Thursday, July 07, 2016

Black Day in July

It's kind of like deja vu all over again. 1967, 49-years ago. I was just waiting to be admitted into officer school en route to flight school and, I prayed, fast jets. This happened. My buddies and I went down to the Detroit River waterfront and watched and listened. Patton main battle tanks patrolled Jefferson. You could hear the odd rifle shot, often answered by automatic weapon fire. It was overcast enough that the angry red glare of the burning blocks below were reflected in the clouds. From our safe perch on the Canadian side of the river we watched a society succumb to madness, fear and loathing. John R, Brush, Jefferson - street names that became indelibly etched into one's consciousness.



Now it's Dallas. Two, too many black men gunned down by white cops. Two too many. Two atop a pile of dead black men, grieving families and cops who seem to slaughter with impunity.

Two snipers. Eleven cops down. Five dead. More close to death. Black day in July. Half a century and we're still trapped in this shit. That's the lion's share of my lifetime. We've not moved on. Not really.

What in hell is wrong with us?

22 comments:

Ben Burd said...

Nothing wrong with us, Mound - we condemn all this shit, a lot wrong with them!

Quite frankly I don't think much of this stuff much anymore - can't do anything about it, it's their problem and until they want to fix it nothing will change. And we will remain apalled by it all.

If POTUS can't change minds then nobody can.

Anonymous said...

This is the version I remember.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPXL3iEVnCM

Owen Gray said...

History and violence collide yet again, Mound.

Lorne said...

What haunts me, Mound, is the absolute certainty with which I believe the unjustified killing of black people happens all the time, and the only crimes that have a possibility of being held to account are those captured on video. The Minnesota shooting, for example, would have been dismissed as just "another black guy going for his gun." And here at home, Sammy Yatim's murder would have been justified because he 'was coming at the cops with a knife." Fortunately, the video precluded that excuse.

The Mound of Sound said...


@ Ben - one of the realities for families that have been here going on two centuries is that you tend to have relatives in both countries. I do. I picked up another one last October when my daughter married a great young guy from Chicago. My best friend, 45+ years, is American. Maybe I see things a bit differently.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Owen and Lorne - so much for the illusion of civil society. Obama didn't set out to do it but his presidency has exposed the deep divisions that seem so intractable in his country.

Now that Americans can buy sniper-grade weapons online they're primed for this sort of violence. PermaWar furnishes communities with a pool of highly skilled shooters experienced in extinguishing human life.

I wonder if the NRA will be putting in its usual appearance after a mass shooting?

Steve said...

tribes rule, thats our nature and no amount of nurture can change DNA.

Steve said...

The military arm of the IRA. Cognitive dissonance has hit the politial arm of the African American.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

One of my favourite Lightfoot songs, "Black Day in July" about the race riots in Detroit. If I'm not mistaken it was censored from being played on the radio. I don't know for how long. Endless wars, riots and violence in their streets, non-stop propaganda, the American Empire is crumbling. The question is whether or not they'll take the rest of us with them. Leonard Cohen was wrong, Democracy is not coming to America.

The Mound of Sound said...

Pamela, James Traub has written an article you might find interesting that addresses your point.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/07/07/liberalism-isnt-working-but-illiberal-democracy-is-coming-to-america-trump-erdogan-orban/

The Mound of Sound said...

Here's another for your reading, Pamela. Harvard prof Steve Walt.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/06/26/the-collapse-of-the-liberal-world-order-european-union-brexit-donald-trump/

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Thanks for recommending these 2 authors. I read both of their articles and was impressed. I was not aware of the magazine FP. Now I am and will be reading it alot. It seems to be addressing topics that usually aren't covered, especially, in US foreign policy. In other words what the US really wants to achieve in it's foreign policy. I am finishing John Ralston Saul's Massey Lectures, "The Unconscious Civilization." This man is brilliant. One of his profound observations is that "The paradox of our situation is that knowledge has not made us conscious. Instead we have sought refuge in a world of illusion where language is cut off from reality."I've read this book first as a prelude and foundation for his book "The Collapse of Globalism", which I will be reading next. As an intellectual, I think Saul is in a league of his own. Maybe because he approaches issues from a philosophical frame of mind. Thanks again for your recommendations.

Anonymous said...

The Guardian's database of people killed by the police in the US is sometimes hard to find. You can google it, and funnily enough, NOTHING happens when you click the link. I wonder why, but am not surprised. The Empire doesn't like foreigners keeping an eye on their democratic melting pot paradise.

