FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What We Need is More Law and Order… More Law and Order

by

“It’s like deja vu all over again.”  The last time the cry for law and order was heard throughout the U.S. to the degree it is now, the country got the likes of Nixon and Agnew, the former a cheap mass murderer and the latter a tax evader and ideologue. They pandered to the so-called silent majority. This was after Kent State and Jackson State, the police riot in Chicago at the Democratic convention in 1968, and the attack on protesters in New York City at the end of the week that began with the Kent State massacre. Police beatings were so common that a friend of mine was beaten in police custody after being picked up outside of the McCarthy for president headquarters in a small New England town. His crime? Being there.

When the New York Times reports in “On Eve of G.O.P. Convention, Law and Order Takes the Floor,” (July 17, 2016), those on the left instinctively know that both the chickens have come home to roost and the shit is going to hit the fan. Additional law enforcement speakers will appear at the Republican convention according to the article.

With fifteen years of war in the Middle East and Africa, it was only a matter of time before some veterans (a very small minority of veterans) coming home from those wars took their simmering anger out on a political system that seems to sit by while black people and poor people are routinely harassed and sometimes killed by the police. Mix anger, possible mental illness, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the lethal uses of the Second Amendment, and nearly all of the ingredients are there for mayhem and murder. “Stop and frisk” was the darling policy of the middle class and the elite. When I wrote a simple protest against that policy in the New York Times comment section a few years ago, the vitriol of scores of readers was impossible to ignore. Harassing black and Latino/Latina men and women made New York City a safer place to live and work according to these people.

And why was the wrath of two veterans against the police, as a symbol of repression of their communities, so difficult to comprehend? Whether good cops or bad cops, the police are seen as an occupying force in many urban communities. This is not the congenial 1958 painting, The Runaway, by Norman Rockwell. The police are highly militarized, a product of the national security state after 2001 and lots of surplus military equipment from endless  wars, and willing or not, a tool of the elite. All it took was training in how to use lethal weapons and lots of unbridled anger to unleash a paroxysm of violence against the force that appears to be the most visible entity in a society that has refused equality and equal access to so many in the areas of education, housing, nutrition, medical care, and the right to live lives unmolested because of the failings of a society that has relegated millions as spurious to its needs.

Readers can list the places that have come to represent violence in the U.S. almost reflexively. Columbine, Aurora, Minnesota, Missouri, Florida, Virginia, Baton Rouge, Staten Island, Orlando, California… The list goes on and on in a sickening endless repetition because inequality and insanity and the Second Amendment have all collided in a perfect storm of horror. It is as if parts of the U.S. have turned into A Nightmare on Elm Street. And the Republican Party and the NRA want more guns on the streets!

In a few short weeks, I’ll return to the college classroom and with the memory of Virginia Tech and other mass murders in public places in the U.S., I’ll check the exits from the room and whether or not the doors to classrooms lock and wonder how this obscene scenario ever came to pass.

More articles by:

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
Tommy Raskin
Syrian Quicksand
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Still Tries to Push Dangerous Drug Class
Jill Richardson
The Attorney General Thinks Aspirin Helps Severe Pain – He’s Wrong
Mike Miller
Herb March: a Legend Deserved
Ann Garrison
If the Democrats Were Decent
Renee Parsons
The Times, They are a-Changing
Howard Gregory
The Democrats Must Campaign to End Trickle-Down Economics
Sean Keller
Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
Ron Jacobs
Re-Visiting Gonzo
Eileen Appelbaum
Rapid Job Growth, More Education Fail to Translate into Higher Wages for Health Care Workers
Ralph Nader
Shernoff, Bidart, and Echeverria—Wide-Ranging Lawyers for the People
Chris Zinda
The Meaning of Virginia Park
Robert Koehler
War and Poverty: A Compromise with Hell
Mike Bader – Mike Garrity
Senator Tester Must Stop Playing Politics With Public Lands
Kenneth Culton
No Time for Olympic Inspired Nationalism
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Final Days of the Regime
Irene Tung – Teófilo Reyes
Tips are for Servers Not CEOs
Randy Shields
Yahoomans in Paradise – This is L.A. to Me
Thomas Knapp
No Huawei! US Spy Chiefs Reverse Course on Phone Spying
Mel Gurtov
Was There Really a Breakthrough in US-North Korea Relations?
David Swanson
Witness Out of Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
George Brandis, the Rule of Law and Populism
Dean Baker
The Washington Post’s Long-Running Attack on Unions
Andrew Stewart
Providence Public School Teachers Fight Back at City Hall
Stephen Cooper
Majestic Meditations with Jesse Royal: the Interview
David Yearsley
Olympic Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail