FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Killing Children

In Iraq, the news that families were having the doors to their houses kicked in by heavily armed US forces who then proceeded to awaken everybody in the house, overturn their bedding and other belongings and arrest the household’s menfolk became commonplace  for several years following the US invasion of that country.  All too often, women and children were killed by US troops during these raids.

In Afghanistan, a similar scenario continues with daily raids of houses and businesses being conducted by US forces in that country.  The scene usually unfolds with a kicked in door and several uniformed soldiers entering the house with their weaponry ready to fire.  Occasionally, a concussion grenade is thrown first while helicopter gunships hover noisily overhead.  Sometimes the soldiers’ guns are already blazing when they enter.  All too often children end up dead or wounded.

Sometimes, as they were in in a December 27, 2009 raid in the village of Ghazi, they are taken from their residence and executed.  Every once in a while, the raids are followed by denial and then an apology.  US military spokespeople tell the media that a mistake was made and the incident retreats into the shadows of war.

On May 16, a scenario all too similar to the aforementioned raids by Washington’s police forces overseas took place in Detroit, Michigan.  A Detroit Police SWAT team with a “no-knock” warrant in attacked the wrong home. The police threw a concussion grenade through the front window. It landed on a 7-year old girl–Aiyana Stanley-Jones– who was sleeping on the living room couch inside and severely burned her. Within seconds, a Detroit cop opened fire from the porch and killed Aiyana with one shot. Then the stormtroopers invaded the house and beat Aiyana’s grandmother. They grabbed Aiyana’s father, Charles Jones, and threw him to the floor while he pleaded with the cops to stop shooting since children were in the house.

Like the raids in Iraq and Afghanistan, the police in Detroit were supposedly looking for a wanted man.  Also like US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the police in Detroit have issued public denials and are essentially blaming the Jones family for the incident.  Detroit police spokespeople have denied shooting from the porch and have refused to apologize for murdering Aiyana.  At first, police insisted that the suspect they were looking for was in the house.  Yet, he was not found there or anywhere nearby.  According to the Detroit Police department, the officer’s gun went off accidentally while he struggled with Aiyana’s grandmother (who was asleep on the couch).  If one recalls the police murder of Oscar Grant on New Year’s 2009-2010 by BART police in Oakland, California, they will remember that his murder was also the result of a police “accident.”

As many readers know, the city of Detroit is economically depressed.  There are few jobs and even fewer opportunities for its poor and working-class residents to improve their lot.  Crime is rampant in some neighborhoods.  Indeed, over 300 people have died in crime-related violence.  Like many other urban areas (and some rural ones, too), certain residential areas in Detroit are approached by authorities in much the same way Kandahar is approached by US-led forces in Afghanistan.  That is, with great caution.   This means that police have little regard for the human lives in those areas. It is as if the system that the police work for blames these residents for the dismal economic and social situation they live in.  Just like the politicians in DC and their backers on Wall Street, the public and private movers and shakers in Detroit not only refuse to accept responsibility for the destruction of their city, but spend the monies they have to insure their own safety and well-being while they let the rest of the city’s residents struggle in the wreckage that remains.

Police murders are not a new phenomenon, especially in the United States.  Yet, the circumstances of this one cries out for justice.  A 7-year-old girl should not be dead because police treat the residents of their city like they are the enemy.  It is not a crime to sleep with your grandmother; not in Detroit and not in Afghanistan.  A system that excuses these murders is a system that needs reconsidering, to say the least.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625@charter.net

WORDS THAT STICK

 

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail