Tag Archives: police


body camFirst aired on The Final Straw.

In the wake of the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, which occurred in the wake of the murders of Oscar Grant and Amadou Diallo, which occurred in the wake of thousands of other murders committed by law enforcement going all the way back to the lynchings of escaped slaves– there’s now a national call to equip all law enforcement with body cams. Body cams… The idea, of course, is that we can use the technology of the digital surveillance state to spy on police and keep them honest. If we compel all law enforcement to wear body cameras they cannot turn off, the argument goes, the police will behave better and, even when they don’t, the video evidence will expose them and we can then weed out the bad apples.
If I remember right, that was the argument for installing cruiser cameras. Those are ubiquitous now. Police cruisers routinely have dash-cams. And yet, on November 29, 2012, over 60 Cleveland police cruisers took part in a car chase that ended with 13 officers firing 137 shots into the unarmed bodies of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell. Even though, conceivably, we have 60 different angles to watch the grisly slaughter, that didn’t stop Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo from jumping on the hood of the bullet-riddled vehicle and unloading on unarmed civilians right through the windshield.
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On The Morality of Killing Police

     I wrote to a friend of mine not too long ago and shared with her that I advocated the preemptive killing of police officers when I wrote, “The Fascists Have Already Lost.” She responded with some thoughtful observations, and what she wrote prompted me to consider that perhaps I should explain how I came to the conclusions I’ve drawn, particularly since I’ve taken such an irregular position. I also considered that if she might understand my position better if I showed my math, so to speak, then so might everyone else who has read my previous advocacy for cop-killing, so I may as well write this for publication.

      First, by way of background, some ideas I have already shared in previous work: Freedom and regulation are opposites. Freedom is the absence of external regulation, and vice-versa. The more free you are, the less regulated.

      Any external entity that regulates us, we call “government.” To regulate is to govern. Regulation, government, control, all the same thing. So, since governments work to regulate, to govern, governments can never be the source of freedom because, by their very nature, they work to oppose freedom. Recall, regulation is the opposite of freedom.

      Governments regulate, that is, oppose freedom, through force. Governments enforce their laws with hired security agents who use guns, billy-clubs, pepper spray, riot gear, Apache attack helicopters, and automatic rifles with NATO rounds to control-limit-govern-regulate your freedom.

      Another observation I’ve previously made, which flows naturally from the last one: “Force” is “violence.” Whether the play-yard bully actually punches you in the face to take your milk-money, and whether the police are actually employing the Apache attack helicopter they purchased with your tax money really doesn’t matter. The threat of violence is violence. The agents of force that the government employs to limit your freedom have an attack helicopter in the hangar just in case…and they load the automatic weapons, just in case. They are prepared to encircle your house and pump tear gas into your children’s bedroom.

      Because of the way we are programmed to respect authority, we overlook or excuse state violence, as though it isn’t violence. If we see strangers sneaking down our street with automatic weapons, we perceive them to be a danger—until we see they have badges affixed to their hips, and then suddenly strangers with inordinate fire-power seem cuddly and lovable. But this delusion aside, police are agents of violence employed by an organization that has as its central organizing principle the goal of limiting your freedom and keeping you in subjection to it, whatever the cost.

      Personally, I want to be free. I want to experience the absence of external regulation. This is not a mere “lifestyle choice,” like what fashions to wear or whether I drink Coke or Pepsi. This is far more substantial, in my view.

      Freedom means I have the practical ability to choose what I think is best for me. I can serve my own survival and reproduction—my primary biological programming—and serve my own best interests without intrusion into my affairs by hired thugs from some organized gang calling itself “authority.” If I am not afforded this practical ability, then I am compelled to compromise what is best for me and my family; I am forced to defer to some external authority and do what the authority wants. That means I am doing something less than what is best for me, and I am instead doing what is best for authority—which may not know me, may not care about me, and may not consider my best interests when it compels me to do what is best for it rather than what is best for me.

      Being the best-informed authority over my own needs, I don’t want to defer to strangers with automatic weapons and attack helicopters who compel me to act in a way that is best for them. I can’t call that “freedom.” I call that slavery.

      Those armed strangers stand between me and my freedom. Even under optimum conditions where I have never been confronted by them, they still reserve the right to impose upon me and intrude into my life if my judgment conflicts with theirs, and their ever-present potential for invading me makes me un-free. They stand between me and my freedom, but also stand between all of us and a future where we rule ourselves, a world without them, without their control and regulation of us. In this sense, police murder us every day. They murder the free people we would otherwise be without them. They murder the sustainable world we would otherwise build without this fascist system of mass-production and mass-destruction. This figurative murder of us all is in addition to the systematic and literal murder, largely of minority men, that occurs on a daily basis, from the gun barrels and batons of police.

      So when I advocate the killing of police officers, I am not advocating violence instead of peace. I’m advocating violence employed by the oppressed against the oppressor to counter the ever-present violence employed by the oppressor against the oppressed. Whether or not we react with violence, the situation is already violent. The choice is whether we meet the oppressor’s violence with violence of our own, or whether we permit them to unilaterally employ violence against us. By my thinking, it is pathological to allow someone to attack you, to invade you, and to reduce you and those you love. Self-respect and self-love demand that we react in a substantial and effective way. Pacifism, given our reality, is voluntary self-murder.

      Our choices are to submit to violence and remain enslaved, or to liberate ourselves through equal and opposite force. That is our reality whether we want to face it or not.

      We must also consider the impact of our inaction on others. If we choose not to engage in liberatory violence against those with attack helicopters, we do not simply opt-out on our own freedom—which is bad enough, in my assessment—but we also abandon loved-ones and the rest of the world, limiting their capacity to obtain their own liberation. We guarantee that the future will be worse, given the present trajectory of history. By refraining from liberatory violence, we tell the poor, the oceans, the rain forests, the salmon, and our grandchildren that they can chalk it.

      Inaction against tyranny is never moral. It is cowardice wrapped in the window-dressing of morality, which is the worst kind of cowardice.

      It is true that many police are probably very nice people with children and spouses, and that they are simply doing their jobs. The same could be said for the guards at Nazi concentration camps who did their jobs and nothing more, returning home to children and spouses. Many concentration camp guards despised the excesses of their co-workers and did what they could to assuage the cruel conditions imposed upon the captives. Perhaps that would entitle those guards to receive a medal of recognition before being summarily shot for committing crimes against humanity, while their co-workers would only deserve to be summarily shot; but their kindness as concentration camp guards in no way excuses their crimes against humanity.

      This is even more true in the case of police officers who are defending a sprawling system of mass destruction, who are maintaining the power of bankers and oil barons and sociopaths. They are agents to a system that has turned our planet into a concentration camp. By my thinking, the “good cop” should clean out his locker and stop serving forces inimical to freedom. If he does not, he isn’t a “good cop.” He is an agent of the fascist machine that diminishes us all. He is a willing and paid agent of the death camp.

      When we shoot them, it isn’t personal. We shoot them because they have refused to put down their arms. They have refused to abandon the attack helicopters and assault rifles. They have refused to join us in shaping a better future we would happily share with them without having fired a shot.

      The choice is theirs.

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