Minnesota: Number of days without a mass shooting … 0

Well, looks like a 67 year old man who lives not far off the route between UM-Morris and UM-Minneapolis (though closer to the latter) has decided to kill a few people because he was unsatisfied with his health care.

No one is dead yet, at least according to reports datelined 30 minutes ago, but he shot bullets into the bodies of a minimum of 5 people, more than one of whom (the number is as yet unclear) had to be evacuated from their location in a health care facility to a “level 1 trauma centers”. I have no idea what that means (my job here is to translate legal & feminist jargon, not the medical whodiddle), but it sounds kinda bad.

Meanwhile, in addition to attempting to deal with a “horrible looking scene” (quoted words spoken by the local sheriff), our evil mastermind decided to build a whole bunch of bombs and scatter them around. The Minneapolis’ police bomb squad had to be called in to deal with the terrorist’s devices. I expect that will take a while, both because the scene is fairly far from Minneapolis (36-41 miles, depending on the route) but also because there were “suspicious devices” (read: improvised explosive devices) at his hotel, as well. If he’s using a car, they’ll have to check that for bombs, too.

The name of the suspect is “Gregory Ulrich” and CNN is reporting that he has a long history of harassing the health care clinic that he shot up (though they use nicer language than “harassing”) and is “familiar” to law enforcement.

Can we have red flag laws everywhere, please? Or is trying to save lives too politicizing of tragedies even when Republicans are out of power?

While you’re thinking about that question, don’t distract yourself with questions of the shooter/bomber’s race and whether the face of US terrorism is at all racialized, because they’re not even reporting on the shooter’s race, so there, and you’re not allowed to guess! If his race was relevant, they would definitely have reported that he was Black.

 

 

 

 

You know what sucks?

What sucks is when you’ve lived more than 70 years, and not for one day have you known what accountability looks like, not for one day have you understood justice.

For you have known you were doing things for which others were punished, but celebrated your impunity, cursed accountability, fled justice.

For you have only known law, but never justice, and therefore mistook justice for the slow, institutionalized revenge your own wealth bought you in the courts of the United States.

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Lynching: An Alternate Interpretation of 1/6/2021

Professional historian of lynching and mob violence Guy Lancaster has an article up at HistoryNewsNetwork.org that interprets the mob violence of 1/6/2021 not through the lens of rebellion, insurrection, sedition, and treason, but through the lens of lynching. I think it’s a great read, although I would caution that I don’t think it’s appropriate to ignore the currently-dominant interpretive framework of 1/6/2021 as an insurrection. Lancaster’s work (at least according to me) should be additive rather than substitutive.

Why does Lancaster see lynching in the events of 1/6? Well, some aspects are easy: they were looking for people to publicly execute, AOC, Nancy Pelosi, and (not least!) Mike Pence to name just three. They had set up a makeshift gallows (which may not have been sturdy enough for actual executions, though the mob clearly had effective means for murdering others at their disposal). They were white as fuck. But there’s much more than that.

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Anti-Heresy Laws Still Suck

While there’s a lot to be getting on with this week in the USA (and, heck, around the world, what with the novel coronavirus & all), it’s interesting to note that some of the old authoritarian tactics condemned many times here on FtB still have not gone away. This time I want to mention Poland, where queer women publicly displayed (and probably created, though that’s something I’m not sure on) an altered version of a famous painting: the Black Madonna of Czestochowa.

Black Madonna of Czestochowa, an iconic painting of the Virgin Mary with great historical and cultural significance in Poland.

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Trump: The Worse Fate

So I had thought a bit about self-pardons and Trump, as you might have read. I had also thought of civil cases being brought against Trump. But the last week has been so hectic I didn’t even stop to think about the tradeoffs between self-pardons and civil cases. (To be fair, the consequences for the country are more important to me than the consequences for Trump.)

But ABCNews has a piece up that directly addresses civil liability and briefly raises the fact that a pardon of any kind (issued by Trump to himself or issued by any subsequent president to Trump) is terrible for Trump’s ability to defend against a civil suit.

