Bozo the Clown is trending on twitter this morning, but not Stephon Clark, the black father killed by Sacramento police in his own backyard this week -- for holding a cell phone.
Bozo was played by an obscure actor who died in Boston yesterday at age 89.
Clark died at age 22 leaving behind two toddler sons. The Sacramento Police had a sheriff's department helicopter track a suspect after a 911 caller reported someone breaking car windows (this leads me to picture $1000 bills being whirled in the air by chopper blades as opposed to, say, feeding hungry children).
Two officers shot 20 times at the unarmed Clark and then delayed seeking medical help for him as he died.
Black lives do not matter when law enforcement takes them, because the officers involved almost always walk away from their trials exonerated. Their most common defense: they were scared.
To go back to the school shootings problem, I see there were two more this week, plus a spate of package bombs in Austin that killed black and brown people before the white bomber blew himself up yesterday. So a bunch of armed school personnel like the NRA is proposing will be less scared than trained police in the capital of California? I doubt it.
And if police are so scared, why don't they find a job more suited to their temperament?
And if it's about fear, why do they delay seeking medical attention while black men like Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Stephon Clark, Chance David Baker et al. bleed out in front of them?
|Chance David Baker, shot and killed by police in Portland, Maine last year for carrying a BB gun (Maine is an open carry state).|
Many people in the U.S. believe the law enforcement agencies that work for the public have been infiltrated by white supremacists.
It's the only explanation that makes much sense when trying to understand why the police in other wealthy countries don't gun down citizens like ours do. Or when trying to understand why the officer responsible for brutalizing the late Sandra Bland after pulling her over for failing to signal a lane change walked away from a perjury charge this week in a deal with authorities in Texas.
Other people would argue that law enforcement has always been racist and white supremacist in this country, and that the rise of cell phone cameras, body cam footage and social media to share it is mostly what has changed.
Which brings me full circle to the point about information sharing and white privilege owning the channels of communication. Bozo the Clown is literally of more interest to twitter users than a victim of police brutality. At least, so twitter would have us believe.
Those who want real information not produced by our corporate overlords to manufacture consent have come to rely on news curated by our contacts on social media platforms. We now know that all such platforms are entirely accessible to the Pentagon as the NSA has been given back-door access to facebook, twitter and phone networks like Verizon. This means the NSA doesn't have to ask twitter for information; it can search through twitter's user data on its own anytime it wants to do so.
Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as "surveillance companies." Their rebranding as "social media" is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 17, 2018
Meanwhile there are people who make their living driving the trending topics lists seen by me and thee. If I'm too successful at seeing posts by activists I admire, facebook changes its algorithms to make sure I have to actively seek out and connect (again) with my preferred sources. I believe this is done to give our corporate overlords and the NSA even more useful information about who's connected with whom -- because otherwise my facebook friend list is a collection of people I went to second grade with, once lived next door to 50 years ago, and barely remember from college. Not super useful to the most sophisticated spying machine ever built.
Maybe it's my old journalism training but I vow to go to the end seeking real information from the best sources I can find.
I'll still use the nasty spy machines because that's where I find out about the tragic murder of Stephon Clark. May he rest in peace, and may his family find justice.