Missive from the Gem State: Part 1

Hello Dear Readers,

It has been a while hasn’t it? To summarize: Scout and I left Oakland and have now settled our collective gams in Moscow, Idaho where I intend to live and study for the next three years. Don’t know exactly what Scout will be doing, but my intuition tells me napping will be involved.

Thoughts on Idaho so far:

  1. It is not Oakland.
  2. There are thunderstorms here! (For those who don’t know, this is a positive for me.)

That’s about it.

I attended a protest this afternoon to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to call for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade. I was glad that such a protest existed. I was glad people showed up despite the rain and the cold. I was disappointed that the “organizer” professed himself to be in support of police reform.

I think it is time for me to come out about the police. It is Pride month after all.

I support abolition of the police on the federal, state, and local levels. Policing in the United States has its roots in slave-catching. Its function is and always has been the armed enforcement of white supremacy. The police are not “doing their jobs wrong” and there cannot be “good police officers”. Unless they are infiltrating the system in order to bring it down from within. But I will wait to believe that when the movie comes out.

The police were created to protect and serve white people, more specifically white people with property and sometimes just their property.

As I mentioned in a previous post, community initiatives to support addiction recovery, affordable housing, education, and mental health (communal and individual) are far more important and effective than an armed force.

I have heard the response: what about violent crimes? To which I respond, how have the police protected us so far? In the case of domestic abuse, involvement of the police nearly always worsens the consequences for the victim. In cases of sexual assault, victims are nearly always counseled not to report to the police. In the cases of mass shootings, including those on schools such as Sandy Hook, police did not stop the massacre from happening. In some cases, the shooters are arrested and allowed to face trial.

Where was this restraint for George Floyd?

Other arguments infer that reform will be enough. To which Minneapolis is the perfect counter-argument. MPD underwent every reform and conversation and oversight committee imaginable after the murder of Philando Castile, and yet here we are again.

The comparison has been made between the abolition movement of the 1800s and the abolition movement of today, and in many ways I think it is an apt comparison. People then saw abolition as “radical” or at the very least “impractical”. They wanted to see statistics and arguments for and against, were terrified of what might happen, over-intellectualized and rhetorized until they were blue in the face. And all that time human beings were imprisoned and enslaved.

Now, we white people face that same fear: what will happen when we destroy the force that is protecting our white privilege?

It is scary. We fear, I think, the justice that may follow. Not the comfortable easy “justice” of a system designed to keep us in power, but a true justice when those we have persecuted for 400 years are no longer held hostage at gun point.

This keeps us arguing and filibustering and looking for statistics and waiting to see all the solutions spread out before us. But the truth is our time for delaying is over. It has been over. There is no more reform or reimagining that will answer.

There is only abolition and the world that we build after.


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