27 August 2020

Random Rant 22

If somebody wanted to stage an event to advocate defunding the police (or indeed abolishing the institution altogether) the unfolding debacle in Kenosha could hardly be bettered. I mean, it begins with a police officer (allegedly Rusten Sheskey) firing seven shots (four successfully) into a man’s back—something there is no conceivable justification for. But he had a knife! claim certain weak-minded members of the public, as though that were justification for anything. Even if he did have a knife—and so far we only have the word of the Wisconsin Department of Justice for that assertion—that provides no excuse for the action. I mean, maybe, if he were a crazed man with a knife about to sacrifice his son because he thought that’s what his god wanted him to do (Genesis 22:10), and there was no other way to stop him—maybe. But in light of the actual events, no.

And that, please note, is only the beginning. In response to public protests against the attempted killing by an officer, the police offer support to armed vigilantes out to make trouble—and one of them kills two people. Trump fan and Blue Lives Matter booster Kyle Rittenhouse then attempts to surrender to the police—who race past him and let him flee the state. It’s like a black comedy version of the Keystone Kops. Ah, but Trump and the police can’t be held responsible for the things they’ve encouraged their supporters to do, urge certain brain-dead individuals, as though actions were entirely divorced from consequences. I’m not sure how the slogan “Whatever we did, we’re not responsible” became the motto of the GOP—but it’s a lousy choice. Back to the word-processors, gang, and come up with something better.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the police are not interested in mending their ways, when they’ve had over a century to fix things, and “isolated incidents” keep on happening with monotonous regularity. I’ve watched things continue to deteriorate since the Watts uprising—I’ve seen increased training and improved oversight fail again and again and fucking again—and today it’s worse than ever. We see police unions openly declare themselves political organizations and endorse candidates—how can anybody trust them after that? There’s no alternative—fixes haven’t work—abolition is the answer.

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