The sound of seven shots – defund the police

I don’t talk about politics much on this page because I talk on my facebook page. I don’t get much feedback because I don’t have much readership here. But every now and then I post something here and cross-post on my social media because this is a better presentation.

I’m not going to bother talking about how I’ve been following the BLM movement and all the events leading up to it. Whoever you are, reading this, have likely made up your mind about BLM and you aren’t going to change. BLM has been challenging a system of inequity and inequality for some time now. They have been ignored, swept aside and ridiculed for as long as they’ve been in public. I believe there are people who have been sitting on the sidelines and carefully avoiding making any choices about this situation in our nation. People who have too many associations with BLM that incline them away from empathizing with their message. But forget about BLM for a minute. BLM has been joined by so many people that no one can ignore it anymore. No one can really sit on the sidelines of opinion anymore. Because it’s gone beyond BLM.

What’s happening now is the next step: The system is trying to defend itself against the challenge.

Do I really believe that more people have come to care about BLM? No. I wish it were so because I believe in their message too, but the reality is that as BLM has protested, marched, spoke up and gone viral, people have realized that the system is rotten for everyone. And people have joined, slowly, over time, to join the protests because they can see that even just challenging the rotten core of the system results in havoc and death for everyone. Maybe people have woken up and realized that the system may be coming for them, maybe people have finally had a closer degree of separation from the people who are being gunned down. Maybe people saw one too many videos. Maybe people just heard one too many shots.

And the word needs to spread.

This is tragic. This is beyond tragic. This is alarms and sirens for our nation. This is past “warning shots”.

What has been happening for years and years is now to the point where people are done being “nice” about it and are now protesting in the streets in whatever manner will get the attention and keep the focus. Things have progressed to the point where even the protests have stopped being “nice” and people are starting to legitimately riot – burning buildings, trashing edifices, smashing businesses, even occasionally threatening other people.

I’m not going to tell you that’s all wrong. I’m not going to start pretending that cherry-picked quotes from MLK are applicable here. I’m not going to caution people to “go high” and “be the better person” or anything like that.

Because I can’t care about that anymore. We are way beyond that. There have been too many shots fired.

Don’t you see? It’s so horrific…. we can’t take it anymore. I read about Jacob Blake in Kenosha and my heart just shredded into pieces. I’ve been upset and angry and cried and argued and pleaded and screamed and I’m just so fucking exhausted now. And at this point, is it only Black people who are being gunned down by the police? No. But they are still the main targets. They are our martyrs and examples. They are the crucified, held up to warn the rest of us what will happen if we keep shouting against this nightmare. The police are still firing “warning shots” at us all. And those shots are still killing people. The sound of shots is supposed to scare us, keep us in check, make us cower and bow down to the people with uniforms and weapons. But it doesn’t matter if we do those things… they are still shredding our hearts with the sound of more shots. How many shots can you listen to before you break down and stop letting this happen? How many deaths can you stand?

What happened to this man, and all the people gunned down by police, is just beyond heinous; it’s offensive to everything we associate with being an American. Our justice system is a system that trumpets how “fair” it is supposed to be. How we give accused people the presumption of innocence and force the prosecution to prove guilt – we do not make the defense prove innocence. This is our system and we have reason to be immensely proud of it; in theory. Because this system is not being offered to anyone who isn’t White and Able, and Hetero and living their assigned gender from birth and walking around with citizenship papers. It’s not. And what’s almost as bad is that now, that same system is trying to raise its powerful fist to crush anyone who speaks out about it. And that goes against everything we SAY we believe as Americans. We have freedom to protest. We have not just a right, but an obligation to make our government – national or local – to listen to our grievances and address them. This is one of our many rights too. We have rights that other nations dream of, yet here we are, letting the authorities pay lip service to those rights and get away with murder. We raise up the words of our founding fathers (knowing many were slave-owners and rapists) because the ideals they touted, the fine words they uttered were the goals of our nation. Even though our founding fathers couldn’t *follow* those words, they still wanted to believe in them; they wanted to build a nation that followed those ideals.

And here we are.

All those people who are protesting, you look at them and what do you see? You see reprehensible folks who aren’t bowing down to the system? The system that perhaps protects YOU just fine?

