Category Archives: Police Brutality

13 Ways We Need To Reform The U.S. Police Force

On May 25, 2020, a police officer in Minneapolis choked an unarmed African American man, George Floyd, to death by kneeling on his neck while arresting him for spending a fake $20 bill. Over the next week, anti-police brutality/ anti-racism riots erupted across America.

Everyone wants something to change, but very few protesters have offered any concrete demands. Overwhelmingly, the message seems to be, “Stop being bad.” This isn’t an actionable request, and it can’t lead to change.

Colorado took the logical first step of drafting new police accountability laws, but that only cuts the top off the iceberg. Systemic police brutality is the result of multiple systemic flaws in the justice system that require a diverse range of reforms.

Below is my list of changes I believe will help. As America continues to protest, I hope to see the national dialogue pivot from blind rage to focusing on brainstorming and debating solutions like these.

Criminalize deadly restraint techniques.

If George Floyd hadn’t died, there would never have been any public outcry against police officers putting their knees on civilians’ necks. While some police officers have been quick to point out that choking suspects isn’t part of any official police training, it isn’t against the law. That places it firmly in the category of “unusual but acceptable,” and therefore, a disaster waiting to happen.

If nothing else comes from the George Floyd case, the one easiest call to action is to criminalize life-threatening fighting techniques by police. I want to emphasize that I didn’t say, “train police not to choke people.” Training isn’t enough. It must be illegal to use life-threatening techniques in any situation except when the cop’s life isn’t in imminent danger. There should especially be specific rules limiting how much force police are allowed to use on people who are already in hand cuffs.

Have a third party investigate any instance of police harming suspects.

The public’s trust of police is eroded when they kill unarmed civilians, but it throws fuel on the fire when they’re let off with a slap on the wrist. It also increases the likelihood they’ll misbehave if they know their brothers will help them escape accountability.

I wasn’t able to find a good explanation of the official procedures for how police departments respond to instances of suspects being hurt and killed by officers. So I’m assuming is varies wildly between states, counties, cities, and precincts. The people who pay cops to protect them deserve a reliable nationwide standard.

Not only should the procedures for investigating cops be standardized, they should also be automatic and objective. Anytime a suspect is injured or killed by an officer, they should be investigated by a third party who can’t be inclined or coerced to “look out for their brothers.”

Set harsher punishments for police brutality.

Since the 1970’s, American politicians have instituted an avalanche of “get tough” policies that set higher punishments for crimes based on the assumption that tougher sentences will dissuade people from committing crimes. Whether this approach has succeeded is debatable, but it has definitely put a lot more Americans behind bars.

In my next point, I’m going to argue we should reverse these policies, but I might be wrong. Harsher punishments may reduce crime. If that’s the case, then shouldn’t we apply the same standard to police officers? If they’re afraid of losing their job, their retirement, their families, and the best years of their lives for hurting people, then it stands to reason they’ll be less likely to abuse their authority.

When you hear about police killing civilians, such as in the case of George Floyd, you often learn the offending officer has had a history of violence and reprimands. If police had a “three strike rule” similar to civilians, the officer who killed George Floyd would have been kicked off the force long ago.

Reduce punishment/sentencing.

It seems obvious that harsher punishments will dissuade criminals. However, this theory is predicated on the assumption that the main reason civilians don’t commit crimes is because they’re afraid of being punished. In reality, the main reason people commit crimes is because they’re desperate, and desperate circumstances lead to desperate actions.

The same applies when getting arrested. If you know you’re going to get a $100 ticket if a cop catches you with a half ounce of weed, you probably won’t fight for your life. However, if you know you’re going to go to jail for three years and set your entire life back to zero, you might be motivated to do whatever it takes to protect yourself.

“Tough on crime” laws might have prevented a few offences, but I suspect they’ve also had the effect of increasing violence against police. Thirty years of push-back against “tough” cops has taught police officers to fear civilians as much as civilians fear them. This is a vicious cycle that will always lead to bloodshed. It won’t stop until the police force softens its war on civilians.

End the war on drugs and other victimless crimes.

We’ve reached a point in America where cops approach every interaction with civilians as a potential life and death situation. Yet, they’re spending millions of hours each year terrorizing victimless criminals like pot smokers, jay walkers, and shirtless women. Cops are striking fear in the general population, building distrust, and putting themselves in harms way to prevent and punish innocuous behavior.

47% of federal inmates are in jail for drug charges even though every expert in the world agrees the war on drugs has been a complete failure that has done more harm than good. Even many police officers agree with that conclusion. If police simply stopped policing inoffensive behavior, they would create fewer dangerous situation and would free up more time and resources to focus on real problems. That’s a win-win situation for everyone.

End for-profit prisons.

America hasn’t ended the war on drugs even though all the facts are in, and the debate is over. All the theoretical arguments against decriminalizing drugs were emphatically disproved when Portugal decriminalized all drugs, which led to a reduction in “drug use, HIV and hepatitis infection rates, overdose deaths, drug-related crime and incarceration rates.

One of the main reasons America hasn’t acted on the advice of all the experts and evidence is because for-profit prisons have been lobbying politicians to keep laws in place that fill prison cells so they can make more money.

Money is the strongest force in the world, and as long as someone can profit from putting people in jail, you can be sure they’ll do everything they can to maintain and increase their profit margins.

The biggest losers in the prison-industrial complex are the victims wasting away in prisons that cut costs at every corner, but the police are also victims in their own way. They’re on the front lines risking their lives to protect the profits of investors and CEOs whose business model is based on human suffering. It would be in the best interest of cops and civilians alike if America ended private prisons.

End revenue collection by police departments.

Cops are sacrificial paws in rich men’s games, but they’re also directly guilty of profiting from exploiting the people they’re paid to protect. Everyone in America knows police departments aggressively raise funding through tickets, fees, and fines. For some, its their main source of revenue.

In response to ticket quotas, I don’t call police “pigs.” I call them “sharks.” They’re circling the city looking for small fish to devour, and anyone will do. They’ll shake down elderly pensioners like highway robbers as quickly as gangster street racers. Police will defend themselves by claiming, “I was just upholding the law,” but everyone knows that’s just an excuse to cover up the fact that they’re actively trying to leech as much money as they can out of their community.

Cops have no right to act surprised when the public turns against them since they turned against the public decades ago. I once heard a black comedian, whose name I can’t remember, say, “I’ve always resented the fact that whenever I see a cop, I don’t feel safer. I feel afraid.” I’m white, and I feel the exact same way. I might not fear for my life as much, but I know cops don’t drive unmarked cars because they don’t want you to see them coming to protect you. They’re out to get you, me, and our grandmothers because they need our money. How can the police ever expect the public to trust them when their job description includes enforcing extortion quotas?

