Friday, July 24, 2009

Gates, O' Hell!

Well I was going to write about the Health Care Reform issue, but, of course, silliness has ensued and overclouded that issue with the debacle surrounding the arrest of Harvard professor, and the most academically achieved black man in America, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and President Obama's remarks in response to a question posed at the end of his national address on Health Care Reform. Allow me to chime in on this incident while turning the course of this discussion, as it relates, to a more important and overreaching issue. The issue is our burgeoning police state, the evil and self serving system of criminal justice and its vicious impact on our society.

I think there is a larger and more applicable issue here aside from race. It's the growing police state in which we live. In a country that is constantly being marketed to its people as a nation of freedom and equality we have witnessed the erosion of privacy, of civil rights and protections and horrible abuses and actions by those who are supposed to protect and serve us, the people. We have seen numerous police beatings, police cleared of shooting innocent civilians, and even the tazing of a little old lady in Texas! This is on top of the untold and probably stunningly high number of false arrests and intrusions of police actions to our daily lives. A close friend of mine was arrested and spent the 4th weekend in jail for what turned out to be nothing more than an administrative error!

Now take in these facts and lay them on top of a national landscape where we have the highest prison incarceration rate in the world. Now add that to the fact that those the monsters of our society, those who splash across our headlines, both local and national, who have raped and murdered our men, women and children, always seem to have an arrest record a half mile long. Seems no matter how much new power and new "tougher" laws we give to our criminal justice system, they can keep us no safer than they did before.

To have anyone arrested in their own home, after showing their ID ONLY because of their attitude in dealing with a police that views themselves beyond reproach, but have EARNED their place of mistrust in much of our society, IS STUPID. Bottom line. Not only was it stupid, it was an abuse and misuse of law to use a 'disorderly conduct' charge to legitimize the arrest of an obviously innocent man only because he angered the officer who was the actual intruder of this man's home.

I also would like to comment on the obvious (and par for the course) contradiction of a conservative base that constantly rails against government intrusion, but if a Democratic leader gets involved, well now government intrusion is righteous.

But again, there is a much bigger issue here at play than this particular incident and the real issue is beyond race relations. What I want to know is when will we, the people, finally wake up and look at the broad stroke of facts surrounding our criminal justice system and finally stand up and demand ACTUAL justice.

If you are a DA or Police Department you want more funding each year than the year prior. However, you can not show a need that may highlight a change in leadership and policy, which will most likely cost you your job. The best way to assure that new and increased funding, without being fired, is a particular set of nearly conflicting set of circumstances. One is that you have to show need while the other is that you must show competency.

Solution? Well if you can abuse civil liberties on purpose to allow those that show a certain criminal psychological profile of psychopathy and escalating behaviours to be continually set free to commit more heinous crimes, then you can show need. While, simultaneously, using these incidents to make a public plea to diminish civil liberties and bestow new powers of government and new tougher laws (when the reality is that there was nothing wrong with the existing laws at all, only the people charged with upholding those laws) then you can use those new tougher laws to increase your conviction levels by targeting the "soft targets" of a society...the innocent, the indigent, the victims.

Wake up people. This was wrong, but not for race and it is only the very sliver tip of a much larger iceberg.

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