Saturday, July 9, 2016
Let me get this straight. Protesters march in Dallas against police shooting black people. Police get shot. This will not end well.
First of all, there are police who use excessive force. Secondly, they don't just shoot black people. Thirdly, shooting cops is not the answer.
Since most cops are serious professionals who use proper procedures odds are those cops shot in Dallas were not the bad guys.
Cops everywhere are going to be extremely twitchy. If you are driving along and get pulled over by the police be extra careful. Roll down your window and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Do not make any sudden movements. Pay attention to the police officer's commands. This is serious business. After Dallas they will be much more likely to respond aggressively to any perceived threat.
Order is not kept by the police. There aren't enough police to come close to doing that. Order is kept by most people following the rules and minding their own business. When that social contract breaks down the riots will only stop when the rioters are exhausted.
Heck, there aren't even enough military troops to impose order. The government can concentrate a lot of force in a limited area, like a single city. They cannot respond that way to a large number of major cities in revolt. That's why the race riots of the 60s went on until they burned themselves out.
Studies done after the 60s riots pointed to economic disparity as being at the root of the unrest. Those reports were buried as there was no political will to do anything about that problem. The divide between the haves and the have nots has gotten a lot larger in recent years. Yes, it's been bad for people of color, but poor whites are doing worse now too.
Class is something rarely talked about in America. We'd like to think that we all have the potential to be upwardly mobile. Sadly, upward mobility in this country is mostly a myth. Education used to be a path to a better life, but that's much harder to do today. The high cost of education combined with global trading networks makes it difficult to get ahead. Even if you do move upward, the odds are very long that you'll crack the glass ceiling to the upper levels that actually have the power.
Those who want to frame the struggle in terms of black & white are using the old divide and conquer technique. Poor blacks and poor whites have a lot more in common than they'd care to admit. To the elite they are fodder units, little more. For that matter, most of the cops on the beat are working class folk struggling to get by. The elite don't respect them either. After all, we've seen quite clearly that laws are only for poor folk.
Just because the anger in America is misplaced doesn't mean you can't get caught in the crossfire. Keep your head down folks. The backlash is getting ugly.