Friday, July 8, 2016

The United States of Clusterfuck

This is gonna be a long one,  y'all.
I absolutely, positively can't deal with this shit.

I'm suffocating with fear for what's happening to the United States.

My sleep-deprived brain is pinging back and forth arguing one side of the issue, then the other, then the third side, and fourth side, and playing Devil's Advocate with itself.

I have always loved the police. Part of it is a love of men in uniform... part of it is knowing that no matter what stupid ass or dangerous situation I find myself in, I can call them and they will come to help me. I fall asleep every night alone in my apartment listening to the police scanner because it's comforting to hear their voices - and I tell myself that if anyone ever broke in, they'd hear a police radio and think maybe my place isn't the best place to break into and leave. I've been pulled over countless times in my life from one side of the country to the other and never once feared for my safety.

Of course, I'm a middle-aged, middle class white woman.

Another truth is that I'm a middle-aged, middle class white woman that has also never once feared for my safety from a black person. From one side of the country to the other, I've found myself in situations where I probably should have been scared for my life but was too young and/or stupid to realize it. I've been lost in the middle of Times Square in the 80s at 2am. I've been lost in the middle of Watts in the 90s. I worked in North Las Vegas until after midnight in the 00s.

The times I've actually feared for my life due to situations I've gotten myself into? White men. My sexual assault at 16? A white man. The guy who pointed an assault rifle at me in my 20s? A white man. The time I was followed by a car through the empty streets of Las Vegas in the middle of the night when I was 32? A white man.

But none of that is really the point.

My experiences and life are unique to me. There are good people and bad people and middle-of-the-road people. Good cops, bad cops, good white people, bad white people, good black people, bad black people.

Skin color or profession or gender or ethnicity or religion has nothing to do with it. Some are born good or bad, some become that way. There is no one answer.

There is no one answer. There is no one answer.

I was listening last night to the Dallas PD scanner, as well as watching live streams from Dallas TV stations and the live stream on Reddit. Though most of the police communications were moved to a secure channel, there was still plenty of talk on the main channels. There was fear, and confusion, and bless those dispatchers for managing to keep some semblance of order in the midst of this chaos. There was one shooter, no there were four, there's a guy on the street with a rifle, wait he's not involved, there are shooters on the second floor, no on the ground level, shots are coming from here, from there, from everywhere. I saw photos and videos posted online before the news channels got hold of them. Chaos, confusion, fear.

I've heard and seen this before. The nights during the Ferguson protests. The nights that followed the Boston bombings. On much smaller scales, I hear it nightly listening to my local police department scanner. People screaming, people running, people fighting, people crying, people with guns, knives, hammers, fists. The cops don't deal with people having their very best days. They're having their worst days, and more often than not, they're dealing with the worst people on their worst days.

How does that not have an effect on your world view? They are constantly, consistently, spit at, cussed at, lunged at. People loose their shit on a regular basis and get in the cop's faces and say the worst, most unimaginable, terrible things just pushing and pushing and pushing for a reaction, for retaliation. I hear the very tiniest smidgen of what they hear and it makes my blood pressure soar. I can't even imagine what it would be like to have that vitriol and venom spit at you all day, every day.

I also know that there is racism in America. Our black community is marginalized every step of the way. The fact that Donald fucking Trump is one step away from being president of this country is proof of that.

And nowhere is that racism more blatant and relevant than in our nation's police forces. It is so clear, so obvious and so plain to see every single day in every single way. To deny it is just willful ignorance. What happened to Philando Castile wouldn't have happened to a white man. It just wouldn't have. It doesn't happen. Tamir Rice. I keep going back to Tamir Rice over and over again. Forget that he was 12 years old... the police just drove up and shot him without even a moment of hesitation. That wouldn't have happened to a white man.

Over and over and over again, we see black men getting shot by police. And those are just the absolute worst cases. We don't see the hundreds of thousands of times blacks get pulled over for being "suspicious".

Suspicious because they are black. Don't say it doesn't happen. I hear it nightly. Sometimes it's the cops pulling black people over because they match the description of someone that's committed a crime. Black male, mid to early 20s, about 165 lbs., 5'9" to 6'0". Sometimes it's because someone has called 911 to say there's a black guy walking down the street and they think it's suspicious.

What? WHAT? A black man can't walk down the street, a public street, after dark without it being suspicious. If you don't believe me, download one of the free scanner apps onto your phone and listen for a few hours a night for a few nights.

Does it happen to white people? Sure it does. I also hear this on the scanner often. A white person in a black neighborhood? Clearly they're just there to buy drugs because after dark every single black neighborhood in American becomes a lawless den of iniquity as soon as the sun sets.

Why the hell do we even have white and black neighborhoods anymore? This is, in 2016, still a segregated country. By law? No. In reality, yes.

The media has a huge part to play in this. They love nothing better than to hammer it into the heads of the white folk that black areas, black people, are scary and dangerous.

Does the media cover Black Lives Matter protests to support their issues and bring awareness to their platforms? Hell no. They cover them in hopes that the black folks start a riot because that pulls in the viewers like nothing else. Even if the protests are peaceful as a Sunday School class, the reporters train their voices to make it sound as if they're in the middle of a war zone. A group of black people standing together? "The situation is very tense out here." Scaring the white people brings in viewers. Fox News has built its entire empire on that premise. Donald Trump has built his entire campaign around that premise.

The media shows the worst. And if it's not there, they'll create it. And Sally and Jim Bob sitting there in their recliners with their AK-47s in their laps eat it up like a big steaming plate of biscuits and gravy and it dribbles down their triple chins and covers everything in their vicinity.

And you can't talk sense to them. Bill O'Reilly told them to be scared and he wouldn't lie to them! They will not hear facts. They will not hear an opposing point of view. They are absolutists and nothing will ever change their minds.