I see people who have gone from sad and grieving to angry to rageful to outraged to despondent and so many other emotions… this is our country, our culture and we look around and see a system that is trying to break us, enslave us, censor us and if we don’t comply, they kill us. All the laws in the world won’t save us if the system behind those laws puts its boots on our necks and begins to press down. All the speeches in the world won’t help us when the sound of shots ring out again.

So when I look at those crowds, I don’t just see my fellow activists, fighting the good fight to get something changed, I see people who have cried, like I did, when they read just one more damned story about someone getting killed by the police. I see people who thought about their friends, their family, their online pals, people they care about and maybe even people they don’t know – getting caught under the boot of this system and having their lives snuffed out in the blink of an eye… in the sound of seven shots.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/08/24/us/kenosha-police-shooting-jacob-blake

Resistance is futile

I know it seems terrible that there’s this guy who is literally on top of you, hacking away at you with a machete, but I promise you, me and few other guys are holding him back. You can’t see us, because we’re behind him and we don’t want him to know we’re the ones holding him back, but yanno, calm down,. don’t start screaming or anything because we’re here, we promise. Just imagine how bad it would be if we weren’t here; he’d probably be hacking your head off instead of your legs. So don’t call for back-up. We’ll hold this guy back until he’s tired of hacking at you.
I mean, we knew he was unstable and talked a lot of shit about carving people up when we brought him along to your dinner party, but we didn’t know about the whole machete thing. We thought he was just carrying a baseball bat. No, we can’t pull him off you right now because if we did, you wouldn’t invite us to your next dinner party. Don’t worry, he’ll get tired after a while. In the meantime, you should thank us; he’s only hacked a few of your fingers off so far. We’ll make sure he doesn’t get near your neck. Don’t scream. Don’t call for help. I promise we’re here. Just try to smile and go along with whatever he says. Once he’s gone, we’ll finish up.

Emelia Holden video: No, it’s not a double standard

To the knuckleheads who say “but it’s not okay if a man does that to a woman?!” in reference to the Emelia Holden body slam video: No, it’s not okay. Because when a man is upset with a woman, all he needs to do is puff up and yell, and she will be intimidated because men are usually larger and scarier than women. When a woman wants to intimidate a man, she has to get super physical. If you doubt me, imagine if Emelia had just turned around and yelled at him,. He would have smirked and kept walking or said something infuriating like “hey, calm down honey” blah blah blah. She had body slam him to get his attention and make him realize she’s just as scary as him. THAT is why it’s okay for a woman to do it to a man and not the other way around. If a woman touches you when you don’t want to be touched, you can raise your voice and yell at her and she will likely be intimidated. If she’s not, feel free to get physical about it. But remember to pull your punch depending on how big she is. The object isn’t to hurt the offender, but to make them realize that you have power too.

smart phones and the decline of society

I am coming to the conclusion that it’s not smartphones that are screwing up society, it’s the indirect effect of “immediacy” – because of tech like smartphones, everyone expects immediate answers. So it seems like everything you do requires another meeting, another answer, RIGHT NOW

that’s what’s driving me nuts. Before this tech, people communicated by phone and letter,. so people were used to waiting and scheduling things in advance or just muddling along without everyone’s input all of the time

now in order to be a part of something you are expected to show up all the time and be an active participant on everything

no more assuming people will just do their job. You have to go to endless meetings and discuss every freakin thing at any hour of the day and figure everything out together. Which normally I’d think is great but geeziz it’s true of EVERYTHING. nobody will just do a decent job of whatever, they expect everyone to be a part of it because after all you have a car, you have email, you have a smartphone so clearly you can just show up

Millennials

Everywhere I go, especially on the internet, I hear about how “entitled” Millennials are. At the same time, I see a lot of refutations to this claim. It’s been pointed out numerous times that millennials are living in an era where the economy is pitiful, the prospects are dim and life is in many ways stacked against them. It’s also pointed out that millennials grew up without certain parenting attitudes that “build character” and “toughen” a person. They are called “soft” and “overly sensitive”, the ultimate insult being they “want everything handed to them”

I have had enough of this circular argument.

