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Words fail. There is an epidemic of insanity in this country, and the mentally disturbed are its victims, but not those with the condition.

Every few days now I read another report of another mentally ill person killed, shot or abused by police officers.

The latest incident would be beyond the pale - if so many past incidents weren't already so. A young man, one-armed and one-legged in a wheelchair killed because he had a pen? Or Kelly Thomas, homeless, beaten while lying on the ground and calling out to his father, killed by police on the streets of Fullerton, CA?

This video shows a mentally ill man, Gerald Bennett, gunned down in cold blood just days ago by a Dallas police officer, Cardan Spencer.

A Dallas police office is under criminal investigation after a surveillance video surfaced that indicated he may have lied on a police report about shooting a mentally ill man who he claimed had a knife.
Bennett is standing meekly, a threat to nothing and no one. Watch.

Fortunately Bennett survived (the officer was apparently such a bad shot that he only hit his stationary target once with four shots), and is in stable condition in a local hospital.

The disease this officer suffers from is pervasive. It is nationwide. In Seattle and other locales, the police have been placed under court orders to alter their handling of the mentally ill. In my own home town of Berkeley, CA, a transgender woman with mental issues, Kayla Moore, died in police custody in February, 2013 as police tried to subdue her and likely smothered her.

We know the outward sign of this disease - men and women who need treatment, not forced restraint, dead at the hands of police, just as we know the outward sign of its close relative - an epidemic of young men of color dying in the streets by police violence.

But what are the causes?

Berkeley Copwatch and other activists investigated the death of Kayla Moore (when the District Attorney refused), and created a report called


"The People's Investigation: In-Custody Death of Kayla Moore."

From the introduction:

The City of Berkeley is currently operating without benefit of a clear and responsible approach to managing emergency mental health episodes. Dramatic cuts in mental health services and an expanding policing budget have created a context where it is primarily Berkeley Police who respond to mental health crises even though police training emphasizes priorities different from mental health concerns... the city continues to understaff emergency mental health services while supporting increased funding for the number of officers hired and... "less lethal" weaponry...:
(It is safe to assume that by removing "Berkeley" from the above the statement is applicable to many, if not most, police departments around the country.)

Within they identify some of the specific actions and more general causes that led to Moore's death. Here are some of general police behaviors they identify as being problematic:

  • Unnecessary escalation.
  • Failure to disengage.
  • Excessive use of force.
  • No legal basis for police actions taken.

And in the "Analysis of Polices, Protocols and Training." section, Berkeley Copwatch analysts write:

The usual command and control approach does not work effectively with people in a mental health crisis... If the response is to reassure the individual... there may be a de-escalation. But, if the response is command and control, it may increase the level of fear are result in escalation... These dangers are significantly more likely to occur if the response to people with mental illness comes from officers trained to respond to criminals instead of people experiencing variances in mental health.
These points are all true, but they are not sufficient. I don't believe they get to the heart of the matter; they don't clearly identify what I believe is the key component of the problem: the militarization of the police in both body and spirit.

Look at these pictures to see what I mean. The picture on the left was taken only days ago outside of Rexton, New Brunswick, Canada. Royal Canadian Mounted Police have set up a sniper position targeted on First Nations people, some women and children. The picture on the right is from Afghanistan.

 photo -rcmp-rexton-snipers_zpsfbaa91dc.png
 photo afghanistan-sniper_zps77a752cf.jpg
Is the first picture in any way distinguishable, aside from the vegetation, from a the second, or from depiction of combat in Iraq or Vietnam? My answer to my own question: it is not, and I have no doubt that most people would identifiy it as a combat photo. Yet it takes place in no declared - or undeclared - war zone. At a basic level it shows the indistinguishability in the mentality that would address a protest by citizens' of one's own nation in this manner from the mentality of those whose job it is to develop tactics of war.

it's not only the tactics; it's not only the equipment the police are accruing - body armor, armored personel carriers and huge weapons even Rambo would be jealous of - it's the psychology engendered by such weapons and training that is producing these outcomes.

