“I can’t breathe”
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04-12-2014, 10:14 AM
“I can’t breathe”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/04/nyregi....html?_r=0

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“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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04-12-2014, 11:24 AM
RE: “I can’t breathe”
I threw my wallet at a cop once, if that is not resisting I don't know what is. I didn't have to worry ending up dead.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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05-12-2014, 07:26 PM
RE: “I can’t breathe”
I'm a middle class white guy who has never had to deal with any of the causes involved here and I'm fully disgusted by this. I've been so upset about it that I've had some difficulty clarifying my thoughts on the topic, but I think I can now. And, for whatever it's worth, and for whomever may care, here is what I think:

This is not so much about the shooting of Michael Brown or the choking of Eric Garner. It's about how the powerful treat the powerless. About 20 years ago, many cities launched a law enforcement policy known euphemistically as "Broken Windows". It came from, I believe, Rudy Giuliani when he was mayor of New York. The logic goes like this: if you go into high crime neighborhoods and you start to enforce the most trivial of laws, the bigger issues will get resolved too. The practical reality of this is people, mostly black people, are routinely harassed and stopped and arrested for the most basic bullshit. The kind of bullshit that non-poor white people never, ever have to deal with. Jails in this country are filled with black people who have committed non-violent crimes. Small amounts of pot, and things as unbelievably stupid as celling individual cigarettes. What you see in the video where the police basically execute Eric Garner is a common occurrence. And, before they bullrush him - for no reason whatsoever - you hear him complaining that he's tired of being harassed. He was accused of selling cigarettes outside the pack. It's a summary offense. Ignoring how stupid it is to go after someone for this - especially someone who just broke up a fight - if you do need to take action you issue him a summons. You don't haul him into jail. But, in New Yor, hauling black people into jail for summary offenses gives you license to search them and who knows what other fun things you may find. Guns, drugs, etc. So, that's what they do because that's how Broken Windows works.

Imagine living with that. Imagine being hassled by the police every week of every month of every year of your life. Imagine having a cop harassing you for jaywalking, the way Michael Brown did. Forget the robbery Brown was involved with, because that's not why Darren Wilson pulled up to him. No, it was because they were basically crossing the street too slowly. This is a crime I would never, ever be hassled about. Michael Brown may not have been an angel but he died because he was jay walking. I get that the facts of that whole situation have been muddled enough that it's not 100% clear what happened although the idea that there was no option other than shooting him seems like a load of bullshit to me. People get tazered for all kinds of ridiculous things, but when you have the exact situation that tazers were deployed for you shoot a kid who has his hands up? Really?

Anyway, getting back to Garner, if you watch the video, he is protesting about being harassed. There is no need to arrest him. And, even if the cops want to err on the side of caution, choke holds are illegal. You hear him over and over saying he can't breath. He says it about 5 times. There are 6 cops on top of him and at no point does that cop let go of his neck.

Being a cop in a city like New York can be a tough job. There are days you literally take your life in your hands when you go to work. I live just outside Philadelphia and there have been like 5 cops killed in the line of duty here in the past 6 years. Sometimes you have to make quick decisions because your life is at stake. I get that. I think most reasonable people get that. When you have a tragedy like the one where the cops shot that 12 year old kid in Cleveland, you really need to stop and wait for the facts to come out before you jump to conclusions. The kid was waiving a gun at people and it looked real. He took steps to make it look real. The cops told him not to move and he put his hands to his waste. People are criticizing how quickly they fired, but I think that's a tough call. They made decisions in real time and there was a tragic ending to it. It's awful, but I can understand that. I can. What I can't understand is how anyone can justify what happened to Eric Garner. How a grand jury can say "nah, this all looks good to us". His crime was being black and poor. The police and local city governments have made it a point to criminalize those two things. And, the results is people like Michael Brown and Eric Garner get pissed off when they feel they are being harassed for bullshit. They feel that way because it's true. And, when they stand up and say something, the police now feel threatened and we all see what happens.

Something needs to change. Because, if things don't change, and soon, I think there is a growing level of anger and distrust with authority in the US that it's going to boil over soon. The police have about zero moral authority now. They are all tainted by these actions. At some point, this is going to explode. And it's going to be ugly and violent. What we saw in Ferguson is not even close to what I think is going to happen if there is not justice at the federal level. I remember the riots after the Rodney King 22 years ago. I think we are looking at that kind of explosion. There is that much anger bottled up. And, at some point, it's going to blow. When middle class white people are pissed off, you know it's bad.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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05-12-2014, 07:34 PM
RE: “I can’t breathe”
Quote: They are all tainted by these actions.


Yes and the reason they are is because even the good cops (I assume there are some - maybe even a majority) will not cross their brothers in blue.

