Showing posts with label cops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cops. Show all posts

01 May, 2017

Letters from Trumplandia 9: The May Day Special

 Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.  -- George Orwell

I wasn't sure where I was supposed to be this past Saturday. Part of me wanted to be in Pikeville this past weekend facing down the early break of this New Wave of American Fascism.  Somewhere in me lurks a reactionary, even still. The reactionary me wanted to go to Pikeville and punch Nazis and bring to bear on their heads the considerable anger and violence I feel towards the baby fascistas who vandalized my son-in-law's car and terrorized him and my daughter.

There are days when the lines are very clear and I know where I'm supposed to be. But as the plans started to come together for an insurgent reaction to the TWP having their little Nazi picnic, I found myself feeling not entirely sure of  how it was all going to pan out. Any time you walk into Eastern Kentucky like the Grand Pooh-bah Savior of the people, you are walking into trouble. If you think they need you (even if they ask) you've got to tread carefully. Regardless of your thoughts about the book, Jesus, fishes and loaves, the banished money changers, or Golgotha, you ought to expect to be crucified by the very people you think you're going to save if you intend to march into Eastern Kentucky.
Martyrs ... have to choose between being forgotten, mocked or used. As for being understood - never. Camus

Because there isn't an Eastern Kentuckian, devout Christian or no, that demands anything less. They have what you might call a high standard.

As I write this, today is May Day. The first of May has historically been a labor
holiday pretty much everywhere except in the United States, where our early robber baron overlords gave us Labor Day in September in order to try and steal thunder away from the radical labor movement. Of course now, The Big Orange Meanie, our Fascist-in-Chief  Donald "The Don Don" Trump is trying to recast this historic and global radical holiday as "Loyalty Day."
The Don Don

Yeah. Let that one sink in and tell me again that he's not a fascist.

For months, Memeworld has been all a-twitter about a General Strike -- or, as I like to call it, the Wobbly Rapture. They've already started one down in Brazil. I don't expect to see much in the way of a general strike around here simply because there isn't the will or the numbers for it. Memeworld has it's own warriors, though, and I realize I am not one of them. I'm an opinionated sometimes activist and organizer who's really more of a poet than a protester. I'm all for it, of course... protesting and pushing back against Nazis, a General Strike. All of it. But one of the things I've learned is that just because you're in a room full of folks who might agree with you, that does not mean you have a cultural quorum.

That's not to say that the anti-fascists can't win out the argument. Tyranny always betrays itself in the end, and even now, the mask is starting to slip off the figurehead for the New Wave, our boy Don Don. The mistake that most traditional liberals are making right now is they act as if getting rid of Trump will stem the tide. It won't. His vitriol has unleashed something that's been a part of the American character since the first settlers came here.*

If the Pikeville Rally shows us anything, it's that there is absolutely nothing new about hate. It sometimes takes on a slicker facade, like Richard Spenser or Steve Bannon. It sometimes takes on the mask of an arrogant bully, like Donald Trump. Sometimes it takes on the mask of the true believer, like Kentucky's own tin pot fascista, Matt Bevin. But it's nothing new.

Something else the rally made clear, if it wasn't already: the powers that be are complicit in protecting the ability of hate to spread itself like cancer. The cops didn't try and shut down the fascists for making verifiable threats to peaceful protesters. The cops shut down the peaceful protesters by relying on fear and the implied threat that the cops would not be there to protect them.**

I was not at the Pikeville Rally. In the end, I decided it was more important to be here with my family and the community of folks I work with in homeless outreach.

But that shouldn't confuse anyone into believing that I've gone anywhere, or that I'm backing down. It's true, I've been a little quiet of late.

That's over now.
*Note: the Puritans did escape England to pursue their own religious ideals, but they were not then, now, or ever, martyrs for religious freedom. These are the ones who burned women for witches, remember?
** This, too, is nothing new. See Also: The Kent State Massacre, The Cripple Creek Massacre, the Ludlow Massacre, The Haymarket Affair, the murder of Joe Hill by the state of Utah, and The New Testament. 

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28 April, 2009

All Violations Real and Imagined

I was trying to finish a 250 word bit on the wonders of orthopedic surgery when there was a knock on the door. The break was a welcome one. The advertorial itself wasn’t that difficult to write; but it’s hard to get it up sometimes when you know you’re whoring out your talent for far less than you’re worth. Maude had gone out to get away from my procrastinating and whining. “To give you space,” she said. “so you can write. If you don’t get that piece in, you know they won’t give you another one.” I knew damn well it wasn’t really writing. She knew that, too. But I think she was tired of me reminding us both.

When I answered the door, two uniformed cops were there to greet me. Fuck. Did I forget to pay a parking ticket? Did I get a photo enforcement ticket? I thought that camera flashed last night but that fucker in the red Audi was speeding, so…

“Yeah?” I tried to keep the door cracked so the cat wouldn’t get out. He liked to try and escape, the little fur ball. The last time he got out, I had to wander around for three hours looking for him while Maude sat at home crying over it like it was a kid. After I finally gave up and went back, trying to figure out how to explain that I couldn’t find the cat, I got back to find the little orange son of a bitch curled up on her lap. She told me that she tried to call and tell me, but that my phone was off. Again.

The cop on the left, the short one, spoke first. “Sir, do you know the people in the apartment next to you?” The other cop, a slightly taller blonde guy wearing mirror shades that covered his eyes and highlighted a distinctly aryan profile rattled off a last name like he was bored.

“I know them when I see them,” I answered. “But I don’t know them. I don’t even know their first names. My wife usually remembers things like that.”

“Is your wife home?” the short cop asked.

“No,” I answered. “What’s this about?”

“We’ll ask the questions, sir.” The taller cop’s tone got a little more aggressive. Great, I thought. That’s just what I need. A cop with a hard on.

