A Wrong Turn In Albuquerque

If, like myself, you’re perpetually a few days behind the news you should see this video:

Police officers in Albuquerque, New Mexico attempted to remove a homeless man from his “illegal” camping spot. After a few hours, they disoriented him with a flash shot. As he fell to the ground, they shot him with live ammunition and beanbag rounds. Finally, to add insult to injury, they ordered an attack dog upon his corpse.

This is the same Albuquerque Police Department that has a long history of violence — they have killed more people than the New York Police Department — including offering what have been called “bounties” to any law enforcement officer involved in a shooting. It’s the Wild West. The Albuquerque Police Officers Association pays a $500 reward to any police officer involved in a shooting, under the pretext that this helps the shooter cope with the stress. Ignore the fact that this creates a financial incentive for officer involved homicides. Their feelings may be hurt.

At least the people of Albuquerque did not take this event sitting down. They did protest, which has been dubbed a “riot” or a “violent protest,” resulting in Police Chief Gorden Eden attempting to pacify the people by promising “reforms.” During the protest, one man reportedly produced an AK-47 rifle. Nonetheless, only one police officer was injured. He scraped his knee. No joke.

According to reports, the protesters turned inwards, attacking one another. This is unfortunate, because they were not upset at one another. They were upset at the police. But when individuals are angry and afraid, they lash out. If only that energy were directed where it belongs: at the Albuquerque Police Department.

One protester said:

“It has reached a boiling point,” he said, “and people just can’t take it anymore.”

What, exactly, does this mean? These are vague words, but on-line discussions may reveal more. On the front page of Reddit, one of the largest news aggregation / social networking websites, the comments are filled with calls to action: protest, civil disobedience, direct action, violence and vigilante justice. It is no longer a radical, fringe belief to say that the people must stand up — with force if necessary — to law enforcement officers. Don’t be lulled into vagaries of “nonviolence.”

If you see something, do something.

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