If peace between civilians and police is ever to be achieved, we have to stop allowing police departments to profit from tickets, fees, and fines. Give them a set budget, and redirect all the money they bring in to the education system.

End the “go beyond the ticket” policy.

Police departments are always looking for ways to make more arrests to increase their revenue and to look good on productivity reports. This motivates them to use any interaction with suspects as an opportunity to search for more criminal offenses, like possession of contraband. On the surface, this sounds justified; they’re innocently looking for more crimes to stop. That may be true, but they’re also systematically bullying people and escalating every interaction into as dangerous of a situation as they can.

American cops are notorious for pushing the limits of their authority to coerce and trick civilians into surrendering their civil rights, or at least, to not attempt to defend themselves while the cop violates their civil rights. If you don’t believe me, try filming the next cop who pulls you over or tell him you don’t consent to any searches, and see what happens. You’ll probably end up face down on the ground being told a long list of charges you’re going to jail for.

This is a conundrum with no good answer. It would be a shame for cops to allow crimes to pass under their nose, but what is the total cost of systematically roasting every civilian who cops come in contact with? Nobody trusts the police. Everyone is afraid of them. People hiding minor offences will be motivated to defend themselves, and any situation can escalate into a fight that could end with either party being killed unnecessarily. Is that really the lesser of two evils?

Increase rehabilitation and job placement programs for convicted criminals.

Imprisoning and bankrupting criminals isn’t going to make them better citizens because destroying their lives makes makes them more desperate in the long run. This is a huge part of the reason why harsh prisons sentences have failed to lower the recidivism rate of convicts.

American prisons are notorious around the world for their inhumanity. Life inside them is basically a perpetual race war and gang recruitment center. So when you see a cop, you know that’s what they represent. They might serve and protect you sometimes, but they’re also agents of death coming to steal your soul and send you to Hell. And they wonder why nobody trusts them.

People would trust cops more, and be less likely to stay committed to a life of crime, if prisons operated more like trade schools than sweat shop torture chambers. It would probably cost tax payers less money too.

Case in point, George Floyd was arrested in 2007 for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and spent 5 years in prison. If the justice system had done him any service, he would have been working at a high paying, skilled job in 2020 instead of spending forged $20 bills because his two shitty jobs barely made ends meet.

Furthermore, the officer who killed George Floyd undoubtedly knew his criminal record when he had his knee on his neck. When he ran Floyd’s background check on his computer, his first reaction wasn’t, “This man has been to prison. He’s had every advantage society can provide to better himself. Why is he spending fake $20 bills?” His first reaction was more likely, “This guy has already been to prison, a ruthless place where you go in hard and come out harder. I better approach this situation with extra violence since this guy spent five years in Fight Club.”

For multiple reasons, we should only expect police to treat convicts with inhumanity as long as our prison system remains devoted to subjecting criminals to inhumanity. The solution is to redesign the prison system to help people.

Increase qualification requirements and mental health screening for police recruits.

Anytime a cop abuses their authority, their brothers’ first defense is, “That guy was just a bad apple. The rest of us are really good, honest.” But every year, we keep finding bad apples. Instead of excusing the problem at the end of unqualified cops’ careers, why don’t we weed them out during the recruitment phase?

There will always be rotten candidates who slip through the cracks or become corrupted after years of well-intentioned service. You can address that problem as soon as they establish a pattern of pathological behavior, but that comes second. Everyone knows the requirements for joining the police is basically to have a G.E.D. and be able to run three miles. We know it takes a stronger mind to endure the stresses of police work than it takes to enter the police force, and we know the power of the badge attracts power-hungry sadists.

Recruitment reform is long overdue. If we raised the bar for entry, then people wouldn’t have to keep demanding justice, and police wouldn’t have to keep making excuses about bad apples.

Design better non-lethal weapons.

I’m not an engineer. So I don’t have any specific examples of nonlethal weapons I want invented, but I do know that if cops had better nonlethal tools, they wouldn’t have to use lethal ones so often.

Give M.I.T. a $20 million grant to design new tranquilizer darts, glue guns, sleep gas, or something that will give cops less dangerous options before resorting to deadly force.

Increase body/car cameras for cops, and make it totally legal to film police.

There’s enough social media videos of police breaking the public’s trust to conclusively establish… the police have broken the public’s trust. They can make excuses all day about bad apples, job stress, and whatever else. That doesn’t change the fact that enough of them have abused the public’s trust that the line has been crossed. We can’t trust them.

A lot of cops already wear body cameras, and many police cruisers are equipped with dash cams, but the bad cops have proven this isn’t enough. Apparently, everything they do needs to be recorded. Not only do they need to bring their own recording devices, everyone should have unrestricted rights to record police behavior.

Edward Snowden already proved the government has unlimited power to spy on the public, and we’ve been told we don’t have anything to fear if we don’t have anything to hide. The same principles should be applied to the police force, who are employed by the public. As long as it’s not, then they don’t serve at our pleasure, we survive at theirs. That’s not the social contract we paid for.

Stop designing cop cars to look scary and deceptive.

My final point is as much symbolic as it is practical. For the past few decades, police cruisers have been designed increasingly menacing and deceptive.

If your local police cars don’t look like black hell hounds, they’re disguised as taxis, or have all their public service markings painted in subdued colors that are hard to spot. Cops have obviously justified this trend as a way to intimidate and catch criminals. That may be true, but it also intimidates grandmothers and deceives the entire public.

Cops can’t honestly expect citizens to respect them, when they’re parading in dystopian nightmare cars and sneaking around in fake taxis. The current design of police cars is a metaphor for their relationship with the public. They’ve become hunters more than protectors. As long as this is the tone police set for their relationship with the public, we’ll always be locked in an escalating cycle of distrust, fear, and violence from both sides.

Hopefully, these 13 points have helped show how we can’t just fix one problem to end police brutality. It’s a symptom of multiple systemic trends in the justice system that turn civilians and police into enemies in a perpetually escalating conflict. Protests and riots were always another inevitable symptom of our flawed justice system, and we’ll continue to see them until there’s comprehensive reform. But that won’t happen until protesters demand specific, actionable policy changes.

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All The Points Americans Are Missing In The George Floyd Case

George Floyd was an African American man from Minneapolis, who was choked to death by a police officer on March 25, 2020 while arresting him for spending a forged $20 bill. His death outraged America, particularly African Americans, who staged protests in Minneapolis, which led to looting and clashes with the police. Meanwhile, social media has been flooded with debates, accusations, apologies, pleas, justifications, and general screams of frustration.

