"This is what happens when you call the cops.....You get your rights violated or you all get shot!" - Rob Hustle (Call the Cops!)
Before you get too deep into this piece, stop for a second and click on the link above, 'Call the Cops!' The video may be unsettling for some because of grotesque violence, but please, do watch it. It is something that we all need to see and be aware of. If we ignore what is going on, we will one day find ourselves all entangled in a deathtrap from which there will be no foreseeable escape. The frequency and severity of police brutality has skyrocketed in the past decade. This is not to say that such violence has not occurred in the past. Nor is it arguing that other past events have not been any worse. It is simply saying that in comparison to the ten years prior, it seems that police brutality has either increased dramatically, or simply been much more visible than ever before. Things like this should rock us to the very center of our being. If does not, then perhaps we need to have another 'Great Awakening,' or something else similar that might wake us all up from the dream that we have been stuck in for the last seventy years.
Our government has historically endorsed the use of violence against its own citizens, from the very earliest days of the Republic. What we are seeing now is not new, but it is unique. If for nothing else than the fact that this is the most visible that state oppression in this country has ever been. In the past, news of violence against US Citizens by their own government traveled very slowly. With the advent of popular newspapers, then radio, and then television, that information began to travel much faster. However, these mediums cannot hold a candle to the Internet. It is now possible for people on the other side of the world to see what our government has begun against its own people, as it is happening. What have they begun? The United States Government is at DEFCON 1 with its own people. They are engaging in an active war of attrition against their own people. No one in this country is free from this war unless they are uber wealthy or politically powerful. For the rest of us the role we are expected to play is very simple, 'It is not to question why, but only to do an die!'
To get a better sense of what I mean, please, let me take you on a trip down history lane. The Whiskey Rebellion was the first real point in US History when the US Government used force against its own citizens to enforce the law. The rebellion occurred in 1791 in Western Pennsylvania. Led by President/General George Washington, the whiskey distillers of Western Pennsylvania were faced with an armed force sent to make them adhere to a new tax issued by the US Congress. It cannot be forgotten that the rebels used violence, as well, but they were faced by government forces sent to force them into compliance with the law, while the only serious damage they did was not equipment and supplies. There were also so few deaths in the conflict because many of the rebels recognized Washington on his horse riding onto the battlefield. They laid down their arms, rather than fighting the man that had defeated the British and secured the independence of the United States, despite the obvious irony that if they had resisted him with force, Washington would have had no qualms about ordering that they be shot for their refusal to comply to the new federal tax statute.
The next major example of such forced used against the American people came in the New York Draft Riots in July of 1863. Poor citizens of the various boroughs of New York City were being force drafted in the United States Army to be sent to the front lines of the American Civil War. There were many that did not accept this fate willingly. However, the order to institute the draft came directly from the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Under the authority of his constitutional war powers, Lincoln issued an executive order to draft as many men as possible for immediate training and deployment to the South. This meant that the draft order carried the full weight of law. To enforce the order, the Army was sent into the city. Over four days of rioting and pitched battles with American citizens and immigrants alike, one-hundred and twenty people were confirmed dead and two-thousand more were injured to varying degrees.
Let us also not forget the Railroad and factory strikes of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era. In these periods, the United States Army, organizations like the Pinkerton Detectives, and local state and municipal police forces engaged in pitched street battles with American citizens in their efforts to enforce labor law and restore order. They were fighting poor, starving workers, who were simply trying to get a fairs day wage for the back breaking work that they were being asked to do. There is also the Bonus March Massacre. Thousands of World War I pensioners from across the United States converged on Washington, D.C. on June 15, 1932, where they camped out and intended to remain until they received the pensions that they had earned while serving their country in the trenches of France. What response did they get? They were attacked and many were killed or injured. Who were they attacked by? Major Douglas MacArthur and First Lieutenant George S. Patton, the later magnanimous heroes of War War II, accompanied by the D.C. police.
