Gimme Shelter

MISSOURI-master1050

I started writing this on August 14th. I let it go for almost a week, but, nope, the anger still hasn’t bubbled over.

See those guys in the full tactical gear up there, standing in front of an armored vehicle? That looks like it should come from a report in Iraq, or Syria, or Gaza. We’ve seen so many of those images over the past 13 years that we’re pretty immune to them, I think. Except, this is not any of those places. This is motherfucking Missouri. MISSOURI for Christ’s sake. The middle of our own damn country. This is the fruition of 13 years of fear and loathing in the wake of 9/11. We’ve officially descended into a police state.

Why do townie cops in suburban towns need full tactical gear, high powered rifles, gas grenade launchers, and armored vehicles? Are they the NYPD? Are they trying to prevent another 9/11? Hell, we could have a whole other argument about whether the NYPD really needs to be a junior division of the US Army, but that’s for another time. Life in a lot of these places isn’t all that crazy. There aren’t a ton of major crimes like in a big city, or on the Mexican border, and etc. And this generation, shit. Think about this. You have a generation of kids who grew up playing Halo and Call of Duty and such, and now they get to do it for real. That line of thinking isn’t just me generalizing. I think it’s encouraged. Becoming a cop isn’t just about protecting your town and doing some good. It’s about being the hero and saving everyone. And we wonder why some of these responses aren’t proportional?

Even more troubling is how the local police are handling this. Hiding the identity of the cop who shot the kid? Hiding the investigation? Realizing that hiding the cop doesn’t work and doxing him only to frame it as “the kid was a robber, so he totally deserved to get shot all those times”? Sending out your idiot cops in full motherfucking tac gear and armored vehicles, having them fire tear gas and flash bangs, and expecting less? This is all from the “Holy shit, here’s how to do it as wrongly as possible” manual. This is not motherfucking America anymore. This shit has gone to the gonzo zone. And the worst part of it is, even as more and more facts come to light, continuing to hide the police report about the shooting just makes things look worse. Maybe the kid did come at the cop in a threatening way that caused the cop to defend himself. You would think, though, that if that were in the report, they would have put that shit out the day it happened, and this likely would have blown over more quickly.

Let’s not forget the real stew that has bubbled over and then some. Ferguson, MO, is predominately black. Its power structure and police apparatus is predominately white, and pretty obviously racist as fuck. This really isn’t news. Minorities all over this stupid nation have to deal with the presumption of being guilty just because of the color of their skin. Keep that shit happening and it turns into a powder keg. A powder keg that exploded the minute that kid got shot. Don’t let anyone dissuade the happenings here. The race problem runs deep in this shit. Like it does when so many other minorities get done in by the strictures of power that are meant to protect them. The sad part is that so many white people can’t figure out why these people are angry. How do you think they feel when these protestors are met by an army — a real live fucking army, like they’re in the third world or some shit.

Lastly, for those of you who don’t get it. Who think the cop is the one being persecuted. Who think the kid “deserved” it. Step your white asses back and check yourselves. And for the love of fuck, don’t cry the fucking blues about how white people are being persecuted. You wouldn’t know persecution if it hit you in the balls. I know I don’t and I’m not even white. Seriously, check yourself.

This has been a fucked up week. It’s not really looking any better on the horizon yet. Maybe, one day, we’ll be able to learn from things like this and not let them happen again. A man can dream.

Header Photo Credit: The New York Times

What Does the Fox Say?

doinggood

I’m a stalwart Firefox user (I roll with their cutting edge Aurora build, which is a beta to the beta of forthcoming versions of Firefox). I’ve used Firefox for years. Hell, I was using it even before it was called Firefox. I feel kind of old school about it. I’m not a huge fan of Chrome. I don’t think it’s the best browser out there and I hate that as time has gone on, the heads who make Firefox have tried to make it look more and more like Chrome. Firefox has become, in some ways, such an afterthought in the browser world, that it’s almost crazy to see the level of press that Mozilla, the people who make Firefox, has gotten recently.

All of this stems from the fact that they promoted Brendan Eich, a guy who gave a fair amount of money in support of Prop 8, to be their CEO. This naturally caused a lot of blow-back, because Americans are finally waking up and realizing that it’s not exactly cool to deny people rights because they’re not the exact same as you. This continued to build for a few days until the guy resigned. Then the blow-back started the other way, about how the hell could they do that, it was his personal opinion, and etc. I’m happy that this was the final decision, and this is why.

It doesn’t take a lot of looking around to see just how much influence corporations and CEOs now have over our nation’s policies and politics. Supported by a legislature that bows before the corporate altar and a judiciary that is inclined to allow corporate rights to run amok, we’re at an interesting place these days. You don’t have to look much further than the Hobby Lobby case that was argued in front of the Supreme Court recently. At stake here? Essentially, the rights of a corporation to deny rights to a class of employees because of what they believe in. Supporters of the Hobby Lobby folks will try to offer a more narrow interpretation of this, but that’s what it comes down to (well, that, and the fact that conservatives hate vaginas). If the Court sides with them, it could open the door for all kinds of companies to deny rights about things to all sorts of people because they don’t agree with them. Sure, a small non-profit foundation that makes a free internet browser isn’t going to make as many waves as that, but you have to draw a line at some point.

In some ways, of course, this is an exaggerated comparison, but the fact stands that when a CEO is appointed, what they believe in matters greatly to the world around them. In a world where CEOs wield such influence (and a judiciary that continues to say that money talks… loudly), our rights can disappear just like that. If they go in believing that certain kinds of people don’t deserve rights, what’s to stop them from pushing their political agenda?

In Mozilla’s tag line on their homepage, they say that doing good is a part of their code. They’ve maintained policies that sacrifice usability in the name of higher standards (like holding out on h.264 for so long). Having a CEO who believes that a whole class of people don’t deserve the same rights that he enjoys and likely takes for granted is doing the exact opposite of that. No matter what his supporters think, firing Brendan Eich was the only possible outcome for Mozilla. You can’t do the most good otherwise. Kudos to Mozilla for getting this one as right as they could.