There are many pieces about the murder of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer. This one, by Greg Howard at Deadspin, is one of the most wrenching: Give a man access to drones, tanks, and body armor, and he'll reasonably think that his job isn't simply to maintain peace, but to eradicate danger. Instead of protecting and serving, police are searching and destroying.
If officers are soldiers, it follows that the neighborhoods they patrol are battlefields. And if they're working battlefields, it follows that the population is the enemy. And because of correlations, rooted in historical injustice, between crime and income and income and race, the [...]
According to the latest tally on Google News, there are 2,803 current media reports involving stolen Baby Jesuses from nativity scenes. This represents a [made up percentage] increase in nativity infant thefts over 2011, which had held the previous record with [made up number] documented desecrations of Christmas scenes. Many are wondering just how low we can go, as a species. If children and other pranksters think it's "okay" to lift a plastic baby with a hole in its bottom for a colored light bulb, then what else might people do, given the chance?
"It is one thing, I guess, to steal even the shepherd or a king," said [...]
This is a particularly brutal column coming in the wake of yesterday's big piece on the NYPD: eight black New York city college students reported being stopped and frisked 92 times all told. Meanwhile, also in the Times today, but over on the front page, it's this: killing of police officers is at a four-year-high. The Times plays this really big and really wrong, and calls this "a disturbing trend," but it's actually not. (It is disturbing, of course.) But 2008 was the ten-year low for police officers being killed, and 2012 is, so far, year-to-date, down 49% from last year. So it's actually the opposite of [...]
In the case of the Danziger bridge shootings in New Orleans, after Katrina, five police officers have been convicted of an impressive array of charges, ranging from conspiracy to obstruct justice to false prosecution to planting a firearm to falsifying victim statements to fabrication of witnesses to "deprivation of civil rights by shooting." One of the victims was developmentally disabled and was shot in the back… seven times. The police officers were not, however, convicted of murder.
Here's the story of Eric Williamson, arrested by police in Virginia for being naked in his own kitchen at 5:30 in the morning. (A woman and her son were cutting through his front yard and, observing Williamson's dangling wang, called the law, who charged him with indecent exposure.) You will probably be distracted by the typically overheated local news reportage (I can't decide if my favorite part is where Williamson, now tastefully attired, recreates his making of the coffee or the ominous shot from outside of him standing by the window) here, but it's a pretty amazing thing: If I can't brew up a cup of joe in [...]