The death of George Floyd was an unnecessary and unsurprising tragedy. Watching America scramble for a call to action, I’ve noticed a typically American lack of nuance in the national dialogue. I’m not going to solve the world’s problems with my hot take on the issue, but I want to be on the right side of the conversation and try to offer the voice of reason when so many people are looking for a one-point solution to a one-point problem.

America’s police force kills over 1,000 people per year. Some of these are justified, some of them aren’t. The only time you ever hear any outrage over the subject is when a white cop kills an unarmed African American. The are two reasons for this. One, African Americans feel disproportionately targeted by systemic racism in the police force. This conclusion is drawn from the fact that African Americans make up 12% of the population but account for 26% of police killings. Two, if we’re being honest, 99% of the viral videos of police killings involve African Americans. If you get all your news from social media, you’d think they’re the only victims of police brutality.

Every year, police kill twice as many whites as blacks, almost as many Latinos, and a handful of other people.

Source

Imagine if you were a shepherd, and you had a flock of 1000 sheep. Every year, wolves killed 50 white sheep, 25 black sheep, 24 brown sheep, and 1 spotted sheep. So you sat down and tried to figure out a way to stop the wolves from targeting black sheep. Even if you could bring the percentage of black deaths down to 10%, you’d still be left with a wolf problem.

In regards to police, if you frame the problem as a primarily race-based issue, then the logical solution is race-based sensitivity training, but no amount of cultural awareness Power Point briefings are going to end the systemic abuse of force by the police.

The root of the problem is the militarization and commodification of law enforcement that sweeps up all races in its reign of terror. The strongest evidence for this is the fact that black cops are just as likely to kill blacks as white cops.

If you sat through every training session police officers attend through their career, you’ll never hear a speech about how you’re supposed to target African Americans. You will be trained to view everyone as a threat. You’ll be instructed to “go beyond the ticket” and attempt to escalate every minor traffic stop into an excuse to search for contraband. You’ll be trained to use military grade weapons and fighting techniques. You’ll be brainwashed to uphold the law no matter how frivolous they are, and you’ll punish victimless crimes because your police station relies on funding from tickets, and the prison-industrial complex has bribed politicians to design the law to fill prison beds for the profit of publicly traded prisons.

I’m not saying the police don’t do any good, but they should expand their motto to, “serve, protect, terrorize, and profit.” As long as their mission includes terror and profit, nobody is safe. If you fix that, then you’ll save lives from every race.

Fixing law enforcement’s misguided mission and systemic culture of violence is a necessary step in ending unnecessary police killings, but there are other factors that need to be addressed.

If it’s a moral imperative that we stop black people from being killed, then we’re obligated to ask why 93% of black murder victims are killed by black people and 41% of violent crimes are committed by blacks. I’ve seen Black Lives Matter supporters say it’s racist to point out these statistic, but ignoring the problem can’t help solve it. These numbers are important, because they may help explain why police officers (including black ones) seem to be more afraid of African Americans than other races.

You don’t have to dig deep into African American arts before you find that it has its own culture of violence, which creates a perfect storm when it meets police officers’ culture of violence.

You can call me a racist for pointing out violent crime statistics and the popularity of gang culture You can get me fired from my job and kicked off social media, but tomorrow, Pizza Hut still won’t deliver pizza to the ghetto, and the police will still be vividly aware of the statistics and culture they’re walking into when they enter black neighborhoods.

The African American community is desperate to blame someone for systematically training police to fear them. While there are surely nuanced external historical, sociological, and political factors involved, it’s honestly unfair to act surprised that cops would look at ambassadors for the black community like these and extrapolate assumptions:

I’m not saying African Americans deserve to be stereotyped. I’m saying, if you’re looking for sources of stereotypes and want to protect black people from getting killed, you would accomplish more by lecturing gun-toting gangsters than random white suburbanites on the internet.

But even that won’t fix the root problem that created and sustains gangsta culture: systemic economic oppression. Desperate circumstances lead to desperate actions. If you live in a poor community with few jobs (and mostly low paying ones), then the cost-benefit analysis of committing crimes to survive rises. The more crime there is, the more important it is to protect yourself from criminals, and this equation quickly spirals into a cycle of violence.

Gangstas wouldn’t need a charismatic leader to convince them to choose jobs over crime if good jobs existed in the ghetto and the economy wasn’t designed to bankrupt the poor. Until all poor Americans have immediate access to high paying jobs and an affordable cost of living, no amount of motivational speeches are going to prevent poor people from choosing crime over non-existent opportunities in a system that sets them up for failure.

So how do you bring jobs back to the ghetto? Not by looting and burning down businesses. I’ve seen people online justify rioting by saying peaceful protests haven’t worked. So this is their only recourse. They even compared their actions to the Boston Tea Party… ignoring the fact that the Boston Tea Party led to a civil war.

The Boston Tea Party analogy would be accurate if protesters were stealthily burning police stations and nothing else. That might send a powerful message, but there can only be one response to uncontrolled looting and destruction: the police are obligated to respond with brute force. By their actions, rioters are demanding cops reciprocate violence with violence. The only possible outcome of this course of action is more immediate violence, and in the long run, more militarization of the police and distrust.

I could be wrong. Enough violence might force somebody to do something… but not without tangible, actionable demands. Nobody in power can pass a law that makes cops stop being bad. In order for the Black Lives Matter movement to be successful, it needs a clear leader with a list of actionable demands and a strategy for applying leverage in case their requests aren’t met.

Even then, there’s a word for an organization that threatens governments with lists of demands: “terrorists.” And we all know how America responds to terrorists.

There is another option though. America has a system built in place for charismatic leaders to change laws: elections. The Democratic and Republican party have both proven they only work for their campaign donors and lobbyists. If you’re not funding their careers, they don’t give a fuck about you. So I’m not suggesting voting Democrat will save the poor.

What African Americans can do though is start their own political party and put Black Lives Matter politicians directly into the system where they can literally write the laws without having to beg, coerce, bribe, or wait on anyone else. That could directly change the systemic flaws in the the police force and the economy.

For what it’s worth, that’s what I think the call to action from George Floyd’s death should be.

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Should Police Enforce Unjust Laws?

