Gerald (Jerry) Zezas

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The Ferguson Effect and Other Excuses for Bad Police Work

FBI Director James B Comey recently offered some insights into policing in the United States as a result of increased media and public scrutiny of police.

The Article Is Here

Comey
From the article:

“Comey’s remarks also bore a strong resemblance to a theory some law enforcement officials have referred to as the “Ferguson effect” — that increased scrutiny on police departments makes officers less pro-active and increases crime.

“They told me, ‘We feel like we’re under siege and we don’t feel much like getting out of cars,’”

What we are now seeing the proof that cops have had it way too good way too long. We’re now seeing the evidence that cops are apparently the only group in the world which decides when it will and won’t do a good job, irrespective of their job description and the reason they get paid.

They’re telling us that if we watch them, if we monitor them, if we closely follow how they do their jobs, well…that’s just too much for them to handle, and so they might not “feel much like getting out of cars”.

This doesn’t worry me folks. This is all part of the cleaning-out process. We have apparently been hiring cops who consider themselves to be GI Joe’s who get to play army but don’t have to go into war zones. They think that working for us is tantamount to doing us a favor, and that we should always trust them to do the right thing, all evidence to the contrary.

Over time, these self-important, camo-wearing Rambos will be caught, hopefully terminated and relegated to the after-hours security staff at their local Target, and their ranks will be filled with real cops who actually want to “protect and serve” something other than themselves and their jobs, as well as enforce laws.

At that time, the ranks of these police will start to once again gain the respect of the populace which signs their paychecks every week, and we won’t have to hear dime-store psychobabble about “Ferguson effects” and other such drivel.

Cops and Gangs. Too many similarities.

When I see how modern cops use symbolism like their uniforms, medals, weaponry and comments about “brotherhood” and standing up for one another…

When I see how they defend one another at all cost, right or wrong…

When I see the vehemence directed at anyone who would say anything negative about cops, as well as the defensiveness directed at anyone who would point out one of their many shortcomings…

When I see the above traits it reminds me of the biker gangs of the 1960s and 1970s. Tough, arrogant, often racist and tribalist, self-assured and convinced of their infallibility and entitlement to their power they wield. Thoroughly convinced of their superiority to others, as well as the smirking confidence that they will likely get away with anything they do.

Just something I’ve been thinking about.

Why You Still Can’t Say Ni**er

Yes, folks, its 2015 and I’m still seeing this question being asked by ignorant white racists who, for some reason, feel a burning desire to be given permission to say, nigger.

The ironic thing is the fact that they want permission for it. I’m having difficulty believing that they think that there is any penalty for doing so, beyond being called a racist imbecile, which, if they thought about it for more than a second, is exactly what they are revealing themselves to be by simple virtue of the fact that they want to say the word.

What is the point of asking why you can’t say it when it is quite obvious that you already refer to black people in your mind as niggers? What’s the difference between saying it and thinking it?

But, I’ll try another tack. I’ll use an example from my own life:

My family is of Greek origin. I had a woman working for me some years ago who had been born in Greece. When I came to work in the morning, I’d often greet her by saying “Hiya Greek”, to which she would respond in kind. It was a playful way of reminding ourselves that we had a specific connection, in this case, one of heritage. It suggested a similarity in our past, our cultures and our way of looking at the world, nothing more. It was more playful than meaningful.

If someone else in the office would have referred to either of us by saying “hiya Greek”, it would have been quite inappropriate, since that person, being of a different ancestry, would sound out of place, almost as if they were making a derogatory comment. Neither of us would have appreciated it. Keep in mind, the word “Greek” in and of itself has no negative connotations, but if a non-Greek used the term to refer to us, it would make us wonder why he chose to refer only to that aspect of our existence. We would assume that it was meant derogatorily.

The word nigger, as if anyone needs to have this explained, has severely negative connotations to it, going back to the fact that it was the word of choice used when referring to black slaves. No one who breathes oxygen should be unaware of that fact.

For that reason, when a black person calls another black person nigger, they are doing the same thing that I did with my employee, which is to playfully recall a secret, shared history. It’s a verbal “wink and nod” between two people who have a deep-seated similarity. Others, of a different heritage, simply have no business trying to insert themselves into that shared history, nor to question why they can’t.

Other than that, if you really want to call people nigger, you are already as much of a racist as you can possibly be. Actually saying it won’t make you more so. You’ve already revealed the depths of your ignorance and insensitivity.

How proud you must be…

Safe with the Police

I heard that Rosie ODonnell’s daughter, who had been missing for a few days, was found alive and well and is in police custody. Then I thought about what “police custody” is supposed to mean.

It is supposed to mean that she’s safe. Not safe only if the cop didn’t “feel threatened”; not safe only because she’s a white female; safe because she’s with the cops.

Where did that go?

The Courage to Forgive.

