Comments

  1. Menyambal says

    Where’s his gas mask, and why is he talking with people?

    In case you missed it the word, the Robocops at Ferguson were seriously the best-equipped soldiers in the world. They had better body armor than anyone, they had better personal weapons, they wore gas masks (the best, of course) and they carried more ammo than a combat load, plus the bundles of handcuffs.

    The tear gas launchers had rotating magazines, where most are single-shot. The guys with grenade launchers had assault rifles slung, and pistols as well.

    There were Afghanistan veterans pointing out that there was better gear at Ferguson than on real soldiers in serious combat zones, and more of it. Soldiers currently on active duty doing combat patrols were amazed at the amount of gear.

    And every soldier, active or veteran, was shocked that the Robocops were pointing their guns at people. Seriously, soldiers on combat duty were saying that you never point a gun at anyone that you don’t intend to shoot, ever. The militarized police were continually pointing their guns at people, always. We have photos of a group of them pointing their weapons at a man who was just walking along a sidewalk, we have photos of a sniper with his weapon aimed into a crowd. We have almost no photos of a Robocop with his gun pointing safely away from people.

    The nonlethal weapons were also misused. We have video of teargas grenades fired directly into the face of a man in his own back yard, and directly at television cameras. Wounds from nonlethal rounds were photographed.

    The best-equipped soldiers in the world, whose training was to treat everyone as an immediate target, without regard to anyone’s safety but their own, invaded a town, terrorized citizens, and attacked journalists. It is not unusual to learn that such a thing has happened, nor is it startling that such soldiers were equipped by the American government.

    But they weren’t soldiers, they were police, American police. And they were in an American city, attacking American citizens for exercising their American rights.

    “Oh, but ain’t that America …”

  2. microraptor says

    How long before they start painting Decepticon symbols on their patrol cars, I wonder.

  3. says

    Menyambal:

    Where’s his gas mask, and why is he talking with people?

    Good point. He should be talking to them, and using words like “Quit questioning me and get the fuck outta my face or I’ll shoot you”.

  4. kc9oq says

    I think many drawn to law enforcement have serious issues. My daughter has a degree in Criminal Justice and currently works as a corrections officer at the county jail (she has a radical approach to her job — she believes in treating the inmates as human beings!) She tells me of interactions with other COs and various police departments. A few, like her, really want to make a difference. The rest are simply bullies. With grudges. The worst, she says, are the local city cops who believe in beating the tar out of subjects. When one comes into the jail with injuries, the cops need to fill out a report (“subject sustained black eye, broken nose, bruised ribs, chipped teeth and contusions prior to arrest” Yeah, right…)

    I recall an old Bill Cosby routine in which he remarked that the kids in his class were on the verge of becoming murderers or priests. I think the same goes for cops. I have a cousin who always was a bit of a juvenile delinquent. He ended up a State Trooper.

  5. Menyambal says

    Another thing wrong with the cartoon: The gun isn’t pointed at the children.

    Now that I think about it, how many spare policemen does Missouri have? What kind of crime wave swept the areas all those cops were borrowed from? It looks like the Robocops do nothing but physical training and weapon polishing, but the rest of the police have jobs somewhere, somewhere that claims to be understaffed, I bet.

  6. says

    Menyambal
    “Where’s his gas mask, and why is he talking with people?”
    Well he is “Officer Friendly”. Officer Fiend-ly is just out of shot!

  7. Saad says

    kc9oq #6,

    That’s the impression I get too. I think good cop/bad cop is a misrepresentation. Good cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/bad cop/ is closer to the mark.

  8. Menyambal says

    I forgot to mention that tear gas is banned from use in warfare. It’s a chemical weapon, and armies cannot fire it at their enemies, it is too horrible for use. That is an international agreement signed by all nations. A few nations refused to sign on to the part about not using this banned chemical weapon on the people of their own nation. Those few who want to use chemical weapons on their own citizens include the short list of horrible nations, and the United States. The people of Ferguson were attacked with chemical weapons that the even the army isn’t allowed to use in war.

    One professional soldier was asked about the Robocops pointing their guns at people. He explained that obviously they had non-lethal weapons mounted under the barrels of the assault rifles, and were pointing those non-lethals at people, and the lethal part was kind of along for the ride. Well, he was wrong — there were no non-lethal add-ons, they were pointing lethal weapons. A professional soldier assumed that they were obviously not doing what they so obviously were doing. To a real soldier, pointing a gun at a civilian, even of a hostile nation in a war zone, is a court-martial-worthy mistake. To the Robocops, pointing a gun at a civilian was completely insufficent, and pointing eight guns at a single civilian was completely fine.

