Monday, December 12, 2005


A couple of recent posts by ShutteredEye present an interesting contrast. His 12/2/2005 post "Loss Amidst the Blue" mourns the death in the line of duty of two police officers. "One of the stories we've been following just breaks my heart," ShutteredEye wrote.1. The point of the post was to express sadness at the loss of police officers, and thank those who protect us.

On 12/10/2005, he wrote about an event which had not yet happened. The post, titled "Tookie Looting & Rioting Holiday, Dec. 13th," anticipated trouble in the event that a California prisoner would be executed:

Tookie Looting & Rioting Holiday is Dec. 13th--mark your calendars, polish your bats, and fire up your Ebay accounts.


My bet is that if he is executed--as a jury of his peers decided should happen, mind you--there will be a replay of the Rodney King and Watts rioting... More images of looting splashed across the television and probably some beatings to go along with it. Lovely. Just what we need.

I think SE's sequence of events is reversed. In the case of Rodney King, first came the beating, then the trial, then the racist acquittal, THEN the riots.

I think SE may be right about riots, but only if cops start beating defenseless demonstrators. I'd say the odds of that are moderately high.

Before you assume I'm in the 'spare Tookie' crowd, let me say that while the death penalty is often applied to innocent people, the DP is not a major priority for me since (a) it doesn't deter anyone and (b) not that many people get killed by the DP. Also (c), It's just one of those traps that the right wing loves to suck people's attention into.

If Tookie is executed, oh well.

What disturbs me here is racism.

First let me say what I'm not saying. I'm not saying SE is a bigot. I assume and believe that he treats all people with respect. I think that if he witnessed an overt instance of racist mistreatment, he would intervene on behalf of the victim. I think SE is a good man, though we disagree on politics.

(As far as that goes: If you cannot communicate with people who hold views that you reject, your world narrows and your purpose on this Earth is in question.)

But most of us carry racist programming around. I know that I do. We soak it up from society and if it alters our behavior, then it passes on its effects down through the generations.

Racism can be as blatant as redlining (a practice lenders still engage in), job discrimination (ditto), or as trivial as a blog post.

SE is not a bigot, and he probably never intended to be racist, but his blog post is racist, in my opinion.

The post gleefully anticipates looting and rioting. As we know from Katrina, only Black people 'loot,' while white people 'find food.'

The whole post is supposed to be cynical and amusing, but truth is said in jest.

SE urges us "polish your bats..." These would be the bats used to hit rioters with. Who is prone to violence here? The crazy Black people, or SE?

"...and fire up your Ebay accounts." This trivializes the anticipated riots, by implying that mementos will be auctioned online.

People might die in those riots (if there are any riots). That's not a laughing matter. How would SE feel if we brought bats to the funerals of the two police officers, and went on eBay to sell souvenirs of their deaths?

There is a racist tone to SE anticipating these events. The racist assumption is that African Americans are violent, childish people who overreact to perceived injustice. Rioting and looting is in their nature. "Lovely. Just what we need," he writes in disgust.

It is, in fact, just what some people need. Specifically, many in the right-wing, self-identified 'Christian' movement need it. They need more spectator-sport confirmation of their narrow view that this is a crazy world full of dangerous people, and that they themselves, the Republican 'Christians,' are the only valid people. No need for self-examination or education is required. The world is simple. Just look at those crazy Blacks!

Having said that, there are plenty, plenty racist Democrats and non-Christians. Plenty. I'm not a Democrat or a Christian, but my head has plenty of racist thoughts in it. You may get the impression that I'm trying to attack SE, but I'm actually just disgusted with the dog poop that was on his shoe when he came into my house. (His blog = the shoe. The Tookie post = the poop).

He's a good man and not a bigot. I am as racist as he is. But I think his post stunk. I am not saying that he planned, intended, or set out to convey these racist messages. I think that he just sat down to write a post about civic life ... and out came poo.

If indeed there is a huge riot after the execution, that doesn't make either of our posts more right or wrong. It just means that there has been another sad event, as sad, and as deserving of a mature response, as the loss of two fine police officers.

Loss Amidst the Blue

Just when my family and I are basking in the warm glow of the holidays, the world brings us all back to earth. One of the stories we've been following just breaks my heart.

Tuesday afternoon Fort Worth, TX police officer H.K. "Hank" Nava was investigating a gas station drive-off/identity theft incident that turned into a police chase earlier in the week. He and 2 other officers were at a house in north Fort Worth looking for a suspect that managed to elude officers during the chase. They were greeted at the front door by two people who let the officers in. As they stood conversing, the suspect, Stephen Heard, burst from behind a closed bedroom door and shot the nearest officer in the head. By luck of the draw, it was Hank Nava. All of the officers, Nava included, returned fire, but Heard had already fled.

He ran down the street, took a hostage, and barricaded himself inside a house. While the suspect "...drank 4 Heinekens," Officer Nava was being airlifted to the hospital. Four hours later, when Heard gave himself up, uninjured, Nava was still in emergency surgery to save his live. Family, officers, even the mayor, descended on the hospital to keep vigil, and the community as a whole watched, hoped, and prayed.

Heard has a laundry list of prior offenses, from forgery to theft. He has alleged ties to the Arayan Nation. He claims he thought the officers were burglars depsite the officers having identified themselves, and were wearing jackets with "POLICE" emblazoned across the front and back. His own mother has publicly said she will not plead for his life should the DA seek the death penalty. Heard is eligible to receive the death penalty because this a capital murder case.

Nava fought hard to battle his injuries for 2 days, but yesterday afternoon he passed away. He leaves behind a wife, a 9 year old daughter, and a 4 year old son. And the whole community is grieving. Nava was with the FWPD for 14 years.

This is the second time in a month that an area officer has been killed in the line of duty. Dallas police officer Brian Jackson was pursuing an armed car-jacking suspect on foot. As he came through the gate of a residence, the suspect was hiding behind the fence to his left. With the very last bullet in his gun, the suspect shot him once, under the arm bypassing his protective vest. The suspect then threw down his empty gun, and immediately surrendered. The officer was airlifted to the hospital, but he was dead by the time they got him there. Jackson left behind a wife of two months--they had dated for 6 years. The suspect? An immigrant that was in this country illegally, and was afraid he was going to be deported. Jackson was with DPD for 7 years.

Each life is as valuable as another. But, when it's near Christmas, and the life lost is that of someone in the noble profession of protecting the community, it seems to hurt just that much more.

To all you police officers out there--thank you very much for the job that you do. Stay safe, and make it home to your loved ones.

Merry Christmas.


Tookie Looting & Rioting Holiday, Dec. 13th.

Tookie Looting & Rioting Holiday is Dec. 13th--mark your calendars, polish your bats, and fire up your Ebay accounts.

I have been following this story ever since Jane brought it too my attention.

As Tookie Williams' execution date draws near, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

My bet is that if he is executed--as a jury of his peers decided should happen, mind you--there will be a replay of the Rodney King and Watts rioting... More images of looting splashed across the television and probably some beatings to go along with it. Lovely. Just what we need.

Execution date: Dec 13.

I, for one, will be watching and waiting.
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