This all, however, is nothing in comparison to what has happened to African Americans in this country since before its very foundation. Slavery, in and of itself, was an engaged effort of the US Government to keep an entire people oppressed and in bound servitude to meet the labor needs of a burgeoning agricultural market. The methods used to suppress resistance in the slave population were positively evil. People were bought and sold on auction blocks, transported in chains, beaten with bull whips, tortured, castrated, raped, murdered, worked to death, and executed without impunity. Further, slavery was not the end of it. With the end of slavery in 1863, and the Union victory in the Civil War in 1865, the problem became on of domestic terrorism. Governments throughout the South either looked the other way or were actively engaged in acts of Domestic Terrorism against African Americans in their constant efforts to keep African Americans in constant fear for their lives, as well as, keeping them servile and weak. The KKK was originally founded by Nathan Bedford Forrest. It was originally a gorilla force designed to resist the Union occupation of the South. It then morphed into an unofficial enforcer of Jim Crow laws, which were enacted after the end of Reconstruction and kept in force for nearly a century. Their sole purpose was to keep African Americans in a state of oppressed second class servitude.
This violence continued into the 1960s, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was leading the Civil Rights Movement. People were lynched in public squares, burned alive, castrated, murdered, beaten, raped, executed, and more, all in an organized an effort to keep them entangled in a rigid, deadly, and socially segregated system of oppression and fear. It was also common for people's homes to be bombed, gassed, or even burned completely to the ground. Dr. King, himself, was the victim of multiple beatings, arson. and later, a brutal assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, during a sanitation workers strike. Malcolm X had only been shot two years prior. In the seventies and early eighties, the government focused its attention on the destruction of organizations like the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Huey P. Newton was their most significant victim in that struggle. Tupac Amari Shakur's step-father, Matula Shakur, for whom Tupac was named, had a legitimate medical license and a successful acupuncture business. His business was so successful in alleviating heroine addiction in New York City that he was deemed a threat by the government. They shut his entire operation down to prevent him from destroying the market for heroine in the city. When he resorted to violence, the government hunted him down and gave him a sixty year prison sentence. This was done all because, when he was still a peaceful man, he worked to alleviate the pain of heroine addicts that were making legitimate efforts to get clean.
Fast forward to the present day. The extent of police brutality and state violence against the people has become much much worse. On July 31, 2013, Cindy Hahn of Carlsbad, California was pulled from her car, beaten, and arrested over a seat belt violation. This was, of course, while her two children, aged seven and eleven, watched from their seats in the family vehicle. In January of this year, Floyd Dent of Inkster, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, was removed from his car and beaten by a white officer because he ran a stop sign. In November of 2011, Iraq War Veteran, Kayvan Sabehgi, was nearly killed by the Oakland Police Department when they fired rubber bullets into a crowd of peaceful protesters. In the middle of this past August, eighteen year-old, Mansure Ball-Bey, was shot in the back by officers of the St. Louis Police Department. Their deed was caught on video, yet they continued to argue that they fired at the man only after he first pointed a gun at them. Why then did he die from a gun shot wound to the back? On July 31 of this year, Samuel DuBose, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was shot dead by a Cincinnati Police Officer, while unarmed. This list could continue for a very long time, but the sake of brevity, I shall not enumerate all of them. Honestly, even if I wanted to, I would not be able to. There are just too many. However, I would love it if any reader that knows of other such incidents were to post a link and description of any of these similar instances in the comment section at the bottom of this page. The more we all know, the better off we will be, despite the pain that we must all endure in order for our eyes to finally be opened.
Having mentioned all of this, I would like to posit a question. Why is it that all of this is happening with such frequency and publicity, now? This question addresses not the cause of individual events, but rather, the root cause of what now seems to be a daily affair. Further, it is not just affecting a single ethnicity, although African Americans have been suffering the heaviest losses. This is effecting all ethnicities and both males and females. The most recent college campus shootings, including the one that happened early Friday morning in Arizona, are merely compounding an already existing problem.
While there are countless political and economic philosophies that could account for the problem fairly adequately, it is not the goal of this article get overtly political, though it does push the line. This article seeks a more tangible answer. I am looking for an answer that can be used to explain a recent, say occurring in the last ten to fifteen years, massive spike in violence against predominantly unarmed law abiding citizens. Though I cannot yet back this idea up with sold evidence quite yet, I believe that I have a fairly plausible explanation. Feel free to criticize me, and please, if you find positive evidence to the contrary, share it with me and the others. New information is always welcome. I would like to bring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, into the conversation, where I believe you well all find it more than torturous to ignore.
