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Archive for the ‘Don’t tase me bro’ Category

I live in a suburb slightly to the south of Oakland California, and our police department sucks up 48% of discretionary spending in our city. (36% of the total budget, but there’s things like bond repayments that aren’t discretionary). Our PD isn’t brutal and corrupt like Oakland’s, but they’re utterly ineffectual. You call them about anything — illegal fireworks, illegal sideshows, whatever — they whine that they don’t have the manpower to do anything about it due to Defund The Police, despite the fact that the PD’s budget is the highest that it has ever been in our city’s history and has not been cut or re-directed at all (our mayor is like 90 years old and doesn’t hold with any of that newfangled social work stuff).

What it is, is that they’re sulking because those meany Black Lives Matter people said bad things about them. Like fucking toddlers throwing a tantrum, they’re just smack on their back in the middle of the grocery store aisle screaming and throwing their arms and legs around because Mommy wouldn’t buy them the latest sugary cereal and instead told them they were going to eat a healthy cereal, young man. Geeze. What a bunch of crybabies….

Honestly, at this point I think “Defund The Police” would be a good idea. If they refuse to do the job even when we give them the highest budget in our city’s history, why have them?

— Badtux the “If the PD isn’t doing the job, why have them?” Penguin

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Apart from the thousand or so people executed by the police every year, there are tens of thousands who are brutally beaten each year to the point of needing a visit to the ER. Many of whom are guilty of nothing but contempt of cop.

And this happens nationwide, even in supposedly “liberal” states like California.

— Badtux the Brutality Penguin

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Cops are quick to say that if it wasn’t for them, we would be overrun with criminals. That overlooks two things: Misters Smith, Wesson, Colt, Winchester, and Mossberg, all of which are more effective at stopping crime than a cop who is 30 minutes away, and the fact that cops suck at doing their job in the first place — they manage arrests and convictions in only 2% of major crimes.

I want effective cops, cops who catch and convict criminals, not cops who think their job is killing unarmed black men and beating dirty hippies. But it seems like I am not going to get my wish. Today’s undertrained roid raging officers aren’t capable of getting the job done. It’s time to re-think policing and start over from scratch because it’s clear today’s police are incapable of reform — we have been trying for decades, and it just ain’t happening.

— Badtux the Pragmatic Penguin

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“These are people who go out everyday and do a job most of us shutter at as it is incredibly dangerous, all while trying to keep our streets and cities safe for the law abiding people! You seriously are trying to compare a police officer’s job hazards to a carpenter? A roofer? Or fishermen?? Wow! I guess I live in a different “bubble”.”  — Judy in Newark CA

Dear Judy:

I’m talking about actual numbers from OSHA and actual numbers that I personally compiled from the Officer Down Memorial Page, which claims to have information on every single police officer who dies in the course of duty. They both say that the job of police officer is not as dangerous as many other jobs with similar educational requirements and you have a much lower chance of being murdered as a police officer as you would have as an average citizen of Oakland, California. If you refuse to believe the numbers because they do not agree with your personal biases… (shrug). The numbers remain the numbers.

I will say that the job of a police officer is not easy. It’s a job that requires a combination of both diplomacy and firmness to be done correctly, and you’re usually dealing with people who are… unpleasant. But the numbers don’t lie — it’s not even in the top ten of most dangerous jobs, whether you use OSHA’s numbers or plug the raw data from ODMP into a spreadsheet yourself.

If your police officer friends say different, ask them how many officers they’ve personally known who died on duty, and what did they die of. My guess is that no police officer of your personal acquaintance has ever been murdered while on duty — only three Fremont police officers have ever died in the line of duty all back in 1970’s, one of them was a heart attack and two of them were auto accidents, while no Newark police officer has ever died in the line of duty, and the last Alameda County Sheriff’s Department deputy who was killed in the line of duty was Deputy Sheriff John Paul Monego who was murdered on duty in December 1998 and is the only Alameda County sheriff’s deputy to ever be murdered on duty in the past 100 years. Most current police officers in the Fremont and Newark police departments have never personally known any police officer who was killed in the line of duty for good reason — because it’s a fairly rare event.

– Badtux the Alameda County Penguin

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During 2020, at least 110 American journalists were arrested or criminally charged in relation to their reporting, and around 300 journalists were assaulted, the majority by law enforcement, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, of which CPJ is a founding member. The Tracker is working to verify more than 930 total incidents in 79 cities.

These are numbers that you would expect from a 3rd world police state upset about press coverage of their heavy-handed actions, not from a supposed advanced democracy. About the only ray of sunshine in the whole situation is that while American journalists were arrested in unprecedented numbers last year, at least they were not being summarily executed.

