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Monday, December 8, 2014

Unrestrained Brute Force: America Can't Breathe


Guest Post by Mike Vail

First of all, what sort of hellish transformation is taking place in this country. Today we have been divided, conquered and classified so much so that we can't recognize ourselves as human beings. How can we be so fragmented as representing ourselves as Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Progressives before anything else? How can we see injustice on a mass scale and ignore it while repeating some talking-point that we heard on television? Oh, that guy he was resisting arrest, well he deserved what he got. It's easy to say when it is someone else but when your day comes the television networks will show your beating/murder/etc with some imaginative editing and angles and make you look like Charles Manson. Your jury will not be of your peers and the jury fears police reprisals and so police get off scot free.

The Wall Street Journal makes an excellent point that not even the Feds are aware of the true number of people who are killed by police:

An analysis from The Wall Street Journal found that more than 550 police killings between 2007 and 2012 weren't included in the FBI's national tally. The report looked at data from 105 of America's largest police agencies and found that it is "nearly impossible to determine how many people are killed by the police each year." FBI numbers about police killings vary greatly from those provided by the Centers for Disease Control and by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Americans have become desensitized to the violence via televisions networks which makes is very easy for them to step over people who lay dying on the street. Having empathy for your fellow man and woman has reached an all new low. I don't care about your excuses or your Twitter 'activism'. This must change right now! Justice is blind and she hasn't noticed that the scales have been tipped. The authorities are deathly afraid of the people and that is why the national guard was deployed so quickly in Ferguson. That is why police shoot to kill instead of using pepper spray, tasers or a baton. When a police officer fires their gun 12 times they aren't trying to stop someone, they are trying to murder them.

The Atlantic has an expose on “How Police Unions and Arbitrators Keep Abusive Cops on the Street”:

There are, of course, police officers who are fired for egregious misbehavior by commanding officers who decide that a given abuse makes them unfit for a badge and gun. Yet all over the U.S., police unions help many of those cops to get their jobs back, often via secretive appeals geared to protect labor rights rather than public safety. Cops deemed unqualified by their own bosses are put back on the streets. Their colleagues get the message that police all but impervious to termination.
Let's begin in Oakland, California, where the San Jose Mercury News reports that "of the last 15 arbitration cases in which officers have appealed punishments, those punishments have been revoked in seven cases and reduced in five others."
Hector Jimenez is one Oakland policeman who was fired and reinstated. In 2007, he shot and killed an unarmed 20-year-old man. Just seven months later, he killed another unarmed man, shooting him three times in the back as he ran away. Oakland paid a $650,000 settlement to the dead man's family in a lawsuit and fired Jimenez, who appealed through his police union. Despite killing two unarmed men and costing taxpayers all that money, he was reinstated and given back pay.
Media celebrities and paid tragedy pimps turned the Ferguson story into one that was foremost about race when it is really about class and the mentality of a militarized police. Police obviously won't give a second thought about killing people in poor neighborhoods because they don't have elite lawyers on retainer. The real story is about the militarization of Mayberry. Homeland Security and the Pentagon have started to give away and sell military surplus to police at cost. Does the psyche of a police force change when they have what looks like tanks and other military weaponry at their disposal? The citizens become insurgents and the police behave more like an occupying force.

Salon examines the recent history of arming police with military surplus:

As Karl Bickel, a senior policy analyst with the Justice Department’s Community Policing Services office, observes, police across America are being trained in a way that emphasizes force and aggression. He notes that recruit training favors a stress-based regimen that’s modeled on military boot camp rather than on the more relaxed academic setting a minority of police departments still employ. The result, he suggests, is young officers who believe policing is about kicking ass rather than working with the community to make neighborhoods safer.
This authoritarian streak runs counter to the core philosophy that supposedly dominates twenty-first-century American thinking:community policing.
Take the 1033 program. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) may be an obscure agency within the Department of Defense, but through the 1033 program, which it oversees, it’s one of the core enablers of American policing’s excessive militarization. Beginning in 1990, Congress authorized the Pentagon to transfer its surplus property free of charge to federal, state, and local police departments to wage the war on drugs. In 1997, Congress expanded the purpose of the program to include counterterrorism in section 1033 of the defense authorization bill. In one single page of a 450-page law, Congress helped sow the seeds of today’s warrior cops.
The amount of military hardware transferred through the program has grown astronomically over the years. In 1990, the Pentagon gave $1 million worth of equipment to U.S. law enforcement. That number had jumped to nearly $450 million in 2013. Overall, the program has shipped off more than $4.3 billion worth of materiel to state and local cops, according to the DLA.
Today in Smallville, USA your friendly neighborhood police officer is no more. There is a push in police departments to hire the ignorant aggressive mouth-breathing variety. They are Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffering from PTSD injected into your home town to protect newly gentrified properties being turned into gated communities. In their eyes you are just taking up valuable real estate. If you want this madness to come to an end you must first stand up for your fellow citizens, next you must be willing to bring commerce in your town to a halt and lastly refuse to give your state and property taxes. Hit them in their fat budgets, that is the only way to get anything done. Empty rhetoric and Twitter rage is a waste of time especially when lives are at risk.

Mike Vail is a US based investigative journalist, geopolitical analyst, and publisher of You can read Michael's articles on, and follow him on Twitter @MichaelVail

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