Weird Scenes #094: Copaganda Kills

The silence is speaking / So why am I weeping / I guess I love it / I love it to death / We still got a long way to go / Yes we still got a long way to go — “Long Way To Go,” written by Michael Bruce and recorded by Alice Cooper, 1971.

With respect to rhetoric, I will admit that the phrase “Defund the Police” was just asking for trouble. Some people tend to react before they think, assuming they ever get around to the latter.

Some people who hear “Defund the Police” immediately turn off their brains, rejecting it without thinking it through, just like they did reacting to the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” While it’s fun to watch these lazy fools go apoplectic, I suspect few of them could find Camden New Jersey on a map. Their police force was defunded in 2012. Police had to reapply for their jobs with no guarantee that they would now qualify. Several interesting things happened: the city’s violent crime rate fell 23% and its non-violent crime rate fell 48% (source: that radical democrat communist organization called “the FBI”). Amusingly, police violence increased, until the newly empowered neighborhood watchdogs were able to slow that down. Excessive force complaints started dropping in 2015. Camden is a better place.

This is a good program, and the Minneapolis city government now is adapting it for their use. You’d think everybody would be happy: the cops became less of a threat to the community, and crime went down dramatically. But, of course, the hysterical right will not see that. They believe an unfettered police department is a bulwark and every black person killed or severely harmed by police, as well as their fellow travelers, further establishes law and order.

The police “unions” are a force for evil. Every time any sanctions are discussed, some spiffily costumed bullneck venomizes before the cameras to tell us how, if we don’t allow them to run the streets like a lawless gang of thugs, the police won’t “be able to do their jobs,” they’ll cut back on their efforts, they’ll let crime run rampant while their members sit out the clock sulking in their patrol cars. That’s not quite what Samuel Gompers, Asa Philip Randolph and John L. Lewis had in mind when they fought for labor rights.

Holding Tucker Carlson to the bright light of truth is akin to shooting fish in a barrel, but I am blinded by the more compelling light from my flashing bullshit buzzer. Carlson said the Fort Worth Texas police had dropped all charges against dozens of rioters who were arrested for looting and vandalism. According to Carlson, Chief Ed Kraus issued statements “suggesting that the real criminals in the riot were not the rioters, but his own police officers, whom he suggested would be reined in and perhaps punished.”

To this, according to CBS News , the Fort Worth police department responded ”This information is absolutely inaccurate and is not consistent with the actual facts … The only charges dropped were minor misdemeanors which did not involve property or personal crimes,” and that Carlson’s claim about Kraus shaming his own officers “is absolutely inaccurate and a gross mischaracterization of any statement released by Chief Kraus or the department.” 

“Law and order” should not be synonymous with “Cops über alles” or “unleash your local police.” It is synonymous with justice – no matter what the criminals’ occupation might be or what color their work costumes are.

We’ve been hearing a lot about racism as a public health crisis. I appreciate where that is coming from, but I think the phrase distracts us away from the issue. Racism is not naturally endemic to society. It is learned. It is taught, not always inadvertently, by our families, our churches, our schools… and by our public officials. There is no vaccine for racism. There is a cure: experience in the real world.

We have started this process with what Lao Tsu called the first step in first step in a journey of a thousand miles. The last of the anti-miscegenation laws (prohibiting interracial sex and marriage) were repealed a mere 20 years ago — Mississippi in 1987, South Carolina in 1998 and Alabama in 2000. Today interracial couples are commonplace. Of course, in 2009 Louisiana justice of the peace Keith Bardwell refused to officiate a civil wedding for an interracial couple. And, as late as September of 2019, eight months ago, marriage license applicants in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Virginia had to declare their race. You know, like the syphilis test.

Yeah. We’ve still got a long way to go.

Thanks to our dear pal Charlie Meyerson, editor/founder of the award-winning Chicago Public Square, for dropping the phrase “copaganda” on my head. He linked the Chicago Sun-Times use of the phrase which, in context, reads “TV series depicting police are being scrutinized for a tendency to depict the officers solely as heroes — a practice critics dubbed “copaganda.”

Thoughts?