Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

How much longer?

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I’m not even sure why I am asking this question, except right now I’m tired. Saw this graphic on twitter yesterday and it made me think. Not about B’More, though the news and coverage and outrages, and finger-pointing triggered my thoughts.

The debate will rage-on…the pundits will weigh-in, the politicians will take stances, the police will continue to abuse our communities, community leaders of all stripes will attempt to find band-aids, there will be hundreds of people quoting sanitized Martin Luther King at us, (never Malcolm or Gandhi) and the next city will be…take your pick.

Anyone who tries to talk about root causes will be accused of promoting, or condoning “violence” and “thuggery”. One must carefully parse how you talk about this. We will hear about good police and wounded police, and criminal youths till our ears bleed.

I’m tired.  

Being tired doesn’t mean I give up. It just means I didn’t get more than two hours sleep, and I haven’t got the energy to rant right now. I’ll wait to see if there is a follow-up to the Washington Post news item that got buried in the flames. Somehow I doubt it.  

I don’t even listen much to rap music but somehow the soundtrack in my head to all of this is more vintage N.W.A than Marvin Gaye.

I could write a long detailed piece on the neighborhoods I’ve lived in, the street protests aka “riots” I’ve been in, the sane solutions that get proffered (and ignored) but that wouldn’t make much of a difference right now.  

I could ask…what will…and how long will it take?

Too tired to attempt answering my own question.


  1. I don’t know how much longer. Maybe until people of good will, people of color and their white allies, say enough. We have obviously not reached that point yet … still having a “conversation” it appears. :(

    In Wisconsin, a police benevolent society decided that a “Thank You” billboard with the face of a killer cop was a nice way to address the community:

    The Kenosha Professional Police Association (KPPA) posted a billboard thanking the community for its support. Some residents question the message behind the ad. It features Pablo Torres, a young officer who shot two people within a 10-day period in March. In the second shooting, Torres killed 26-year-old Aaron Siler.

    Police have said the shooting occurred after a chase, when Torres was confronted with a weapon. A spokesperson for the Siler family, Kathy Willie, told the Guardian the billboard was “hurtful”.

    “To me that doesn’t make the department look good,” she said. “What are they trying to say? Are they trying to say he’s not guilty and they know that for a fact? Why are they thanking him?”

    The investigation is ongoing. Torres is on administrative leave.

    About that administrative leave?

    Torres shot Siler on the day he returned to service after an administrative leave for shooting a 66-year old Vietnam vet, Terry Knight. Knight was reportedly suicidal and experiencing a post-traumatic episode. Torres shot Knight in the stomach. Knight was charged for recklessly endangering safety.

    When there is no real punishment, there can be no real fix.  

  2. Baltimore has a lovely history:

    profloumoore @loumoore12

    1913 #BaltimoreRiots black family moves into white neighborhood. guess what happens???

    And more recently:

    $5.7 million is the amount the city paid to victims of brutality between 2011 and 2014. And as huge as that figure is, the more staggering number in the article is this one: “Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil-rights violations.” What tiny percentage of the unjustly beaten win formal legal judgments?[…]

    Even animals couldn’t escape the brutality of the Baltimore police last year. In July, “Officer Thomas Schmidt, a 24-year veteran assigned to the Emergency Services unit, was placed on paid administrative leave after police say he held down a Shar-Pei while a fellow officer, Jeffrey Bolger, slit the dog’s throat.” A month later, a Baltimore police officer plead guilty “to a felony animal cruelty charge after he fatally beat and choked his girlfriend’s Jack Russell terrier,” an August 5 article noted. The very same year, even one of Baltimore’s good cops couldn’t escape the horror show of dead animals: “Four investigators from agencies outside Baltimore are working to determine who left a dead rat on the car windshield of an officer who was cooperating with prosecutors on a police brutality case.”

    How do you eradicate such deep-rooted misbehavior? I think Cleveland OH has been shown to have some serious systemic problems in their police forces. Can you just disband the police forces and start over?

  3. Nonviolence as Compliance

    Gray did not die mysteriously in some back alley but in the custody of the city’s publicly appointed guardians of order. And yet the mayor of that city and the commissioner of that city’s police still have no idea what happened. I suspect this is not because the mayor and police commissioner are bad people, but because the state of Maryland prioritizes the protection of police officers charged with abuse over the citizens who fall under its purview.

    There you go.

  4. Excerpts from the Kerner Report

    President Lyndon Johnson formed an 11-member National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders in July 1967 to explain the riots that plagued cities each summer since 1964 and to provide recommendations for the future. The Commission’s 1968 report, informally known as the Kerner Report, concluded that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white-separate and unequal.” Unless conditions were remedied, the Commission warned, the country faced a “system of ‘apartheid'” in its major cities. The Kerner report delivered an indictment of “white society” for isolating and neglecting African Americans and urged legislation to promote racial integration and to enrich slums-primarily through the creation of jobs, job training programs, and decent housing. President Johnson, however, rejected the recommendations. In April 1968, one month after the release of the Kerner report, rioting broke out in more than 100 cities following the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. In the following excerpts from the Kerner Report summary, the Commission analyzed patterns in the riots and offered explanations for the disturbances. In 1998, 30 years after the issuance of the Report, former Senator and Commission member Fred R. Harris co-authored a study that found the racial divide had grown in the ensuing years with inner-city unemployment at crisis levels. Opposing voices argued that the Commission’s prediction of separate societies had failed to materialize due to a marked increase in the number of African Americans living in suburbs.