Yet.

— Badtux the Serfin’ USA Penguin

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It seems to me that 100% of all patrol officer jobs could be replaced with minimum wage rent-a-cops contracted from Mall Cops R Us without affecting public safety at all. In my city 46% of all city discretionary spending goes to our police department. We could cut that down significantly by firing 90% of the police force and sending out mall cops to respond to most calls. That savings would also allow hiring a real crisis intervention team, one staffed with social workers and psychologists and such expert in talking down people undergoing a mental health crisis rather than simply shooting them like cops today.

The other 10%, well, we need them. That’s the detectives and the SWAT team, basically. But the SWAT team shouldn’t be the first people on the scene.

I mean, this isn’t *that* novel of an idea. Most cities used to have their own sanitation department that handled trash pickup. Almost all cities today instead contract that out to private businesses. Trash pickup is just as important as police protection – just ask anybody who’s ever lived in a place that had a garbage collector strike. So why should police be immune to the same market forces that led to privatization of trash pickup?

What do you think?

– Badtux the Alternatives Penguin

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He has a point. There’s plenty of police shootings where the cop’s excuse is “I thought he had a gun and I acted to defend myself” where there was not, in fact, a gun. Possession of an actual gun makes cops even quicker to kill you. No need to actually point it at a cop, just having the gun is enough, like that kid in Chicago who got toasted for, uhm, dropping the gun as ordered and turning around. 

There appears to be a “right to bear arms” only up until a police officer decides otherwise. But I don’t expect this to worry the white wing fascists who are always whining “mah gunz!”, because they don’t view the police as a threat to them. Nope, they think the police will only shoot those people for having a gun. You know, those people? Who don’t look white, don’t act white, don’t worship like white people, those people?!

– Badtux the “Is a right a right if only white people have it?” Penguin

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So. I watch the video of what happened in Philadelphia. Two police officers show up. There’s a guy roaming around with a knife while his mother is dragging on him. The guy shakes off his mother and starts charging the cops while waving the knife. The cops defend themselves against a deadly weapon.

And Philadelphia riots.

What the fuck, people? I know if someone charges me with a knife while I have a gun, I’m damn well shooting him in self defense. It’s not my job to die for someone else’s mental illness. And it wasn’t these cops’ jobs to die for someone else’s mental illness either.

So other bullshit I heard:

  • “Why didn’t they tase him?” a) Tasers don’t 100% work, and b) I’m not seeing a taser on the left hips of these cops. I see a radio there, but not a taser. They may not have been equipped with a taser. Not all cops are.
  • “Why didn’t they shoot him in the leg?” Uhm. It doesn’t work like that. This isn’t fucking Hollywood, people. Legs are a small target and they’re fucking *moving*. The chances of a cop hitting a leg is basically zero. Shooting and actually hitting leg is Hollywood bullshit, especially with adrenalin pumping. That’s why cops are trained to aim at center of mass — it’s the only thing that gives them some chance of actually hitting anything.
  • “Why did they put so many bullets into him?” Uhm, because they’re defending themselves and their training says to keep shooting until the threat to innocent life is over?
  • “Why didn’t they try to use their collapsible wands or asps on him?” Uhm, because a knife is a fucking deadly weapon? What part of deadly is confusing to you? I used to know a Marine who loved getting into bar fights. And someone pulled a knife, that’s when he got the fuck out of that bar, because someone was going to fucking die, because that’s what a knife does, bruh. It’s not a cop’s job to put himself within reach of a fucking deadly weapon!

In short — yeah, riot against a mental health system that doesn’t work. But not against these cops. This was a righteous shoot where cops were doing what they needed to do in order to protect innocent lives from someone who was swinging a deadly weapon. I’m hell on wheels against cops who break the law, who brutalize innocent people for no reason, who beat up and brutalize reporters who are doing their 1st Amendment protected jobs, who shoot people in the back 14 times or suffocate someone to death unnecessarily, and so forth. If a cop isn’t doing their job, if a cop is acting like a gang-banger in blue, I’ll fucking be down on his ass because while we need cops, we don’t need fucking gang-bangers in blue. But that’s not what happened here. We had cops yelling “Drop the knife” and then when instead the person charged them with the knife, they did their job. I’m sure they didn’t want to do what they did. But it was their fucking job, already. They’re not there to psychoanalyze someone, they’re there to protect innocent lives from people who are a threat to innocent lives, and that’s what they fucking did.

– Badtux the “Guess that makes me a bootlicker?” Penguin

Reminder: There are only two ways to win a knife fight: A gun, or the way described in this video:

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I get really annoyed with the “thin blue line” copaganda. where cops propagandize that they have to be brutal and do illegal things because they’re the only thing standing between society and anarchy.

