How every police officer becomes complicit in a terrible system

An anonymous writer on Medium — identifying themself only as Officer A. Cab — has written an impassioned but scathing piece about the complicity of modern policing. This writer, claiming to be an ex-cop, shares his own shameful experiences being silenced for speaking against the "bad apple" officers, and eventually just going along with things he knew were inherently problematic. "American policing is a thick blue tumor strangling the life from our communities," he writes, "and if you don’t believe it when the poor and the marginalized say it, if you don’t believe it when you see cops across the country shooting journalists with less-lethal bullets and caustic chemicals, maybe you’ll believe it when you hear it straight from the pig’s mouth."

That's just in the intro. It gets way more in-depth, with numerous moments of quotable perfection (and a particularly disgraceful anecdote about some pay-to-play homeless abuse). I'll leave you with this passage, which has really sat with me:

Your community was not made safer by police violence; a sick member of your community was killed because it was cheaper than treating them. Are you extremely confident you’ll never get sick one day too?

Wrestle with this for a minute: if all of someone’s material needs were met and all the members of their community were fed, clothed, housed, and dignified, why would they need to join a gang? Why would they need to risk their lives selling drugs or breaking into buildings? If mental healthcare was free and was not stigmatized, how many lives would that save?

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Creator of the Punisher is organizing a Black Lives Matter benefit to reclaim the skull symbol from police

Writer Gerry Conway has been vocal for years about the misappropriation of the Punisher, a vigilante murderer superhero he created in 1974 when he wrote Amazing Spider-Man #129:

It's disturbing whenever I see authority figures embracing Punisher iconography because the Punisher represents a failure of the Justice system. He's supposed to indict the collapse of social moral authority and the reality some people can't depend on institutions like the police or the military to act in a just and capable way. […] Whether you think the Punisher is justified or not, whether you admire his code of ethics, he is an outlaw. He is a criminal. Police should not be embracing a criminal as their symbol.

Unfortunately, Conway's insistence on what's plainly obvious for anyone who's actually familiar with the Punisher has not stopped the character from becoming a symbol of fascism, proudly worn by law enforcement agents who probably shouldn't be boasting about their love of fascism.

Now, with protests against police brutality raging across the country, Conway is taking another approach:

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Boston Police Union throws a tantrum over Black Lives Matter at school week

Boston's got a bad reputation when it comes to race. And unfortunately, much of it's deserved. Of course, there are people who are trying to fight and make a positive difference despite the segregation that's left the predominantly black neighborhoods behind in schooling and socializing. Which is why the Boston Teacher's Union planned a week-long series of events in coordination with Black Lives Matter, to help educate students on inclusion and restorative justice. After all, February is Black History Month. So that all sounds good, right?

The Boston Police Patrolmen's Association disagreed, and sent a letter to BTU President Jessica Tang condoning the events. In the letter, BPPA President Michael Leary refers to Black Lives Matter an "anti-police organization" who has endangered the lives of Boston police officers. This is demonstrably untrue. But BPPA refuses to let the facts get in the way of their feelings. The letter continues on about the "irrational hatred" of BLM, accusing them of "inaccurately demonizing police as racists who kill innocent people" before passive-aggressively warning about the potential dangers of not cooperating with Boston Police, like some kind of mob protection racket.

BPPA is also upset about an education initiative to provide more funding for guidance counselors, instead of just shoving more police officers into schools to solve behavioral problems by threat of force. Read the rest

Mashing up NWA with an old Irish rebel song

Last year, I cracked a joke on Twitter about the surprising similarities between NWA's "Fuck the Police" and Dominic Behan's famous Irish rebel song, "Come Out, Ye Black and Tans." At the urging of my friend Darach, author and host of the Motherfócloir book and podcast, I recorded a quick video of the two songs mashed-up together, that got a couple thousand views.

This year, I decided to formally record the mashup in my home studio, and release it as a digital single. But shortly after I started working on, the Wolfe Tones' version of the song miraculously returned to the #1 spot on the Irish music charts, in response to a government proposal to commemorate the Irish bootlickers who joined the Royal Irish Constabulary — aka, the Black and Tans — in the 1920s as reinforcements against the IRA during the Irish War of Independence. That's like the US putting up a statue to the soldiers behind the Boston Massacre.

Then, the day after I submitted my song to my music distributor, I got a message from Darach saying that I got a shout-out on this week's Pogues-centric episode of the Motherfócloir podcast — and sure enough, he'd pulled the audio from my earlier video recording of my mash-up, and was already getting requests to hear the rest of it.

So anyway, here's my single version of the mashup. Hopefully all that serendipity actually means something.

"Come Out, Ye Black and Tans (Fuck The Police)" by Thom Dunn

Image: National Library of Ireland Read the rest

BREAKING: A quantity of those who labor in police departments are the same as those who ignite crucifixes

Oh look. A bunch of American police cadets giving a Nazi salute. Whom ever could have seen this coming?

From the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

Several West Virginia state employees have been suspended after a photo emerged depicting a training class of roughly 30 correctional officers performing a Nazi salute.

Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Director Jeff Sandy sent a letter to all employees Wednesday describing the photo as “distasteful, hurtful, disturbing, highly insensitive, and completely inappropriate.”

The photo, on state letterhead, shows almost all of Basic Training Class No. 18 displaying the Nazi salute. Text above the photo reads: “HAIL BYRD!” [a reference to the trainees' instructor]

This reminds me of something. It almost makes me feel a certain … animosity towards an automated contrivance.

While it's good to know that a "number" of these employees have been "suspended," it would be far more comforting to know that they were all fired, along with all the other officers who condone such activity. But I'm not actually expecting much more than a few slaps on the wrist and one or two high-profile Fall Guys before the whole thing gets brushed aside and these Neo-Nazis end up patrolling the streets.

WV employees suspended after photo emerges of correctional officers' Nazi salute [Jake Zuckerman / Charleston Gazette-Mail]

Image via West Virginia state officials Read the rest

Frog and Toad "Fuck the Police" T-shirt

Frog and Toad are friends.

But Toad had a run-in with the law.

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth And nothin' but the truth?"

"I got somethin' to say," said Toad.

"FUCK THE POLICE."

Frog and Toad aren't going to take it anymore.

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Loads of Etsy sellers have this as a t-shirt design, for both adults and kids. Why...? BuzzFeed has the story:

A mom from Benton, Illinois, hilariously discovered the shirt she ordered for her 3-year-old daughter from a Chinese retailer came with an additional design element that wasn't originally advertised on its site.

Kelsey Dawn Williamson, 23, told BuzzFeed News she's profoundly confused and has not stopped laughing since she received the T-shirt order from AliExpress, an online, Etsy-like retailer based in Hangzhou, China, that hosts small businesses.

On May 10, Williamson placed an order for this shirt, which features an iconic image of classic children's book characters Frog and Toad, for her daughter Salem...

On Tuesday, however, she opened the package to find the Chinese retailer had taken liberty with 3-year-old Salem's new shirt by adding a slogan to it.

Image via KeyshaDesign

Thanks, Mishpen! Read the rest