“His response was to fight it with the only weapons at hand—passive resistance and open displays of contempt.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
Life in the Freddie Gray Era
“Sending the specially trained Metro police into an area of elevated violence is reactive to crime. The day-to-day, very positive, community- and relationship-based policing of the LAPD is proactive….
All of which raises the question, what language is crime speaking? Everything is dependent on the answer.
If we think crime is the vocabulary of the #badguy, then we deploy special troops to round up a bunch of them. Our default assessment of Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore, or the shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina, is racism. But the deeper analysis is that these men may have been seen as #badguys, and their race may have had less to do with what happened to them than that perception.
Scott ran, so did Gray, thus showing contempt for an arresting officer. Fleeing validated their status as #badguys. In South Carolina, the officer’s narrative was initially believed (“He took my Taser”) because cops are the #goodguys and those who flee aren’t. And even when terrible things happen, the rationale will be, “He was unarmed, he hadn’t done anything, but think of all the times he did and got away.” A video in the Scott case obliterated that, but it remains the troubling mind-set behind these stories.
There is a well-worn training video for law enforcement that shows endless images of officers wounded, dead or beaten badly. The voice-over implores those viewing it “to get home safely to your families tonight.” This video doesn’t inculcate a racial bias, but it suggests strongly that there are bad guys out there who want to hurt you: Get them, before they get you. I suspect this explains the eight bullets in Scott’s back more than racism does.
What language is crime speaking? Everything is dependent on the answer.
Yet “Get the #badguy” is an essential untruth. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa believes “there are monstrous and evil acts,” but he does not believe “those who commit such acts are monsters or evil.” It is a very important distinction.”
Related Story: Baltimore city cameras show time lapses, gaps and footage is missing in the Freddie Gray trial of officers accused of neglect and homicide.
Commentary: Security cameras can be the only witnesses to crime perpetrated by those entrusted to uphold the law. Unfortunately, due to this new thing called ‘community oriented policing’ aka organized stalking, perpetual investigation, and flash mobsterism, many hands can interfere in the chain of evidence, and often do.
However, each citizen must be aware that camera footage can be your best friend in this new era of ‘see something say something’ because these cameras often document pre-crime provocations by others who are NOT the police: security guards figure prominently in the OS scheme, and anyone in retail can be enlisted with the flash of a badge: clerks, baristas, anyone- even librarians- any one of a number of people who play along with or are enlisted into the hidden tactics and methods of community policing.