Has anyone ever considered that our country may be experiencing the aftermath of failing to treat what is, really, a collective case of mental illness, whether inherited or artificially induced? Allow me to develop the idea. On September 11, 2001, whether you believe it was a foreign attack or an internal job, this country got a most dramatic reality check. The 9/11 Attacks struck this country to its very core, and it most definitely left scars in the memories of all who witnessed the events. It is what happened next, however, that is of vital interest to my suggestion that we are dealing with a collective outburst of PTSD. Almost immediately after the attacks, the United States entered into a sustained armed conflict with no reasonable exit strategy in sight. Two years later, the scale of the conflict was broaden to include Iraq. To this very day, neither of these theaters has been brought under effective control. Thus, soldiers have been locked in a constant cycle of destructive violence and eminent death for going on nearly fifteen years now.
In the past fourteen years, thousands upon thousands of men and women have gone to the Middle East to fight in the Afghan and Iraq Wars. Many of these men and women have not just been there once or twice, several have faced the reality of four or more tours in the region. In these conflicts, the men and women of our armed forces were exposed to, on each occasion, six months to one year or more, under the constant threat of deadly violence. Historically, this is not a new thing. Also, historically, the US Government has regularly failed to provide its returning veterans with the appropriate psychiatric assistance before they go home to their old lives. This affect has been even worse on National Guard units and the Reserves, who until the present conflicts, were almost exclusively used for domestic emergencies but are, now, engaged in direct combat only weeks after getting married and starting a new job. There situation is very similar to that of active duty service members, but their situation is also unique in an important way. These men and women were not always just out of boot camp when they went to the Middle East. Many were just out of their living rooms. The result of this massive and unaccustomed exposure to such routine violence is nearly an entire generation of poor and working class American men and women suffering from legitimate mentally illness, almost exclusively from PTSD, that have been unable to properly reintegrate into civilian society. Many of these injured service members, so intensely unable to control their disorder, ended up homeless on the streets, right next to veterans from past wars,like Iraq 1, Vietnam, Korea, WW II, WW I, and many others.
I can imagine that many others, in their best effort to reintegrate into civilian society, may have taken advantage of their military training to get a quasi well paying job with their local law enforcement agencies. This means, essentially that very possibly, thousands of veterans suffering from the effects of PTSD are being exposed to the similar life and death situations that they faced during their tours in the Middle East. Whether their PTSD is being treated properly or not, constant exposure to similar high stress situations is almost guaranteed to trigger a PTSD episode at some point or another. I would contend that a great many of these most recent beatings, meaning those in the past ten to fifteen years, have been the result uncontrollable PTSD attacks. Now, before you call me an apologist for the present level of brutal police violence, I am not qualifying the actions of these men and women. I am simply saying that there might just be a much bigger problem than has been previously assumed.
What is the nature of the problem? If you look to the picture on the left, you see Marines carrying a dead or injured comrade to safety as they are leaving the scene of an urban street battle. If you look to the picture on the right, you see a situation with the very real potential for a similar violent urban street battle. The picture on the right was taken during the unrest in Baltimore, where in some instances, there were actual outbreaks of fighting between the police and civilians. These riots were in response to an inordinate amount of violent killings of civilians by the the police. Freddie Gray, the man that was killed most recently there, and the crime for which these people are expressing their anger, was merely the tipping point for people who have been dealing with this kind of problem for multiple generations. What do you think is going to happen when people in similar situations set to the streets again and half of the police department that is responsible for settling the issue is made up of Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans, who have not received the appropriate psychiatric treatment for their PTSD?
This photo begs a very serious question. Why, on Earth, does this officer see the need to point a Street Sweeper at unarmed civilians seated on the ground with their heads tucked between their legs? Is it because he is attempting to protect them? Is it because he sees them as an imminent threat to his life? Is it because someone in the crowd is pointing something back at him? While I will admit that these may be true to some varying degree, I would contend that there is actually something else at work that is much more powerful. Whilst in the Middle East, and while being exposed to these highly dangerous war zones, these mean and women picked up vital experience in urban combat. So, when they come back to the US, and they are some of the most experienced urban combat specialists in the country, where do you think they are going to turn for work?