Such psychology will be manifest in Oakland, CA soon. Beginning Friday, October 25th, at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Oakland, police forces from all around the world will gather - in a grotesque abasement of the concept of a convention - to participate in URBAN SHIELD. From downtown Oakland teams will be fan out throughout Alameda County to take part in military-style exercises. Their supervisors will be enjoying the Marriott's liquor supply, no doubt paid for by defense police contractors, while also being plied with the latest weapons and "technological innovations" for crowd control and dealing with "terrorist threats."  These displays will begin two years to the day that Scott Olsen was shot in the head and almost killed by an Oakland Police team in full battle armor - one "trained" during that year's Urban Shield.

Consider the implications of this picture, being used to promote the event:

 photo urban-shield-bart-2013_zpse6f4d7db.jpg

Here we have a man calmly sitting on a BART train while officers in combat gear and gask masks aim lethal weapons at who-knows-whom, all with an iconic BART logo off to the side. Draw your own conclusions about the glorification of the militarization of police.

When an army is deployed, it is (almost always) deployed against an enemy, apparent or assumed. The men and women so deployed act as such, for better or for worse.

Policing should be (and has to some extent in the past been) seen as an entirely different matter. But police are quickly becoming an army in all but name, deployed in combat readiness on the streets of our cities. Despite crime rates at lows not seen for decades, the police - and the public they so readily convince - are determined to see law enforcement as engaged in a battle that can only be won by further and further escalation - in tactics, in weaponry, and ruthlessness.

Is it any wonder then that, now, an officer's first instinct is to see a gun or a knife where none exists? That officers approach the mentally ill not with the intent of defusing the situation, but to control the person and the situation at any cost? Is it any wonder, when police are never brought to account for their aggressive tactics, that more and more such aggression takes place?

 photo urban-shield-rambo_zps09249041.jpg

We live in a society in which we value the right of police officers to be paranoid delusional while we refuse those not in uniform, those in similar and other disturbed states, the right to treatment and to be treated with respect.

Urban Shield exercises in Alameda County will have gone on for at least four years, largely unnoticed until now. But this year they will not go unanswered. Protests are planned for all day October 25th, culminating in a rally and march beginning at 5:00 PM from the Marriott Hotel. The ultimate goal of the protest movement is twofold: to get this entire exercise banned from Oakland next year; the glorification of guns and tools of violence in a city plagued by gun murders is something many people find deeply disturbing, and not just those who protest police actions. And maybe, just maybe, start all of us down a path to awareness of just how insane we as a nation have become in our worship of ever more arms, police, prisons and punishment.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 07:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, Progressive Policy Zone, Mental Health Awareness, and Invisible People.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's sickening how often this happens. (10+ / 0-)

    Shoot first ask questions later. I hadn't heard of Urban Shield. Who is shielding who here? More like Urban Assault.

    •  Well known in the police community. (9+ / 0-)

      Keep pretty much secret from everyone else.  Oakland's City Council had no idea the event was even happening or that Oakland was providing money to support it until they were told in protest by community activists.

      •  so the cops get an urban shield and citizens get (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jpmassar, dharmasyd, Sandino, AoT

        to be collateral damage. With more vets with combat experience (and untreated PTSD) in police forces, revisiting the Bush-era pacification of foreign countries will come home with greater lethality for an entire generation.

        We live in a society in which we value the right of police officers to be paranoid delusional while we refuse those not in uniform, those in similar and other disturbed states, the right to treatment and to be treated with respect.

        Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

        by annieli on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 01:11:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know if they'll be there this year (6+ / 0-)

    but Israeli forces have taken part in Urban Shield in previous years along with groups from Bahrain, another oppressive regime. The cops here are learning from what Israel does in the occupied territories.
    It's outrageous.