In Nazi Germany, it was the police’s (by any other name) job to arrest Jews and send them to their deaths. Even though the police made a vow to uphold the law, no reasonable person would argue that the Nazi police were morally bound to uphold that law because it was blatantly unjust. In modern-day America, the police take a vow to uphold the law as well, and the law says that smoking or selling marijuana is illegal. I would argue that calling the police on your neighbor for smoking or selling marijuana is one moral step down from calling the Gestapo on your neighbor for being Jewish. Likewise, any police officer who enforces unjust laws is one moral step down from the Gestapo, especially considering the inhumane conditions American prisons force the humans inside them to endure. Convicts may not get gassed, but they’ll be stripped of their humanity and get beat, raped, or even killed. If they’re released with a felony conviction on their record they’ll be lucky to ever get a job again. For some ex-cons, it would have been a mercy if they were just gassed the day they got caught with marijuana.

 

 

This is what American police are ordered to do to the civilian population, and they wash their hands of the blood of the civilians they sacrifice to the industrial prison system by saying, “It’s not our place to question the law, only to enforce it.” Well, that’s not good enough. Where do all those laws the police vow to uphold come from and what gives them validity? The laws were written by politicians and hold validity for the same reason money holds value: By active or passive consent, the majority of the population has made a social contract with each other to agree to give politicians the authority to pass laws and assign value to money.

The Gestapo had their orders that came down the chain of command from the highest level politicians in their government too, but no reasonable person would argue that every rule Hitler told his police to follow was automatically and unquestionably valid simply because the leader of the government said so. People are just people no matter what man-made rank they wear. Things people say or write are just things people say or write. The American Declaration of Independence said the rights of man are self-evident and exist regardless of any laws written by men, even if those men are kings. The only way we can know these unwritten rules is by reason, not faith. Thus it’s up to the individual to think for themselves to determine whether or not the laws of their land are just.

This is all good and well for the average citizen who isn’t in any position to push their morals on other people, but the point becomes poignant for police who are charged with the responsibility of enforcing a canned version of morality on all the citizens within their jurisdiction. This issue becomes even more poignant the more power the police have to fine, detain, imprison, blacklist, beat, and kill citizens without facing any repercussions.

The American people have already told their government they want marijuana legalized, and the president literally mocked them.

 

 

If elected politicians won’t honor the social contract then who else is there to stand up for the citizens who have to suffer the indignity and danger of unjust laws and an inhumane prison system? The only people standing between the citizens and the unjust laws are the police who enforce those laws. The police are the first line of defense against tyranny, and by rights, the police should serve the interests of the public over the interests of politicians. Police officers’ paychecks come from taxes, and their authority comes from the social contract they have with the people they’re charged to protect. Politicians are simply servants who try to manage the affairs of the nation. They’re not masters or gods.

You still may not be convinced though. You still may be saying, “But you simply can’t make it a categorical imperative that every cop should enforce whatever laws they personally feel are just, because that would just result in anarchy.” As true as that may be, what’s the alternative? If we make it a categorical imperative that cops should never be able to exercise their own judgment then that literally makes them slaves, and that gives their leaders unlimited power to oppress the civilian herd. That doesn’t immediately make civilians slaves, but if the executive and judicial branches of government can use thugs to force civilians to follow rules they don’t believe in then you can’t say those civilians are free.

We don’t have to choose between a praetorian slave state or anarchy, but if civil servants aren’t allowed to question the morality of their actions, then we’re well on our way to a police state.

 

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Cops Who Beat Up Protesters Are Defending Oppression

Protesters look great on TV; they look like harmless, courageous, peace-loving, innocent civilians doing their civic duty, and while that may be true on some level, police don’t have the luxury of assessing the situation from their living room. I imagine police are a lot like soldiers who have seen combat, and now, even when they’re on civilian time in civilian clothes, they’re still on edge in large crowds of people because they understand that people are dangerous, and a lot of people are really dangerous.

 

 

I understand police took an oath to perform a role in society in the name of order, and part of that oath was to follow orders. I know that the police force has its own internal culture full of customs and courtesies built around rank and protocol. As a result, the police feel a deeper sense of pride and satisfaction in performing their job and following orders than say the average civilian working in the bowels of a giant, faceless corporation.

So I have sympathy for police who approach a once peaceful and orderly street to control a stampede of potential lunatics, many of whom are dressed like lunatics. I understand that when police get the order to clear uncooperative protesters out of an area by any non-lethal means necessary, that’s pretty close to getting a commandment from God; that order came down from the mayor to the head of the law enforcement organization all the way down the chain of command to the police on the scene. The cost/benefit analysis of following that order is stacked heavily in favor of doing so, especially because officers who don’t, will get in trouble. In a best-case scenario, this would prevent them from getting promoted later. In worst-case scenarios, they could lose rank or even their job.

From a practical, stoic point of view, it’s logical to beat up and arrest nonviolent protesters in the heat of the moment, but that’s a narrow point of view that ignores the bigger picture. Let’s take a step back and look at the situation from a broader view. Protesting and rioting aren’t normal. Sitting at home watching TV, shopping, visiting friends and having sex are normal. That’s what people want to do with their free time, and people are really lazy. They’re too lazy to open a can of pre-cut tomatoes without an electric can opener. So when people turn off the television and take to the streets it’s because there’s something really, really wrong in their lives that they want…nay, need fixed, and the more people there are protesting, the more likely their grievances have merit.

Their grievances are especially poignant when they concern inhumane government policies because the chain of command the police follow leads straight up to the civil government. So when police beat up, arrest and disperse nonviolent protesters for protesting against inhumane government policies, then the police become the tools of oppression. They’re directly enabling those inhumane policies to continue destroying people’s lives, and preventing people from speaking out against those inhumane policies is the very definition of suppression of free speech.

 

Cartoon of rich men walking past a line of riot police holding back protesters. One rich man is saying to another, "I'm just hoping we can keep this whole thing under control after the police find out we're stealing their pensions."

 

This is self-evident in theory, but on the streets it becomes clouded. You can arrest a protester for a million seemingly logical reasons. Maybe they don’t have a permit to gather. Maybe they’re outside the approved protesting cordon. Maybe they’re wearing a mask. Maybe they shouted a threat or it sounded like they did. Maybe they raised their arms above their head in a threatening gesture. On the surface, these seem like practical reasons to arrest people, but if a protest can be dispersed by using all these little justifications then the end result is that the police silenced the people’s voice in government by terrorizing them. By enforcing rules like these the police are telling people that if they attempt to make their voice heard then the government will send thugs to silence them under false pretenses in a way that absolves the government of the crime of suppressing free speech and makes offenders out of protesters. That’s how protesters have to see the police on the street.

That’s not what the police signed up for. They took an oath to serve and protect people. It’s more than a slap in the face to the police force to order them to violently suppress free speech in the name of peace and freedom, but that’s exactly what’s happening in America today.

