The Making Of A Police State

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Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC (also known as OWN – Obama Worship Network) who invited to his show several of the Boston police involved in shoot out with the Boston Marathon bombers who ended up killing one of the brothers and wounding the other, couldn’t praise the cops enough, calling them heroes and raving about their courage and dedication.

There is a history of glorifying the police in this country by all mainstream media. Frequently, people are told about their heroism, service, self-sacrifice and commitment to public’s safety and protection.

But, you don’t have to be an African American or Hispanic living in one of many poor neighborhoods, or a political or labor or environmental activist who’s been involved in street protests to know that’s all a bunch of lies. Despite the fact that shows like “Cops” and other “Reality” TV programs that show cops in action are very selective as to which stories to broadcast, it’s hard to miss their violence, brutality, violation of people’s civil rights and warrior mentality. TV pundits talk about police shootings as if it’s some routine, ordinary act and part of their everyday job that they’re supposed to do. A show on True TV that shows police chases of drivers mentions nonchalantly police pointing their guns at and shooting at drivers who refuse to stop when ordered to do so. Some of these drivers may or may not be criminals, but, that’s not for police to determine. Their job is to make arrest, not to capture them dead or alive and not to execute them because they run. First of all, the punishment for refusing to stop is not death by firing squad and secondly, it’s not for them to issue that sentence.

Police in this country get military training and many are war veterans who return from killing people in foreign countries to join the urban equivalent of the military. Many of them are also racist. The history of Police racism and brutality against blacks is way too much to hide or revise by those who’d rather cleanse it from these ugly stains.

But, what was getting deliberately hidden from the public and not reported by news organizations for far too long was the fact that police brutality, including fatal shootings, were continuing on America’s streets against people of color and the poor, including defenseless homeless individuals pretty much unreported and unpublicized until the proliferation of video cameras which brought to public’s attention, at least some – a small percentage – of the police violence and repression going on in all major cities. Some of these incidents which finally made it into mainstream news, aside from their brutality, also provided a glimpse into some of the framing of innocent people going on which have sent far too many innocent people, especially young black men from poor families who can’t afford good lawyers, to prison, not to mention all those who are hauled to jail on minor drug charges. How else can you get one out of every 6 black men in jail?

That’s a far cry from how police officers who commit crimes are treated. Police officers are often either not charged with the crimes they commit or are routinely acquitted by carefully selected jury members at a carefully selected trial location. Often times, the trial site is moved to a part of town that’s heavily white when the misconduct took place in a black neighborhood. A favorite way for police departments to deal with police misconduct and violation of people’s rights is to transfer them to another precinct. It’s hardly a coincidence that that’s how the US military deals with their sexual predators and rapists. Instead of putting them in jail, they transfer them so they can assault and rape other women.

Not only are police often not held accountable for their misconduct, many laws are also written to protect them from citizens and make defending against their brutality difficult and risky. Resisting arrest as well as defending yourself against an officer who’s hitting you is a felony with mandatory jail time in most states.

None of this should come as a surprise since the police are the sworn defenders of the ruling 1%. As the gap between the rich and the poor widens and hunger and homelessness increases and more children are “left behind” and forced to drop out of school and get involved in crimes, the need to face and counter the poor on the streets, in order to defend the system and its beneficiaries, increases, and in parallel, so does the need to build even more prisons and put even more of the working class in them.

The police are the first line of defense against the suffering masses and the O’Donnells of the media know that. That’s why they keep glorifying them and calling them heroes and are willing to turn a blind eye on their crimes and misconduct. They are heroes alright – their heroes. And if there is ever a class conflict (how could there be not?), how could it not be displayed and reflected on the streets and neighborhoods where the poor live. That’s where the tires of the system hit the pavement and that’s where the coming battles will take place.

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