  •  I have a kid with some features (8+ / 0-)

    of tourette.

    I used to teach police officers about the juvenile court act.  I spent a little time talking about kids who were not neurotypical, explaining that one of my greatest fears was that some day my kid would be pulled over and asked for his license and would reply something like "shut up a**h*le m*therf*cker."  In short, that we had much to fear from law enforcement.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 08:29:41 AM PDT

  •  You have an understaffed police force. It takes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, BlackSheep1, dharmasyd

    two officers to make a traffic stop. It takes maybe 3 times that many to subdue a mentally ill person.

    When you all want to stop blaming police and start calling for a solution that will work, let me know.

    I am being defensive here because last time I called for more police in a diary like this I was told that more staff would just mean more killing of mentally ill. And I think that is nuts.

    _____

    Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

    by 88kathy on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 08:35:20 AM PDT

    •  They didn't need to subdue him. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerrilea, atana, corvo, annieli, CuriousBoston

      He was already passive.

      We blame police because they and their training and the mentality they come out of with are the problem here.

      •  For 2 minutes he was passive. (0+ / 0-)

        All I am saying that in a 'mental' police situation there should have been at least 6 officers instead of 2.

        Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

        by 88kathy on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 08:44:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then they would have shot hit with 12 bullets. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gerrilea, atana, corvo, annieli

          Or more likely the cops would have erupted each with a hail of bullets, thinking they were being threatened.  As with the Cleveland situation where they fired 137 bullets into a situation where the victims were unarmed.

          And he would have been killed.

          The cops didn't need to do anything.  He wasn't a threat. There was no need for six cops. Or eight. Or a hundred.

          •  You are jumping from one thing to another. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            6412093, BlackBandFedora

            Spontaneous gun fire is not caused by too many police on the job. If that is what caused it then we could just eliminate all police. Problem solved.

            I am saying that passive resistance requires more man power than someone who cooperates. And mentally ill resistance is not an easy thing to handle and needs even more manpower.

            We have SWAT teams, we have HAZMAT teams, why don't we have MIST teams? These are things you should be advocating not this righteous indignation belly aching. That gets no where and accomplishes nothing.

            (Mentally Ill Subdue Teams)

            ________

            Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

            by 88kathy on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 09:00:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Which would help if they're called, etc. (6+ / 0-)

              And we have those, they are people who work at mental health care institutions. If the police wanted they could call people to do just that. More people with guns is not the answer.

              •  Why wouldn't they call? Why aren't you advocating (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                6412093

                for them to call? If they are there, why aren't they being called? Why would a MIST team have only guns as tools? I think the HAZMAT team has more than guns.

                Why is there so much resistance to having a MIST team on call form the various mental institutions? Why aren't you all screaming that they weren't called?

                I don't think this connection has been made and you are so dug in to being 'right' on the internet, it will take you sometime to process this idea.

                Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

                by 88kathy on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 09:33:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't have any control over the police (6+ / 0-)

                  If I did then there wouldn't be an issue here. My point is that the resource you're talking about already exists, if the police were interested in using it they could. I'm not able to make them do that. I can scream all I want, it won't change anything. God knows I've screamed enough.

                  •  I might have missed it but I think I am the only (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    one talking about it. You haven't posted any links to it. It is like mist.

                    Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

                    by 88kathy on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 09:42:33 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Get it I missed the mist. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

                    by 88kathy on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 09:42:57 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  The police are capable of calling the ambulance, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jpmassar

                  with trained people to recognize various diseases. From diabetic near comas resulting in death, to many forms of brain disease, paramedics and EMT's are the option.

                  The individual juristictions are perfectly capable of preparing the police, fire, and medical teams to work together. If the police would THINK, take one second to call for medical help.