I thought we were passed this phase of history. All my textbooks in school said the days of cops beating up citizens trying to hold their politicians accountable to the basic principles of human rights was over. I wonder how many more skulls the police have to crack before they just let the people have their voice. I wonder if the police will ever collectively come to the conclusion that maybe if they just let the people get what they want from the government then they’ll all go back home to their TVs, friends, and lovers and be happy and not go outside and cause trouble anymore.

What the police force should be doing is helping the protesters organize. We all just want the streets to be safe. We’re on the same side fighting for the same goal. Why can’t we work together?

 

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An Intervention With The Police

Every American school kid was raised on well-meaning propaganda that painted the country’s police force as super good guys, and that propaganda has worked; many young Americans look up to police as heroes…but not just because of the propaganda; kids who have grown up in the information age aren’t dumb. They understand how important it is to have a highly funded police force. Americans are happy to wear “NYPD” hats and not just because they got duped by a marketing campaign but because they really do value their police on meaningful intellectual and emotional levels.

The thing is, the police are making it really hard to keep liking them. Americans who were raised on Saturday morning cartoons want to believe that every police officer is like Andy Griffith meets Robocop. That’s how Americans were raised to perceive cops. So that’s how they try to perceive cops, but it’s hard to keep giving the police the benefit of the doubt when the public looks around, and they don’t see Robo-Andy-Griffith. All they see are protesters getting pepper sprayed and shot in the head with tear gas canisters, and the public can’t do anything about it because anytime they bring up the issue of excessive use of force they’re told they’re ungrateful and spoiled and are sternly reminded that all police deserve the full honors and privileges of Robo Andy Griffith.

The “you’re a spoiled, naïve liberal” excuse isn’t cutting it anymore. There was a time when young Americans smiled when they saw cops. Now seeing a cop is more likely to wipe the smile off their faces, and the reason they’re scared of police is because the police go out of their way to scare them. Police cars are designed to appear menacing, not welcoming. I’m sorry, but you don’t get to act surprised when you pull up in a car that looks like a prop from a Hollywood movie about a futuristic dystopian police state and people say they feel menaced by you.

 

 

And it sends a mixed message that undermines your authority when the side of your car says, “To protect and serve.” but it’s an accepted fact of life that you do not ever speak to the police without a lawyer present. Ever. The police are even required to remind you that “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Why would anyone want to be anywhere near someone who can and will use anything they say to put them in a prison system that is globally famous for its unchecked human rights violations?

The thing is, young American aren’t even asking anymore. They’re telling the police they feel absolutely miserable, terrorized and afraid of the people they pay to protect them. Some people have even given up on the system so completely they’ve left America to go live in less wealthy places where at least they don’t have to be afraid of the police or the corrupt government the police are protecting.

The correct way for the police to respond to that charge isn’t to say, “Oh, well then screw those people if they don’t like it here.” The correct way for the police to respond is to say, “I accept that I have a problem and am ready to listen.”

And the good news for the police is, young Americans are smart enough to understand that police aren’t just inherently bad people who deserve to be hated because of the color of their clothes. The American people understand that people who are police officers aren’t the problem. Unethical police behavior is a symptom of a flawed police system. To blame it all on the cops on the street would be like holding teachers (who work at the bottom of an obsolete and compromised education system and have their hands tied behind their backs by cumbersome bureaucracy) solely accountable for children’s test scores, and that would be ridiculous.

There are some serious flaws in the way the police force is designed on paper, and the police should be more eager than anyone to address those flaws because they’re setting up good cops to lose sight of the purpose of the law, and if the law has no purpose then you don’t have a police force; you have a mafia. I actually wouldn’t believe any senior cop who says they’ve never been pissed off at how ineffective and backward and in need of upgrading the police system is.

The police want the police system fixed. The people want the police system fixed. Everyone just wants the streets to be safe. The police and the people just never talked about it together because they’ve  always been compartmentalized with a great divide between them. Now they’re both part of the 99%, and there are people with tables all over the world listening to ideas, writing them down and sharing them with other people.

If the politicians can’t figure out an effective way of balancing crime, authority, freedom, and equality then the police and the citizens are the only parties left for the responsibility to fall to.  The people took the first step setting up the tables at the Occupy protests. All the police have to do to have their voices heard is sit down at the table. The least the police can do if they want to live in a better society is not kick the table over and beat the hell out of everyone sitting around it.

 

 

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Military Mind Control
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American Cops, You’re Delusional If You Don’t Understand Why Civilians Hate You

Hate is a strong word, but that’s the situation on the streets of America. Don’t shoot the messenger, bro. America has always had a love/hate relationship with its police force, which was morbidly exemplified on July 8th, 2016, when a sniper in Dallas, TX shot 14 police officers, killing 5 in revenge for the hundreds of unarmed civilians police kill every year. In a show of solidarity towards the police and condemnation towards the killer, thousands of people lined the streets along the funeral procession for the slain officers.

Those men deserve sympathy and credit for the good things they did, and they deserve for their deaths not to have been in vain, but they will be if America can’t have an open dialogue about why people hate the police.

The inconvenient truth is police provide the civilian population with an assembly line of reasons to hate them. The animosity they receive is blowback for the unacceptable things they constantly do.

At the top of the list is the aforementioned body count of innocent civilians. To add insult to injury, police regularly deflect ownership of the problem by blaming the victims. One police officer recently summed up their argument in an article, “Following Commands: A Lost Art,” which, unfortunately, is no longer on the internet.

“I am going to say what no one else is saying.  From the President of the United States to every local news reporter in the country, no one is saying it, ‘Follow the commands of a police officer or risk injury or possibly worse…’ You can debate all day long about what proper police force is, when it should be used and if the entire criminal justice system is racist but there is one thing in common with every so-called “excessive force” video you have seen in recent years. The suspect is not following commands… The way I see it, we have two options to stop police use of deadly force. Police stop being police or citizens can do what an officer says to do.”

 

"OBEY OR DIE: This message brought to you by the people you pay to protect you."

 

There’s some truth to this argument, but if the author can’t see why civilians would be underwhelmed by his logic, he’s crazy. “Obey or die” isn’t the social contract Americans were promised, and it’s not one they can accept. And if that’s really how police see civilians, as sheep to be controlled with violence, then citizens would have to have Stockholm Syndrome to love police unconditionally. The police may not realize that, but the people do, and they resent cops for expecting them to celebrate their subjugation.

It’s hard to look at police as good guys when they aren’t even trying to look like it anymore. Police cruisers are intentionally designed to appear intimidating. How can the police more clearly brand themselves and communicate their intentions than by painting a big sign on their cars that says, “We don’t want you to feel safe when you see us. We want you to feel intimidated.” By dressing like Nazi Storm Troopers from a dystopian future and acting ones. That’s how.

