A New Meaning for “States Rights”: Community Sovereignty for Health and Safety

Most of us remember at least vaguely the constitutional admonition that any authority it does not explicitly assign to the federal government, “are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” (Amendment X, to the Constitution of the United States of America) We also remember how southern politicians weaponized the principle of “states rights” … More A New Meaning for “States Rights”: Community Sovereignty for Health and Safety

Misunderstanding Police: Transformation, Not Mere Reform

Recent calls to “defund the police” miss the point, yet they point to something important to both the public and police themselves. More than anything, such demands express the frustration that comes on the heels of not only the recent police killings but in response to decades of attempting to reform police institutions to purge … More Misunderstanding Police: Transformation, Not Mere Reform

Frenzy: When Murder, Pandemic, and Eco-Chaos Collide

In a recent post here, I asserted, “the title to Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything, may apply to everything now, not least of which is the human behavior in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Well, as the current frenzy grows, that seems a gross understatement. As recent events and global trends grow more … More Frenzy: When Murder, Pandemic, and Eco-Chaos Collide

Reform is not Enough

The violence continues. It seems pervasive. The list is long and diverse. Cops shoot unarmed Black men in every major American city. A lone deranged Air Force veteran kills five Dallas police officers. A disturbed marine Iraq-returnee assassinates three more in Baton Rouge. Suicide bombers turn Brussels, Paris, and Bagdad upside down. A wife-beating suicide … More Reform is not Enough

Drone Cop. Part I: Destroying Citizenship by Dehumanizing Police

Remember “RoboCop,” Paul Verhoeven’s landmark sci-fi thriller movie? A future monolithic corporation controls a crime-infested Detroit. It transforms a dead police officer into a cybernetic law-enforcement “unit” called RoboCop. The cyborg hero devastates urban criminality, and soon the streets are safe.[1] RoboCop is little more than an cybernetic enforcement drone; the remains of his humanity … More Drone Cop. Part I: Destroying Citizenship by Dehumanizing Police

Good Cop, Bad Cop: You Can’t Train a Psychopath to be Compassionate, But You Can Destroy a Good Man’s Compassion

The continuing surge of news stories about highly questionable police killings of unarmed civilians, is shocking enough on its own account. The victims are mostly young black or brown men but also women and even children. It is important to keep in mind that this pattern of police violence did not start with the advent … More Good Cop, Bad Cop: You Can’t Train a Psychopath to be Compassionate, But You Can Destroy a Good Man’s Compassion

Homelessness, Plutocrats, Over-population, and the Climate Crisis

The “homeless” person is part of what is perceived by the power elite as an unneeded collection of persons of no value to the system – a “surplus population.” I first ran across the concept of “surplus population” in a sociology journal article many years ago. The point was simple: a certain number of “positions” … More Homelessness, Plutocrats, Over-population, and the Climate Crisis

The Death Dance Continues: “There is no excuse for …” But there are Reasons

The upsurge of rage over the apparent police killing of twenty-five year old African American Freddie Gray in Baltimore is emblematic of widespread public discontent with law enforcement. It is just the latest incident demonstrating the continuing chaos in the relationship of American law enforcement to the citizenry. There is little point in listing here … More The Death Dance Continues: “There is no excuse for …” But there are Reasons

Adolescent Cop Mentality

The flow of video evidence of police tendencies to use violence as the primary tool of their trade steadily increases. Some write this off as an artifact of technology or as individual incidents not representing the whole of law enforcement. But as I look at all those citizens’ smart-phone videos taken largely because they happened … More Adolescent Cop Mentality

Death Dance: The Downward Spiral of Police-Citizen Conflict

Maybe New York Mayor De Blasio’s public statement acknowledging the problem almost everyone is aware of was the tipping point. He described having cautioned his “bi-racial” son about the dangers of interacting with a police officer in New York City. The NYPD reaction was immediate outrage and public expression of disrespect for the man with … More Death Dance: The Downward Spiral of Police-Citizen Conflict