                  Help Senator Warren. Encourage people to co-sponsor her bills, & the bills she has cosponsored. Elect Ed Markey.

                  by CuriousBoston on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 08:24:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  There needs to be a 'Tactical resolution" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT
              We have SWAT teams, we have HAZMAT teams, why don't we have MIST teams?
              Calming and subduing a mentally ill person is a slow, tedious process and will definitely not lead the evening news unless there is some bloodshed.

              Who is going to get the high fives and free rounds of beer after that shift, the geared up sniper who ended the situation with a round to the dementia-suffering octogenarian's  temple, or the sweater wearing negotiator?

              /snark

              Disclaimer: Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorists may vary according to region, definition, and purpose. Belief systems pandered separately.

              by BlackBandFedora on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 05:58:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  EMT should have been there. They are trained to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jpmassar

          help people, they are trained to recognize and handle many illnesses, may even recognize the individual. Have youe ever been put in a lockup for being drunk? Then have someone look at your bracelet for ID, learn you are diabetic?

          Help Senator Warren. Encourage people to co-sponsor her bills, & the bills she has cosponsored. Elect Ed Markey.

          by CuriousBoston on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 08:18:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Two cops to make a traffic stop? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerrilea, corvo, annieli, CuriousBoston

      Then why have I been pulled over by a single police officer?

      •  And that was probably enough. What I see in the (0+ / 0-)

        video is lack of manpower.  So your obstinance in just wanting to blame and punish shows me you have no interest in solving the problem in mentally ill and police interface other than punishment and blame.

        You can educate people all you want but that won't give them six more hands and 8 more legs. Manpower is a large missing link to proper handling of these situations.

        _______

        Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

        by 88kathy on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 08:52:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What I see in the video is the cold-blooded (7+ / 0-)

          attempted murder of an innocent victim.

          You continue to assert without any evidence that more person-power would reduce the assaults and the murders, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Thomas Kelly was beaten by multiple officers. The Cleveland assault was precipitated by having large numbers of officers on the scene.  There were many officers in Kayla Moore's apartment.  The person who was beaten to death in Bakersfield was assaulted by at least eight officers.

          •  I am advocating a MIST team to handle the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marykk

            situation. We have SWAT teams, we have HAZMAT teams.

            You seem to think the police force is just using the mentally ill for target practice. I am saying you need to calm down and think about what will solve the problem.

            Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

            by 88kathy on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 09:02:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Wanting to blame and punish? (6+ / 0-)

          It sounds like you've got the situation backwards. We've got the police punishing people. Some of us want accountability of those with power. At the very least.

          •  I am saying that accountability is the least the (0+ / 0-)

            very least. Set your sights higher much higher.

            Don't you love my new newly thought of idea. Call the MIST team for handling these events.

            They call the SWAT team for snipers, they call the HAZMAT team for bombers, we should be advocating they call the MIST team for subduing the mentally ill.

            ______

            Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

            by 88kathy on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 09:06:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sounds like you are defending the officers cold (6+ / 0-)

              blooded killing to me.  "Those poor officers, if only they had more manpower then they wouldn't have had to shoot first and send flowers later"

              You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

              by Throw The Bums Out on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 10:46:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Throw, I am reading 88kathy's (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                88kathy, jpmassar

                comment differently.  She is hoping that police will learn to recognize when they have encountered a mentally ill person, and would call in professionals to deal with them, rather than blaze away.

                I don't understand why so often, police don't recognize mentally ill people, and handle them appropriately.

                I live near Portland Oregon, and those cops have probably gunned down a half-dozen mentally people in the last couple of years.  One or two of them may have charged the cops with a knife, but that's still barely justification for gunning them down.

                I despair at how poorly trained the police are, not to be able to tell that someone's mentally ill, and not be able to deal with them.

                “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

                by 6412093 on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 03:46:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Exactly, they don't try to defuse a bomb on their (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jpmassar, 6412093

                  own, they call the bomb squad. They don't try to take out a sniper on their own, they call SWAT.

                  I am sure the regular police would much rather avoid the paper work and call the MIST in to handle the situation.