    (Non-lethal add-ons are single-shot, as are most non-lethal weapons. The weapons used in Ferguson had multiple-round capacity, and the police were doing their damndest to kill people with them.)

  9. Ichthyic says

    I wonder where ‘Officer Go Fuck Yourself’ is…

    by the time you see him, it’s already too late.

  10. Ichthyic says

    Those few who want to use chemical weapons on their own citizens include the short list of horrible nations, and the United States.

    See also: Mines.

    makes me wonder if there is ANOTHER reason police are getting mine-resistant vehicles.

    probably won’t know for sure for another few years yet.

  11. Menyambal says

    See also: Child soldiers. The rest of the world has agreed to stop enlisting 17 and 18-year-olds. Except some other horrible country, and US.

    (Sorry, I am not doing citations tonight. And not that this one has anything to do with Ferguson. Except maybe “Recruit them young, give them big toys, and tell them your enemies are animals.”)

  12. ck says

    Tony! The Queer Shoop wrote:

    I wonder where ‘Officer Go Fuck Yourself’ is…

    I suspect it’s a sort of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde situation there.

    Menyambal wrote:

    See also: Child soldiers.

    And the death penalty. And the rate of incarceration. The U.S. tops a lot of charts that most countries have tried to avoid. Instead, you have folks who read these statistics and don their USA #1 giant foam finger and start chanting nationalistic slogans.

  13. says

    ck:

    And the death penalty. And the rate of incarceration. The U.S. tops a lot of charts that most countries have tried to avoid. Instead, you have folks who read these statistics and don their USA #1 giant foam finger and start chanting nationalistic slogans.

    Now I have this image of a rally or something where a bunch of people are chanting “We (the USA) are #1″, with a bunch of people in the background holding up signs saying *what* we’re #1 in…

  14. forestdragon says

    The more I hear about Ferguson and other similar events in other cities around the country (including my own, I’m sorry to say), the more I’m reminded a morbid little ditty (circa 1950s-60s?) mentioned in the book Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts.
    To wit: –
    Oh I wish I were an Alabama trooper
    That is what I’d truly want to be
    ‘Cause if I were an Alabama trooper
    Then I could shoot the niggers legally…

    About the use of tear gas: interesting that the military isn’t allowed to use in war weapons cops can use on civilians in their own countries. I thought chemical weapons referred to poison/nerve gas, not tear/puke gas.

  15. exi5tentialist says

    This is what happens when you don’t oppose your country’s militarism abroad. They bring it home as a present.

  16. ck says

    This comic really is four frames too long. By the second frame, the kid of the left should’ve been peppersprayed, and the one of the left in handcuffs for questioning the authority of a police officer interfering with a police investigation, resisting arrest and assaulting the arresting officer.

  17. fatpie42 says

    With so many people insisting on their rights to bear and conceal weapons in the US, are you surprised that the police want to be adequately protected too?

    When the police are dealing with rioters hurling molotov cocktails at them, I have difficulty criticising them for hiding behind an armoured vehicle. Talk about dangerous working conditions…

  18. Ichthyic says

    With so many people insisting on their rights to bear and conceal weapons in the US, are you surprised that the police want to be adequately protected too?

    this attitude was happening LONG before the gun culture in the US went critical.

  19. Ichthyic says

    When the police are dealing with rioters hurling molotov cocktails at them

    show me one cop that was burned by a molotov cocktail. one.

    hell, the day they said the crowd were throwing molotov cocktails at them, NOT A SINGLE COP even reported ANY injuries at all.

    meanwhile, 7 protestors were injured enough to require medical treatment.

    dude.. stop being so FUCKING IGNORANT. goddamn authoritarian thugs gotta walk around with blinders on their eyes and plugs in their ears.

  20. says

    fatpie 42:

    When the police are dealing with rioters hurling molotov cocktails at them, I have difficulty criticising them for hiding behind an armoured vehicle. Talk about dangerous working conditions…

    Curiously, in everything I’ve read about Ferguson, I’ve not heard one shred of proof that there *WERE* any molotov cocktails. Would you happen to have any evidence?
    Also, it’s so refreshing to have someone side with the barbaric police officers in this situation. We can never have too much of that.
    ::spits::

  21. anteprepro says

    With so many people insisting on their rights to bear and conceal weapons in the US, are you surprised that the police want to be adequately protected too?

    You seem to not be paying attention. What segment of society is advocating for non-regulation and proliferation of guns? Then look again: What segment of society is cheering on the police state and police brutality?

