In early July, Saginaw police unloaded 46 bullets into an ornery homeless man, Milton Hall and killed him, allegedly because he refused to put down a knife, while yelling at police. This event was caught on video by a bystander (more here).
Knowing the usual police bullshit, I have a hard time believing he even had a knife. However, assuming he did (because who am I, a mere peon, to question the police version of events?), several observations come to mind.
Police claim to uphold law and safety, but they are the ones who create the crime to begin with.
They do this first, indirectly. While police are increasingly militarized, and have tanks and drones to use on the people they claim to protect, ordinary citizens’ rights to arm themselves are increasingly being eroded. In many states it is difficult or impossible to obtain firearms. It is even illegal to carry a knife. Based on mere common sense, it would seem rapists and muggers would feel much more comfortable in an environment where police clearly cannot humanly be on every street corner, yet individuals are prohibited from defending themselves. From this perspective, police indirectly generate crime, and indirectly hamper deterrent methods victims would otherwise use. In addition, the constant, increasing, and violent enforcement of drug laws feeds, breeds, and perpetuates gang crime (have you ever heard of gangs profiting and operating off of sales of Tylenol, Campbell’s Soup, or Robitussin?)
Police also literally create crime. They constantly turn harmless situations into lethal ones. The practical (although unstated) purpose of police is not to preserve safety, but to play with, and do whatever the fuck they want to with their weapons. They have a tendency, and indeed a legal right to execute people on sight – as long as the execution is accompanied with five magic words – “I feared for my life.” Oscar Grant was shot in the back, while lying down, for being an annoyance to police. Police there turned a situation of public disturbance into one of death. Officer Mehserle was ultimately not charged with murder, was not convicted of murder, and served the lightest sentence possible.
John Williams was shot in the back while strolling down the streets of Seattle because he was disabled, half-deaf, and didn’t hear Ian Birk tell him to put down his whittling knife. Birk effectively turned an afternoon stroll into murder. He was cleared of all wrongdoing.With the Milton Hall shooting, police turned a situation of a homeless man disturbing the peace into one of murder.
When police fabricated warrants with respect to drug crime allegations against Jose Guerena, the result was an innocent man was pumped full of bullets in his own home, and bled to death in front of his wife and son. He had never been convicted of any crimes, and no evidence of drug trafficking was found in his home. There, the police turned the public safety “hazard” of drug use into a situation of murder.
In another botched drug raid, police shot and killed an elderly man, Eurie Stamps, again escalating the minor problem of drug use into one of murder. In yet another botched SWAT raid which was televised for a reality TV show, police shot and killed 7-year-old Aiyana Jones while she was sleeping, again escalating a situation into death.
Erik Scott was shot and killed for lawfully bearing a firearm at Costco – escalation of a situation of grocery shopping into one of murder. Former Marine Manny Loggins was executed in front of his daughters for crashing his car into a fence – escalation of property damage into murder. Alan Kephart was shot on sight for swearing at police – escalation of verbal abuse and traffic violations into murder.
One woman was shot in her own backyard, when she walked into her own yard and “startled” a prowling officer – escalation to assault with a deadly weapon. Police regularly turn events involving peaceful sidewalk chalking into circumstances involving violence and arrest. Now, even feeding the homeless ends in arrest.
If you’re really concerned with “safety” – just ask yourself, what is more dangerous – drug use, or the murder that police cause when they are attempting to stop drug use? What is more dangerous – chalk writing on the sidewalk, or the costs, arrests, and violence involved when police try to stop it? What is more dangerous – handing out food to the homeless, or the violence and arrest involved when police try to stop it?
Make no mistake, police are the crime. In the process of attempting to “preserve order” by stopping all kinds of dangers – feeding the homeless, jaywalking, swearing, chalking, smoking weed – they are beating, killing, and using violence to drag people off to jail. Does this really make any fucking sense? You don’t beat your child for not eating vegetables because the act of beating and violence is much worse than the wrong of not eating vegetables during one meal. You don’t lock your friend in a basement for smoking weed or getting drunk because the violence that comes with tying your friend up, and locking them in a cold dark cell is much worse than the effects of smoking a joint or having too many beers.
So why do you cheer when police do it?
Police are not here to oversee safety. They are militarized, armed to the teeth, and they constantly escalate moderately-concerning situations into violent and deadly ones. This is not about your safety – it is about their safety, and their power over you. They raid our homes, they have machine guns to use on you, and they kill you if you so much as talk back.
Police are the criminals is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights