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American icon

By Michael J. Smith on Tuesday July 13, 2010 07:50 PM

Apparently some of the humane and high-minded opponents of the death penalty are willing to make an exception for Mumia Abu-Jamal:

.... leaders and individual board members of several of the organizations in the US abolitionist movement had signed... a “confidential” memorandum ... stating bluntly that, “As international representatives of the US abolition movement, we cannot agree to the involvement of Abu-Jamal or his lawyers....”

.... [T]itled, “Involvement of Mumia Abu-Jamal endangers the US coalition for abolition of the death penalty,” the memo .... asserted that the abolitionist movement in the US is trying to “cultivate” the support of the ultra-conservative and staunchly pro-death penalty Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), an organization representing some 35,000 police officers in the US that advocates the execution of Abu-Jamal and all other prisoners convicted of killing of police officers. The FOP, said the memo, has “announced a boycott of organizations and individuals who support Abu-Jamal,” and therefore anything done ... to aid his cause would be “dangerously counter-productive to the abolition movement in the US.”

The ins and outs of Mumia's case are complicated, Lord knows, and I don't pretend to have an opinion on whether he did the deed or not. But I don't care, either. A defeat for the cop lobby would make me very happy, a victory, very much the reverse.

The nightstick lobby has become such a political heavyweight that like the Israel lobby, they now find themselves looking for more battles to win. Doesn't matter what the battles are, in any substantive way; the point is to keep winning 'em. These gurney cases are a good choice: they appeal to public sadism and moral panic, and drive home the essential lesson that if the police don't like you, you could, well, get killed.

If there's anything to this story about "realistic" abolitionists trying to curry favor with the toilet-plunger Praetorians, it falls into a familiar pattern -- a little like Daily Kos' sick soldier-worship.

Comments (12)

The police, like Bond... James Bond, have a license to kill. Do not fuck with them unless you're prepared to go down in a blaze of gun fire.

I hate them and fear them...

I don't fear the police. I believe, very deeply, in a nearly religious way, in corruption.

Fuck revolution.

They way to bring down the House the Dollar Built is with corruption.

And that starts with the police. Dirty 'em up. Any chance you get. If you have the ability to suborn an officer of the law, take it.

I learned this from a call girl who used to live with me, many, many years ago (she saved my life, but she did not have a heart of gold).

She kept half the PD and most of the judges in her black book.

And cops are divided personae. They're almost all superstitiously religious, and cheating, fornicating, testosterone high addicted adrenaline junkies.

Quite a few are juicers.

So many opportunities, there...

"And that starts with the police. Dirty 'em up. Any chance you get. If you have the ability to suborn an officer of the law, take it"

Unfortunately, as a dirty hippy, I have very few chances to suborn officers of the law.

And if you're looking for corrupt police, well just look at the one nearest you.


I think Jack has a point about the porkers being divided personalities. (Aren't we all, you may say, and you'd be right.)

But it's particularly striking with the cops. When you encounter them off-duty, in their private capacity, as often as not you encounter a guy who's just like any other guy, if slightly more of a prick.

Sometimes you can even evoke a halfway human response when they're in uniform and armed -- though this is becoming more and more difficult, as they mold themselves increasingly into Robocop mode.

But in their professional capacity they're increasingly snide and contemptuous and *above* you; and the implicit threat of physical violence is never far from the surface -- as if they were some crazy kind of lumpen-chivalry, and you were just a peasant: the beggar on horseback lashes the beggar afoot.

"Sometimes you can even evoke a halfway human response"

Hurray for half way humans!

I'm sorry... too many bad contacts with the enforcers to feel much sympathy with them.

Like I said, I hate them and I fear them. It's a survival response to the only predator I know.

CF Oxtrot:

I've been poorly treated by my town's supposedly "liberal" cops, as have quite a few other bicyclists. We have lots of cyclists here, and we also have a city govt and police force that hate cyclists. Luckily our muni judge who hears local police matters knows the coppers are thuggish and arrogant, and most of us who get mistreated by the coppers, we get some good end result from the judge. That's how mine went.

Generally I do not like the police, pretty much never have. I've had only one good encounter, and that was with a local Sheriff, in a rural county in western MT -- he was relaxed, friendly.

I know they're more relaxed generally in the rural counties out here. They don't really have police forces, they have Sheriffs and deputies and the number of officers is small. I hear they're a bit tougher on shiny euro sporty cars and big shiny SUVs, especially the ones with CA or TX plates.


"And cops are divided personae. They're almost all superstitiously religious, and cheating, fornicating, testosterone high addicted adrenaline junkies."

Dunno about that. I'd like to believe it, but most of the cops I've met are incredibly boring ex-jocks who lacked the social skills to become salesmen.

Maybe your Canadian cops have more Canadian in them, then copper?


could be

I wouldn't waste what funds I have trying to bribe a cop. I need that money for the corner wino, so said wino can at least have ten extra minutes of enjoyment before the cop shows up to kick and/or taser his butt.

On a related note, the earlier post about how fun it would be to just vote barking-loon-Right clear down the ballot line next time out was entertaining... in the abstract. IRL, no reasonable person should advocate this. Look: it's been several election cycles since I voted Dem, and it was only halfway through last year that they FINALLY stopped calling me and plaguing me with their saccharine buckets of junk mail. Do I really want to restart that whole cycle all over again, with an only marginally different cluster of assholes? Bleah.


It's funny, and gratifying, to find myself being *less* severe on the police than everybody else in the conversation. Normally I'm Mister Off-The-Pig, and everybody else is appalled at my contemptuous hateful fury.

My reason for believing that they can't be all that different from the rest of us, emotionally or psychologically, is that there are so many of 'em. The extreme tail of the distribution doesn't have that much area under the curve.

Then, too, I know people personally -- known 'em from childhood -- who became cops. These are not, or were not, particularly diseased personalities. My guess is they wanted to be behind the gun rather than in front of it, which is not an unreasonable career choice in a police state.

What will happen to them, as human beings, over the next decade or so, as they become accustomed to pointing the gun at other people -- that's another matter. Hard to believe it wouldn't have a detrimental effect.


cops of any color
are the white guys friend around here

this affection runs deep
the armed end of "the state"
never did them any harm
maybe firemen are better but ...

this affection
explains why regular joes and janes
of the white wage class type
who haven't actively brushed up against "the law"
drunk driving disturbing the peace
usually display
a certain dull disinterest
about abstract
civil liberties
their liberties or at least the liberties
they value
have never been violated

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