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“Follow the Directions of Law Enforcement”

As United States police officers continue their policy of shooting black men for such heinous violations of the law as having a burned-out bulb in the taillight of their car, the nation seems to have decided that enough is enough. Thousands have protested across the country since the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling last week in response to those crimes, and, also in response, a U.S. army veteran used his training to kill five police officers in Dallas, Texas.

As political leaders of all stripes call for calm, which is standard procedure after any white officers assassinate a usually-unarmed black man, occasionally one of them states what is really at the core of the issue. This week, it was Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who uttered one sentence that seems to sum up government policy:

“It is critically important that you follow the directions of law enforcement.”

One wonders if this was a statement, or a thinly-veiled threat. It appears that, in the view of Mr. Edwards, the ‘directions of law enforcement’ must be followed to the letter, with the violation of that being capital punishment, administered instantly by the white police.

In Baton Rouge, police officers at various protests, there to ‘serve and protect’, were armed with military equipment, and a widely published photograph showed one officer aiming her machine gun at protesters. It seems that ‘law enforcement’ in Louisiana will be accomplished, regardless of the means required to do so.

Now, perhaps we can look for a moment at the First Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits government interference with the right to peaceful assembly. One must suppose that ‘peaceful’ would need to be further defined, but it appears that the police in Baton Rouge would have all protestors marching slowly in lockstep down the street, chanting softly, and behaving in a way as to attract very little attention. Being loud, boisterous, slightly disorganized and even obnoxious will simply not do. Such behavior, or the shocking action of the press to document it, will cause the protestors to look down the barrel of a police-officer wielded machine gun. Huffington Post Senior Crime Reporter David Lohr found himself in just that position.

In another iconic picture, Leshia Evans, a 28-year-old, unarmed black woman wearing a flowing dress, stands calmly as two white police officers in full riot gear arrest her. Behind them are dozens of additional police officers, also arrayed in full riot gear. She obviously did not heed Mr. Edwards injunction to ‘follow the directions of law enforcement’. Her crime, apparently, was to stand in the street, looking at the police.

Fortunately for the citizens of Baton Rouge, there were numerous police officers there with tear gas, automatic weapons, and all the hardware required in any war zone to deal with Ms. Evans. The good residents of that city can rest easy tonight, knowing that the threat of an unarmed woman standing in the street has been eliminated.

On Friday, as news of the deaths of five police officers in Dallas was screamed across computer and television screens, statements from political pundits and government officials indicated their shock, horror and revulsion at such a crime. Corporate-owned entertainment media, generally referred to as news programs, highlighted the crime, reported on each of the victims, and interviewed family and friends. Their alleged heroism, service to the city and the nation, and all their saintly qualities as husbands, fathers and citizens were presented to a citizenry that is instructed in who it must grieve for; whom it must be angry with; whom it must condemn and with whom it must sympathize. Philando Castile and Alton Sterling? Ho-hum. Five Dallas police officers? Shock, sorrow, grief, sympathy, anger at the perpetrator(s), fear of a coming race war, etc., etc.

Now, this writer does not condone the killing of these police officers, and sympathizes with their families. Neither does he condone the killing of Messrs. Castile and Sterling, or of Michael Brown, Eric Garner or the hundreds of other unarmed, innocent black men routinely killed by white police officers in the U.S., usually with complete impunity, and he sympathizes with their families. Yet he recognizes a basic fact that seems to escape the media, and those who, for inexplicable reasons, take their cue on how to react from it. And that is simply this: A white person has no more or less intrinsic value as a human being than a black person.

There; it has been said. Shocking? Possibly, but it is what this writer believes. When a white police officer shoots an unarmed, innocent and defenseless black man, this writer believes the officer should be charged with murder. This, of course, goes against the conventional wisdom that police offices can do no wrong, and that people must ‘follow the directions of law enforcement’, but there you have it.

But why is there so much violence and brutality demonstrated by the U.S. police? One commentator, John Miranda, suggests a reason:

“As for the increase in police brutality within the United States, I think this definitely can be pointed towards the Israeli training that the Department of Homeland Security is giving all of American police officers.”

Journalist Rania Khalek, in December of 2015, said that “U.S. police officers are being tutored by Israel on how to employ the tactics that have brought death and serious injury to huge numbers of Palestinians in the past few months.”

This writer has suggested that blacks and whites are equal. He will go even further: an Israeli terrorist is not innocent of killing defenseless Palestinians, simply because he or she is Israeli, and his/her victim is Palestinian.

What? Can this writer actually believe these things? Are not whites in the U.S. more educated and, basically, more civilized than blacks? What do economic disadvantage, racism and poverty have to do with anything? And are not Israeli’s God’s chosen people? Some naive people may say that the Bible is a scriptural record, written for the spiritual guidance of individuals and religions that choose to so use it. But enlightened people know it is actually a document to be used to govern nations. Yes, that is why we stone adulterers and non-believers, and shun any and all who tell lies.

Oh, wait. We don’t actually do those things. This writer will get it right yet. Passages in the Bible are to be cherry-picked to support the arguments of the people in power, who represent the 1% and have the money. There, now he thinks he understands.

As of this writing, several hundred people have been arrested in protests against the latest police murders of innocent black men. Increased resistance to state crimes will bring increased repression; this is yet another model used by Israel that the U.S. follows.

Where will it end? At what point in the future will young black men be able to wear hoodies without the police seeing them as instant targets? When will black men of any age be able to drive their cars through any city street, or stroll along any city boulevard, without fearing for their lives? This writer is not optimistic that it will be any time soon.

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Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

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