The thing that's weirding me out the most about this Ferguson debacle is trying to figure out the cops' endgame.
The protesters--now their goal is pretty clear. They are trying to communicate that they would like to not have to worry about whether they might get randomly killed by the police. Which is really a pretty reasonable request in a country that claims that such is already the case.
But the police themselves ... I really don't see what they're trying to accomplish.
I suspect that they don't, either. I'd like to think that they are not just straight-up bad
--I always would like to think that about people doing bad things. But I do think they are making the mistake of listening uncritically to the stupid parts of their brains.
I'm talking about the brainpart that has unconsciously absorbed the stereotypes swirling around it in society, and blurts them back at your smarter brain hoping that you won't take a second look at them to say "Whoa, hold on, this is one of those prejudiced thoughts. The smarter part of me knows better than this."
The brainpart whose first impulse when you fuck up irrevocably--smash somebody's window, run over their dog, or, y'know, MURDER THEM--is to run away and hide and hope that somehow it will have NEVER REALLY HAPPENED.
The brainpart that, when confronted with the reality that it's impossible to unmurder someone, doubles down because now you're COMMITTED to your first line of action because if you change that would be admitting you were WRONG and that is showing WEAKNESS and you can't do that.
I dunno, this is all speculation. I know I
have that stupid brainpart. It's a constant struggle to ignore the monkey logic it shrieks at me, and I'm not always successful. I suspect everyone has the same stupid screeching monkey brain,* a brain that is pretty good at figuring out immediate threats like, say, leopards coming at you RIGHT GODDAMN NOW, but is not so great at integrating history and conceptualizing the future, and thus can't do much with complex things like human rights issues and institutionalized prejudice. I suppose the cops just aren't overriding those. It's the best explanation I can think of for the unbelievable illogicality of the police's response.
Or maybe they're just assholes. Hell, I don't know. I'm just stuck maundering as I watch people's requests that other people not indiscriminately terrorize them met with indiscriminate terrorism. It tends to raise questions, dangit.
You can also go beyond simple maundering: check out Amnesty International's call to action
on this, or even donate
! Dude. Amnesty International is in the US. What the hell is up with that.
*I debated whether to use the phrase "monkey brain" in this context, because it has, uh, unfortunate other connotations. But I've consistently used it over the years to refer to the fact that all
humans are a very thin neocortex away from being straight up animals, and by god we behave like it often, and the phrase is an evocative way to describe it. I hate it when one group of people refers to another as "animals" because it just obfuscates the fact that we're ALL fucking animals, and we ALL have to work to keep that animal part of our brains from destroying our civilization. And as is so often the case, here White people, who have a history of baselessly congratulating themselves for being somehow less animalistic than everyone else, seem to be having a harder time shutting up that monkey inside them. Because nobody calls them on that shit, so why should they?
I hope that's clear. I have no frame of reference for that sort of thing. Correct me if I made the wrong call.