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America, a Land of Slaves, a Land of Heroes. Analysis

Author: Ayre от 12.07.2015, 10:00
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News reels with daring American soldiers, the underwriters of the global democracy, striking at the heart of yet another impeding threat, are aired day in day out by the world media. Attacks against terrorist and separatist nesting grounds and military drills intended to train skills and share expertise with less daring allies on a daily basis build the image of the United States as the last bastion of heroes on an enduring mission to protect peace. When President Obama or some of his sidekicks, Senator McCaine included, speak out, we feel reassured that the world peace is secure, and values of democracy, free speech and free choice are unshaken.

This thick salad of ‘universal heroism and sacrifice’ is persistently sprinkled with news of US police officers killing Americans, blacks and whites, armed with toy pistols, lighters, airguns, or just unarmed. A white man suspected of stealing a can of beer in a local bar was shot just a few days ago. Initially the man complied, cleared the bar doors, but then for reasons unknown drew an air pistol tucked under his belt. Without further ado, police officers sprayed him with bullets. The victim was dead at the scene. The video of the shooting was broadcast by all the global media. Granted, the guy gave police a perfect case. But what about a warning shot? Has anybody tried to incapacitate the suspect aiming at his legs rather than shooting to kill? And as a law enforcer how would you justify seven or eight bullets in somebody’s back?

America that totes democracy across the world is becoming a increasingly oppressive police state where odds of being killed by a police bullet are ten times greater than dying in a terror attack. Police brutality in the US has crept up into people's daily life. Police beat their suspects to death, shoot and taze them without even being sure that they face a hardened criminal rather than a bona-fide citizen caught in a police chase. In most of the cases, courts side with the law enforcement while officers get acquitted thus provoking bouts of anger in communities that are in turn repressed as brutally. Democracy is an untidy lady.

Public demonstrations against police brutality and racism peaked in November and December last year affecting 37 out 50 US States. A wave of protest started in Ferguson, MO, and raged through New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta, San-Francisco, and Oakland. In the New York City alone more that 50,000 people took to the streets on November 14, 2014, and marched to the NYPD Headquarters. Protests in Ferguson notoriously turned into riots.

People are appalled when common citizens get killed, and dismayed when murderers in uniform manage to walk away from their crimes. Police officer Darren Wilson got an acquittal in court after he shot a 14-year-old dark-skin teenager and triggered the Ferguson riots. Another acquittal was granted to officer Daniel Pantaleo that stifled to death another Afro-American, Michael Brown, as the cop tried to subdue the father of six children and asthma sufferer. The charge of using an unauthorized restraining technique was dropped. And as if by sheer magic a can of pot and an automatic pistol were ‘found’ in the car belonging to another police shooting victim, Romain Brisbane, who was mistaken for a drug dealer and gunned down. Local drug dealers must be tough enough to can their marijuana…

Overwhelmed by its crusade for global democracy, America increasingly strips its own citizens of their legal rights. People are deprived of opportunities to defend their right to free speech. Any objection to police, no matter how legitimate, may cost you a Taser sting or a handcuffed trip to a police station. And expect no mercy if you are Black. US cops are world champions in shooting at unarmed Black targets. Internet is awash of shocking evidence of police side arms being used even against school-age children! A ten-year-old who has brought ‘adult-size’ scissors to finish a handiwork piece in school can easily be stunned by electroshock or booked. Just remember that the youngest person killed by law enforcement officers was the 12-year-old Tamis Race from Ohio who was shot on a playground over a toy gun in his hand.

US authorities make every effort to conceal the dire facts of street violence. From as early as 1994 activists campaign for the US government to collect statistics on police killings, to no avail. The only figures you can find online are those unofficial statistics that human-rights activist have collected from media reports of people killed while being arrested. Based on those data, 1105 US citizens were killed in those circumstances in 2014 alone. For 2015, the national figures show 91 people killed in January, 85 in February, 115 in March, 101 in April, 82 in May, and 80 in June. Again unofficially, more that 5,000 Americans were killed by police between 2001 and 2014. As I said previously, in the United States you stand much better chance being killed by law enforcement than dying in a terror attack!

A survey conducted in 2010 came to some uncomfortable conclusions. For that year, cops were found to violate the law on 2541 separate occasions. In 23 per cent of cases they used excessive force in apprehending suspects, and in 13 per cent of incidents suspects were killed: 60 per cent of them died of bullet wounds, 23 per cent were beaten to death, and 17 per cent lost their lives to Taser-induced electrocution. In 2014 alone, police invaded private dwellings without warrant more than 80,000 times! Still skeptical about democracy? We are on our way!

The US Prison Population

Another relevant fact is swept under the rug by western media: the number of people incarcerated in prisons and other correctional facilities. These numbers are skyrocketing. People get imprisoned even for minor offences that do not represent any threat to the community. Americans are taught to be docile and obedient. Every American lives with the perception that on any given regular day he or she may end up in prison. It makes them more loyal to their government. Isn’t this the pinnacle of democracy? While at the same time and unnoticed by the general population, private prisons keep springing up. Private enterprise is there to make profit. Prisons are there to be filled. The business community has made its investment, and it is now for the government to fully utilize this indispensable implement of democracy. I am not even talking about the pervasive surveillance that is taken for granted in the US and deemed vital for the safety of the public. The same public that gets mindlessly slashed by trigger-happy cops in their quest of drug dealers and car thieves.

Prison population held in privately owned or operated correctional institutions

As I look at these simple and publicly available stats a question comes to haunt me: how come that a nation ruled by a totalitarian dictatorship pretends to be a guarantor of democracy across the world? And how can democracy be imposed from outside? Imposing freedom on someone sounds pathetic indeed. My observations lead to a distressing conclusion: in some not-so-distant future we might be obliged to impose democratic rule on the United States that will have expended itself in its imperialistic ventures in pursuit of global domination outside and a rampant police state inside. Although there are still chances to see the power-hungry US government being mercilessly swept away by the American people tired of abusive law enforcement and rebelling against its democratically sanctioned incapacity.

A couple of thoughts about Russia. Let those souls disturbed by police abuse in our country be soothed: the number of Russians killed by police is minuscule. The number of those killed by ‘mistake’ is virtually zero. Police acquittals are nearly non-existent, and any misuse of firearms will put the offending officer up for an immediate discharge. Nevertheless there is an impending danger to see this situation turn to a worse: ‘United Russia’s own Irina Yarovaya, the Security Committee Chair, recently submitted a bill to amend the existing Police Act. Should the amendments be passed police in Russia will be granted unlimited powers under the Presumption of Trust to enter premises, to access vehicles without due consent, to search people on suspicion, and open fire in public places at anyone including women that do not show outward signs of pregnancy. Police can be empowered to enter private properties to apprehend persons not formally deemed suspect or publicly charged. This motion is controversial. The amendments tabled by Irina Yarovaya and designed to back the anti-terror effort are fraught with the same danger as in the United States where you are more likely to be killed by a cop than in a terror attack.



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