    The game that is being played isn’t that hard to figure out. I don’t understand how you are so easily fooled.

    When the police are dealing with rioters hurling molotov cocktails at them, I have difficulty criticising them for hiding behind an armoured vehicle. Talk about dangerous working conditions…

    As already noted, the “molotov cocktail” claim is not well substantiated. In addition, you seem to have your causality backwards. The police had the armored vehicles and were using them well before the alleged molotov cocktails or any looting or any similar reports of protestors behaving badly. They will cracking down on this protest with full force using every weapon at their disposal before there was the slightest hint of danger from the protesters.

    You are either ignorant or actively trying to rewrite history that isn’t even two weeks old.

  22. Ichthyic says

    You are either ignorant or actively trying to rewrite history that isn’t even two weeks old.

    ..or spends too much time watching Fox News.

  23. microraptor says

    ..or spends too much time watching Fox News.

    There’s a difference between that and the previous two possibilities?

  24. ck says

    Tony! The Queer Shoop wrote:

    Curiously, in everything I’ve read about Ferguson, I’ve not heard one shred of proof that there *WERE* any molotov cocktails. Would you happen to have any evidence?

    Well, there was that one photo, that was originally subtitled that the group was trying to “unsuccessfully to light a Molotov cocktail”. Sadly, for the people who have already decided that the people of Ferguson are ‘animals’, this is all they needed.

  25. Ichthyic says

    ..and if there weren’t exactly two failed “molotov cocktails”, that were never used, they would have used the pictures of the stacks of bricks in the streets, that were also never used.

    it doesn’t matter. there will always be an excuse for authoritarians. always.

  26. Ichthyic says

    seriously, I LITERALLY have read comments criticizing protestors for objecting to being forced to move continuously while they were protesting.

    I’m sure if everyone was doing EXACTLY what Simon Sez, someone would have criticized them for being sheep.

    it’s fucking insane.

  27. ck says

    @Ichthyic,

    Yep. I did find it rather striking how our resident libertarians all turned into gibbering authoritarians over this, praising the police and the rest of the government’s response to this, though. I was expecting that this would happen, but I had hoped that there might be a few that actually practiced the ideology they claim.

  28. Pteryxx says

    re Molotov cocktails – I saw one report that the folks peacefully arrested out of that pickup truck bed, on camera, had an officer take a large liquor bottle from the truck and set it briefly on a parked car, in view of a livecam. The police later reported seizing handguns and ‘a Molotov cocktail’ from those people in the truck, iirc. All the images I’ve seen of smoking things being thrown by hand are protesters throwing tear-gas grenades AWAY – and I don’t recall seeing even one image of police having anything burning or smoking *among* them, except when they advanced forward over their own grenades. In all this time that’s the closest to ‘evidence’ I’ve seen. All the reports of Molotov cocktails have come from the police themselves, or once in a while from TV reporters describing things exploding that they can’t identify.

  29. Pteryxx says

    addendum – there *have* been reports of plastic water bottles thrown at the police line, and I think I saw one or two when the TV coverage was high on Wednesday night. (The police have also been reporting bottles of urine thrown at them for the last few nights. Since literally the ONLY other mention I have ever heard of protesters even *bringing* urine bottles was a completely unevidenced report from police securing the Texas capitol building during the protests over SB5/HB2, I’m disinclined to believe them.)

  30. says

    @35, ck

    Yep. I did find it rather striking how our resident libertarians all turned into gibbering authoritarians over this, praising the police and the rest of the government’s response to this, though. I was expecting that this would happen, but I had hoped that there might be a few that actually practiced the ideology they claim.

    Oh, but they are practicing the ideology they claim. They may not consciously realize this fact, but if you sit a big-L Libertarian down and question them carefully, not permitting them to wave issues aside and following their answers up, they will eventually tell you that property rights are more important than anything else, and will also admit that someone with lots of property (of whatever kind) has more power than someone with little of it. If questioned closely, they will admit that one of the root causes of racism in this country is the way it can be used to divide people, thus keeping them from challenging the wealthy and powerful.

    To us, when the police riot and beat up and shoot at protestors, it is a sign that the system is broken, because we expect the system to dispense justice. To a Libertarian, when the police riot and beat up and shoot at protestors, it is a sign that the system is functioning properly, because the protestors inherently endanger the desires of the wealthy. The only issue a Libertarian has, deep down, with Ferguson, is that the police are paid by taxes. In a world run by Libertarians, they would be mercenaries.

  31. says

    The Vicar:

    They may not consciously realize this fact, but if you sit a big-L Libertarian

    Pardon my ignorance but what’s the difference between ‘big L’ and ‘little l’ libertarians?

