Law & Disorder While Judge Dredd Rides Again.

Another spate of police shootings,another series of video documentation of abuse of power or incredibly poor judgment mark the last few weeks.You begin to wonder what would happen if firemen used the fear for our lives mantra.I suppose fear of the smell of burning buildings and charred flesh would come close.An unarmed black man is shot to death in Tulsa by a 73 year old reserve officer who became confused and grabbed his 357 instead of his taser.It just happens that he was a financial supporter of the sheriff and his department.Did he purchase the right to play with human life thereby? We’ll likely never know ;his training records are mysteriously incomplete.Older news by a week or so, is the Harris case , a black man shot to death (eight shots fired,five in his back) while running away from a stop involving a broken tail light. In Arizona while one officer in a vehicle is carefully following and talking to a raging individual with a lever action rifle who is heard saying on video something akin to “stay away …I’ll (expletive) do it” pointing the gun at his neck and head(later to fire a bullet to the sky), another motorized officer takes action and races toward the raging man at a good clip, striking the individual who is thrown up on the hood and windshield, thereby avoiding being squashed like a bug against a brick wall.(which is demolished by the impact.) This individual is Hispanic.These three cases are not readily responsive to the “feared for my life ” mantra but do fit under a use of excessive force category and “I’m sorry” doesn’t cover an unnecessary death.Maybe the worst part of this is the defense of the officer who used his vehicle as a weapon as appropriate and justified and indicative of quick thinking by his chief. The praise should have gone to the guy who showed restraint and caution and was upstaged by the “cowboy”.These occurrences will continue until the covert function of police to maintain a status quo against the incursion of racial,class and ethnic “undesirables” is confronted in every state and jurisdiction.
On the same L.A.Times page as the story of the imprisonment of Salvadoran women who have miscarried.(Ostensibly they are under suspicion for attempted abortion)is the story of the sentencing to several years imprisonment and double years of probation of some unfortunate black Atlanta public school employees, administrators and teachers who were convicted of falsifying examination results to improve the test performances of sub par mostly black schools in Atlanta.Judge Barett was incensed at the idea of cheating in such a sacrosanct area as education.It obviously doesn’t occur to him and others like him that it is one thing to mandate educational improvement and yet another to supply the resources to bring this about.The one without the other is certain to bring about the use of American ingenuity on the illegal side to obtain the desired result. Of course the teachers’ behavior was unethical and ultimately stupid but does the punishment fit the crime?Does the skin color of the offenders have something to do with the severity of the punishment? (which effectively destroys lives!)Even the prosecutor seems surprised and dismayed.The L.A. Times may have inadvertently documented both cases of judicial miscarriage as of equal magnitude with their placement.
In a Boston suburb a judge reduces a mandatory sentence for rape essentially on a whim…
A post worker flies a 1920’s gyrocopter under the radar and lands on the White House lawn.He completes his mission, which was benign and political despite a billion dollar protective system geared toward the last several threats and not the next.
Perhaps we are all suffering from the recognition of our lack of personal power and are tempted to use to excess the power that we do have and allow our biases to dictate how that emotional venting is directed.(Road rage is increasing,women and men) But those who “have a license to kill” are in a special category and should be part of a structure that militates against that. Training may be secondary to more care in selection.Certainly more exposure to stigmatized groups on an egalitarian basis is needed.

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