Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A Majority of One (Flags and Knees Edition)

"'My Country, right or wrong' is something no real patriot would think of saying. It is like saying 'My Mother, drunk or sober." -- G.K. Chesterton, "A Defence of Patriotism"

"To See what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle" -- George Orwell, "In Front of Your Nose"

Today is a two-fer.

Today we get to talk about two groups of idiots, simultaenously.

With regards to the recent "controversy" surrounding NFL players and their silent protest at the National Anthem, and to the reactionary attitude this has elicited, Your Overlord has the following things to say:

1. Who gives a fuck?

2. Really, who gives a fuck?

3. Can we get both sides to shut the fuck up so we can enjoy some peace and quiet for a change, because, honestly, who gives a fuck?

I will take issue with both sides. As quickly as I can sum this all up, it goes something like this:

NFL players are citizens, just like everyone else. They have constitutional rights, including the right to be a dumbfuck. On purpose. Taking a knee in a symbolic gesture is certainly NOT the most offensive thing I've ever seen in my life. Yes, I understand it offends some people, but as we've said here, many times before, no one ever had the right to go through life unoffended.

You don't have to agree with the stance the players are taking. That, too, is your right, but you should respect the fact that they are taking a stance...about something...they can't quite explain it...but I'm sure it's all about racist white people (yawn).

Someone should point out (I'm sure someone has), however, that while the players are protesting the dozens or so People O' Color shot by police every year they are ignoring a bigger problem, which is the hundreds of People O' Color being shot by other People O' Color every week. 

The inconsistency is both glaring and easy to explain; it's not really about People O' Color being shot by police, because if it was, you'd have to ask WHY this happens and you'd discover the reasons are a combination of the following: dumbass, criminal, bad attitudes, lack of respect for the law, a general feeling of entitlement to do as one pleases without consequence.

On the knee-taker's claims that police officers are specifically biased towards African-Americans, let me just say that if in your job 7-out-of-10 people you were likely to come across were a) the same color, and b) engaged in the same activities, and c) likely to be known to you, personally, specifically for those activities from frequent engagement, you might harbor a bias, too. It's not racism; it's familiarity, which is an altogether different thing.

Oh, play Pro Football.

Ask any cop, whether he's been on the force for a year, or fifteen, or twenty five, and they will tell you the same things; you will find the same people doing the same things and you will have run them in two, three, seven, fourteen times, only to see them released from jail and going right back to the things that put them there in the first place.

Are all of them guilty at the time they are confronted by a police officer? Maybe not. But most likely, yes. Seventy percent (or better) are pretty good odds that you have a criminal on your hands, and most likely a repeat offender, too.

Which leads us to just HOW it is police do their jobs.

I'm not a police officer, never have been. My father was one and I grew up surrounded by other cops. I know a lot of other police officers who are friends of mine. I've heard the talk, the stories, the advice they give one another. Take this with a grain of salt.

Police officers mostly do their job by observation which is conditioned by experience. That is to say that experience has led them to the conclusion that when a certain behavior is observed it is often an indication that something is not right. They are usually correct. Key word USUALLY. Occasionally, they do make mistakes or they misconstrue or misunderstand something they are seeing or hearing. They are human beings, after all.

Here's some examples:

* A young lady, scantily clad, is standing on a street corner late at night. When the traffic light is red, she's busy poking her head into the windows of stopped cars. Several buses will have passed without her getting on one. The officers who see her might leave her be, return a little while later to find her gone, and then return a third time to find her right back on the corner doing the same things she was doing before. If you're an officer, here are your choices: 

a) The young lady is a nursing student who doesn't have bus fare and is simply asking strangers for a ride home. Somehow, they wind up driving in a circle and she's back where she a world where GPS is common.

b) The young lady is a missionary spreading the Gospel one stopped car at a time. She is occasionally Raptured into Heaven every so often, only to be sent back because her work is not done. After all, there's at least one Camry owner out there that hasn't read John 3:16.

c) She's a prostitute.

* A scruffy-looking young man in a hoodie is dashing in and out of shadowy doorways in the dark of night in an upper-middle class neighborhood at 3 a.m. He seems to be turning doorknobs and then running to the next house. If you're an officer, here are your choices:

a) The youth is actually an Official Doorknob Inspector and he's just doing his job.

b) It's just Batman patrolling Gotham City.

c) This is a would-be burglar looking for an easy way into someone's home.

* You see a high-end automobile with out-of-state plates parked outside a known drug location in a crappy inner-city neighborhood. Two young white dudes step out of a slum, quickly get into the Beemer, and speed off. If you are an officer, here are your choices:

a) Just chalk it up as some kids from the suburbs visiting their sick grandmother.

b) The two kids are deliverymen. For a very swanky delivery service. They have just dropped a package at someone's address and have to get back to their delivery route ASAP.

c) Someone just bought drugs.

The point? When a cop sees a person of a certain type, engaged in a certain activity, and very often, the activity is more-prevalent among one race/ethnicity than others (ex: not too many Asians drink out of paper bags; you don't find many Orthodox Jews dashing from alley to curbside to hand out matzohs out to double-parked cars; not many Hindus are walking the streets at night with flat-screen TV's tucked under their arms), experience tells him: I've got a potential crime here. I'd better check this out.

Behavior correlates to criminal activity. Most of the time.

So when someone is stopped by an officer it's not most likely to be because of their race -- this becomes incidental, if routine -- but because their behavior indicated something was wrong. Sometimes they (the Police) are wrong. They inconvenience and embarrass people in the process, too. But there are worse things than being embarrassed and inconvenienced.

