FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cops Unbound

by JONATHAN CARP

On Tuesday in Santa Rosa, California, two of that city’s “finest” cowered behind a car door and gunned down a thirteen-year-old boy carrying a toy rifle. This little boy, Andy Lopez Cruz, was walking down the street with a fake plastic rifle when the two “heroes” boldly got out of their police cruiser, hid behind the passenger side door, and called out to him. When Andy reacted like any human being would and turned to face them, our brave boys in blue shot a child carrying a toy, because they were scared.

Physical courage is hardly the highest virtue, nor one linked particularly closely with any other measure of moral worth. But physical courage is a virtue all the same, and one sadly lacking today in our cowardly police departments, who hide behind a comical array of war machines and gun down anyone of any age or species who inspires the slightest tremor of fear in their faint hearts. Family pets, the mentally disabled, the elderly — seemingly anything that can move can terrify our brave police officers, so overwhelming them with abject, presumably pants-wetting fear that they draw their weapons and open fire willy-nilly on whatever has their teeth chattering in terror.

In July in Hawthorne, California, a police officer was so overcome by fear at the sight of a little doggy less than a quarter his size that he had no choice but to fire five shots into the animal in front of its owner. Of course one can hardly blame the officer in question, as he only had three of his colleagues there with him and could not possibly have prevailed against the ferocious animal, which reached nearly to the officer’s waist when on its back legs. Letting the owner calm the animal down was also plainly not an option, as the owner was a dangerous villain guilty of a heinous crime — annoying the police while black.

In January in Maryland, a 26-year-old with Down’s syndrome and a reported IQ of 40 was murdered by not one, not two, but three off-duty police officers because he dared try to see a movie twice without buying a second ticket. The possibility that such an offense might not be worth taking a man’s life over never occurred to our fearless officers, who were put in mortal fear of their lives by his anger at being asked to leave that they were forced to tackle him and “subdue” him until he asphyxiated. Down’s syndrome has such a classic, easy-to-spot presentation that even lay people can readily diagnose it in newborns, but it seems these heroic officers had never watched “Life Goes On.” And who can blame them for their fear? Their victim stood all of 5’6” and weighed nearly 300 pounds, presumably all muscle.

In June, back in California, police officers with the Los Angeles Police Department thought they smelled the trademark smell of someone enjoying an illegal chemical and burst into the home of an eighty-year-old man who, startled in the night by strangers in his home, drew a gun and was immediately killed by a fusillade fired by the heroic officers in question, who boldly executed an old man in his bed. Why these officers could not explain who they were or back out of the room to avoid the old man’s fire is unknown, but one thing is certain — we are all safer now that this eighty-year-old man cannot brandish a pistol at strangers who burst into his bedroom in the middle of the night.

Discussions of police abuses usually turn back to policies and procedures that should be changed and the need for increased accountability. These things are important, but also important is addressing the unbelievable degree of cowardice we tolerate in our police officers today. If you’re so afraid of danger that you’re a danger to those around you, you have no business in any kind of dangerous job and should consider going to work in some nice comfy office somewhere. Physical courage isn’t the greatest virtue, but it is a virtue all the same.

Jonathan Carp is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and a nurse. He lives in Tacoma, WA.

Jonathan Carp is a fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He works as a nurse in Tacoma, WA.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail