Monday, June 08, 2020

Yes, #BlackLivesMatter

Well, you can't escape what's been going on. You can't ignore it, short of completely disconnecting and retreating to the wilderness somewhere. And that's the point, isn't it? Anyone who has at least the possibility of escaping what's going on, even in a momentary dream, is a person indulging the perk of privilege.

Random stuff. This is in no particular order.

::  I've never actually met Roger Green, but he and I have been mutual blog-friends for years, and with the recent ugliness I've been thinking a lot about Roger and his family. What a hell of a world it is we've made, where the Roger Greens of the world--a retired librarian from Albany, NY who likes getting around town on his bicycle--has to worry about raising his kid in a shitty racist world. That's what gets me: entire generations of children who have to learn, in addition to everything else that's a giant challenge in this world of ours, that large segments of the world will hate them on an a priori basis, and that--even worse, maybe--much of our societal infrastructure is specifically built to reflect that hate.

But I’m also rather annoyed with white liberals who are shocked, SHOCKED that police abuse still takes place. Haven’t you been paying attention? And they’re sending me solutions – “this is a chance for REAL dialogue!” I’ve been having “real dialogue” at least since my sister Leslie and I, as high schoolers, went to the nearly lily-white Vestal (NY) Junior High School to talk to the choir kids.

People Need to STOP Saying “All Lives Matter”. And they REALLY need to quit with, “That’s not what Martin Luther King, Jr. would do.” Remember, they killed him, too.

::  Another name for the list: Maurice Gordon, 28, of Poughkeepsie, NY. Apparently shot to death while waiting for a tow truck. He was unarmed, and he was not under arrest or being detained.

The transformation began after the 2012 homicide spike. The department wanted to put more officers on patrol but couldn’t afford to hire more, partly because of generous union contracts. So in 2013, the mayor and city council dissolved the local PD and signed an agreement for the county to provide shared services. The new county force is double the size of the old one, and officers almost exclusively patrol the city. (They were initially nonunion but have since unionized.) Increasing the head count was a trust-building tactic, says Thomson, who served as chief throughout the transition: Daily, noncrisis interactions between residents and cops went up. Police also got de-escalation training and body cameras, and more cameras and devices to detect gunfire were installed around the city.

::  Kevin Drum has numbers--here and here--that demonstrate part of our problem. We have more police officers by far than we probably need for our level of crime, especially violent crime, which has been plunging for three decades now. Drum is convinced that the big factor in the decrease in violent crime since 1990 has been the reduction in lead emissions from gasoline engines and from lead paint, and the evidence on this score is actually pretty convincing.

::  I could write more on this, but I think there are other voices to whom the world should be listening right now. I'll close with this: if someone says "Black lives matter," and your thought is to reply with some variant of "Don't all lives matter?", you might want to step back and consider why you find it uncomfortable to seriously engage with just why someone thinks that an entire segment of our society has been made to feel, over and over and over again, that it doesn't.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

Let me put this as succinctly as possible: I'm glad white people are ticked off, because, ultimately, white people, with the direction of black people, have the power to fix this mess of racism.