This is what certain portions of the community refer to as "driving while black" or "walking while black". They're being stopped for certain behaviors -- like driving with expired tags, which to judge from TV shows like Live PD and Judge Judy is a predominantly black phenomenon -- and they feel hassled.

Funny thing, though: if policing has become too aggressive, maybe it's because the communities in which these events are more-prevalent asked for more-aggressive policing in the first place?

It's when the embarrassment and inconvenience -- or being caught red-handed -- lead to an escalation that someone's likely to get themselves shot. Like a three-time-loser who doesn't want to go back to jail; or the dumbfuck who is riding dirty (he's got drugs or guns in the car, or warrants, and doesn't want the police to find out); or my personal favorite, the fucktard is driving without a license, without insurance, and thinks he going to talk his way out of it -- until he can't -- and then put up a fight,  or worse, think he can outrun the radio and the helicopter.

They found themselves in a easy-to-handle situation that rapidly went south because dumbass. And not to put all the onus on one side here, sometimes you get a dumbass cop, too. The resulting collision of two dumbasses then spirals out of control.

There isn't a cop I've ever met or known who figured that the thing that would really, really make his day is to shoot someone for no fucking reason. Or who figured that if he did shoot one, his badge would protect him. These are people who do a difficult job, often made more difficult by the people they come into contact with, unfortunately, with life-and-death consequences. And they would like to go home, too, when their work day is done.

So, I don't mind NFL players (many of whom have criminal records of their own, naturally) calling attention to something they consider a problem; that is their right. They've identified the wrong problem, sez me, but they can and should speak out for those rare occurrences where an injustice is committed. Just don't be so willfully blind to who is shooting who and how often they're doing the shooting or being shot.

The police are not the Enemy of the People; they are human beings who often make mistakes, or who find themselves, by the nature of their work, dealing with dangerous, desperate people who can be unpredictable. If an officer does do something illegal, questionable, or deadly, then investigate, prosecute, if necessary, and make the case that no one -- even someone with a badge -- is above the law.

I can get behind that.

I can't get behind the idea that criminals should be left to do their thing, otherwise, a bunch of other criminals will tie up traffic and take knees during the National Anthem. Clean up your own backyard first, fellas.

Now, to the other side of the coin: you insufferable douchebags who get all caught up in the flag with your phony fucking patriotism. I want to make it perfectly clear exactly what you are doing.

In your unbridled zeal to pass judgment on others you are, with your complaints that taking a knee is insulting, it's disrespectful, it's a slap in the face to the soldiers who died for our freedoms, you find it personally offensive... are being pretty fucking offensive yourselves.

We have freedoms in this country and you seem to believe they only go one way -- which is only the way you want them to go. So, in an effort to impose your constipated, 1950's view of America on everyone else, you have taken to insisting that other people be compelled -- against their will -- into taking part in a communal exercise which may go against their beliefs, their consciences, their political point of view. In order to impose your view that the constitution should be respected by singing the Star Spangled Banner (one of the WORST songs ever written) other people's constitutional rights -- the right to refuse, the right to choose not to partake -- should be shat upon.

Who gave you that power?

I'm pretty sure if we could hold a seance with those dead soldiers you keep flinging in people's faces (that's even more fucking offensive) and asked them just what it was they fought for, the majority would tell you THIS IS IT; the right to express an opinion, especially an unpopular one, publicly, without fear of reprisal.

After 20 years of listening to this sort of fucktard asshat whine about Political Correctness, about how their voices were never heard, about how their feelings were ignored, about how often they have had to suffer the retaliation of the Other Side in the Public Sphere, it takes a special brand of jerkoff to perfectly mimic the petty tyrants of false virtue, while claiming a virtue of their own.

This is a consequence of the Trump election that I was not looking forward to: every inbred, shit-kicking nosepicker in the country with a room-temperature IQ has been emboldened to be as petty, as vicious, as offensive, as blatantly obnoxious as the most annoying of liberals.

Congratulations! You have become that which you profess to hate.

And herein lie the problem.

Both sides are dug in. They have expended emotional capital in this thing (which is why they will never meet on any common ground and put this thing to bed). On the one side are functional illiterates with brain damage who want to argue trees while missing the whole fucking forest; on the other are more functional illiterates with brain damage who have taken it upon themselves to become the People's Commissars of Patriotism in the name of a ritual which doesn't really amount to a whole fuck of a lot.

Singing the song, even standing at attention with hand over heart during it, is not really a display of much of anything. It's not a guarantee of loyalty any more than reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is. Personally, I find both creepy, and worse, I find both to be a complete waste of time and effort which really signify nothing.

Hitler made everyone take a Pledge, too, you know.

Your life is neither enhanced nor degraded because someone didn't stand for the Anthem. The Republic is not endangered because someone says "No". The only thing that has been hurt are your feelz.

Fuck your feelz.

I have no regard for them just as I would have no regard for the feelz of one these permanently-menstrual Snowflakes who...just...can' Certainly not over something like this, a situation in which one group of citizens is invoking it's constitutional rights to protest complete stupidity (don't want to be shot by a cop? Don't be a criminal. Comply with instructions. Take your lumps like a man), and another is hiding behind their rights to perpetrate the hypocrisy of denying others their's.

It's a dick move.

In the meantime, with all this boycotting, the only people getting hurt are people who have no dog in this fight; they're just trying  to earn a living selling tickets and hot dogs. Empty stadiums mean empty pockets for people who probably don't make much to begin with. Selling fewer sneakers probably doesn't change the life of the poor Malay chick working 12 hours a day for 20 cents/hour to turn them out on quota.

No one is going to win this one in any way that actually matters.

This whole thing from beginning to end is a graphic illustration of why most people are too fucking stupid to be left alive.

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