Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ass Whippings For Everyone

I was planning on talking about some other stuff today, but this Philly cop beating is blowing up on the news. Now typically I wouldn't want to piggyback on what other folks are doing, but after watching the video and reading some comments at other spots I needed to say a little something.

Random ass whippings are not cool.

It's true that being a police officer is a high stress and high danger job, but that doesn't mean ass whippings can be handed out randomly. It just doesn't work that way. I understand officers were on edge because of the shooting of a police officer recently, but that doesn't mean that the police can retailiate against anybody they think has a gun and who pisses them off.

But, what I find more troubling are some of the comments I've read on a couple of other sites. I read The Field Negro everyday, and he was the first person to hip me to this shooting thing. I read his post on the subject and thought it was a good take on the topic of police brutatlity.

Unfortunately, when he was discussing the police shooting that touched off all this anger in officers he referred to the suspected perpetrator an "animal." It was a passing sentence, he didn't dwell on it, but it stuck with me and I commented on it over at this site.

I think it's important that we as human beings recognize that no matter what action another human being commits we cannot revoke their humanity. That is given to them by God and he is the only entity that has that power.

Look, I despise child rapists, serial killers and a whole host of other criminals. There is nothing redeeming about preying on the weak or wreaking havoc in other people's lives. Most criminals are not good people who've gotten caught on the wrong path, they are people who have made a decision to live a life they believe will provide them with the easiest path to what they want to accomplish.

But, they are still humans.

I firmly believe that society's willingness to classify criminals as subhuman is the reason why our prisons are hotbeds of violence and depravity that teach inmates how to become better criminals much faster than they teach them how to become productive members of society. There should be much more outrage about the way this country habitually imprisons innocent people, or the way we sentence those who are guilty. There is no excuse for society's cavalier attitude about prison rape or any other form of violence in correctional centers. If we deprive people of their freedom and take them under the care of the state, do we not owe them something?

When we as a society establish different levels of humanity, it is only a matter of time before we are justifying hideous actions against our fellow man because they have been placed in the wrong strata. This rationale has allowed genocides and enslavement to occur in countries across this globe, and it contributes to most of the evils done by humans.

Truthfully, it's not even a race issue, although I don't think it's a coincendence that black criminals are more likely to get that sub-human label than white criminals. No, I think it's our need as humans to justify our own callous natures; after all, it's ok to hate an animal, but it's kind of bad to hate a human.

We can lash out and give in to our feelings of anger without the nasty burden of guilt. We can justify any action, ignore any wrong, as long as we are convinced that those being hurt are less than human. In some ways, we even believe them to be less than animals because certain feelings we express towards criminals would never be acceptable if they were directed a cute dog or pretty cat.

However, deep down inside, we know it's a lie. In fact, I think that it's the knowledge our own hypocrisy that makes us lash out even more. We know that it is wrong to turn our backs on fellow humans, we know that it is wrong to hate no matter how heinous an individual's actions may be.

But, we cling to our lies because they are easier than the truth.


Unknown said...

I've been picking on you a lot lately, Big Man, but with this post you leave with absolutely nothing to say except - Amen.

Truthiz said...

WELL SAID Big Man!!! (standing up applauding)!

Your entire post is On point_On point_On Point_On Point!!!

IMO, Anger, Ignorance, Hatred, Violence, Destruction, Brutality, Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, GroupThink, Imperialism, etc_ are simply part of "the American way".

This nation Unjustly invaded_and continues to illegally, occupy_Iraq, a nation that did absolutely Nothing to us_Why? Because an American president and his Thug-azz, GANG wanted to beat the h*ll out of that Middle East nation, subjugate it's people and STEAL their Oil!

The lives of thousands of soldiers and Millions of innocent Iraqi civilians have Shattered forever! And the majority of Americans initially supported this Crime against humanity For several years_Why?!

Because it is "the American way."

But I digress.

Again, Well said Big Man!

Big Man said...


I'm glad you point out when I could do better. It's all love. If I didn't want people to criticize what I write, I wouldn't be putting it on one of the most public areas in the world.

And I'm glad y'all liked this post. It's a little rough, reading over it now I probably would have said some stuff differently, but that was just what I was feeling at the time.

Truthiz said...

I admit, I'm not a drinker but I tend to like everything else_

_straight up NO chaser Big Man_lol!

Anonymous said...

Very true. regardless of how vile a human is, they are still a human.

Imhotep said...

Big man, If I ever get in trouble I want you to be the judge. Excellent post!

Anonymous said...

This just confirms my basic attitude about Police. "The Police is not my friend. It is not his job to presume my innocence. In fact, in order to do his job of protecting the community at large, it might well be his job to presume my guilt and work backward from there."

I've met and been acquainted with many good police but it is pretty scary, how quickly they go straight to "arrest! arrest!" when having a conversation about average things that go on in the neighborhood.

That's not even touching on the cops that take their badge as a license to outdo the criminals, those police scare me worse than the criminals.

And anyone who has ever derived enjoyment of any kind in the beating of another has lost a precious and crucial part of their own humanity.

Vertis said...

Great post,
I agree with you whole heartedly, even though that makes me a hypocrite, because I have dehumanized criminals in the past on my blog. Hell, on one of my most recent posts on the trash-man character.

You're absolutely on point on how the language we use,is the first step to justifying violent acts against our enemies. It's been used in every recent war and act of genocide.

The Hutu referred to the tutsi as "rats and "cockroaches" before the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The Americans referred to the japanese as "japs" during world war two. The Jews were also labeled "rats" by the Nazi's.

If you think about how a pimp talks to women, he has to dehumanize them to make his violent behavior against them justifiable. He calls them B's and H's to make it easier for himself to hurt them.

If he called them women all the time, it would be harder for him hurt them, because his mind would have to deal with the fact his mother, aunt's and nieces are women too.

Sorry for going on a rant! Peace!

Big Man said...


Thanks for some real knowledge. That was some nice historical context; I'm adding it to my mental database. :)

(That was the first time I've ever typed the makeshift smiley face. I'm really starting to get into this Internet thing.)

Gye Greene said...

Big Man,

As always, good stuff.

To add on to your comment about it tough being a cop: Cops are put in a no-win situation -- they're supposed to follow the "innocent until proven guilty" thing -- but if they weren't pretty sure already about the guilt of the person they're dealing with, then they wouldn't be arresting him/her.

But police brutality is still messed up, no matter how you look at it.


Gye Greene said...


Fate's Granddaughter said...

Your point is the most overlooked and perhaps most important I have heard in discussion around these issues.

I too have been overwhelmed by the apparent acceptance of racial profiling and police failure to adhere to minimal force necessary. This is an outstanding contribution to the debate.

CurrentConductor said...

Just found your blog, and have been enjoying it - always refreshing to find a well-written blog!

However, I couldn't refrain from pointing out a discrepancy. This entry was great...and then a few minutes later I read this entry.

Isn't it a little dehumanizing to call someone a "heifer"? Calling a woman a word that not only takes away her humanity and makes her an animal but has historically been used to insult women based on their appearance and weight, not their ideas and morals or lack thereof?

I get that you were pissed. But I challenge you to meet your own excellent standards even when angry.

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