So here is the direct link:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/series/counted-us-police-killings

It's 5 to 1, black's killed versus white. Plus it's 567 so far this year or was the other day. They managed 1215 last year. The webpage has many interesting articles. Kern County CA is the worst place to be black, for instance.

The two who were executed recently that caused all the fuss were just a drop in the bucket. Which reminds me, that Torontonian killed by police in March I think, when he was on the phone to his Mum after running from them - anybody hear any more? The SI unit in Ontario has gone quiet on the matter on their website. I'd say Toronto police do a fair imitation job of the US amateurs given the official police moniker while being obviously unfit for the job.

Then in the US there's the ripping off of citizens by police, just grabbing their belongings and bank accounts. No way I'm ever going to visit this version of hell again. It's called Criminal Asset Forfeiture, and except for two states requires no proof. Great place, the US!

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/06/license-registration-assets-please-police-can-reach-bank-account-traffic-stop/

BM

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... sniper, former US military, shooting public officials from an elevated position in Dallas. Where have I heard that before?

Cap

Dana said...

The post-shooting procession of events is beginning to take on the characteristics of a ritual and like all rituals there's a sort of a celebratory element to it all.

Shooting and killing one another with military grade weapons is quickly taking over from baseball as America's pastime.

Askingtherightquestions said...

Mound, I believe that Lorne has a key point - This time is different because of the personal video and audio provided by smart phones. For the first time since the end of slavery, it is possible for black Americans to document the violence they face from authorities and broadcast to the world. They have, and the results are likely to be similar to the nightly news film from Vietnam showing death and destruction of American troops fanning the anti-war movement. The rise of Black Lives Matter is, I believe, has depended on the video documentation. The two new cases this week further document the lethal imbalance of modern policing, especially in "soft stops" like the one in Minnesota (Did you know your tail light was broken/not operating?).

Violence, fire arms, unending wars with the military training of an entire societal underclass. America has many, many questions to ask of itself.

Anonymous said...

- Disparity between the rich and the poor
- Extreme corporatism
- Militarised police force that abuses its powers
- Mostly indifferent population

As you has often written, we will likely see these kind of incidents until there is a proper revolution or humanity will be under the jackboot of fascism...

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:45 brings up an important point about the militarized police force. The available weaponry changes the way incidents are handled from a cautious minimal-force approach to an overwhelming violence approach.

One thing I haven't seen much discussion of is the outcome of this incident. Police had the shooter pinned down so he was no threat to anyone but himself. Surrender negotiations were ongoing, but then they sent in a robot bomb to blow him up! WTF?! Why? They had the option of simply waiting him out - just as PC Forcillo could have waited out Sammy Yatim.

Even in the US, execution is supposed to follow a trial. It won't happen, but I'd like to see the Dallas police charged with murder, just as PC Forcillo was. Police are only supposed to respond with deadly force in self-defence.

Cap

The Mound of Sound said...


I was surprised to learn that the shooter used a vintage, Soviet-era SKS, 7.62X39mm rifle. They're a cheap, surplus semi-automatic rifle that come with a 10-round magazine. The market is awash in these things and you buy the ammunition by the crate - seriously.

American news sites are going to ridiculous lengths to pretend the SKS is something other than an assault rifle. Among other things it's not black and it doesn't have a pistol grip. Yet it's as fully semi-automatic as any AR-15 and, as demonstrated in Dallas, every bit as lethal.

If anything we should all be grateful that the sniper wasn't using something really accurate, a semi-automatic such as the Browning BAR in a high-velocity calibre.

Anonymous said...

-- Even in the US, execution is supposed to follow a trial. --
Sadly, this no longer applies.
There has been little discussion of the the legality and morality of blowing up "the bad guy".

I can't said that I'm surprised given that Obama has no qualms about using drones to murder with little to no oversight.

As a society, I'd think that more would be outraged.

Anonymous said...

If you think for one minute that is not going on in Canada....think again. A 60 year old black lady driving to work in her Lexus in Toronto. She is stopped and asked by the police `who owns the car`. They don`t ask her for her registration. She keeps a note book and pencil in her car to record the incident. It happens to her all the time. It is called `harassment`. Listen to CBC`s Sunday Morning program from today. What about our first nations people. Canadians love to look south and think we are better than that. Really

Anonymous said...

8:12 am.....What a pile of crock! But then again, we are the only species on earth that pisses in our drinking water. We whites think we are sooooooooo smart.