SUMMER OF HATE
Bow season is a little over a month away. Hopefully by then I'll be able to put the "hunting" back in HWS. In the meantime it's been the Summer of Hate. Gaza, Ferguson, Ukraine, West Africa- all in turmoil....and it's still a couple of days before Labor Day. Who knows what the rest of the week will bring. There's been so much killing and suffering going on that it's a little difficult to put it all in perspective. Words fail me. I guess that's why I've been in the studio so much. Sometimes a goofy object can make more sense of what's happening in the world at large, than a narrative. Yet, one needs to use all the tools in the pencil box. I've resisted weighing in on the shooting of Michael Brown. I can resist no longer.
Systematic, institutional racism is at epidemic levels in this country. We may have a mixed race President, and more African Americans in positions of power and visability than ever before, but the institutions that they represent have not kept pace with this demographic shift. That State Police commander may be black, but the State Police are still red, white and blue. And the bottom line is still green. Call it a race or a class war. Either is appropriate. In America it is a crime to be poor. To be White and poor is to be disenfranchised, inconvenienced, and waiting in line for government cheese. To be Black and poor can put you in jail or the graveyard.
It may appear that these little places like Ferguson, Mo. are aberrations, where the chips are stacked against people of color and the rest of the country is cool. This is a false assumption. This climate of dispair comes from the very top. HOPE? Give me a fucking break. The Federal program known as 1033 has been supplying local police departments with used military equipment for decades now. The TV show COPS started the paranoia in the early 90's, showing all Blacks as crackhead criminals. Bush 41 cranked up the war machine in Desert Storm and set us on this surplus gear path. Humvees, body armor, Bearcats, automatic weapons and enough styling helmets and visors to make even the most out of shape cop look like Darth Vader, have been doled out for free from the feds. All with a simple caveat- use it or lose it. If the recipients do not use all this fun crap within a year, it goes back. Cat up a tree? Call out the SWAT team. War on bodegas selling loosies? Bring in the tear gas. Protesters? Open the barn door.
As dangerous as it is to be a young Black man walking down the streets of America, don't try driving. Here is where the government makes everyone a criminal. If all your papers are not in order, you will face fines, surcharges, for any number of non-violent, completely insignificant offenses. Can't pay? Go directly to jail. As Rabbi John Stewart pointed out in last night's Daily Show sermon: "You may be charged for staining a cop's uniform with your own blood, after they beat the shit out of you." I'm old and white and armed. I have little to fear from the authorities. That is until they check the clip in my 9mm. "Excuse me sir. You seem to have a 10 shot clip. Hands against the car. You are in violation. This is gonna cost you." I can't wait for deer season.