    For all the progress that has been made since 1968, this issue seems to be one we can’t seem to find the handle on. The American “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” philosophy has never worked when some people don’t even have boots. But our country refuses to provide the tools to help lift people out of poverty.

    How can a culture of respect ever grow from a history of abuse like this?

    1968! Over 40 years ago!!!

    The frustrations of powerlessness have led some Negroes to the conviction that there is no effective alternative to violence as a means of achieving redress of grievances, and of “moving the system.” These frustrations are reflected in alienation and hostility toward the institutions of law and government and the white society which controls them, and in the reach toward racial consciousness and solidarity reflected in the slogan “Black Power.”

    A new mood has sprung up among Negroes, particularly among the young, in which self-esteem and enhanced racial pride are replacing apathy and submission to “the system.”

    The police are not merely a “spark” factor. To some Negroes police have come to symbolize white power, white racism and white repression. And the fact is that many police do reflect and express these white attitudes. The atmosphere of hostility and cynicism is reinforced by a widespread belief among Negroes in the existence of police brutality and in a “double standard” of justice and protection-one for Negroes and one for whites.

  5. Portlaw

    imagine the sorrows in Baltimore. Can’t imagine the despair in communities across America. Not even sure what justice would mean anymore or where hope can be found.  Maybe we need some form of Peace Corps right here in America to help and protect these communities from the forces of law and order.   I just don’t know. Am not good with answers. How many more generations? How many more families burying their slain children? We have so much work to do in this country. So much work.  So much suffering. So much shame.

  6. Portlaw

    a reporter who used to write for a Baltimore paper, noted what happened when his wife’s car was stolen and reported to the police and the cop’s reply

    Then, without irony or, seemingly, mal-intent, he looked at us – a young black couple – and said: “If we see a group of young black guys in a car, we pull them over.” We were speechless.

    He concluded his piece with a quote from the funeral

    As Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D) said: “Did anybody recognize Freddie when he was alive? Did you see him?”

  7. Of Margaret and Helen:

    A Message to Whitey

    This Whitey really doesn’t fully understand what is happening in Baltimore.  What I have written here is not meant as an excuse for the violence, but it certainly is a reason to look beyond the violence and try to see the truths behind it.

    I know there is no excuse for violence and that it won’t solve the problem.  I know that you don’t put out the fire in your kitchen by starting one in your living room.   But I also know I have never known and might never know someone in a gang.  And I personally will probably never know anyone who has been shot at or killed by a bullet outside of a war zone.  My life is very sheltered and my opinion is, therefore, very narrow.

  8. Portlaw

    As the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. announced in the wake of the Watts riots 50 years ago, “a riot is the language of the unheard.” And judging by the actions in Baltimore, thousands are not being heard.

    “The Baltimore police became the pallbearers of an alive man and turned the paddy wagon into a tombstone,” Mr. Jackson remarked. “We are here because we all feel threatened. All of our sons are at risk. Their number has just not popped up yet. There is too much killing, too much hatred, and too much fear.” Speaking of Mr. Gray, Mr. Jackson said that we “are in his debt. He has taken the scab off the wound of a cancer that raises bigger questions.”

    On Monday, we had a funeral, and said goodbye to a young man whom people remembered as friendly and loving. A few hours later, small pockets of the city started burning – and suddenly we were saying goodbye to something else: to the silent acquiescence of young people without jobs, without good schools, without what they need to build a life that takes them beyond suffering. Why are they doing that? Let’s find out – not when the fires are raging, but when calm has returned, when it is most likely, as President Obama said yesterday, that we will “feign concern until it goes away and then we go about our business as usual.” Let’s hope this time it is different, and we are, too.

  9. bfitzinAR

    started in Houston – it seemed to work very well as long as we called it integration, but when it became desegregation it went kafflooey – no problems in our neighborhood.  Maybe that was because we were already pretty diverse.  The family who’d owned the house previously was Jewish, the family across the street was “Mexican”.  Maybe it was because my mother went over and greeted them as they moved in – we kids helped unload the truck – and made a deal with the mother that the two of them not believe anything the other’s kids said without checking first.  It seemed like it was going to be just “normal” like any other neighborhood I lived in.  Kids mostly getting along, kids doing dumb stuff, parents dealing with it.  And yet that was in 1966.  I have never understood why everybody’s neighborhoods didn’t work that way.  I still don’t.  I acknowledge that evil things are being done – some of them in my name which I seriously don’t appreciate but can’t do anything about it – I believe that a whole lot of it is caused by the .1% making sure poor folks fight each other for the scraps instead of working together to get a fair share of the loaf.  But I don’t understand it.

  10. HappyinVT

    but I certainly see why it happens.  The frustration has to be overwhelming.

    I did read an article yesterday that took umbrage at the media coverage because Monday was really much less violent than we’ve been led to believe.  The vast majority of protesters were peaceful and some tried to calm tensions.  But the media loves to focus on the violence.

    The other comments I read that struck me dealt with the focus on how these are “racial riots” and the perpetrators are thugs and such but sports riots are touted as unfortunate or sad.

    Lastly, there is such a focus on the number of injured police but no one seems to care about how many protesters have been hurt because I’m sure they deserved it … or something.

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