Thursday, September 22, 2016

A question.

So, I'm looking around on Facebook and I see people posting these memes about how a person who has committed a crime previously are essentially worthless people. I see memes posted about how if you have ever been charged with something (including things as paltry as parking tickets or jaywalking apparently) that you deserve what ever violence is meted out to you by law enforcement (or people who present as some kind of law enforcement lite - ie private security firms with weapons). I see people talking about how violence on the part of protestors negate their complaint and 'never solves anything'. I see people posting stuff about how if a person has been accused of a crime, not even charged, that if it falls into a certain category they should be executed.

At the same time, however, I see the same people posting things about how we should reject the demands of others to limit our self expression. I see them posting stuff about how they would tool someone up for looking at their significant other in a fashion that they disapprove of (as in the poster, not their partner). I see them posting things about how they have the right to reform the government by force and they need to stockpile munitions in the event of that necessity. I see them posting things about how we need to get all the details about the violence that is done before passing any sort of judgement when the perpetrators are doing so under color of law. I see them posting things about how much they admire the civil rights activists from the 60s and that the activists of today are nothing like those people.

It makes me sick.

Do you support seeing the just application of the law of the land? If someone is accused of something, are they innocent until proven guilty? Is law enforcement to be held accountable for when they break the law themselves? Do people have the rights that are secured for them by the Constitution of the United States as citizens of the nation or not?

If you answered yes to all of the above, why in the name of anything holy or decent do you say that these people who are being killed by the police deserve it? We are protected against unreasonable force and unreasonable search and seizure. We are protected in our rights to free expression and to peaceably assemble and demand redress from the government for our grievances. There's a long list of other things here that we're protected on the basis of judicial precedent even.

Let us not forget the international laws that are supposed to protect us on the basis of simple human rights.

We are a nation of laws. We are not ruled by pedagogy and popularity contests. We are not ruled by a dynasty of monarchs, dictators, or similar figures. Our opinions and feelings on things come second to the rule of law. And when the rule of law is wrong, we are supposed to come together and make changes to it as a people, via a representative system.

Even then, our individual preferences are second to the needs of the people. Or at least, that is how it is supposed to work.

And yet, we have black and other minorities being gunned down in the street by law enforcement (and law enforcement wannabes) because the people with their finger on the trigger are scared. We have families that have lived in this nation for generations being harassed and told to 'go home' by others because they don't fit the white-christian-productive citizen trope. We have a towns and cities with water that is undrinkable because of rampant pollution and government failure to ensure the safety of this most vital of resources.

I am the one who is said that they're wrong because I look at all of this and say it is not right. I'm sorry, but being poor is not a crime. Being black, latino, gay, or of any other stripe of minority is not a crime. Being disabled is not a crime. Not understanding what law enforcement is saying to you is not a crime. My list of things that are not crimes could get very, very long. I think, however, you get the picture.

Stop punishing people for not fitting your stereotype. Stop saying that their problems don't matter because it doesn't disturb your comfortable bubble. Stop saying that these people some how deserve the on going, systematic atrocities being done to them by people who are supposed to be upholding the rule of law. Having a badge and a gun doesn't automatically make you a hero or judge, jury, and executioner.

I am not going to hold up the law enforcement officers as automatic heroes because they're law enforcement. Yes, they do incredibly hard work for the community. Yes, they function under a considerable amount of strain and are called on to make decisions that can cause life or death for others in the community. Because they are in that position, they should beheld to a higher standard. If you are in law enforcement, your rules of engagement should be no less demanding than those for the military. Indeed, I would argue that they should be more so because you are dealing with civilian lives at all times. Even the 'bad guy with a gun' is a civilian. Last time I checked, civilians rated higher than enemies on the list of people to keep alive since armed conflict began, especially when they are the civilians in YOUR OWN NATION.

So, to boil this all down to that single question:

If you are going to claim that you are a 'patriot' and a 'real American', why are you refusing to demand that all of these people have their Constitutional rights protected? Why are you silent and complacent with all of these egregious abuses happening all around?

The 'no true Scotsman' argument isn't going to fly here, folks. Just to let you know.

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