  32. says

    @39, Tony! The Queer Shoop:

    Pardon my ignorance but what’s the difference between ‘big L’ and ‘little l’ libertarians?

    The phrase “civil libertarian” describes someone who cares about civil liberties — as in “American Civil Liberties Union”, one of the groups ranged against the police in Ferguson — and until the 1950s or so was the default meaning of the word “libertarian”. The political affiliation “Libertarian”, which properly uses a capital letter, is someone who thinks that greed is a positive trait, à la Ayn Rand, and has overtaken “civil libertarian” as the default meaning of “libertarian” in the U.S. since around 1970 or so. (But not necessarily in Europe, where most people still use the word with the old meaning.) Big-L Libertarians claim to be civil libertarians, but if there is any sort of conflict between the two, property rights will be held to trump civil liberties. (And they will go into amazing contortions to come up with an explanation for why this is somehow not horrifying. There are very few Libertarians who, deep down, don’t admit that their worldview is incredibly toxic.)

    If someone self-describes with the word “libertarian” you may safely assume they meant to use a big “L”, because people who are genuinely concerned with civil liberties tend to take them as such a basic thing that support for them should go without saying, in much the same way that most people tend not to start their self-descriptions on a dating service with “I am a carbon-based form of life”.

  33. says

    @The Vicar – I suspect the word has been too badly trammelled to be salvageable. It’s like one time when I was talking to someone and they said they were a socialist. And I nodded along ‘cuz I think socialism is OK. And they said national socialism was what they meant…
    Trying to get everyone to understand your particular meaning of ‘l’ versus ‘L’ ibertarian is a lost cause, probably even among academic circles.

  34. consciousness razor says

    It’s like the difference between “Republican” and “republican.”

    I’m totally a republican, which is to say I prefer republics, compared to monarchies or dictatorships or whatever the fuck. But since I’d be saying it while in the U.S. any time since the revolution, saying “I’m a Republican” always comes implicitly with a big R, to mean the political party which simply brands itself as a faction opposed to tyranny but has nothing to do with the fact of tyranny (or any facts, for that matter). Unless you’re talking about the English monarchy, say, or some other country’s political structure, if that’s in dispute, you have no reason to ever say “I’m a republican.” It’s like saying “… and by the way, I am a human and happen to be one who speaks English. Also, I am capable of breathing air and drinking water.” Everybody already knew that.

  35. Menyambal says

    fatpie42 says:

    With so many people insisting on their rights to bear and conceal weapons in the US, are you surprised that the police want to be adequately protected too?

    Oddly enough, the people of Missouri insisted that they had a right to live without concealed weapons around them, and voted down a law to allow them. The state legislature soon afterward passed a concealed-carry law anyhow. (The people in the cities voted against, the good, honest folk in the rural areas voted for.)

    BTW, we don’t have a right to insist upon, neither for concealed carry nor for gun ownership at all.

  36. says

    @43, Marcus Ranum

    @The Vicar – I suspect the word has been too badly trammelled to be salvageable.

    You’ve got it backwards. I advocate using “Big-L Libertarian” as a phrase precisely because 3 times in the last year I have had English-speakers who live in Europe not understand that “Libertarian” (without a modifier) has the specific meaning in the U.S. of being a far-right greedhead. It’s better to signify that you are talking about a proper noun, possibly prompting the reader to look them up in Google and saving an explanation, than have them come back and say things like “but surely if they’re in favor of liberty, they would [fill in the blank]”.

    @23, fatpie42

    With so many people insisting on their rights to bear and conceal weapons in the US, are you surprised that the police want to be adequately protected too?

    “Protected”? Maybe I missed something. In the last few days, has someone invented a magical anti-bullet force field which can only work, somehow, if it’s mounted on a gun? Because unless this is available, then a gun is only good for two things:

    1. Killing people
    2. Killing dangerous wildlife
    3. Threatening people who do not have guns

    I’m pretty sure the police aren’t supposed to be doing #1 as a regular thing; the whole point of having a justice system is that you have a trial and so on, and people only get killed if they’re sentenced to death. And in general the police aren’t the people who deal with #2. And as for #3, well, I’m really sure the police aren’t supposed to be doing that one; that’s more what criminals do.

    Let me rephrase your sentence a bit to reflect the realities of the situation: “With so many people insisting on their rights to bear and conceal weapons in the US, are you surprised that the police want an excuse to be murderers and bullies?”

    Well, no, I’m not surprised at all. That has been a trend for a while, now.