                  I have been a strong union member all my life. And I always on the side of the worker being asked to handle a situation for which they are grossly unequipped. Two officers equipped with guns and flashlights are grossly unequipped and understaffed to deal with a mentally ill person.

                  Instead of punishing people, we need to understand the situation and prevent it from happening. I also worked for an airplane manufacturing company. Instead of firing people for mixing right and left parts, engineering made it impossible to make that error.

                  I think it is better to make it impossible to make an error and have double back up systems in place than to fire and imprison people. It's just my work experience that makes me think like I do.

                  Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

                  by 88kathy on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 04:00:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You can't train mindset and/or personality (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  6412093, CuriousBoston, jpmassar

                  disorder out of a wannabe cop. We need far fewer things being illegal, smaller police forces, and a far more in depth selection process. Legalize drugs and we could reduce our entire criminal justice system by 50% and still be overstaffed.

                  There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

                  by oldpotsmuggler on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 06:54:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  I hear you 88kathy. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, jpmassar, CuriousBoston, AoT

      I hope you can hear me.  I'm an 80 y.o. lady, shrunk to about 5'4" now, 130 lbs, well kept, and presentable.  I shouldn't be mistaken as a threat to anybody by anybody.  Oh, and just in case, I should add that I am caucasian.  Shouldn't be a threat there.  Also, I had just bought my car and had not yet put any anti war, pro women's rights bumper stickers on it.  No threat there.

      As I was driving home one day, I saw a red light in my mirror and heard the short blast of the police car siren.   I was blinking for a left turn as I was at home (a 150 unit seniors apartment complex) and wanted to turn into my parking lot.  

      I pulled into the lot and stopped.  The policeman followed me and also stopped.  That's when I made the only possible mistake.  Unaccustomed as I am to being stopped by the police, I am not familiar with the 'correct' protocol for such encounters.  I got out of my car to walk back to his car.  That seemed to be the 'safest' thing to do from what I assumed would be the cop's perspective--he could see me completely, hands by sides, not holding anything--.  He let me know, post haste that I was wrong as he blared over his loud loudspeaker: "Get back in the car," in a very unpleasant tone.   When he got to the driver's window of my car, he gave me the 3rd degree.  
      "Why did you pull into the parking lot?"  
      "Because I live here, my parking place is..."
      "How long have you lived here?"
      (As the questioning continued, I told the officer I had emphysema and needed to get my oxygen tank out of the back as my breathing was getting bad (I'm sure the stress didn't help).  At least he was "kind" enough to allow me to get my oxygen tank.  By this point, another tenant saw what was happening and came across the lot to see if there was anything she could do.  She backed me up when I answered his question...)
      "I've lived here 17 years."
      The other tenant validated this.

      Finally the cop told me what I had done wrong was wrong.  The little colored registration sticker was not on the rear license plate.  Yeah. People steal those things.  I had not checked to see if it had been cross hatched with a razor blade (against theft) when I bought the car.

      He spoke to me very sternly, treated me like a heavy duty criminal and gave me a no-fee citation to get signed off when I replaced the sticker.

      I'm sorry 88kathy, but there is something wrong with this kind of attitude on the part of the police.  It indicates something very scary, something insane, as jp says, about the psychological condition of our authority figures.

      I re'd you comment because of your effort.  I shan't respond to your comments again.  I cannot justify this rude behavior on the part of the police.  Although this incident is insignifcant, I can see how it easily leads to the police drawing their guns and blasting away.  I don't have the time, at almost 81, to give more energy to disagreements which go nowhere because we are both set in our beliefs.  Good day.

