Op-Ed by Claire Bernish
July 15, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Gardena, CA — Rationalization. Willful denial. Cognitive dissonance. Whatever term you prefer, it boils down to irrational mental gymnastics in order to avoid the uncomfortability that arises when encountering a contradiction to a firmly held belief. But a particularly vitriolic faction of Americans—who apparently have the wool surgically implanted over their eyes—has taken this flawed reasoning and turned it into a laughable case of Stockholm Syndrome: cop apologists.
Funny thing about denial: it’s absurdly predictable.
As if on cue, rationalization commenced from the moment Gardena Police dash cam footage of the shooting death of Diaz Zeferino on June 2, 2013 (posted below) finally began circulating on social media after a lengthy legal battle for its release. While countless people’s jaws dropped in horror witnessing seven cops gun down the unarmed and non-threatening man, others were occupied creating mental notes for their version of the reason he deserved to die.
It could easily be a checklist:
The group of three precisely matched the unbelievably vague and overbroad description of the suspects? Check.
Zeferino presented himself in a threatening manner? Check.
He didn’t follow the officers’ orders with exacting precision? Check.
They thought he had a gun, right? Of course!
Every cop on the scene feared for their life? No question!
And a death sentence is appropriate punishment given these questionable circumstances? Absolutely!
This has become quite the tiresome pattern. An alarming video surfaces that every sane person views as yet more evidence of appalling abuse of police power and dwindling civil rights—and is immediately followed by logic-defying, mind-bending, utterly unreasonable explanations for why yet another person “deserved” execution by cop. In fact, this pattern is so typical, it necessitated the creation of a meme: “I’m just here to see who’s gonna try to justify this shit.”
Court Orders Video Released Showing Cops Executing Unnarmed ManGardena Police Department dash-cam video, officers aim their guns at Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, right, and two friends while investigating a bicycle theft in Gardena, Calif. Moments later police fatally shot Diaz-Zeferino.
Posted by The Anti-Media on Wednesday, July 15, 2015
How incredibly apt.
Such inexplicable excuses for the explicitly inexplicable are more offensive to common sense and logical deduction than pig shit in August. Without the hindrance of coherent dialectic even attempting to enter the thought process, justifying State violence is easier than phonics. Simple, yes. But it’s still uninformed nonsense.
Nonsense because the go-to argument is wholly devoid of fact—the notion that “police have such a dangerous job.” Sorry to burst that soapbox bubble, but police officer didn’t even rank in the top ten most dangerous jobs in the U.S. After the 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics fatal occupational injuries list was thoroughly updated in late April of this year, a total of 35 police officers had been killed by people (or animals) in the line of duty. That might seem like a high number on its own. However, the argument that cops work in an atmosphere of constant danger is fundamentally flawed—even by the most cursory comparison.
Considering 37 food preparation workers, 40 construction workers, 53 retail salespeople, and 67 sales supervisors died at work in the same manner as the 35 aforementioned cops . . . it’s arguable we’re arming the wrong occupation entirely. Though statistics for the number of people killed by salespeople on the clock aren’t readily available, it’s safe to say there weren’t many—if there were any at all.
Yet police officers—whose job is slightly less risky than preparing food—literally kill people by the hundreds.
To date, American cops have killed at least 613 people. This is tragic for countless reasons, not the most minor of which is the imperative need to use the qualifier “at least”—necessary because that figure was yesterday’s estimate; and on average, police in the U.S. have taken a life every 7½ hours in 2015. It’s also necessary because the alarming lack of a national requirement to report these killings means that responsibility transposes to a diffuse but committed network of concerned citizens, journalists, civil rights advocates, and the families and friends of the victims. Thus, estimates must be aggregated from a mix of voluntarily offered and publicly available information—which means the numbers are consequently inaccurate on the low side.
Similar countries just do not have this problem. Icelandic police have fatally shot one person in the nation’s entire 71 years in existence. Police in England and Wales, combined, shot 55 people to death—in the past 24 years. Germany has been given a violent reputation in America, but their police “only” killed 15 people over a period of two years. For Australian police, that number was 94 over nine years. Even Canada—a nation many believe is the most logical comparison to the U.S.—averages 25 fatalities by police per year.
One more time for the sake of emphasis: this is the 195th day in 2015—and American police have already killed no less than 613 people.
That many killings by police is not a problem—it is the entire ship engulfed in flames on the open ocean without a single life preserver.
It’s simply no longer accurate to describe indiscriminate brutality of this scale as an epidemic—not when lack of accountability also equates virtual impunity.
No. This is institutionalized, systematic violence by the State—normalized.
America has become a police state.
Your argument is invalid.
This article (Why #BlueLivesMatter & Cop Apologists Are a F*cking Joke) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claire Bernish joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include social justice, police brutality, exposing the truth behind propaganda, and general government accountability. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Ohio. Learn more about Bernish here!
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