Skip to main content

View Diary: KosAbility: Police Violence, Disability, and All of Us (62 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Let's explore this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noddy, second alto, postmodernista

    Violence has a contested and complicated place in dominant American cultural norms. But I agree that in America, it's hard to get people too worked up about police violence, as it operates as 'norm.' One of the reasons the Martin case was so powerful is that it involved a vigilante, not a cop.

    But that's precisely why these cases are so important. That the cops acted wrongly is obvious, and while we can focus on training and helping people with disabilities (and we should!), I think the takeaway is bigger. These cases are levers with which to shift American culture.

    •  In which direction? (0+ / 0-)

      There are many conceptual attacks to make here.  

      One's the idea that the rule of law is important..that it applies to everyone, even the police.  But there's a whole apparatus standing behind and that has stood behind violence as long as it's by the right people.  What in recent history is going to sway this country?  This is nothing special.  This is typical.  Entirely typical.  Has been for centuries.  And the internet's been around long enough you'd think the constant availability of these incidents to the viewing public would have had its effect.  So far no go.  It's ok for the police to kill people.  That's what we pay them to do.  Go out and decide who to shoot and who to lock up, right?  So it's ok.  Because we pay them.  So they've got to be doing it for us right?

      What about it being generally OK to kill people?  Send someone off to kill people in a foreign country for shit pay and he's a hero.  Can we fix this piecemeal?  Or do we have to address killing people in general?  

      What about the equality of the victims?  Do we work on helping the disabled?  Or do we need to address the process of victimization wholesale?

      And, most importantly, who are you going to convince?  And are you going to do it with words?  Or are you going to have to force people to listen and watch as innocent people are killed on camera?  Facts cannot a learning experience provide.  If you teach people about murder the way people in this country are taught history you might as well be telling them baseball stats.

      •  Just so you know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        postmodernista

        As soon as you typed the word "attacks" rather than discussion, I decided to stop talking to you. I'm really not interested in "attacks."

          •  Once again (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            postmodernista

            If you are interested in discussion, let me know. That's the goal of the KosAbility group and my engagement with the internet in general. I am not interested in attacks or defense. Discussion. Synthesis. I know that's not the norm on the internet, but why not change today?

            •  I thank you, Lollardfish- (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM

              This is a very important topic, and your mannerly and insightful discussion of it is welcomed here. Many of us, at different times, feel disillusioned and cynical about many issues that need to be addressed. You are right- civilized discussion is the best way to find solutions.

              Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

              by postmodernista on Sun May 05, 2013 at 07:10:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Take the word 'attack' and substitute 'discuss' (0+ / 0-)

              Ready...set...go?  I have no idea what you thought I meant by attack.  

              •  Alright! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                deconite

                Let's take these one at a time then. You wrote.

                "One's the idea that the rule of law is important..that it applies to everyone, even the police.  But there's a whole apparatus standing behind and that has stood behind violence as long as it's by the right people.  What in recent history is going to sway this country?  This is nothing special.  This is typical.  Entirely typical.  Has been for centuries.  And the internet's been around long enough you'd think the constant availability of these incidents to the viewing public would have had its effect.  So far no go.  It's ok for the police to kill people.  That's what we pay them to do.  Go out and decide who to shoot and who to lock up, right?  So it's ok.  Because we pay them.  So they've got to be doing it for us right?"

                In fact, if you look at the history of police procedures in this country, there are lots of moments of cultural shift. We could look at race, but that's pretty complicated. I'd rather turn to look at the way that police handle domestic dispute. It's not perfect, but through a shift in the understanding of the rights of women, through changing procedures and trainings, NGO advocacy, and governmental (usually state or city) agency, police now handle domestics much more carefully than before. We have a long way to go, but things have improved. It's a slow, step-by-step, frustrating process, but one that disability advocacy groups are starting.

                •  I understand your analogy (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Lollardfish

                  Those cultural shifts have more to do with the social recognition of the basic human rights and dignities of the aggrieved parties.  Crimes against women and against victims of american apartheid are now generally seen as crimes and prosecuted.  Groups of white people cannot now take photos of themselves burning random black men to death in the south.  The rape and assault of women is now (usually) seen as a crime committed by the criminal rather than just punishment for an amoral woman.  None of this has gone to restrict what police feel they can do to minorities or women they feel are committing a crime, which these days includes refusing to do anything a cop tells you to do.  Look at marijuana arrests in NY.  Black men are twice as likely to be arrested for marijuana related crimes by the NYPD as white men despite equal use.  There is no vast enough outcry to even slow down the process.  

                  The disabled community has achieved quite a bit in the last few decades achieving equal rights with the rest of the population.  The ADA is a reflection of the increasing recognition that not only can we contribute to public life on an equal footing with everyone else, but that we have a right to.  

                  This does not, I believe, address the cause of the problem here.  This poor man's disability was the root cause of his conflict with the law.  But the reaction of law enforcement to his insubordination wasn't any different than their reactions have recently been to any other class of person.  He was breaking a law, and the police had the right to do whatever it took to force compliance.  And their tool is violence.

                  How can we expect police to slow down enough to even understand they're dealing with a disabled person when our social institutions give them the right to react violently to assert complete physical control of situations they don't understand?

                  •  We're on the same page here (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    deconite

                    We can't expect police to slow down enough ...

                    But we can exert pressure on the forces around the police to shift their behavior. It has worked, if imperfectly, in other contexts.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site