But they were scattered across the country and too stupid to unite themselves in any purposeful way - until Donald Trump. Now they have their candidate to bring them together at rallies and whip them into a frothing frenzy of fear and hatred and they're meeting all sorts of others just like them and they repeat and embellish the lies they've been told and, and holy shit, America is now covered with masses of willfully ignorant white people that see every single person with skin a shade darker than theirs as the enemy.

Oh, no wait... I forgot something. The National Rifle Association. Our fine, upstanding, peace-loving voice of the 2nd Amendment. They go way back before Donald Trump with stirring up trouble.

Here's what the 2nd Amendment says: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

I have a myriad of problems with the 2nd Amendment, the least of which is that it's just a terribly constructed sentence.

Also, it was adopted in 1791.

That's 225 years ago, people.

Do any of you for one single second think Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson had the tiniest inkling that this..
... would turn into this? 

No, he fucking didn't.

Things change. Times change. Weaponry changes.

Perhaps it's not such a crazy idea that the fucking Constitution of the United States of America change, too.

Guns in 1791 could fire maybe 2 or 3 bullets a minute. Maybe. If you were really fucking good at handling the gun.
In 2016?
Honestly, Constitutionalists, stop with the bullshit. Hell, we update our Standard Operating Procedures at work almost weekly. We shouldn't update the USA's SOP every once in a while?

How about this bit of the 2nd Amendment, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State"?

Can someone please point out a well regulated militia here in the United States? I'm not being facetious here... Someone send me a link. I can't find one. Oh, sure, I can find people who claim to belong to one, and no, I'm not counting the National Guard, but since I can't find the rules of what constitutes a well regulated militia, I can't actually find a well regulated militia because there is no such thing. Cliven Bundy and his merry band of idiots are not a well regulated militia. They didn't even have their shit together enough to think they might need food before embarking on their childish standoff/tantrum.

I did find these guys... the 3 Percenters. They're the big guys, from what I can tell. At least they have chapters nationwide. I made my way over to their Facebook page and snagged some photos of their members.

Citizens of the United States... here is your "well regulated militia"!
Don't you feel safer now? That one dude doesn't even know what a fish is!

Okay, that was deliberately facetious.

But let's say we keep the 2nd Amendment just as it is. Okay. We need well regulated militias in order to make sure we American citizens stay free from a tyrannical government. 

Hmm... an oppressed group of people that should possibly form a militia because they aren't being afforded the same rights as the rest of us... let's see... can I think of a group that might fit that? 

Yeah. Yes, I can. Hello, lovely folks from Black Lives Matter, along with every other person of color in this country! You want to form a well regulated militia? GREAT! I got your back! Let me know where to send my check!

You know who isn't going to have your back...? The National Rifle Association. Where were they after Philando Castile got shot? He was a law-abiding American citizen exercising his right to carry a firearm, with a license and everything. I'm sure the NRA were all up in arms over that, right? I mean, he's a perfect example of Hussein Obummer's clearly unlawful directives to take away everyone's GOD GIVEN Second Amendment rights, right? 

Yeah... the NRA released a statement a few hours ago saying it's important that they not make a statement until all the facts are known. Since when has that ever stopped them? Never, that's when. What's different this time? 

Philando Castile is black, that's what. They've backed themselves into a corner and they are all huddled in Wayne LaPierre's office furiously scrambling to come up with a way to say, "Er... we didn't really mean to include black people..." without actually saying that. 

Mark Hughes.
Don't recognize his name? His face?

Maybe you'll recognize him from this photo.
Let's talk about this poor schmuck for a minute. In Texas, it's legal to carry a long gun without a permit. Dude was out at the protest exercising his 2nd Amendment rights. And when all hell broke loose, what did he do? He called over a cop and voluntarily gave him that gun. And then the internet's cesspool, aka 4-Chan, got involved by sending out this photo and calling him one of the shooters. 

Reddit, who clearly didn't learn their lesson during the Boston bombing royal fuck up, got hold of it and the next thing you know, BOOM, this tweet is sent out by the Dallas PD. Never mind that at THE VERY SAME TIME video was all over the damn place of this guy when the shooting started - and he most definitely was NOT shooting. 

No matter, his life is pretty much shit right now. Not only was he hauled away and questioned and lied to by the police, he's also getting hundreds and hundreds of death threats. Did the police apologize? Nope. If he'd been white, if he hadn't gotten that apology by now, the NRA would be shitting themselves.

Where am I going with all this? Fuck if I know. I might have had a point somewhere but I've long since lost it. We should all carry guns, no one should carry guns, we should all protest against police racism, we should be quiet and not protest at all, BLM caused this, the NRA caused this, the police caused this, Donald Trump caused this, Hilary Clinton caused this, Obama certainly caused this, George Bush caused this, the media caused this...

When do we fucking stop, myself included, pointing fingers and start finding solutions? 

And that's the state of America today. It's fucked up, you guys. It's really, really fucked up. It's a big, steaming pile of clusterfuck.

No one is innocent. No one has the right answer. We are, to a fault, every single one of us complicit in the fucking up of this country because none of us can look beyond the tip of our own noses to put ourselves in anyone else's shoes for half a fucking second to see that maybe, just maybe, our own personal views and experiences aren't the same as someone else's.

And that maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't hurt to have a little empathy and respect and understanding and consideration for our fellow human beings no matter what their beliefs are.

I am guilty. You are guilty.

We are guilty.

Right now I just want to cry. And hug people. I want to go out and hug every person I see, black, white, uniformed, non-uniformed, brown, yellow, purple, gay, straight, male, female, whatever, I don't care. I want to wrap everyone up in big fat bear hugs because I fucking think that every single one of us could fucking use a hug right now.

I know I could.

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