I wonder if those who make excuses for the hate that clogs their arteries would have the courage, the moral heft, the integrity, to forgive someone who has hurt them. And then welcome back.

Those who watched television last night saw the bail hearing for Dylann Roof. Those who were paying attention heard the victims families say things like “we forgive you” and “may God bless your soul” and other such utterances of forgiveness.

Who the hell does that?

I mean, to all you Christians out there, you conservative Christians, the white ones especially, can you believe that someone who has had family members gunned down in affirmation of the hate that blacks have claimed, and whites have denied, for hundreds of years, would forgive the specific person who did the affirming?

Hmm, could it be that these people, these blacks who are secretly hated by so many whites as lazy, uneducated, drug-addled and socially inept, have the sophistication and moral grace of not only a Martin Luther King, but a Mohandas Gandhi? Could it be that these people understand the power of loving their enemies more than the immeasurably more intelligent and worldly whites of this country?

Are you shitting me?

With grace comes courage, at least in my experience. That courage is also evident in the interview I heard with one of their former pastors when asked if there will now be more security at the church in light of this disaster. His astounding answer was “no”. There will be no metal detectors, no security guards, no restrictions to entering the church. He said that all are still welcome.

How many of us, living in gated communities behind multiple alarms, guns and other evidence of our fear of black people, would display this degree of courage? How many? How many of us tough guy white guys, with our guns and fake patriotism and contrived machismo, would have the courage to remain vulnerable in order to allow our friends and communicants to feel the freedom to enter the church of their choice, immediately after having had 9 members of our families killed?

Amazing how the weakest of us can teach us what courage really is, huh?
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Symbol of Southern Pride

Since the murders in South Carolina have restarted the discussion about the Confederate Battle flag that flies in South Carolina and other places, I decided to try to understand the claims of its proponents that it is a symbol of southern history and pride.

Here is the history of the Confederacy in 4 sentences:

They were a group that wanted to no longer be American. They wanted to secede from the union that was formed after a decades-long struggle with Britain. Also known as traitors.

They were a group that embraced slavery and the subjugation of human beings for the purpose of personally profiting from their forced labor and treatment as animals. They claim that their secession was for economic reasons. Yes, the economics of slavery.

They are an area of the country that was humiliated in a crushing defeat by northern troops. This was after the south started the war when Confederates bombarded Union soldiers at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861. Yes, they attacked an American military fort. That’s not what most people consider a patriotic act, but rather a treasonous one.

They are a failed government, a failed society, a failed way of life, founded on antediluvian Victorian principals which were patently rejected by the rest of the country.

Well, at least now we can all understand the source of their pride.

For Those of You Who Responded to My Apology

I wrote a bit of a tome about racism and my apology for being a member of the group that is primarily responsible for it. I wrote it yesterday. It has apparently struck a nerve because I’ve subsequently seen it quoted in Huffington post and The Nation, among other places.

I’ve received hundreds, literally, hundreds of comments such as “you are my brother” and “we consider you to be a member of our family” and “thank you for having the courage to say what we’ve been hoping someone would say”. The response has been overwhelming. And it woddint jus from black folk.

I’ve heard from India, China, Japan, Denmark, Holland, most of Europe, South America and all over the United States. Not all agreed with my sentiments. Some said things like “speak for yourself”, proving that they really hadn’t read it very carefully since I spoke for only myself. It was me who apologized.

But of the black people who did respond, (at least those who identified themselves as such), not a single one argued with me. Not a single one said anything like “you should be ashamed of yourself”. No one admonished me. Those who identified themselves as black spent more time telling me not to fret, not to be ashamed, not to blame myself.

These people, the people who are genuinely in mourning over this tragedy, told me stories of friends and family members who have been lynched, beaten, shot, arrested and hated for their skin color for their entire lives. They told me stories of fear of the police and how they have to speak to their teenage children about how to act when there are cops around, for fear that they might get arrested or shot just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They told me many, many stories. And then they mostly did something else…

Then, the great majority of these people, those who identified themselves as black and were feeling severe pain over this most recent racist attack, these people tried to console ME. Some invoked Gods will, some reminded me that it wasn’t me who pulled the trigger, that the fact that I felt the need to apologize proves that I’m part of the solution. Some spoke eloquently, some spoke in halting English, some sounded as if they didn’t write very often and weren’t very good at it. Some of the best responses contained the worst English. But the messages got through.

Not a single one spoke of retaliation, of hatred for whites, or of the incredulity that they must be feeling over the perpetuation of these incidents.

But almost invariably, these people who have suffered this fate for centuries spent more time trying to console me than feeling sorry for themselves. They expressed more sympathy toward me than they did for their dead brothers and sisters. They, with their gracious, sometimes misspelled words, patted me on the head, put their hands on my shoulder and offered to hug me if they ever met me.

I’ve written hundreds of posts with thousands of words on this blog, but can’t find the words to describe how that feels.

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