Blood money

Cleveland is going to pay off the Rice family. That is to say, the government of the city of Cleveland is going to pay them SIX MILLION DOLLARS without admitting any wrongdoing. That is to say, a small group of people in the government of Cleveland are going to spend SIX MILLION DOLLARS of taxpayer money so they don’t have to admit they were wrong in murdering a kid. Everybody is Cleveland is paying this money, even the Rice family.

What kind of fucked up political calculus is this?

Why is it okay for this to happen? Why is this city wasting the money of its people so they can do this? Instead of fixing anything, or punishing those who did something wrong, they simply waste the money of taxpayers so they can make it go away. This shit has got to stop.

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Lacking Accountability, Disclosure, and Progress

Every time a city does something wrong and gets sued, the money from the settlement comes from taxpayers. So when a city employee harasses someone and the city gets sued, that’s taxpayer money. When a cop kills someone and the city pays a settlement, that’s tax dollars at work. Now, this is probably a rather obvious thing. Or at least, it should be.

Yet there continues to be a lack of accountability for such things. Chicago has paid out millions and didn’t do a damn thing to reign in the murder.

In Kansas City, you’ve got over two million paid out and taxpayers aren’t even allowed to know why:

Jackson County has spent more than $2 million since 2011 settling employment discrimination complaints brought by county employees. Yet county taxpayers are never told the specific nature of the allegations or whether corrective actions were taken to lessen the likelihood of future payouts.

That’s the thing about settlements. There’s justice for the wronged, but the city still has to pay for it. Worse, there’s absolutely nothing saying the truth has to be revealed. There’s no mechanism to prevent non-disclosure clauses. Nothing.

Can Cops Do Anything Right?

Fuck the police. Right? Anyway, so for once I was thinking of a good thing they do. To be perfectly clear, I’m speaking to state troopers on the highway. My friend was telling me about getting a ride (instead of a seven mile walk to the closest gas station) from a state trooper. That made me remember a time when I got helped out by them.

They aren’t local police forces. They do give lots of tickets and they’re probably terrible in other ways, but it’s worth noting what they do right. In fact, I would argue that focusing on a more humanitarian route would make cops a much better institutional force. Like…what if cops helped people? Served the people? So that’s what I’d like to highlight, that a small glimmer of hope.

Social Justice Fatigue

So what with the whole police murdering people (well, black males), the internet has exploded with outrage. And let’s be real, most every criticism is spot-on and quite true. But! And this but may be unpopular, but I’m so fucking sick of reading about it. I mean, I’M THE CHOIR! I’m the person that already agrees. So is pretty much everybody else that reads about it, because the racists and blind police advocates aren’t interested and they don’t really come across it. Is it really necessary to reblog/repost/whatever every single thing? Yes, it’s an outrage, yet, does anyone honestly think that posting about it will change anything? Like, seriously, does the perpetual outrage machine really think it’s helping to overload us with it?

I have only so many fucks to give. And you know what? I’m can’t care that much anymore. My outrage is fading. I just can’t bring myself to read all of it anymore. Yes, I agree, but what good does that do anyone?

Unfortunately, this ties into a broader issue. This is only one facet of the problems that stand in the face of progress. There’s so many more. I’ve personally detailed quite a few points where the police state is suffocating us, because I felt I had something to add. And I’m done now, because my thoughts are out there. I’ve added what I have to add.

There are so many problems in this world. If we do this every single time, how many people like me will be pushed away? If we freak the fuck out EVERY SINGLE TIME, then doesn’t that devaluate the currency of caring? Because I promise you, there will be another issue. This will happen again, and when it does, I want to care. I don’t want to be so tired of it that I can’t bring myself to stay up to date.

Like with “gamergate.” (how about we stop fucking adding gate to everything?). I agree that the response by sexists was terrible, but I couldn’t bring myself to stay up with it. I’m suffering from social justice fatigue.

Am I the only one?

Note: I suppose I should mention that nobody I follow here does that, so thank you and know this is more directed at liberal news organizations (Slate is the absolute worst), tumblr, and twitter.

You have no rights

This post from Quora explains why you should never resist arrest. Essentially, it’s because the cops treat you like a criminal, always, no matter who you are. They assume you’re guilty. I guess the courts are supposed to presume innocence, but the cops have no qualms about doing precisely the opposite.

The fact is, you have no rights. You don’t have the right to not be arrested. The cops can manufacture any excuse. They can pull you over and arrest you without any need to actually feel you did something wrong. All they have to do is lie. Here are a few lies that can get you pulled over: “I smelled marijuana.” “She wasn’t wearing her seatbelt.” “He was driving erratically.” Then, after a few trumped up charges, they can arrest you.

Cops don’t prosecute. They don’t need significant evidence to make your life miserable. They can’t directly put you in jail, but they can certainly ruin your weekend. In other words, according to that post from Quora, you should never resist arrest because you have no rights, not until the courts get involved. Up until then, if you annoy them or in any way treat them as less than your superiors, the cops can and will lie to make you miserable. They punish.

Now, you do technically do have rights. Technically. But you have to realize, your rights don’t begin until you get to court. Then, if the police did something wrong, the case gets thrown out. In the court of law, you have rights. Just not in practical everyday situations.

The Watchers

I read an article about the Paris police who watched mistresses. Basically, classy prostitutes would get a sugar daddy, who would buy them fancy furniture and a nice apartment. When the sugar daddy lost his interest, she went back to a classy brothel until she found another one. It’s a pretty long read, so i summed up the relevant parts.

This article tries to explain why the police were watching at all (because it wasn’t for blackmail or anything, since it wasn’t illegal and the mistresses were supposed to be seen as a status symbol). They speculate that the reason the cops watched the mistresses was because they were watching over the part of society that didn’t have superiors. Like, beggars and vagabonds were also under the eyes of the cops, but most every other part of ‘productive’ society was accountable to a higher ranked person, all the way from commoners to the nobility. In other words, the police were the enforcers of cultural norms. Because those people weren’t accountable to the recognized structure, the police became their direct superiors.

It struck me as such a fascinating idea that I had to share. I think it’s probably still true. Everybody who fits into the normal machine of society is generally ignored by the cops. We have the cops as a reaction to the OTHER elements of society. The cops are here to protect us from the criminals, to watch those who don’t fit into mainstream society.

Whereas the police in Paris used to work for the King Louis the #th to control the frayed edges of society, our police work for the local governments to do that. We seem to have carried over the function. Somehow, although it shifted from royal executive to a democratically elected executive, the underlying mission doesn’t seem to have changed.

So, of course, we must ask ourselves, should it have changed? What’s the real purpose of a police force? Because as far as I can tell, it’s to protect the interests of the wealthy through enforcement of the laws that the wealthy pushed into being.

I wonder what it would look like. I wanna see a police force that’s intended to protect the interests of the powerless. Would it be any different? They would still have the same parameters. It would still be to keep everyone safe. But that thing, where all poor people are potential criminals, how could we get rid of that?