We cannot continue to denigrate the latest generation of adults with such vague, pointless and unmoored attacks. We also cannot continue to defend them against attacks by pointing a finger back at the older generations. It’s true that the millennial generation doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but it must be acknowledged that the expectations they have aren’t traditional either. We must understand what it is that Millennials truly want before we can begin to discuss whether their wants are extraordinary or not.
What do they want? They want the same thing every generation has wanted: they want to live and flourish. But what is different is not the Millennials in general, it is the privileged Millennials that is different than generations before: they want the rest of society to live and flourish too. Their expectations aren’t just about themselves; they don’t believe anyone, privileged or not, should have to suffer just to survive.

Who can truly blame them for their desires? Even before the “free love” days of the 60s, the youth of our country has turned its attention to their fellow human and little by little changed how society runs. This did not happen overnight. It did not happen in a vacuum and it wasn’t done for any other reason than to rectify grave injustices in our culture’s past. The youth has always been capable of the kind of enthusiastic energy that begets true change. Indeed, it is very nearly a defining characteristic of social revolution that leaders are young, and full of fire. Without mundane things such as a day-job, children and age-related illness, it has always been the youth en masse who lead us into the future by their actions and their numbers. As a society, America has pushed ever outward to create an egalitarian, inclusive culture that does not discriminate; does not crush some groups in order to reward others. Over decades, every successive generation has “woken up” to some extent and declared, “I do not want these benefits if they come at the cost of someone else”

What have the older generations done with this growing movement through the decades? We have derided, denigrated and even punished them at every step. We have tried to tear down these social revolutions with our words, our labels and our fists and our laws. But we have always lost in the end. Because ultimately, society moves forward. It is not a logarithmic movement, it is not even exponential, but it is always a groundswell that reaches a breaking point for every new awareness of inequality.

There have always been those who do not join in the enthusiasm for remaking our society. There have always been and there always will be. Backlash is real and often dangerous. But where backlash has sometimes slowed progress through the weight of oppressive defensive tactics, progress eventually wins out. Because as society has grown, technology has brought people closer together with every generation. No longer do people live in villages, sharing space with strangers based on proximity alone. No longer do young people feel the familial obligation that binds them to the land of their upbringing. People know that their tribe is out there, it exists and all they must do is meet it, to finally feel at home.

So, it is that we come to an understanding of the millennial mindset. The young adults of today are called “entitled” and it is true. But “entitled” does not mean someone who is lazy and wants the world handed to them on silver platter. “Entitled” is someone who expects to reap the rewards promised them. In the case of previous generations, this has always meant achieving “the American dream” but the tacit understanding was that this was an entitlement of the privileged. The definition of that dream was different depending on who you were. Millennials are the generation that rejects that final nuance; the notion of equality only for the few. Millennials believe the bar of life should be set at a point not just for themselves but for everyone. How is “privilege” defined? Why is privilege only for certain subsets of specific groups? Why should that rule continue unchecked? The very existence of a privileged group exposes the existence of imbalance in our American dream. Millennials aren’t entitled because they want a good life, they believe a good life is something everyone is entitled to.

It is this imbalance that is the root of Millennial discontent. Not for themselves but for their world. For what is possibly the first time in American history, we have a whole generation that wants to encompass all who were born into it, not just some of them based on how they were born or what family they were born to. For the first time in American history, there is a generation that is willing to carve itself into subsets and groupings of its own choosing. Based on hobbies, fandoms, feelings, visions and declarations of dedication, Millennials separate themselves by what is important to them, not what previous generations tell them. For once, a generation comes along and self-defines. So naturally, this generation cannot sit by and accept a society based on artificial and unmoving mores. They choose who they are yet remain free to change at any time. They reject the previous generations’ chains of birthright. This is their true difference and why they feel so “entitled”. From their viewpoint, they are “entitled” to a world they were promised in books, movies and songs – a world that values cooperation, tolerance and strong will to succeed. Yet we have not arrived at that world and nobody knows that more than Millennials.

