hairdresser then a cop! That's right, our country apparently believes it's more important to ensure that your hairdresser knows how to braid your hair than that a policeman should know how to deal with humans.
This is why in our country we have over 550 civilians killed by police and we're only halfway through 2016!  By contrast, the police in the UK only killed 55 people in 25 YEARS (that's about a week's worth here in the US). Is it because we are more violent people? If you think that, you've never been to a soccer match over there. No, it's training. Police in the UK must go through 2 years of training. That's nothing. In Norway (even less civilian deaths) they have to get a three year degree from a university.
Plus, a big factor is that like here in the US European police are taught to use a weapon, but more importantly, they are trained how NOT to use that weapon.

Another big factor is that police are trained to have a certain attitude about people here. It is ingrained in their subconscious that all civilians are criminals. Don't believe it? What do you think they are learning when they go through that street scenario where they must spot and shoot the bad guy? Subconsciously they learn that around every bend is a baddie. Yet in reality, the majority of the time they just give out tickets to people with a taillight out. They are bred to believe that on every stop they will encounter some evil guy and so are on edge every time they approach someone who fits the image in their mind. If they are white, that image is any black person.

Lastly, the one concept that people don't seem to understand about police is that their mission is to "maintain and control."  Maintain the status quo and Control the population. "Serve and Protect" is just a PR campaign.

It's always been like this. When kings first founded the idea of a police force, it wasn't to solve crime or murders, it was to protect their property. In more modern times, when corporations needed a strike broken, who did they send in to bust them up? Yeah, you know. When Suffragettes paraded down streets, who hauled them off to jail for daring to want to be treated like humans? Who waded into those evil reporters at the 1968 convention? Who pepper-sprayed protestors just sitting on public parkland? You get it now? Sure, they investigate burglaries and murders these days, but the overriding function of police is to control us humans.

As a people we have progressed from living in caves to living in high rises. We no longer draw on that cave wall, we post to Facebook. Although our police have modern weapons and equipment, isn't it time they also modernized their behavior? When will we have the police that we expect for the 21st century? The US needs to reform the police now!

Another Brigade apology: Too often The Thurber Brigade takes these sidesteps. Believe me, it's more fun to talk about the difference between men and women then the latest society atrocity. Yet again I apologize for straying, but keep in mind that as long as there is injustice or mayhem that bothers my soul, these sidesteps will keep showing up. Sorry. I also want to apologize for those who have read my articles on HUB about police reform. Yeah, I'm repeating some stuff here, but it's important enough that it is worth repeating. Feel free to share this info too as it's the only way we will ever see reform--enough people need to be raising their voices.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

What if?

What if the Main Stream Media (MSM) reported police deaths similar to when a civilian gets shot by police?

AUSTIN—A civilian shot and killed a police officer today after a brief encounter near his house.  John Doe had been walking on Main Street when suddenly a policeman grabbed his arm and began yelling at him. Doe attempted to talk calmly to the police officer, but the policeman quickly pulled out a gun and pointed it at Doe.  Doe then pulled out his own service revolver and shot the incoherent policeman.

 John Doe               Officer Mack Johnson
The policeman, identified as Officer Mack Johnson, had been reprimanded a number of times by his boss and had on his record several past domestic disputes with his wife.  It is also reported that he walked a number of meal tickets at local restaurants and had been seen numerous times hanging around a local high school near a large group of young girls.

Several neighbors tried to console Doe after the shooting and eventually called EMS to aid Officer Johnson who died on the way to the hospital.

Social media has been livid about the incident.  Numerous popular organizations tweeted their support of Doe:

Doe, married and the father of three children works at the Good Samaritan cafeteria. Workers describe him as a friendly, caring man with an impeccable work history.

Ruth Bender witnessed the shooting.  "The man (Doe) was just walking along minding his business and this police officer ran up and began babbling obscenities at him.  Next thing I know the cop had a gun out and was waving it around wildly.  I feared for my life, but luckily the other man also had a gun and defended himself and the neighborhood. Who knows whether any kids could have been hurt if he had not acted?"

