Saturday, February 09, 2013

In SoCal? Then Stay The Truck Home.

Police in or near southern California still have not found Christopher Dorner, and frustration has made the cops even more dangerous than usual. As a longtime fan of journalist Radley Balko, who covers the increasing abusiveness of American police, I've known for years that, where ordinary average American citizens like me are concerned, the police are a greater threat than official outside-the-law criminals. After all: if an official criminal attacks me, I have the legal right to either fight back or run away, but when a criminal with a badge attacks me I have no rights at all.

So anyway, the LAPD has already attacked three innocent people in their attempt to find Dorner. Dorner is a large black man last seen driving a gray Nissan truck; the LAPD shot two small Hispanic women driving a bright aqua-blue Toyota. (Ordinary citizens who fire bullets into a moving vehicle and then say "Whoops, mistaken identity" are, quite rightfully, labeled a menace to society and charged with all sorts of crimes. Cops who fire bullets into a moving vehicle on the same shoddy excuse are showered with sympathy. And when people like me say "Anyone who can't grok the difference between a large black man and a tiny Hispanic grandmother is too emotional to be a cop," we're accused of being heartless.)

I'm seeing reports that LAPD rammed another truck and shot its inhabitants, though I haven't yet found confirmation of this.

Even under the best of circumstances, cops are wont to shoot first and ask questions later, and it's perfectly legal for them to do so; that's why none of the cops who killed Amadou Diallo on his own doorstep faced any legal consequences. Legally, a cop is allowed to kill anybody so long as he says "Oops, thought it was a criminal" or "Whoopsie, thought I was in danger." And right now, in southern California, anybody driving a truck of any color falls into that category.

EDIT: also, even pedestrians would be well-advised to stay home and not leave their house at all, if they're black. A bail bondsman offers this useful advice to black male Californians who don't want police to kill them this weekend: "Make sure you have your identification make sure you cooperate with the police; now is not the right time to wear a hoodie." Remember: cops shoot first and ask questions later, and a cop who feels afraid has the de facto -- even de jure -- right to shoot anybody he sees (except, arguably, another uniformed cop). So for Zod's sake, black guys, don't let any cops see you today.


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