One might easily imagine that their experience would be instrumental to the urban police departments in this country. Correct me, please, if I am off base here; but, imagine not long after the first assaults on the Taliban were underway, some soldiers injured in the conflict began to come home, along with soldiers that had completed their contracted service, both of whom were suffering from untreated PTSD. Those that are physically capable may have gravitated towards urban centers to look for work the type of work for which, they were most preeminently qualified. This, then, would have infused those police departments with highly trained military veterans, who will also now have the ability to spread their new training to other police departments and to, possibly, assist in the recruitment of later waves of incoming Afghan and Iraq War veterans. They are all, of course, very likely suffering from the very same problem, PTSD. These highly trained, well disciplined, and intensely indoctrinated urban warfare veterans, who are expected to do what they are told and to complain about it only once they are dead, will be the tools of incredible state oppression.
Now, imagine this scene for a few moments. A highly trained urban assault force, SWAT, is now employed by a great majority of American cities, to include suburban and rural communities. The one place in the world where they are the most calm and collected, close quarters combat, is given an avenue for the release of pent up rage from PTSD. It has also, very visibly, turned police forces into rigid near military level organizations, armed with the latest in armored vehicle technology, sniper technology, and even more effective methods of urban combat. One wonders how that may have happened. Could it be that highly trained military veterans transformed their police academy programs into the equivalent of a full scale infantry basic training course and fused their philosophies of war into highly effective propaganda machines capable of indoctrinating new recruits just as effectively as the US Military did them? They will be given a crisis, they will be given an enemy to fight, and they will pursue that enemy without impunity, until they have fully secured and neutralized their target.
Ladies and Gentlemen, what on earth might you imagine would come of this? Who do you think that their enemy is going to be? It is going to be their own people. It is going to be their own families, their own friends, and their many other fellow Americans. It is going to be against men, women, and children. It is going to be done to citizens of all ages, religions, and ethnicities. We are all going to be victim to this no longer simple police force, but what is now, in reality, a highly trained military combat assault force, whose main goal is to hunt us down one by one, until we are silent, compliant, and completely ignorant. I am reminded, now, of a quote popular from the Gilded Age of American Industry, coined by Railroad Mogul, Jay Gould, 'We need not worry too harshly over this strike business, for we can always hire one half of the working class to kill the other.' He took that philosophy very seriously, and executed violence against strikers with impunity.
The same thing is going on now; only now it is worse, as we are on the brink of experiencing the same war like conditions that the United States has induced upon countless other countries around the world, for what is just a little bit more than a century, now. Why else would police departments be training their officers in the operation of combat tanks, attack helicopters, and highly advanced tracking and communications technology? Where is this going to take us as a people and a nation? How much longer will the US Government be able to strengthen this dangerously booming transformation of policing in the US? Is there a way to temper the rage that is extravagantly visible in the video at the beginning of this post, before we all, civilian and militarized cop alike, are lying dead in the street baking in the heat of the Texas sun? That is a big question, and what it requires is, not only years of research, but also, a very lengthy, well thought out, well researched, peer reviewed, multifaceted response that accounts for all of the complexities of this country's problems and for the sheer volume of data available on the increasing danger to the average citizen's ability to enjoy the fruits of their life, liberty, and happiness. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that much time being available before the complete collapse of civil order in this country, is most egregiously unlikely, and more desperately so, like to worsen even more with the passing of each and every singly day.
What is the result of this artificially induced Civil War occurring within the ranks of the working class? It is, unequivocally a Police State. Worse, it gets very close to crossing the line into being a Totalitarian Fascist Dictatorship. We are criminals by virtue of our very existence. There is nothing that we do that is not regulated by the state, and rather than helping educate people on how not to get in trouble, people are being kept ignorant in order to provide a continuous flow of criminal types that can be targeted and blamed for this country's woes. This must be resisted, but how should that happen? If it is done violently, the end result will be more dead working class and poor people, and less and less freedoms to enjoy in what is supposed to be the scion of democracy in this world, and this country will look more and more, to its own citizens, like the image that a large portion of the world has already placed upon this country. What is that image? It is the image of the advance of the forth horseman of the Apocalypse, Death, and his pail steed, as all of the host of hell follows behind them. Our response to this problem must be the opposite of what is being dealt upon us. The form that this response should take is still up for debate, but it must almost assuredly be as non-violent as possible. The more killing that occurs, the more unlikely it will be that anything of substance will ever change for the better.