“We tried knocking on their door,” the short cop explained. “Have you seen them today?”

“Not today, no.”

“And when was the last time you saw them?”

“Christ, I don’t know. Maybe a couple of weeks. But I don’t really pay attention.” Which was the truth. We’d just moved into the apartment and while I’d interacted with a few of the neighbors, I kept more or less to myself. Maude was always talking to people when she stepped out to smoke. I didn’t mind so much, except one of the neighbors knocked on our door wanting to bum smokes. When people start bumming from you, it never stops. And I didn’t like the guy much anyway. He and his old lady owned a pit bull that was too big for an apartment, and whenever they let it out, it shit like diarrhea all over the place and they never bothered to clean up after it. They also fought all the time – usually at night and almost always when I had to get up the next morning to work. Since I’d been laid off they hadn’t been fighting as much – or maybe I just hadn’t noticed. But they still liked to bum smokes and let their diarrheic dog wander around stinking up the place.

“Are you sure about that? A couple of weeks?”

“That sounds right,” I answered, hanging on the door.

“And what’s your name, sir?”

I told them my name. Then the taller prick asked me how long we’d been living here.

“A little over two months.”

“Do you ever notice anything odd going on over there?” The shorter cop nodded towards the apartment next door.


“Yeah,” he shrugged. “You know. Odd.”

I stood there for a couple of seconds, waiting for him to explain it a little more. He didn’t.


“Are you sure?” The taller cop asked, eyeing me over the rims of his mirror shades.

“Uh, yeah. Yeah, I’m sure.” I felt the cat nudge up against my leg. My foot and right leg was wedged between the door and the two cops outside, but I instinctively pushed the cat back with my foot and closed the door a little more.

“We’re not finished yet, sir,” the short cop said. If I didn’t know any better, I could swear I saw the aryan’s hand fall on his gun handle.

I was about to explain that I wasn’t trying to slam the door in their faces when the cat slid by me in a blur of yellow-orange fur, shot down the alley, and was gone. There was no point in running after it; my only hope was that the little bastard would get hungry and find its way home. Don’t get me wrong; I like cats. But cats are different than dogs. Dogs will like you or not like you; if they like you, they remember you. They greet you when you come home. They play with you. Dogs will love you whether you love them or not, and will be happy to see you whether you feed them or not. Cats, though, operate on a much more fundamental level. Cats are loyal to whoever fills the food dish. They’re natural scavengers. That’s part of the reason why a lot of guys don’t like cats. A dog’s loyalty reflects who we think we are; but the taciturn and moody nature of a cat is a more honest reflection. House cats are domesticated like dogs; but unlike dogs, which have been carefully bred over the centuries, cats have been domesticated almost by accident. No one ever bred a cat to be a good hunter, or a good sheep herder. Domesticated cats were bred simply to be small enough not to maul their owners.

I looked at the cops. I couldn’t tell if they were amused or not. I assumed they were. “Shit,” I muttered under my breath and shook my head. I smiled. “You don’t want to go chase a cat do you? Protect and serve?”

The aryan was not amused. The short cop answered first. “Does your animal have a tag?”

“A tag?” I asked. “No.” Who the hell tags a fucking house cat? Ours didn’t go outside unless it escaped. Which it tried every chance it got. I tried to tell Maude several times that maybe the cat simply WANTED to be outside. Maybe it was happier that way.

“What do you mean?” she replied. “You just don’t LIKE him. You never have.”

“I like the cat fine,” I said. “I’m the one who ends up cleaning up his shit, remembers?”

“You’re always mean to him.”

“I am not. I get after him when he destroys our stuff, is all. Or do you want every stick of furniture to be a scratching post?”

It was an argument I was destined to lose, and I did. I wasn’t even sure what the argument was about, anyway.

The cops were standing there watching me. “You know you’re supposed to tag all domesticated animals, right sir?” The short cop’s mouth was curved into a small, twisted smile.

Asshole. “Look, officer,” I began. “That cat’s not really an outside cat. We don’t turn him loose. I have the litter box to prove it. Plus, he’s fixed, so it’s not like he’s out tomming.”

“He seemed like he was in a hurry,” the short cop answered. The aryan was scribbling in his notebook.

Great, I thought. That’s all I need. A fucking Nazi cop who secretly worships cats and has identified me as a feline abuser. Wonderful. Maybe they’ll all come and piss on my door as a warning. “So,” I said, trying to change the subject, “why are you guys looking for them?” I nodded towards my neighbor’s apartment. “Like I said, I don’t know them, really, but they seem like ok people to me.”

The aryan stopped writing long enough to look up and chastise me. “We will ask the questions, sir.”

“Thanks for your help, sir,” the short cop said, hitching up his gun belt. “Have a good day.”
The aryan handed me a piece of paper. I looked at him for a second, then down at the slip of paper he was holding in his hand. I took it from him. It was a ticket. Untagged and unregistered animal. I looked up at the aryan. He was smiling. “Have a nice day, sir.”

I held the ticket up. “Are you serious?” I was incredulous. “A fucking fine because I was talking to YOU and my cat got out?”

“A violation’s a violation, sir.” The aryan’s tone was condescending. He was really enjoying himself. He was probably going to go home and masturbate to this little scene along with the usual Nazi torture images.

“But it’s a FUCKING cat,” I protested.

“Maybe you’d like another citation, sir?” the short cop was bored and wanting move on. His tone was sharp. Annoyed.

I didn’t want to ask what the citation might be for. I just wanted to close the door. I shook my head. Both officers smiled and stood a little taller. “Have a nice day, sir,” the short cop said. The aryan just smiled and nodded, smug in the knowledge of his tiny victory. After they turned to walk away, I closed the door, went back to my computer, and tried to refocus on my article.