Friday, January 9, 2015

A conversation with Kunstler and his readers on militarized police

In Musical responses to terror, updated, I mentioned that "the surviving Tsarnaev brother is coming to trial."  That reminds me that I mentioned the manhunt for him and the residents' reaction to it in Now Eric Garner.  Kunstler himself brought up the general topic when he wrote in his essay "One issue is whether police forces in the USA are becoming goon squads."  My response was to link to The Hipcrime Vocab.
Militarized police is one of a litany of issues and the one from these scandals that should be of concern for everyone.  The country is going to become more repressive in order to control the people in order to stave off collapse.  That's not a good thing.  As a friend of mine says, we have been 80% Huxley and 20% Orwell for decades, but the proportion of Orwell has been increasing lately.  Speaking of which, the only person indicted in the Garner case was the person who recorded the arrest.  Let that sink in.
A reader named Petro also left a comment on the same topic.
And look at how easily the citizenry acquiesced in the Boston area a couple years ago. Tanks rolled down the streets and officers dressed like they were in battle in Afghanistan yelled at people to get off their porches and into their houses, as this "army" searched for two young suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing. This was over a huge area-whole towns.
Follow over the jump for my response.

It turned out that I had a unique window into how the residents of the affected area perceived the manhunt and lockdown.
I have a lot of friends who live in the northern suburbs of Boston. It was very interesting to watch their reactions on Facebook during and after the pursuit and capture of the Chechen brothers. They were cheering the police on and seemed not the least bit fazed by either the militarization of the police forces or the lockdown of the area. Of course, most of my friends are working-class ethnic Irish and Italians, and they have lots of friends and relatives in the police. The high degree of affinity probably helped them accept the situation. It didn’t hurt that they got to say they were “Boston Strong” and got the rest of the country to go along with it.
In case any of my readers are wondering, I met my Massachusetts friends through drum corps.  Also, they are the ones among my Facebook friends who are still the most supportive of the police after the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  I'm sure the "high degree of affinity" I described has something to do with it.

Back to my comment.
As for the aftermath, I quoted a study by the University of Massachusetts at Lowell that “nearly two-thirds of Americans are more concerned about a terrorist attack in the United States since the Boston Marathon bombings in April and believe the threat of terrorism has increased in the last decade” and “half of those surveyed say the bombings made them think the United States is too involved in the affairs of other countries.” Even the doctors at Boston University got in the act, describing their response to the bombing as part of an article and series of videos about treating trauma victims posted six months later. The incident echoed throughout the year.
The doctors and nurses may not be working-class Irish and Italians, but they wanted to show that they were also “Boston Strong.”

As for the rest of Kunstler's essay, I liked him better when he was picking on the corn pone fascists.  I could say the same about Ferguson, which preceded Now Eric Garner, and A Cool Interval, his most recent Monday blog post.  I felt dirty just leaving comments the first two* and refuse to leave one on the last.  If Kunstler persists in his victim-blaming, I'm going to stop showing "The End of Suburbia."  I've been threatening to do that for a couple years already.  His attitude toward African-Americans might just be the last straw.

*I linked to the law is an ass with music by Leonard Cohen in my comment.  That got a lot of responses two weeks later, a reaction that deserves a blog entry of its own.

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