Republican Senators including Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley have invoked the death of retired St. Louis Police captain David Dorn as proof of some kind of awful epidemic of anti-cop violence coming from the political left. Dorn was working as a security guard at a friend's pawn and jewelry shop when he was tragically shot and killed during a 2:30am robbery that was unrelated to protests against police brutality.
Dorn was a black man, who was deeply beloved in the community; while his death was certainly heartbreaking, it had nothing to do with any "defund the police narrative." Pawn shops and jewelry shops do unfortunately get robbed sometimes, but not because people hate the police; these stores get robbed because there are desperate people out there who saw the risk as worth it for the potentially lucrative target. In most cases, that desperation is caused by poverty, or addiction, or mental health, or some combination of these issues — the exact same issues that most of the "defund the police" crowd believe would benefit from more focused financial resources, which have otherwise been tied up in policing.
But there is no actual evidence of any increase of extreme violence from the political left (not even from "Antifa"). The bulk of political violence — both against civilians, and police officers — continues to come from the far right.
On Friday night, New York Police Commissioner Shea tweeted a photo of a bunch of bicycle repair gear and other commonly handy devices that had been confiscated from protestors, which he referred to as "the tools of criminals bent on causing mayhem & hijacking." At the time, I joked that it was some kind of sequel to the "Bicycle Rights" sketch from Portlandia. I carry every single thing in those photos (except the hammers) in my bicycle messenger at all times, and I've never even had a problem getting a plane with it all. The idea that these somehow constituted deadly weapons of war — in a country with a Constitutional right to bear arms, no less! — is utterly absurd.
But apparently, I made my Portlandia joke too soon. Because the very next day, the known white-supremacist collaborators in the Portland Police Department tweeted a similar photo of the supposedly-awful things with which their officers had been allegedly assaulted: hard seltzer, chickpeas, and a half-eaten apple.
More items recovered that were thrown at officers: Full beverage cans, bricks, bottles, rocks, food. pic.twitter.com/RTGILdcUKS
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) June 6, 2020
Police officers in America can be armed to the teeth with riot armor and helmets, carrying chemical weapons and ordnance cannons in their massive Bearcat tanks … and every single one of them is paralyzed by fear at the thought of a plastic water bottle. Why is that?
I guess it's true what they say: ain't no laws when you're throwing Claws. Read the rest
On March 5, 1770, militarized law enforcement officers committed a heinous act of state-sponsored violence in front of the Old Boston State House, shooting and murdering an innocent black man named Crispus Attucks along with four other people who were protesting against state-sponsored violence committed by militarized law enforcement officers. This massacre is largely recognized as a turning point in public sentiment against the corrupt authorities, which would eventually lead to a full-blown revolution.
On June 7, 2020, militarized law enforcement officers staked out a position in front of the Old Boston State House as a pre-emptive measure against people who were protesting against state-sponsored violence committed by militarized law enforcement officers, largely motivated by the unjust murders of innocent black people at the hands of militarized law enforcement officers.
While no one was killed during this embarrassing moment of accidental historical cosplay, public sentiment does appear to be turning against the authorities. Whether this leads to a full-blown revolution has yet to be seen.
Irony is dead. pic.twitter.com/UJTQAdBOVO
— Jake @ HUB History (@HUBhistory) June 7, 2020
Image: Public Domain via Paul Revere Read the rest
Linda Tirado is a photographer and the author of Hand to Mouth: The Truth About Being Poor in a Wealthy World.
And as of Saturday afternoon, she's blind in one eye.
Tirado had been covering the protests and riots in Minneapolis:
Early pics: pic.twitter.com/XLq6lHspBd
— Linda Tirado (@KillerMartinis) May 29, 2020
But around 2:30am on Saturday, May 30, Tirado posted that she had been hospitalized. According to Twitter, the doctors believe she was hit in the eye with a tracer or a rubber bullet, which either exploded, or just hit her in the exact nerve spot to cause damage. While the blindness is likely permanent, Tirado did offer the cold comfort that it was not her photography eye.
Click the links to read the tweets if you want more detail. You can also support her Patreon.
Up side, I do not have the plague, they tested me for covid and that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
Fucked world where I’m like “well they might have exploded my eyeball but at least it got me basic medical care!”
— Linda Tirado (@KillerMartinis) May 30, 2020
Let this be your occasional tragic reminder that the "less than lethal" tactics used by riot police are indeed quite dangerous, and potentially deadly; when I was in college, a girl at my school was killed by a pepper spray canister to the face after the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the ALCS. The idea that pepper spray and rubber bullets and tracer shells might be "less lethal" just makes police use them more egregiously, which leads to more and more of these horrible scenarios. Read the rest