The reality is that most people want to do right and want things to operate smoothly. Otherwise we could not have a society — the number of police officers in America (roughly 850,000) could not force 300,000,000 people to “be good”, there just isn’t enough of them. The reality is that there are relatively few people who want to abuse others, who want to kill or brutalize. And at least half of them are cops. We hire thugs in order to make sure that other thugs are taken care of, but the number of thugs on both side of that line is a fairly small percentage of the population as a whole.

In short, cops aren’t holding the “thin blue line” between civilization and anarchy. They’re taking care of a relatively few criminals who want to hurt other people. There could be civilization without cops — in fact, there was civilization for tens of thousands of years without cops, modern police forces don’t arrive in history until the 1830’s, less than 200 years ago — it just had different mechanisms for handling the relatively few thugs, ranging from vigilance committees sometimes directed by town constables or county sheriffs to private security forces hired by merchants, and the outcomes were generally hangings rather than jails or prisons.

In short, modern police forces don’t hold the line between civilization and anarchy. Rather, they provide a less brutal way of prosecuting crimes that has built in checks and balances and additional levels of punishment compared to just hanging suspected cattle rustlers that the vigilance committee catches. Or at least, that’s the intent. The actual practice doesn’t quite match that standard, as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Stephon Clarke, Botham Jean, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, and hundreds of others could attest. If they were still alive, that is.

— Badtux the History Penguin

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Two Florida judges violated Florida law by requiring cash bond for “unlawful assembly” charges. The reason? The police union personally threatened them if they did not issue cash bond amounts that exceeded the bail schedule for protesters who were protesting against police violence.

The police union. Threatened judges.

And the judges buckled.

Our police are out of control. They feel they are judge, jury, and executioner, and can dictate to judges and prosecutors what charges to file and what penalties to inflict. And I don’t think it’s resolvable within the current structure of policing.

The only — ONLY — way to fix this is to completely abolish police departments as they currently exist, as a paramilitary occupation force that has impunity to do anything they like with the sole punishment being a paid vacation for anything short of murder (and sometimes for murder, too). Abolish all police departments and all police unions, and replace them with Community Safety departments staffed with Community Safety officers armed with pepper spray and nightsticks and a *small* armed unit (perhaps a dozen armed officers for a city of 250,000) to respond where the Community Safety officers can’t handle things.

This is how policing is handled in most Western nations — most Western nations do *not* put handguns and rifles into the hands of barely-trained kids just out of the police academy, you have to work hard for many years showing you can handle the job without resorting to deadly force before you’re promoted to a position where you are allowed to carry deadly force. Only the United States, and tinpot 3rd world dictatorships, dresses up their cops like occupation soldiers complete with machine guns and tanks.

Or if we can’t do that: Defund police departments. Strip all the Robocop equipment from the police. Make them walk beats wearing dress shirt and dress pants and black shiny shoes and a police hat, rather than combat BDU’s and steel-toed combat boots and a combat helmet. Fire those with white supremacist tattoos or white supremacist “fashi” or “skinhead” haircuts. Arm them with .38 revolvers and a nightstick with a civilian style 12 gauge pump as backup rather than military-style high-tech semi-automatic pistols and selective-fire assault rifles. Make them drive regular SUV’s and regular cars with a $1,500 police radio and dashcam setup, rather than specially-equipped $60,000 SUV’s outfited with $50,000 worth of high-tech electronic equipment that officers regularly operate while the car is moving and as a result regularly end up with officers — or civilians forced off the road — dead after smashing into a tree. Take police departments back in time to where Officer Obie enforced the law without needing to be frickin’ robo-cop. A small SWAT team armed with better equipment is all that most departments need. Every officer being armed with assault rifles and pistols with enough rounds to ventilate an infantry company? Madness.

And REMOVE ALL ‘WARRIOR TRAINING’ AND THE INCESSANT PARADE OF VIDEOS SHOWING COPS BEING KILLED from the police academy training curriculum. They aren’t helpful. They teach cops that all suspects are violent murderers out to kill them, and thus if a suspect even twitches, kill the suspect. There are some training scenarios that are useful for improving the decision-making of police officers, but these aren’t.

Will any of this happen? Nope. The reason? Racism. White America relies upon police to be their personal racism valets, keeping them thare darkies in their place, operating as occupation forces in minority communities to make sure those communities do not erupt in overt violence against the structural racism that keeps them from thriving. And if police are used by white America as an occupation force to keep the darkies down, they have to be armed and trained as an occupation force.

And so it goes. At least until America is majority-minority, at which point all hell breaks loose.

– Badtux the Racism-smellin’ Penguin

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