Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage. These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that. Even though there are many more which I can't include. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."
This may not be the most heinous thing that became public this week, but I want to lead off with it becausee it is so darned dangerous.
A new fight-club “fraternity” of young white, pro-Trump men is being formed, its organizers claim, to defend free-speech rights by “Alt-Right” leaders and engage in street fighting.
There's already the DIY Division of neo-Nazis with an agenda to turn protests by reasonable people (as the right calls them, "anti-Fascists," which is accurate but incomplete) into "street threatre." But the arrival of this new group concerns me that this is becoming "a thing."
FOAK (Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights), now an affiliiate of the Proud Boys, and the Proud Boys itself, may seem to border on self-satire, especially if you read the initiation rituals.
The Proud Boys reportedly have a four-step initiation process. It starts with a prospect declaring himself a “Proud Boy,” suiting up in Fred Perry polo shirts with yellow stripes—similar to those worn by skinheads.
The second degree is a “cereal beat-in” during which the new member is punched and beaten by current members until the plebe can rattle off the names of five cereals (you know, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Cheerios!)
The third degree reported involves “adhering to the masturbation regimen and getting a tattoo,” blogger Will Sommer wrote in a recent post.
Since then, a fourth-degree has been added to the initiation ritual – brawling with antifascists at public rallies.
However, injuries received by protestors are going to be real. This from the FOAK founder is chilling:
“Our emphasis will be on street activism, preparation, defense and confrontation,” he said. “We will protect and defend our right wing brethren when the police and government fail to do so.”
Tisiphone, and Megaera, please, form a squad of unnamed Furies if necessary, to protect rational people involved in rational demonstrations. Such as today's Climate march. And the demonstrations planned to support workers on May Day.
Probably we are, if not already there, at least becoming far too accustomed to seeing videos involving police stops, apparently based on suspicion of breathing while black or the like, to the point that there are too many for all to appear in this column. This article, however, is so well written and makes such good points, so that I thought it needed to be brought up.
The traffic stop, in Gwinnett County, Georgia, involved the stopping of Demetrius Hollins, 21, by Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni. Bongiovanni was standing by the sedan, Hollins emerged with hands up, and Bongiovanni slugged Hollins in the head. Then, after Hollins was lying on the ground handcuffed, another officer was called to the scene – Robert McDonald – who exited his vehicle, ran up to Hollins and kicked him in the head.
(Parentheticasl thought: is slugging and kicking in the head [or, alternatively, poisoning young brains with leaded water] the only way white supremacists can make people of color brain-damaged enough to satisfy their need to think themselves superior?)
The author says,
What do you think is more likely, that this traffic stop just happened to bring together the only two bad apples on the Gwinnett County police force? Or that there is a larger problem in its culture, illustrated by the fact that a young officer hired four years ago expected no consequences for needlessly kicking a handcuffed guy in the head in front of a sergeant?
And goes on to point out that
the Black Lives Matter movement is portrayed wildly inaccurately in conservative media outlets, which focus on the most extreme, unrepresentative rhetoric from the coalition, and all but ignore the actual policy demands that it has put forth….
Dubbed Campaign Zero, it draws its strength largely from the fact that many of the policies that it recommends are “best practices” taken from existing police agencies.
“They’re practical, well-thought out, and in most cases, achievable,” wrote Radley Balko, one of the country’s most knowledgeable law-enforcement-policy journalists. “These are proposals that will almost certainly have an impact, even if only some of them are implemented. The ideas here are well-researched, supported with real-world evidence and ought to be seriously considered by policymakers.”
Professor Harold Pollack, a policy expert at the University of Chicago, concluded in his assessment that, “One does not need to embrace every element to recognize that this well-crafted document provides a useful basis of discussion between grassroots activists, elected officials, law enforcement professionals, and policy analysts … And based on my own research on urban crime and policing, which has included the implementation of randomized-violence-prevention trials, interviews with incarcerated offenders, and collaboration with public-health and criminal-justice authorities, several proposals in Campaign Zero struck me as particularly smart."
Alecto, The problem of people with closed minds thinking that people who look like them can do no wrong is a longstanding one,maybe forever – which makes you the one to be working on this. I know it's difficult.
The Furies and I will be back.
Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4050021