I’ve gotten more than a few inquiries on my thoughts regarding the Missouri incident. In a word, it’s a mess. You have a citizenry that is under-educated and have all but abandoned their civic duties. Granted, they can’t be blamed so much for that but looting your own community demonstrates a level of ignorance that is becoming more and mor prevelant in this country.
I come from very poor means. It is hard to care about community involvement when your sole existence is about survival. But, if we hope to stop problems like this we have to encourage said communities to be and do better. We need to shift our priorities away from the accumulation of wealth and to the betterment of people. Education is a huge component. An educated community is often more involved. Of course, the powers that be want you to be dumb because you are easier to control.
Then you have a police force in a small town that has all the authority and very little oversight. This is not unusual per se. Visit any small rural area and you’ll see similar stories. Does that mean all rural depts are bad? No, of course not. But as the facts unfold, it is glaringly obvious the agency is lacking in any sort of oversight or accountability from its citizens. The abundance of hard-core military grade gadgets is simply crazy.
At the end of the day a young man lost his life. His implied guilt or innocence is not a valid reason on its own for his death. And as the facts are told and clarified, there is a larger cloud over the agency vs the officer involved. The often inflammatory (and even sometimes inaccurate) reporting from many media outlets hasn’t helped the situation. And of course, the emergent mob-mentality of our social media commentary is just icing on the cake. If social media is your only source of news, you are part of the problem. If you don’t know the details of a story or incident, keep your mouth shut until you do. Don’t share links you haven’t read because of a link-baiting headline. And you f**kers who share every story with the idea “it can’t hurt“, need a serious ass-whooping. /rant
Are there bad officers? Of course there are. But for every bad cop, there are easily 100 more you never hear about. Why? Because cops doing their duty don’t generate sensational headlines or ad-clicks.1 A few bad cops do not make them all bad and isolated stories of abuse do not paint an accurate picture. Yes, our law-enforcement should be held to a higher standard, but humans are fallible no matter their position in life. To avoid the corruption we as the citizenry must be involved.
And speaking of, our citizenry is becoming ill-educated every day it seems. Subjective validation is often more important than facts or reason. Religious fanatacism and personal greed have trumped our morals. We’ve gone from ‘what can I do for my society‘ to ‘what can society do for me?‘ The idea of civic duty or responsibility is a foreign idea to most folks these days. A citizenry that abandons it’s overseers is quickly overrun by their own indifference. Absolute power corrupts absolute as the old adage goes. You cannot give away your power thru inaction and then wonder why the abuses keep happening. Proclaming your outrage on social media and demanding change does nothing to help and only serves to feed the problem.
Perform your civic duties. Vote, serve on jury duty and most of all, be involved in your community. Go to community meetings. Know your local policy makers and pay attention to their actions. Only then will your actions carry weight and effect change. Otherwise, you end up just being another sheep being guided by those in power, often to your detriment.
- Poor comparison but I see the same mis-characterization in my volunteer work with animals regarding pitbulls. [↩]