A few years ago I removed all of the politically charged content from this blog, partially for fear of alienating my potential audience in this and other projects. I consider this a valid exception.
So I think it’s fair to say that the world is on fire at the moment. And I just want to take a moment to talk about it. I’m going to ask you to read everything before passing judgement on what I have to say, because there’s a lot of seemingly contradictory things that need to be said, and misunderstanding in this environment just isn’t the way.
I completely get what the protests in America are for, and there is not a bit of doubt in my mind that they are necessary. America is a deeply racially charged country, and I don’t mean that every single person is racist, but I absolutely agree that the police, government, public institutions in general have so many racists in them that it’s amazing there aren’t more instances of people rising up against it. Pulling it into the minutiae of the issue; there is no world where it’s okay for a police officer to murder (and murder is what he did, not manslaughter) a non-violent criminal. It’s just not acceptable. And you can make the argument all day long that one criminal is much the same as another, but I ask you if you truly want to live in a world where a police officer can make that choice and face no consequences. And to those that suggest Derek Chauvin has been arrested, and that makes the issue null and void, I ask what about the rest of the people that this happens to?
With all that said, I firmly believe that those that have turned from protest to riot, are vandalising people’s businesses and homes, attacking people in the street, and so on and so forth, should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Your first amendment right to free protest does not cover a right to not be held accountable for ruining the lives of others. I don’t care that people may feel they deserve to bring others down to “feeling” like they do, to let it out, to rage against the great big American machine, but when you take it out on your community and the people in it, you’re no better than the thug moniker that your dipshit orange president gave you. Yes I agree that police should not be firing at civilians, and that’s a problem that very much needs sorting, but it’s as much the fault of a shitty system as it is the continued and repeated escalation of hostilities. Is anybody truly shocked that there’s talk of bringing in the military? I mean, on the bright side you’ll at least be less likely to be killed as a bystander by the armed forces than by the police, since they have to follow rules of engagement and presumably know the difference between an aggressor and a passerby.
I’m not going to get into the argument of black over-representation in crime statistics or that more white people are killed by police in the US every year than black people; they’re both valid arguments but they don’t address or help solve the issue at hand– it’s tantamount to saying “All Lives Matter”, which is of course a true statement, but not the one in focus right at this second. Like, when the US isn’t on fire, I’d gladly make the argument that All Lives Matter, but right now the US government needs to have a laser focus on the idea that maybe, just maybe, Black Lives Matter. Now in terms of whether it’s safe to protest when BAME individuals supposedly contract and are affected by the COVID-19 at a higher rate, I’d say it’s unwise, but that at the moment there seems to have been a collective decision made that the potential of getting sick is worth fighting for their rights, and you can’t help but respect that, even if in respect to the danger this holds for the country and the world at large, I disagree.
Also, off-subject slightly, yes, Antifa should be considered terrorists, and given that they attack civilians, so are the rioters. Arguing that criminalising them is tantamount to being against anti-fascism is like saying that being against the Nazis is being against socialism. They simply aren’t what the name would imply, and they’re exactly the kind of riot-encouraging scum that put fuel on this fire in the first place. They have a massive track record of attacking people during protests, and of bum rushing and non platforming events that run counter to their narrative of the day. For an “anti-fascist” group, they act an awful lot like fascists.
That works as a decent buffer to take a moment to talk about my home, the UK. The idea that there are protests in the UK for the same issue is ridiculous to the obscene. I understand that people want to show solidarity, but people have no business harassing our police officers for the actions of those across the pond. It’s a disgrace. Not only are our police empirically not racist, they’re so anti-racist in fact that they allowed the grooming gang scandal to happen rather than stop it in its tracks for fear of being dubbed racist. That’s right, they chose a twisted view of community cohesion over the well-being of children. If you want to protest about something, that should be the angle. In fact, our police killed three people last year– one black man, Trevor Smith, who had a gun; one white man, Sean Fitzgerald, for cannabis cultivation of all things; and one Pakistani man, who was the London Bridge attacker (a terrorist). Of the three, it seems to me that Sean Fitzgerald got the raw deal here. With that in mind, I take things one step further in the UK– given our high rate of COVID-19 infection and the massive risk that a non-socially distanced protest holds for the country, and without even going as far as to mention that these protests in London have also become violent; every single person involved should be at a minimum fined, and for the violent offenders arrests and criminal prosecutions should be levied. It’s simply not an issue to a level even remotely similar here, and to pretend that it is doesn’t show solidarity, in fact it does a massive disservice to the people fighting for something real in the US.
So, TLDR: US cops need to be held accountable, and the protesters need to be heard, while the rioters should all be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, Antifa are terrorists, and every single protester in the UK should (at least) be fined for breaching social distancing.
EDIT: Here’s a neat idea to ensure the aforementioned police brutality is kept in check: Every single police officer, regardless of function or station, must wear a working and active body-cam for one hundred percent of their shifts without fail. That includes toilet and lunch breaks, because that’s an excuse we can all already see on the wind, right? Technical issues can be mitigated by the fact that each officer outside of a station will always be with a partner. In the unlikely event that both cameras fail, then the immediate assumption is that the officers are deliberately concealing their actions in collusion. As part of their re-issued employment contracts they are prosecutable for any unexplained malfunctioning of their camera equipment. In any and all cases where an officer’s conduct is in doubt or an arrest is made, the body-cam footage is immediately and unequivocally part of the proceedings in full. Any actions taken while the body-cam is turned off are treated as though committed by a member of the public with no mitigating circumstances but no presumption of innocence. This seems extreme until you consider the age-old adage of every government ever– if you have nothing to hide, why would you mind being recorded? Certainly, in the UK, the most CCTV ridden country on this planet, there is zero argument against this. This protects police from unwanted lawsuits and undue suspicion, able to have any case against them thrown out immediately with video evidence, and it protects the public against police brutality.
It’s also never going to happen.