Friday, April 10, 2015

Another Police Brutality: The Wild West

A social worker in Paris once spoke about how Islamic fundamentalists recruit from the poorest areas in the city. They provide food and shelter and understanding and create huge gratitude and loyalty. It’s an easy step to convincing those they’ve rescued that their ills stem from the animal West, that purity of soul and heart rests only in Islam which needs to be defended even at the cost of life and limb.

It’s called grooming. It has nothing to do with Islam. Pedophiles do it. Christians have been doing it for a long time and they still do. I’ve seen it happen in Cape Town, where there are a lot of people living on the street. Christians take them in and brainwash them. If they refuse to do what they’re told and accept the tenets of whatever brand of Christianity is being foisted on them they’re thrown out and harshly judged—not by people, you understand. By God, or Jesus. Of course. We all understand the truth and wisdom of that.

The French social worker said that if societies don’t deal with poverty and inequality of opportunity realistically and humanely poverty will deal with those societies.

That was over ten years ago. Some leaders and many social workers, international organizations, celebrities and citizens of different countries have worked hard and still do to try and stem the rising tide of everything that’s unjust and inhumane in societies.

But it’s kind of like dealing with global warming; too many people just don’t want to face reality and deal with it. They don’t like change and their comfort zone is denial that there are consequences to their actions—including to their denial. So the right in politics gains ground everywhere and laws that should be secular and independent of religious bias are poisoned by zealots with huge financial backing. Right wing media brainwashes millions every second of the day and the line between Good and Evil, so often portrayed as easily identifiable Black and White, is unutterably blurred.

Now ISIS is an international problem, inequality in western societies is beyond the pale, too many poor people live right alongside too many people with so much money they can’t possibly use it.

There’s too much demoralization, too much exploitation, too much crime and too much of a violent backlash against criminals, too much rage all over the place, directed towards even perceived criminals, immigrants, people of color. Too many guns, oh my God, so many guns and weapons of destruction. Too much entitlement in law enforcement to beat suspects up, shoot to kill for no reason. Many of us think of the Wild West in America with fondness, as a romantic thing of the past, thanks mostly to Hollywood. But actually, the Wild West is on the rebound and not in cinematic form. In real life. Maybe it never was overridden by civilization but just took on different a different medium.

There’s so much good happening in the US right now, with President Obama working tirelessly to build up the middle class and diminish inequality in his own country, and to forge democratic, peaceful solutions in foreign policy and particularly in the Middle East. As always he constantly faces a powerful and vocal Conservative Right, but it doesn’t stop him. It’s inspiring to watch him and members of his Administration, like John Kerry in the Middle East and Eric Holder, dealing with corrupted police culture.

Now that’s a big job. We’re living in an era where in the US police can do whatever they want, shoot to kill an unarmed 12 year old or a man for no reason, chase and beat up a suspect.

The latest brutality to hit the news comes from San Bernadino. Yesterday sheriff’s deputies tried to serve a search warrant on Francis Pusok who lives in Apple Valley on the edge of the Mojave Desert, north of LA. He ran and they gave chase. Pusok passed Deep Creek Hot Springs, grabbed a horse and rode off into the desert. He was followed by a helicopter and 11 deputies. One of them Tasered him and he fell off the horse. He lay unarmed, face down, with his arms outstretched. But the deputies descended on him and beat and kicked him senseless in the head and groin, for minutes. Then they stood up and looked down on him as if he was a piece of dead meat.

And they were captured on video by a NewsChopper4. It’s a 6 minute video; hard to watch for the inhumanity it shows. Interestingly, the video starts with audio, until the deputies start kicking the life out Mr. Pusok.

The whole murderous incident is being internally investigated, but of course the police haven’t released the truth of Mr. Pusok’s state; they’ve simply said he’s in hospital with unknown injuries. What a load of rubbish. I wonder if he survived. I hope somebody gets to the truth of that pretty soon and that there are huge consequences to the criminals.

Good versus Evil; somehow it’s always David against Goliath. This is nothing new; it’s how humanity does itself. When I first learned about the Dark Ages I presumed that everybody knew it was a Dark Age. But now I reckon it was no different to how things are now, except that there are so many more people. And millions can record their lives and those of others and spread the word around the world. Maybe social media is the modern version of David’s sling.

What’s kind of miraculous about it all is that even when the Dark is very dark and depressing and seems overwhelming, the light part of humanity finds a way to fight. That’s the human spirit for you.