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November 20th, 2021

Locked And Loaded And Pointing At Every One Of Us

In the fury to come about the Rittenhouse verdict, and how it gives right wing terrorists license to hunt and kill people protesting racist police violence, spare a moment of thought about the reporters covering those protests.

We have seen since Ferguson how the police actively target reporters on the scene. It got to the point during that unrest, that police would suddenly charge a protest line and drag away a specific person their intelligence thought was an activist leader. They would also arrest and detain news camera crews and reporters. Over time since Ferguson, it escalated to shootings of reporters and video crew with rubber bullets which were later justified as “confusion” as to whether the camera was a gun or not. 

We have seen over and over how police shootings often end up being justified by the cop saying they thought the person they shot had a gun in their hands. “I thought it was a gun”. But it turned out to just be a wallet or a cell phone.  

I thought it was a gun. Now add armed right wing civilians into the mix, lax to non-existent local firearms regulations, and local police affinity with right wing terror groups. The protests that night in Kenosha were about the Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake, yet another police shooting of an unarmed black man…in the back three times, and in the side twice…and clearly the Kenosha police that night appreciated the company of that squad of white militia. In fact, as the ACLU reports, they herded the protestors toward them…

“His acquittal comes after our investigation exposed how Kenosha law enforcement used violence against protesters and drove them toward white militia groups, in ways that escalated tensions and almost certainly led to these shootings…”

The white militia were on the side of the police. Against the protestors. Who were there to protest the police shooting, in the back, of an unarmed black man.

I used to go to every news event in DC with my cameras, wander among the crowds and document what was happening. Sometimes I got my photography into a local newspaper. More often it was just to capture the history I was living through for myself. I have quite an archive now of that history. I’ve put some of it up on my website.

But lately I’ve been more hesitant to do that then I ever was, even during the worst of the riots of the 70s. Partly it’s age. My legs just don’t hold up as long as they used to. Partly it’s opportunity. The job I have doesn’t always keep regular business hours. But mostly now, right now, it is this: It’s going to be very easy going forward, for some armed right wing thug to shoot dead anyone with a camera and claim, even laughingly, that it was self defense. They will absolutely do that to commercial news reporters. Street photographers will absolutely be targets too. In Ferguson they were merely arrested and held in jail for doing their jobs. Now they can be shot. Not by the police, but by friendly white militia.  

I thought it was a gun…I thought it was a gun…I thought it was a gun…hahahahaha…I thought it was a gun…

by Bruce | Link | React!

November 3rd, 2021

The One Thing A Thief Hates Being Called Is A Thief

This came across my Facebook stream today…

The text post enlightened me on details I hadn’t heard regarding the kook pew complaints over CRT, especially the black-supremacist angle. That was a new one to me and it tweaked my interest. This gay man endured decades of seeing our struggle for equality labeled as us wanting “special rights”…in other words, more rights than everyone else. But really the complaint was we wanted more rights than bigots thought we deserved.

It’s really stunning in its way, how equal rights, equal opportunity, equal justice, gets its most venomous pushback from exactly the direction you would, in retrospect, have expected. But there is always a learning curve.

There are those of us who grew up in the culture and simply didn’t question it because it all seemed to perfectly normal. We were born to it. It was our daily lives. But then we began to see the foundations of that normalcy and it shocked us, and it called to our moral sensibilities, the very things we were raised to, all those days in the church pews, all those hours listening to the morality plays of our youth, and we began to work for change, not because we felt guilty, but because we felt a moral obligation once we could see the problem, to fix it. It was simply how we were raised. It’s what you do.

But there were others who seemed to know intuitively that They Were The Problem, and you saw it in how outraged they became at even discussing the problem, and how furiously they denied there even was a problem.

If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, it’s not the mirror’s fault. And I am not so much woke, as still that little Baptist boy sitting in the pews who was told that as you sow, so shall you reap, and though I am an atheist now, I still see the truth of that.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 20th, 2020

Thief

 

There is not an honest person among them. But we knew this. Because racism takes that from you. It has to. If you can take the black man’s humanity from him, then taking someone’s, anyone’s money, regardless of race, becomes trivial. The Rubicon has already been crossed. You became a thief the moment you refused to see a human, a neighbor, in the Other.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Thief

April 20th, 2020

Disturbing Echos Of The Past

This came across my Facebook news stream this morning…

 

A friend posted this with a comment about how it reminded him of that iconic photograph of the solitary Chinese man standing in front of a line of tanks during the Tiananmen Square massacre. And if you think that’s hyperbole recall how in Charlottesville Virginia a neo fascist drove right into a crowd of people peacefully protesting the Unite The Right rally there killing one and injuring 28. These were more of Trump’s Very Fine People in those cars.

These healthcare workers were risking their lives here. Which, yes, they do anyway. But they shouldn’t have to do it like this.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Disturbing Echos Of The Past

June 1st, 2017

Somewhere You Can Hear The Sound Of Dinosaurs Laughing

Depend on the ecologically minded Germans to react with alarm to Trump pulling us out of the Paris Accord. Bonus hilarity for when Trump babbled about being elected to represent Pittsburg not Paris, and the mayor of Pittsburg essentially told him to fuck off, his city is sticking to the Paris Accord. Today Der Spiegel reposted this cover from last November on its Facebook page. It was prescient, and yet so terribly obvious; everyone had to know what was coming next.  

 

der spiegel trump asteroid earth

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Somewhere You Can Hear The Sound Of Dinosaurs Laughing

November 26th, 2016

Who Are The People That You Think You Are?

Fred Clark was tweeting about his Thanksgiving today. Seems it was more like the movie Twelve Angry Men…the Henry Fonda version…and himself in the Henry Fonda role, than a nice family get-together. His isn’t the only story of this kind I’m seeing out here. You begin to wonder if Thanksgiving or any family holiday is worth keeping in the new/old America. And it’s not just the blood family, but the chosen one too. So many people so suddenly dumbfounded that friends they thought they knew turned out to be perfectly fine with installing a racist, sexual predator in the White House, for whatever slippery self serving excuse they could come up with at the dinner table.

But this is good. Knowing where you stand and who is standing there with you after all, is always for the best, even when it’s painful. This is largely why I stayed home Thanksgiving. I had invites, I had a work related excuse to decline but I’d have stayed home anyway. You really don’t want to see me go nuclear. I expect the Christmas invitation lists are being rewritten even as I type this.

Good. Life is too short to be spending it in the company of louts. There’s a scene in Mary Renault’s novel The Charioteer which the main character, Laurie Odell, hears the man his divorced mother is about to marry take a cheap dig at a working class nurse…

“Well, girls of that class are often so  unfair to themselves. I expect under all that make-up she’s really quite a nice little thing”

It tells Laurie everything he needs to know about the character of the man his mother is about to marry. Renault writes:  Some events are crucial from their very slightness; because circumstances have used no force on them, they are unequivocally what they are, test-tube reactions of personality.

Just so. And this election was just chock full to the brim of such moments freely given to the public by the man now slated to sit in the oval office. From mocking a disabled reporter to pussy grabbing, Trump has left us no doubt as to the man he is. And it didn’t matter. To almost half the voting public it didn’t matter. And that, is also unequivocally what it is, a test-tube reaction of personality.

It has shocked us, the other half of the voting public. And who knows, maybe the rest of the nation too. And really…in retrospect…it shouldn’t have. We have always known this about them. We just didn’t want to know. And now we have to.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Who Are The People That You Think You Are?

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