Ta-Nehisi on Baltimore: “Nonviolence as Compliance”



I read this earlier, and as I reflected on it, I began to think that raising the cost of police violence beyond the millions already paid in legal settlements to victims may be just what the situation calls for. The behavior of police can be corrected, the system just needs the proper motivation to do it.



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Ta-Nehisi Coates is on point here. I’m firmly of the belief that if people don’t want forest fires, they shouldn’t be playing with matches in the dry leaves.


Ignoring the fact that the real cause of destructive fires is the historically poor management of the forests - including - policies that serve to protect the timber companies, but not the public interest.


It’s a real tragedy when the system fails a group of people so badly that they feel compelled to resort to violence. The sad thing is, I don’t even know if rioting in response to police brutality (not to mention racism) will help end it any faster than protesting peacefully would. Either way, change seems to be slow in coming.

Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.

Couldn’t agree more!

Saying that nonviolence is compliance, (apparently) conflating disrepect toward a system with violence toward the possibly innocent people engaged in that system, advocating a bit of cathartic rioting…? yeah, I’m more squishy on those points.


Great to actually see some sanity in a mainstream media outlet for once.

What people haven waited for is the initial investigation to be completed. The media also has not entertained the strong possibility that the injuries that killed him may have been a unintended result of the apprehension, not some illicit beating episode out of public view. Hyperextension cervical injuries are real and do happen and are not always immediately detectable.

What a brilliant point, I never thought of that. It’s one thing for Gandhi to teach Satyagraha. It’s altogether another thing if British troops try to teach it to him.


Welcome to BoingBoing.


The police don’t bear this cost. The taxpayers do. Raising the cost to the taxpayers won’t change police behavior.
I would suggest removal of the gag orders that go with the settlements as a good start, along with disciplining and firing those responsible in such cases, and doing so in the public eye, to help build public trust.


Go after their pensions!


Or they should have called an ambulance instead of loading him in the back of a van. As per their policy.

But thanks for standing up for the status quo, it sure needs a defender.


I think the point being made was that the “cost” should perhaps not be in dollars…

Maybe, but without a suggestion, it’s hard to tell.

True. Also, as cathartic as it may be, war against the police simply won’t work for a number of reasons. I’d reference Dorner as a prime example.

The big issue is that what you suggest isn’t being instituted (or likely even seriously considered), and what is being considered is how to get “them” quiet and obedient like “they” should be.

In Baltimore, we have one example. At the conclusion of the Majestic towing investigation, several officers were arrested publicly, or at least in front of police academy students. Not quite piking of heads, but a step in the right direction. I don’t think the issue is that it’s not being considered, just that it’s extremely difficult to pull off. It took FBI involvement to make that happen.


would your period of waiting bring him or the others back to life?


This is the real problem. Police close ranks and are so unwilling to say “we fucked up, this guy made mistakes, and we’re firing him and changing some things to address this in the future.”

NEVER. I mean, NEVER have I seen a significant nationally news reported case go down this way.

Sad thing is, it perpetuates the problem, implies (at best!) that police are perfect. They never make mistakes. Yeah, right. They are human like the rest of us. And at worst it implies they are corrupt, systemically so.