      I'd like to end with a quote from a bumper sticker I saw on an USMC car:

      When in doubt, empty your magazine.
      This was at the time we (the US) were killing kids, women, and anybody else at wedding parties in Afghanistan.  Semper Fi indeed!

      the war being waged...is the relentless ...struggle... by the rich against the poor. " by Andrew O'Hehir in "Salon"

      by dharmasyd on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 03:04:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Kathy, I'm not sure how many times you,ve (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CuriousBoston, dharmasyd, jpmassar

      been arrested by my broad and long experience at it tells me that one professional cop can do the work of a half dozen power hungry neanderthals. My suggestion is that we stop hiring the power hungry neanderthals.

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 06:58:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for reporting on this (7+ / 0-)

    Thank you for reporting on the shooting of Mr. Bennett and on the Urban Shield convention.

    I suggest that one reason police are feeling the need for more body armor, greater firepower, and military tactics is because of the increased availability and increased lethality of weapons among the civilian population.

    There are many costs to making guns easily available in the society: an increased number of fatal and non-fatal shooting injuries; an increased cost to tax-payers for hospital care, and police and court expenses; and greater militarization of the police and loss of civil liberties.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 08:44:06 AM PDT

    •  That's been the excuse for years (8+ / 0-)

      But in reality it isn't as big of a problem as they make it out to be. The problem is that the police's job has been to oppress the poor and keep them in their place. That's what they were invented for and that's been their primary use, extended of course to oppressing people of color here in the US. We have more and more poor people here in the US so we're going to have more and more problems with the police. Poor people generally know that the police are their enemy, and the police know the same about poor people. Car accidents tend to kill more police officers than guns, and definitely in these sorts of situations.

    •  The same people who are militarizing the police (7+ / 0-)

      are militarizing the population with "increasingly lethal weapons".

      I'm talking about the arms manufacturers and military contractors. They -- as they traditionally have-- make money off selling arms to both sides in any conflict. And the more conflicts there are, the more money they make.

  •  The "War on Terror" == a huge expansion of markets (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar, Sandino, CuriousBoston

    for the MIC.

    The MIC hammer has found lots of new nails. The US is only good at making military hardware; we've offshored every other type of manufacturing. Expanding sales of military hardware to police means militarizing police forces, a process that has been expedited by Homeland Security.

    The same MIC sells "man cards" to gun nuts, and is responsible for the absurd number of guns in the US.

  •  Republished to Mental Health Awareness nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar, annieli, CuriousBoston

    I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

    by second gen on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 10:45:21 AM PDT

  •  It's not just the fault of the police; (5+ / 0-)

    it's also the utterly predictable result of our inhumanly vicious failure to provide adequate mental health care to the seriously mentally ill.

    I'm not talking about the price of Prozac for anxious affluent suburbanites; rather the absolute absence of a functioning mental health care system for the hundreds of thousands of schizophrenic and bipolar patients wandering the streets. Our negligence essentially guarantees that they will be killed by the police with regularity, because they cannot 'behave reasonably'.

    I'm reminded of the comment one of Chris Farley's friends made after his death- "It was like watching a puppy playing next to the freeway. You just knew how it was going to end."

  •  jp, thank you so much for continuing to cover (5+ / 0-)

    police violence against those among us who suffer from mental illnesses.

    Esp severe and persistent mental illness.

    I worry about my loved one every day.

    God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

    by JayRaye on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 12:33:49 PM PDT

  •  continuing to reap the fruits of Reaganism (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar, Sandino, 6412093, dharmasyd, AoT
    Early 1980's: Seeking to cut federal expenditures, the Reagan administration directed the Social Security Administration to pare the SSI and SSDI rolls. Social Security administrators responded by developing definitions of mental illness that diverged from those used in the past and those employed by mental health professionals. The resulting dislocations ultimately produced a public outcry that compelled the administration and Social Security to back down.
    1981: The 1981 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act repealed the provisions of the National Mental Health Systems Act, cut federal mental health and substance abuse allocations by twenty-five percent, and converted them to block grants disbursed with few strings attached. New York State, which used block-grant monies to fund community-based programs, and other states have to cut mental health programs

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 01:05:35 PM PDT

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