The problem is less black v white than it is blue v everyone not in blue.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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05-12-2014, 08:10 PM (This post was last modified: 05-12-2014 09:11 PM by pablo.)
RE: “I can’t breathe”
I think part of the problem is the screening process for even becoming a cop. Maybe more emphasis should be put on psychological testing.
In other words, what are your reasons for wanting to be a police officer? Some cops clearly should not be one. Some are in it for the power trip.
Another thing, being a cop is not manditory.
When I hear someone say they risk their lives everyday, I call bullshit.
If the job is too stressful or risky for you, then you should try to find another line of work. Their expectation to get home from work alive does not justify murdering someone unless they are truly at risk of mortal injury.
I'm sure I'll get blasted for this post but, tough shit.
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05-12-2014, 08:15 PM (This post was last modified: 05-12-2014 08:19 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: “I can’t breathe”
(05-12-2014 07:26 PM)BnW Wrote:  Something needs to change. Because, if things don't change, and soon, I think there is a growing level of anger and distrust with authority in the US that it's going to boil over soon. The police have about zero moral authority now. They are all tainted by these actions. At some point, this is going to explode. And it's going to be ugly and violent. What we saw in Ferguson is not even close to what I think is going to happen if there is not justice at the federal level. I remember the riots after the Rodney King 22 years ago. I think we are looking at that kind of explosion. There is that much anger bottled up. And, at some point, it's going to blow. When middle class white people are pissed off, you know it's bad.

I was only a kid but I still remember DC burning and the National Guard in the streets in '68. Here's a good article describing how the fundamental principle of the NYPD's Jack Maple's COMPSTAT program that "Black Lives Matter!" has been horribly perverted..

Eric Garner Was Just a Number to Them

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#sigh
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05-12-2014, 08:26 PM (This post was last modified: 05-12-2014 09:07 PM by Full Circle.)
RE: “I can’t breathe”
BnW, I fundamentally agree with everything you say.

Having said that I’ll expand on thoughts that have crossed my mind in the last few days. These are not directed at you or at anyone, they are simply things I want to get off my chest.

I am a firm believer that without a rule of law we would immediately decend into anarchy. The law enforcement officers, the thin blue line, deter this from happening. They have a job that is stressful, dangerous and not always appreciated.

Now these officers ply the streets of the United States, a country that prides itself in an armed populace that has the right to bear arms as per the 2nd Amendment (there are 114,000,000 hand guns in the US*). Police know that it is a very real possibility that any criminal they encounter has a firearm. They know that anyone they pull over or stop may be packing and willing to shoot. This makes for very itchy and nervous trigger fingers.

On top of this we have the recurring tragedies of mass shootings in schools and other public places. Law enforcement officers want to prevent and stop the next Columbine. The 12 year old that was shot because he had a toy gun that resembled a real weapon is as much a victim of Newtown and every other mass shooting** we haven’t been able to prevent. If the police hesistate they’re dead, if they don’t hesitate they end up like the officer in Ferguson, resigning and probably having to move out of their community. Then there is the psychological burden carried by the countless officers in Anytown USA kicking themselves for not having been there to stop the violence.

So the police are damned if they do and damned if they don’t in almost every case in my opinion.

After having said all of this the Eric Garner incident for me is a clear case of overreaction and unnecessary force. I don’t know what was going on in the officer’s head when he choked Mr. Garner and I don’t think there can be any excuse for what he did while the other officers watched or participated in subduing and ultimately killing Garner. Tragic and senseless.

This tense atmosphere that exists on the streets of America gets played out on every corner in every town every day across America and it often ends in tragedy and loss of life. The police are afraid of the populace and the people don’t trust the police.

What we have is a recipe for disaster just as you say BnW, “at some point, it’s going to blow".

I don’t know what the answer is but the staus quo isn’t it.

*http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states
**http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014...d-research

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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05-12-2014, 08:58 PM
RE: “I can’t breathe”
Can I, as an negro myself, throw in my two cents?

You see the problem is not so much cops, but the media. Think about it this way. Who here heard about the negro cop who killed the white man? Who here heard about the white girl who was killed and chopped up by some negros her self? Probably not. Why? Because the media knows that when a white man attacks a black man, especially if it is a white cop, then it will get hype. What is worst is that we are the only ethnicity to do so. The reason? The past. Over the years, negro history has been nothing but struggles, mostly by white people. Because this pain still lingers and many parents (including my own) teach that white people are out to make sure the negro does not succeed, they are ingrained that white people are out to get them. It has grown to the point there is literally a religion based on it.

Like FC said being a cop is a hard job with americans armed to the tooth with weapons, some being enough to take out a bunch of cops. These riots won't fix anything. Was a cop strangling a person to death a bad thing, yes. Is it any worst because it was a white man doing it to a black man? No. I don't care if it was a black cop and a white man, white man to an asian man, asian to a black man, they are all equally as bad. This race thing needs to stop period. These riots are not bringing us together but splitting us apart. I would not be surprised if another group like the black panthers showed up. This whole riots because a black man was killed by a white cop needs to stop, as it benefits nobody, and never will benefit anybody.

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05-12-2014, 09:00 PM
RE: “I can’t breathe”
Like I said, being a cop is a tough job. And, I disagree with Pablo that concern for your safety is not legitimate. Fear of being shot is a real and valid concern. Over 100 cops, and usually over 150, cops are killed in the line of a duty a year, every year.

But, a lot of what we are seeing now is not because cops fear for their safety from citizens. It's because citizens fear for their safety from cops. What happened in Cleveland is tragic but understandable. What happened in New York is neither. It was an execution.

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When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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05-12-2014, 09:05 PM (This post was last modified: 05-12-2014 09:10 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: “I can’t breathe”
(05-12-2014 09:00 PM)BnW Wrote:  Over 100 cops, and usually over 150, cops are killed in the line of a duty a year, every year.

27 last year. 76 when you include 49 by accident.

#sigh
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