 

Photo of two police dressed in black body armor charging at a skinny black girl standing calmly and non-threateningly

Milton from the movie, "Office Space" saying, "I was told I was paying you to protect me."

Mauri Povich reading a piece of paper with the caption, "Dressing like a Nazi Storm Trooper from a dystopian future and bum-rushing dainty women determined that was a lie,"

 

Any time a police officer gets caught doing something immoral, the rest are quick to concede there are a few bad apples among them and counter that 99% of the time, all police do is protect people. That argument sounds good on paper, but it fails to sway law-abiding citizens who live in constant fear under the thumb of all law enforcement.

A black comedian, whose name I can’t recall, once said, “I’ve always resented the fact that I don’t feel safe when I see a police car behind me; I feel scared.” He’s not being irrational, and neither is the rest of the civilian population. Everyone feels the same way, and they’re right. A police cruiser behind you is like a shark hunting for prey.

It’s common knowledge the reason police write so many traffic citations isn’t because drivers are that bad or cops are overzealous. It’s all about revenue. Cops are highway robbers shaking down well-meaning people for mostly inconsequential technicalities. And the cost of a superfluous ticket can equal weeks or months of an unskilled worker’s wages. On top of that, police regularly seize civilians’ assets without trial, and getting your stolen property back can cost more money than what was taken.

 

 

Heaven help Americans who screw up and commit a legitimate crime in a moment of desperation or incoherence. The cost of paying bond, court fees, legal representation, fines and probation quickly add up to years of wages for minor offenses, let alone big ones. The legal system makes it as hard as possible to pay off these fees by requiring you to take time off work for multiple court appearances and probation meetings, which is almost impossible since American employees get less time off than any other first world country.

This assumes you can even get a job after a conviction since you’re required to divulge your criminal record to potential employers and most landlords. It also assumes you have transportation to get to court, work or your probation meetings. Police regularly confiscate people’s cars and revoke their driver’s licenses for crimes not even related to driving. If you were arrested for having sex with a 17-year-old, the law prevents you from living anywhere near anything.

If you can’t pay your fees after the police destroy your career, your fees will increase relentlessly until they bankrupt you, after which, you’ll be sent to debtors’ prison, which was outlawed in 1833. Since jailing people for not paying fines is breaking the law, that means cops are breaking the law, which makes them criminals. Since they’re also government officials who are violating the founding principles of the government, they fit the exact definition of tyrants. That’s not being hyperbolic. This is the exact kind of situation the word “tyranny” was invented to describe.

 

 

The total cost of bond, court fees, legal representation and fines for major criminal offenses can add up to decades of a poor person’s future earnings, but less than 1% of a rich person’s savings. Without being hyperbolic, that literally constitutes economic oppression, which makes the police foot soldiers of economic oppression. So when cops say their job is to “serve and protect,” that might be true for rich people but definitely not for poor people. You’ll notice poor people shoot more cops than rich people.

In addition to economic oppression, the police’s job description also includes the regular taking-your-freedoms-away-against-your-will kind of oppression. Again, this isn’t exaggerating. It’s spelled out in black and white letters in America’s law code, which contains thousands, if not millions, of laws against inconsequential victim-less crimes.

I know a man who had a warrant issued for his arrest for not mowing his lawn and then not showing up to court because he didn’t receive the summons. I know another man who walked home from a bar because he was too drunk to drive, and he was arrested for public intoxication. I know a girl who was arrested for drinking a beer one hour before she turned 21. I went to a concert at a major venue, where the law required the bar staff to pour all their drinks out of single-serve bottles into plastic cups that you couldn’t take out of the designated drinking area, resulting in mountains of trash at every event and zero crimes prevented. I went tubing at a river, and the cops were standing in force at the exit point arresting anyone who brought open containers of alcohol out of the river because it’s legal to drink on water, but not on land. In a separate incident, I was ticketed on a river for drinking alcohol when I was 20 years old, which my European friends find hilariously sad. Americans aren’t even free to walk across the road without getting a ticket, and women aren’t allowed to take their shirts off. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are still dumber things you can be arrested for in America.

 

 

Nobody is protected by any of these laws. The only outcome is control for the sake of control. If you think these laws aren’t a big deal, then you’re implying freedom isn’t a big deal. You’re also ignoring the fact that a threat to freedom anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere. Minor losses of liberty set the precedent for bigger ones, and the justice system has already taken advantage of this fact.

Prostitution and recreational drug use are strictly illegal to say nothing about how hard it is to buy life-saving drugs. Sex and drugs are nobody’s business but one’s own, and a government created “of the people, by the people, for the people” has no place regulating them, especially when the majority of people don’t want the government to. That goes double when every study done on them has proven them to cause more harm than good, and triple when other countries have already legalized them and proven in practice that criminalizing them does more harm than good, and legalizing them does more good than harm.

America’s own police force knows better than anyone how futile and damaging the war on sex and drugs is. Yet they go out every day and keep fighting even though they know that ultimately, all they’re accomplishing is war. And they wonder why people don’t like them. The people are equally baffled by how the police can sleep at night and go to work each day to wage war on their family again.

Lawmakers justify the war on sex and drugs by saying they’re protecting people from themselves, which is confusing because everyone knows it doesn’t. But the argument is moot for at least two reasons anyway.

First, nobody agreed to pay the government to protect themselves from themselves. When the government tells you that you can’t do something you want to do (that doesn’t hurt anybody), and you don’t have a choice in the matter, that’s the opposite of freedom. It doesn’t matter what a lawmaker’s justification is for doing their job wrong.

Second, sending people to jail for sex and drug-related crimes is like shooting them in the head to protect them from shooting themselves in the foot. American prisons are the most inhumane of any first world country. In addition to the lethally low quality of food and hygiene, the frequency of murder, rape, abuse, and humiliation that happen inside is the stuff of legend.

So forgive the civilian population for not being excited to see a cop. The smartest advice you can tell a child is never talk to someone who starts the conversation by announcing, “Anything you say  can and will be used against you in a court of law to throw you into pound-me-in-the-ass prison.” That’s not something a friend would ever say or do to you. Cops are the opposite of friends, and it’s regrettably responsible to forewarn your children of this truth.

In an unbelievably more dystopian twist, American prisons have sweatshops that use inmates as slave labor for private corporations, and there are more black men in prison than there were in America before the Emancipation Proclamation. Private corporations even own prisons and sell shares on the stock market, creating a financial incentive to incarcerate as many people as possible and provide the lowest level of care to them as possible.