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Takeover: Movement toward justice

Quite a number of years ago, I joined with some students who had taken over the administrative building of their college. I wasn’t at the takeover when it happened, but I was asked to come speak to the people who had. It was a very odd thing, from my point of view. I was new to the campus and honestly didn’t understand the specifics of the grievances that led to the takeover, but I had been invited as a guest lecturer specifically because the student body trusted me and wanted my opinions on various topics related to feminism, anti-racism, queer liberation, trans liberation, and disability. Several of those were implicated, most prominently feminism and racism, and I think it made sense to the students to have a competent facilitator for certain discussions related to them, but also to have a facilitator without baggage, without a history at the college. I had something of an educator’s patina, but no relationship to the administration or its past choices. Thus I was invited, and thus I went.

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The ONLY Radical Idea

Republicans are, predictably, screaming that impeaching Trump is a Bad Idea™ because excuses go here. Pence literally left Pelosi on hold for 25 minutes before having an aide say that he wouldn’t talk to her. He knew she wanted to talk about the 25th. Not only had he decided he did not want to invoke the 25th, but he didn’t want to talk to anyone about invoking the 25th. Commentators, of course, are complaining that the country doesn’t need the divisiveness of removing Trump from office before his term expires.

But here’s the thing: there’s nothing Trump (or any President that aspires to dictatorship) could do that would be worse, or more desperately requiring impeachment or punishment, that could ever result in impeachment or punishment.

Think it through: Trump has engaged in a failed, violent coup. The only thing “worse” is a successful, violent coup – and that’s not worse because of presidential behavior. It’s only worse in terms of its impact on us. But in a successful coup, impeachment or arrest would (by definition) be unavailable as remedies.

So this is it: Trump conspires with a mob to kill a cop and nullify democracy itself so that he can hold executive power for (at least) four more years. Why would the Republicans & commentators be against using impeachment or the 25th for literally the worst presidential conduct that could possibly be available as a basis for impeachment or removal?

It comes down to what I have said many times. I honestly can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that this isn’t a well known aphorism invented 200 years ago, but it seems to still be something that only I say. So at the risk of self-aggrandizement I’m gonna scream it out loud yet again:

The ONLY radical idea is accountability for people with power. All else is mere reform. 

Impunity is a core value of rulers and people who think of themselves as the ruling class. But we must reject this. If we must wait until a president launches a successful coup before impeachment becomes available as a remedy, then we have, with invisible but indelible ink, rewritten the constitution to erase all possibility of presidential  impeachment, now and in the future. If we do that, the doctrine of impunity has won. The details of dictatorship may change in the following years or decades, but having relinquished the possibility of accountability for those with power, we relegate all future efforts to nothing more than reform.

We must, in this moment, demand accountability, or we have lost ourselves and the republic of the United States of America.

25th THE FUCKER NOW. IMPEACH THE FUCKER MONDAY. JAIL THE FUCKER WITHOUT BAIL.

Let’s examine race and policing in Portland & DC

I and others have mentioned, of course, the vastly different treatment given to BLM protesters when it was thought they might inflict property damage and yesterday’s insurrectionists. There are numerous reports, including from Newsweek, about how law enforcement had plenty of information leading them to predict that the publicly-planned January 6th event would become violent. They even had good reason to fear there would be violence against people, not just property. For a variety of reasons, they did not take seriously the need for event security or even security on Capitol Hill. One reason is particularly interesting: they feared it would be even worse if they acted to prepare defenses against violence. Why? Here’s Newsweek’s take:

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A coup is underway: First thoughts

Thought 1:

I’m not saying that I like the use of tear gas, but after being tear gassed with no warning because someone 50 yards away from me threw a firecracker over a fence I literally am confused as to how the masses of people occupying the steps outside were not tear gassed before the could force their way in.

And then they used tear gas inside the rotunda because they wouldn’t use it on people who were charging the Capitol Building but not yet inside… but once the rubicon was crossed, why wasn’t gas used on the people outside the building? Why only inside?

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