Most millennials grew up being told over and over that what mattered most was trying, giving it your all, believing in yourself, and hard work, and they came of age knowing that it was all lies. Today, in their adulthood, they see how different races, different religions, different body types and different genders are treated in our society. They see the reality of what they were raised with. So the word that describes millennials isn’t really “entitled”, it’s “disillusioned”.

It’s not about “participation trophies”, it’s about the idealized worlds we showed them again and again, hoping that they would forge a better path for everyone. But along the way, we forgot that the path was being overgrown by ominous forests of inequity and patrolled by intimidating wolves of economic despair. We wanted to nurture their fighting spirit, sense of fair play, and love of learning but we failed to create an environment that would keep those dreams alive and let them take over. We raised them to be ninja turtles but let the cities turn into sewers. We nudged them to swim but never gave them land to walk on, and all they can do now is tread water. Is it any wonder they are angry? Is it any wonder they refuse to participate in the culture we have brought them to?

The most important aspect of the millennial culture isn’t their disappointment or their bitterness at having been duped, it’s their steadfast refusal to give up and give in to the state of the world. Of course, they are angry and full of criticism: they inherited a quagmire of economic slavery, outrageous societal expectations and laws that whiplash with every change in the government. They were taught, by Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that all they had to do was cooperate, put their minds to work and be ready to fight for truth and justice, and our society would happily hand them a perfect world. Yet none of this has come to pass. Yet still they fight.

What is a genuine wonder, is that they continue to fight at all. Millennials are so irritating and annoying precisely because of what we taught them; to keep fighting for truth, justice and “the American way”. They threaten us because we never realized that their fight would be against us. Their fight underscores our failure as a previous generation. This humble, cooperative, egalitarian world we kept pushing them towards didn’t happen during our time and we full well know it. We overpromised and now they fight us for it. They will not let us rest until we let them bear the fruit of their labors… even if that means pushing us out of relevance.

Millennials do have a “problem with entitlement”. It’s a problem we created and the only solution is to accept their discontent, acknowledge the inequities they point out, give them the tools they need to recreate our society, and stop grumbling while they change the world.

Why I’m not a Libertarian

For my friends who call themselves Libertarian: most of you aren’t really aligned with the Libertarian party though you may like some of the more theoretical notions of Libertarianism: the ideology. Saying “I’m against big government” is equivalent to saying “I’m against open wounds” – yeah sure we all are but its how you define it that matters.
Libertarianism has salience but the reality leads to a convergent point of promoting inequity in our system. The inequity is of an economic kind that can actually kill people and tear down our current freedoms,. Libertarianism, like many political ideologies was conceived in a vacuum of reality but wasn’t constructed through trial and error like other ideologies. Its easy to say “real socialism doesn’t work” since its been tried and failed many times (and yet is still an on-going experiment in many arenas) but Libertarianism hasn’t been tried anywhere (except Chile IIRC) because the immediate effect would be chaotic and deadly for so many. Nobody wants to tear down the protections we have spent hundreds (in some cases thousands) of years erecting for the benefit of the whole society. Perhaps only the very insulated, the very clueless or the very sociopathic would be amenable to that.

And then there’s the factual point that most of Libertarianism’s economic “thinkers” have open disdain for evidence-based systems favoring a simplistic “so long as I get mine, we’ll all be happier” kind of philosophy

But to put it in the simplest terms evar: I will never agree with “true” libertarian philosophy because it relies almost entirely upon judicial review as the ultimate balance of liberty clashes. We circumvent such incredible inefficiency by having enforceable laws. Needing the power of enforcement is crucial to having effective laws in the first place (no, I cannot be An-cap) and it takes money to fund enforcement on many levels. Taxation, executive and legislative branches are necessary to have freedoms in the first place. Legal punitive measures will never be enough. And in many cases (food purity, medicine safety, worker rights) legal punitive measures would not substitute because people would be DEAD before they could pursue recompense and change. Fuck that. regulation is necessary to protect us all against sociopaths who would kill us for a penny. Regulation is also necessary to protect and harbor those who are vulnerable to the “good intentions” of those who believe in social Darwinism (yes, those people truly exist)

We are no longer in a cottage industry world. We need the size of government to equal the size of corporate interests in order to not be victimized by economic sociopaths