Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Proportion of Violence

I'm going to be winding down my blog pretty soon. I always knew I was only going to keep up this blog until I was out of grad school. I figured I needed an outlet to just write whatever was on my mind. I only have a few posts left that I actually wanted to take the time to write.

A year ago or so, I watched one of the Real Time with Bill Maher convention episodes. That week, there was the incident that took place in Dallas, where police officers were killed by Micha Xavier Johnson. The officers then killed Johnson with a robot that was carrying explosives. Maher basically asked what the panel thought. One of the people on the panel, I believe it might have been Lieutenant Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, but I am not absolutely sure. It was definitely a white male politician. The politician basically argued that the officers were right to kill Johnson with the explosives. His words, "I believe in the proportion of violence."

That phrase stuck with me. Really? That's an interesting rationale. You believe that because he killed five officers, he deserved to be blown up with a robot carrying explosives. It really shows that to the politician, the officers lives mattered more, and therefore, Johnson did not deserve to be brought in alive, it was better to kill him to get revenge for the slaying of those officers he killed.

I wondered if the politician stopped to think about his reasoning? Because you see, reports on Johnson said that he killed police officers as a response to the brutality perpetrated by policemen against black people. So in a sense, wasn't Johnson's violent act a form of the "proportion of violence"? For that matter, if a police officer beats a person unjustifiably, shouldn't that person or the community respond by beating that officer or an officer the same way? Because you know, "the proportion of violence." Or is the proportion of violence a double standard? Only cops can beat, maim and kill civilians, but civilians don't have a right to get angry and respond in kind, or for that matter, even protest, chanting that, "Black Lives Matter"?

Maher has always said something that is an unpopular opinion among talking heads, whenever African-Americans respond with violence to incidents of police brutality: "I don't agree, but I understand."

Sometimes it seems like he's the only person (on tv) who is willing to say this, and not necessarily argue that the violence perpetrated by the African-American community is justified, but to say he gets why the violence occurs. Commit a violent act against the community and don't expect them to keep their anger and outcry in check because this has been happening for years. But even when a community does not respond to police brutality with violence, but instead engages in peaceful protests, they are confronted by police officers who try to suppress or "contain" their demonstrations.

Yet the politician on Maher's show wanted to argue for "the proportion of violence." This politico was obviously only thinking about and for cops, it was apparent when he said that he believed in "the proportion of violence," he wasn't thinking about the many black lives lost at the hands of police officers who used violence against the black body, because they knew they could get away with it. In other words, black lives didn't matter to this politician.

1 comment:

  1. It's always interesting to ask people how they define "justice." I learned a long time ago that it's subjective and that it delves into all kinds of philosophical concepts when examined, largely Plato in our hemisphere. And though I'm an atheist, it's equally interesting to me to see how most people's definitions boil down to biblical nuggets of justice meted out when they are wronged - eye for an eye. It's even more interesting to me that "justice," for many people, means revenge. And I see that in spades now with most modern political movements. People no longer want "justice" they want power...and they want the power to mete out revenge.