"Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"
--Glenda to Dorothy in The Wizard of OzAs I mentioned in my last post, a disgusting turn of events happened recently as a racist shitbag of a cop, Michael Slager is caught on tape fatally shooting Walter Scott a black man who committed the heinous transgression of fleeing a traffic stop. This story was bound to go n the increasingly typical direction of such tragedies: blah, blah, blah feared for my life, blah, blah blah self defense, blah blah blah, he was a threat, blah. This time though, a good Samaritan armed with his trusty camera, instead recorded Slager shooting Scott eight times in the back, handcuffed Scott while he lay there dying without administering any first aid whatsoever and (allegedly) dropping a weapon near Scott's body (which is impossible because our boys in blue are incapable of planting evidence or being dishonest, ever, right?)
Luckily Brittney Cooper, a columnist for Salon wrote a fantastic piece on this issue, giving this sickening display the gravitas it deserves, while heading off the obligatory BS rationalizations and excuse making off at the past. This captures the the frustration and outrage over yet another black life snuffed out by by "trusted" authority so well that I'm tempted to quote the whole thing. But I'll spare you and simply excerpt a distressingly common aspect of this phenomenon that infuriates me to no end:
And there are some questions that don’t need to be asked. We don’t need to ask about Walter Scott’s “history of violence.” We don’t need to ask about his “past crimes.” We don’t need to ask “whether he was a good father.” In this moment, none of those things matter. He is not on trial here. He was a person. He was unarmed. He was shot while he retreated from police. The police officer lied. Walter’s Scott’s life and the unjust taking of that life by Michael Slager are the only facts that matter.
As I mentioned in the comment section of this article, this is the part that gets me right there. The sheer dehumanization of the victims that comes afterwards in a way that Makes It OK. He was a "thug". He got suspended from school once. He smoked marijuana before and attended wild parties. He once stole a cookie from the cookie jar. He is a Scary Black Man that intimidates me to the recesses of my imagination simply with his very existence. Somehow this justifies being killed, even if he was unarmed and he was in a position of surrender and he was a fucking human being who deserved his life and not the implicit " Good riddance" occurring when scrutinizing irrelevancies in the victims past to determine whether they are "good enough" to not deserve their fate or not.
This is the part where the "racism" comes in. Yes the police do abuse their authority against a variety of people (maybe not against people like this of course. Wonder what's different?) but it's easier to abuse police power when you can capitalize on the racist subconscious of our society.