Compton is the new Slave Coast, and business is booming thanks to the police. America has the highest prison population in the world. By definition, it’s factually inaccurate to call the country with the highest incarceration rate “the land of the free.” The architects of America’s legal system should be held accountable for taking this title away from America, but so should the people with their boots on the ground who are rounding up victimless criminals and sending them to the meat grinder that is America’s prison system. The police who are complicit in this crime against humanity aren’t public servants. They’re corporate mercenaries who enforce slavery, and that’s not something to be proud of.

On top of all this, civilians have to put up with the TSA sexually assaulting them, the NSA spying on them, the CIA pushing drugs in ghettos, and using civilians for science experiments and the FBI covering up corruption. Every member of the American law enforcement system should be ashamed of themselves for more reasons than I have time to list here.

Last but not least of those reasons is how law enforcement behaves when the American people exercise their First Amendment right to protest against the lethal injustices they suffer. Anytime protests get large enough to make a difference, police are sent in with military gear to brutally crush the demonstration with tear gas, tasers, batons, and bullets. That’s a guaranteed outcome of a well-organized protest, and it doesn’t matter what age, race or sex the protesters are. There will be blood. At the end of the protest, the government will use it as an excuse to further militarize the police, which will require more money, which will require the police to rob more people, which will require them to come up with more excuses to make criminals out of well-meaning people. This makes law enforcement officials the vanguard of oppression.

 

 

It can’t be said enough, America isn’t the land of the free, and saying it is, is Orwellian doublespeak. Americans are oppressed all to Hell, and the first line of oppression is the police civilians pay to protect them. In that regards, the police force is, by definition, the bad guy.

To be fair, police do some good, but patting them on the back is like patting a Gestapo agent on the back for helping an old woman across the street. If you want to fault me for breaching Godwin’s Law and using too many Hitler references, I would counter that the police have already exonerated me. Police often deflect responsibility for their crimes against humanity by saying things like, “I was just following orders. The law is the law. If I don’t do my job I can’t feed my family. The justice system isn’t perfect, but I have to respect the system.” Using the Nuremberg Defense doesn’t demonstrate integrity or courage. It completes the Nazi comparison.

As intolerable as the actions of the police are, I can’t condone reciprocating the violence they inflict on the civilian population. In addition to being unethical, it would only result in justifying further militarization of the police and erosion of civil liberties as per the status quo. If you want to protest income inequality, government corruption, or excessive force, the most logical place to stage your protest is in front of your local police station. Put their guilt on their front door. If they respond to the protest the way they always do, at least they’ll have to walk past the spot where they beat down little girls every day they come to work. Maybe that will get them thinking enough is enough.

It shouldn’t have to come to that. The people shouldn’t be working up the courage to stand up to the police. The police should have the courage to stand up to the system. The people shouldn’t be organizing to figure out what they’re going to do about their cop problem. The cops should be organizing a gigantic internal meeting and fundamentally reassess their approach to helping people. If the system won’t facilitate an official meeting, the cops need to organize their own. The alternative is to keep digging their own graves, and that doesn’t help anybody.

 

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Tweets by The Wise Sloth #24: Police, Prisons and Drug Laws

Cartoon image of a sloth sitting on a mountain top. He is wearing a yellow robe. His head is bowed with his eyes shut, and beams of light shine from around his head. With his left arm, he is holding one finger in the air. Above him are the words, "Tweets by The Wise Sloth."

Memorial Day is the perfect day to ask why America has more prisoners than any other country.

Any president who doesn’t talk about the fact that state-sanctioned slavery going on in U.S. prisons, is a complete failure at their job.

A country only cares about its free citizens as much as it cares about its prisoners.

Maybe the U.S.A. shouldn’t have more citizens in prison than any country in the world.

As long as there are for-profit prisons, ticket quotas and a war on drugs, there are no good cops, only accomplices to crime at best.

I knew an inmate who refused to work in the prison sweatshop. When asked why. He said, “If I wanted to be a slave, I wouldn’t have sold drugs”

More Americans have been to jail than have a passport.

At any given time, there are more Americans in jail than on vacation.

If you’re afraid of your police then you probably don’t live in the land of the free.

If you have to worry about the police protecting you from yourself, you’re not free.

Someone who plans to use anything you say against you in a court of law is not there to serve and protect you.

Just once I’d like to hear an American president address the fact that Americans live in constant fear of their own police force.

Tyranny cannot exist unless good people uphold bad laws in the name of duty and patriotism.

I don’t know why people riot, but I have noticed that I un-oppressed people rarely do.

In nobody’s utopia do people fear the police. In everyone’s dystopia the general public fears the police.

The more often and intensely you’re afraid of accidentally or unintentionally breaking the law, the more likely you live in a police state.

The more non-violent protesters cops arrest, the more they make violence inevitable by proving non-violence is not an option.

Most Americans are more intensely and frequently afraid of seeing an American cop or doctor than a foreign terrorist.

Americans don’t suck because there aren’t enough rules, but because there are too many.

Walking in big American cities is dangerous. If the cops don’t get you, the criminals will.

It really illustrates who the government works for when cops arrest people protesting big businesses seizing and building on their land.

The police are doing a pretty good job at protecting me from illegal robbery. They’re doing a terrible job protecting me from legal robbery.

When someone tells you to respect authority, they’re really telling you to embrace subjugation.

Refusing to question rules/orders doesn’t make you morally strong/pure but intellectually weak/lazy.

Every time a cop gives a ticket to meet a quota, they defeat the purpose of police existing.

If you want to feel free then think of police quotas as freedom quotas.

America’s police celebrate America’s freedoms every July 4th by giving tickets to citizens for drinking and using fireworks too liberally.

Soldiers giveth freedom, and police taketh away.

A good guy wouldn’t take all of a poor person’s money because they don’t have a sticker on their car, but any cop would.

The more you believe victimless crimes should be policed by the government, the less you believe in freedom.

Police have unmarked cars so… you can’t spot them coming to serve and protect you?

Fastest way to reduce the number of police shootings: Reduce the number of pointless victimless crimes cops have to engage people over.

Cops are deadly stressed and scared because they never know who’s going to shoot them… as they pull people over to humiliate, harass, attack and exploit with bullshit tickets all day.

Your tax dollars would keep you a lot safer if the government paid for everyone’s groceries instead of putting patrol cars on every street.

Every soldier who ever died, died in vain every time a cop punishes a taxpayer for a victimless crime.

If America is the land of the free, then those must be freedom fines, freedom fees and freedom tickets I keep getting.

America has a drug epidemic because it has a hopelessness epidemic, which is made much worse by drug laws.

Sending people to jail for using drugs is like shooting them in the face to protect them from shooting themselves in the foot.