The police department expressed its concern about the confrontation and Doe's uncle, Bradly Doe, promised to launch an investigation into the incident and assures the public he will report the findings in a timely, transparent manner. After a preliminary inspection of Officer Johnson's house, Bradly Doe stated he found numerous large caliber weapons, vests, military and gun publications as well as materials that could be used to manufacture explosive devices (fertilizer, bleach).

John Doe has been temporarily suspended by the Samaritan and will take a paid vacation until the investigation is completed.
The Thurber Brigade again regrets getting off-track by presenting another sidestep (and believe it or not, there might be one more coming up). However, this is getting ridiculous. Over 550 civilians have been killed by police so far this year (  In the UK, only 55 civilians have been killed in 25 years!  Something has to be done. I've written a few articles about reform ( and until there is reform, there will be more eye-for-eye incidents and more people killed. I can't change anything because I am not a government official, but at least I can say something and maybe one day, enough other people will say something and those in power will do something. Plus, there has to be balance in news reporting.  These days the media doesn't help because they present such a biased view of the victim.  So don't just sit there and say there's nothing you can do. Say something. It's a start.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The General(ist)

One of the funniest TV shows to air happened years ago: Seinfeld.  A "show about nothing."  In one particular hilarious episode, the gang wandered aimlessly around a mall parking lot looking for their car.  Jerry desperately needs "to go" and Kramer suggests he just go in the corner.  He comes up with some excuse why he believes it is okay, so Jerry shrugs and goes off to do his business.  Of course, he gets arrested.

The reason I bring this up, besides that it's a fun memory from the past, is that this happens in the show all the time.  The characters always just accept each other's statement as truth.  They believe the person knows what he/she talks about.  All forms of mayhem usually follow and we get to enjoy their antics to try to overcome the situation.
This is similar in blogging.  When we bloggers type out our posts, most people assume we're experts, or at least, know what we're talking about.  Oh, I'm sure in some cases this could be true especially if it is some specific and maybe technical subject (How to bake the perfect birthday cake, etc.), but for the most part the reality is that we are "Generalists.”  We speak in generalities or with a biased perspective.We know a little about a lot.

My classic example concerns the blog I wrote about women drivers.  Boy, did that piss off some radical feminists (ok, maybe a number of none extreme females too).  The reason why they became outraged was because when I said, "women were indecisive drivers" they equated it to mean ALL women were that way--even though I never said a quantity.  They didn't take it into account that maybe it could just be some, a few, or, what it really was, only the handful I have encountered at a 4-way stop.  I generalized.

I see this in other blogs all the time, especially women's blogs.  They rant about evil men and how we may have only evolved slightly in the past millennia--which may be true--but more than likely should be thought of as a general statement about some of the guys she knows.
We see this a LOT in politicians.  They are experts in talking generally.  This is so they can walk back what they said after it's shown they are complete assholes.

"The media mis-represented what I said" is the most common way for them to escape the firestorm they created by opening their mouths.
As you can guess, advertisers specialize in this.  With words like "natural" "organic" "environmentally-friendly" and other general words, they twist and turn the truth to their liking.  What?  You thought that apple you bought was organic?  Well, it is a fruit and grows on a tree, so yeah, it's organic.  It also is sprayed with insecticide, fed weird chemicals to help it grow and goes through other less than natural processes.  But it is organic.
Sometimes the government will step in and insist there be a little less generality to a statement.  For example, a drink can't call itself  "juice" unless it's 100% from the fruit.  In other words, orange juice is different than orange drink which might have all forms of other ingredients included. But even here they can be sneaky. For example, a cherry drink could say it has real juice in it, but that juice might not be the cherry you think it should have.  Most likely it's grape juice with cherry flavoring. The ad would be something like this: Blobo Cherry Drink-with real juice.

Ah, generality.

So just like you should look with skepticism at advertising, especially that by politicians, remember to be cautious about us bloggers too.  Most bloggers welcome, and encourage, comments.  So the next time a blogger tells you "a funny thing happened to me today," be sure and ask if it really happened today, did it really happen to him/her or a person near him/her and maybe whether he/she might be embellishing a bit?  Be friendly though.  We bloggers have very fragile egos (generally speaking).