A good guy wouldn’t destroy someone’s life because they own a plant, but any cop would.

The TSA would help more people if it sold its scanners and bought farmland and paid its staff to farm and give free food to the poor.

The NSA wished Americans a happy Independence Day yesterday on Twitter. No need to tell them what you wished for. They already know.

I wonder how many homes and gardens could have been built with the money America has spent spying on its citizens.

 

If you enjoyed these Tweets, you’ll also like these:

My Tweets About Self-Help
My Tweets About Romance
My Tweets About Philosophy 
My Tweets About Religion
My Tweets About Politics
My Tweets About Economics
My Tweets About Pop Culture

The Time The TSA Humiliated Me For Fun

"I got to second base with a TSA screener"

 

I recently flew from Colorado to Texas, and I arrived at the airport 30 minutes before my plane was scheduled to leave. Normally this airport isn’t very busy. So I wasn’t worried… until I reached the security checkpoint, which had about 50 people in it.

Luckily, the line was moving surprisingly fast. So my anxiety was shrinking as I got closer to the body scanner, which I like to call “the dignity evaporation machine” or “D.E.M.” for short.

 

 

Images of a human body taken by a TSA body scanner. The facial features look like a skull, and the genitals are clearly visible

 

I’ve traveled around the world, and America is the only country I’ve ever had to walk through these. I loathe these things because they blast you with radiation, microwaves, and/or who knows what. They used to take naked pictures of you, but that was supposedly changed, but how would I really know what goes on inside them? Either way, when you stand inside them, you have to hold your hands above your head like you’re a criminal being arrested. The invasion of privacy and the submissive posture really drives home the point that everyone who attempts to board a plane in America is considered guilty of terrorism until proven innocent.

As I approached the D.E.M. I noticed a male TSA agent standing idly next to the old metal detector that nobody walks through anymore. I knew you can choose between going through the D.E.M. or getting a pat-down. I assumed a pat-down would be quicker, and if I was going to lose my dignity anyway, I felt it would be more just if the TSA had to get their hands dirty taking it from me.

So I told the TSA agent that I preferred a pat-down. He looked at me in disgust and then shouted over his shoulder at nobody in particular, “We’ve got an opt-out.” Then he stood there staring into space for 4 minutes while I watched in horror as people who were originally behind me in the line passed through the D.E.M. Finally, I said to the agent, “I’m running a bit late. If this is going to take a while, I’ll just go through the machine.” He barked at me with a mixture of amusement and disgust, “Too late for that.” Only then did he take me through the metal detector to a place with a floor mat with two footprints on it where I was instructed to stand.

As I assumed the position the agent asked me in a voice dripping with suspicion and accusation, “Why did you choose to opt-out?” I told him, “I don’t know what that machine is. I don’t like it, and I don’t want anyone to see me naked.” He replied, “Eh, it’s not that bad.”

Then he took his time finding a box of plastic gloves, and then he made it a point to show me how slowly he put them on and adjusted them. Then the frisking started. Mind you, I was wearing a fitting T-shirt and fitting blue jeans. Since I was flying on a cheap airline that charged $50 to check a bag and/or carry on anything bigger than a small purse, I had all of my luggage (3 pairs of socks, three pairs of underwear, and three T-shirts) in a plastic grocery bag. So there was nowhere for me to hide anything.

Still, he wrapped his hands tightly around each of my arms and acted like he was squeezing a tube of toothpaste. He even ran his hands down my bare arms past the sleeves as if I could be hiding something under my skin. He stuck his hands down my shirt collar and inspected all 360 degrees of my neck. Then he did the same thing to my waistband. Then he squeezed both my legs like they were tubes of toothpaste. He did that to each leg from the front and then each leg from the back. On each pass, he jammed his hands up into my groin, which meant he made firm contact with my balls 4 times.

After the frisking was over he swabbed his gloves and put the swab into a machine that looked like a futuristic cash register. The machine beeped, and a bright red light started flashing. I said, “What does that mean?” He said, “Nothing good. It means you tested positive for bomb residue.” I wanted to shout at him, “Bomb residue! Bomb residue! Where’s the bomb? I’m just a guy in a t-shirt and jeans with a plastic bag full of underwear, and you just squeezed every inch of my body!” Of course, there wasn’t any need for me to state the obvious. He knew there wasn’t any bomb or any residue for that matter. We both knew I was just a guy getting harassed, and there was nothing I could do about it.m

The agent called his supervisor, who was an older black lady. She looked at the machine and looked at the gloves. Then she started chitchatting with the agent, completely ignoring me. I asked her, “So what happens now?” Without even looking at me she said in a bored, monotone voice, “Sir, your clothing tested positive for bomb residue. So we have to take you into a private room for another pat down.” Then she just walked off and left us to wait for an elderly white guy to come and escort me to a private room along with the agent who had just frisked my balls.

As we entered the room I asked, “Can I just take off all my clothes to speed up this process.” With a mixture of annoyance and glee, my original frisker said, “No. We have to do it this way.” He stood in the corner of the room and nonchalantly picked through my plastic bag while the older agent frisked me in exactly the same way as I had just been frisked out in the open. So I don’t know why we had to go into a private room. He also jammed my balls into my groin a total of 4 times. The only thing he did differently was make me take my shoes off and rub the bottom of my feet. When he was finished he went and tested his gloves in the bomb residue machine while the younger agent guarded the door.

When the second glove test came back negative the agent at the door said, “Ok. We’re done here,” and sauntered off. None of the agents showed any relief or surprise by the outcome, because they knew from the first second they saw me that I was nothing more than a guy in a T-shirt and jeans carrying a plastic bag full of underwear who was critically late for his flight. Needless to say, I didn’t get an apology for wasting my time and violating my personal space.

So I collected everything I brought with me except for my dignity and ran for my gate just in time to board my plane where I spent the next two and a half hours lamenting how much of my tax dollars are spent dehumanizing the American public under the guise of safety. On my return flight to Colorado a few days later I opted to go through the dignity evaporation machine like the powerless peon I am.

There are some people who would say that everything that happened to me was my fault, and I should have arrived at the airport earlier to schedule time to be humiliated, and I should have just submitted to having my body radiated or microwaved or whatever instead of exercising my barely existent freedom of choice because I should have anticipated the TSA agents would be annoyed by the fact that I want to travel.

Call me crazy, but I feel like this is blaming the victim, and it sets a dystopian precedent. How about instead of making humiliation, bullying and sexual assault a normal part of travel, we just get rid of the TSA since they’re completely ineffective at preventing terrorism anyway.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

My Life Stories (in chronological order)
Police Brutality
America is not the good guy

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