Walking while black


There’s a lot to say about being a minority in today’s America and from where Miscellany101 sits none of it is good.  We haven’t talked about the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri although at some point we will, nor have we really dealt with Eric Gardner’s brutal publicly recorded execution by New York City police although we should.

If one really wants to know the depths of American racism, however, and with out ambiguity attached….you only need to look here, where Raymond Wilford was pepper sprayed because he was walking down the street minding his own business and ran across a security guard who thought it was his time to dispense some street justice to the first black person he saw.

Twenty-five-year-old Raymond Wilford, who is black, was walking by on his way to meet a friend at the Westlake Center mall. The shirtless man spit at him, Wilford said, and the two squared off but didn’t throw any punches at each other. Then a Westlake security guard appeared.

“The security guard was like, ‘Stop,'” Wilford said in an interview. “The white guy was still yelling and walking towards the security guard. I was like, ‘Why are you pointing your Mace at me? He’s the one being aggressive.’ And then he [the mall cop] pepper-sprayed me.” According to witnesses and a police report, the spray blew into other people’s faces and left them with red eyes.

ron-johnson-fraternityEven shaking hands and greeting one another on the street can get black men in trouble with the law even when they ARE the law in today’s America.

Today in Ferguson, Mo., news, The Washington Post takes on the assertion that Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson has been photographed flashing gang signs with members of the community.

He has not.

To reiterate: Capt. Johnson is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, a black fraternity that was formed in 1911 at Indiana University in Bloomington, and the hand sign you see in the pictures below is a Kappa greeting.

 

 

 

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It’s now time to do away with the no-fly lists


The no-fly list is an instrument of state coercion that is selectively used to oppress citizens of America and in reality limit their movements among the national or international community or even force them into exile from their own country.  It is a throwback to an antiquated way of a state being heavy handed and oppressive towards its citizens in an attempt to bend them towards what government wants them to do.  Many Muslim Americans who when asked why they were not allowed to fly were told if they would become informants for the government their names would be removed from such lists.

We now have the means to know if someone is immediately a threat to the security of public transportation, not just planes, with the invention of this device, Picosecond Programmable Laser scanner.

The latest scanners acquired by the U.S. government will be able detect the most minute traces of molecular discrepancies in both individuals’ bloodstream and carry on luggage from 50 meters away……the new scanners are said to be ten million times faster and one million times more sensitive than the scanners used in airports and border patrols currently.

The company says that the Picosecond Programmable Laser scanner can ‘penetrate clothing and many other organic materials and offers spectroscopic information, especially for materials that impact safety such as explosives and pharmacological substances.’The process of scanning and downloading the information takes only picoseconds- so one-trillionth of a second- which means that security workers would be alerted to any alarming substances as you were approaching them.Because it takes such a short amount of time to use the laser technology and interpret the data, security officials will not have to discriminate among suspicious passengers and will have time to use the technology on everyone.

‘From traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes to what you had for breakfast to the adrenaline level in your body—agents will be able to get any information they want without even touching you’, that’s how sensitive and extensive this machine is.  Now that the government is able to in real time know whether any one is a threat before boarding a plane, they should immediately abolish the no fly lists.  Even if a person is a terrorist, the government can know whether he is mission capable at the time he/she gets on the plane, i.e. whether they possess the tools necessary to take down an airplane.  Add to this really fancy wizadry, the full body scanners in use in airports around the world, and federal air marshals, those steroid pumped, accurate shooting human machines, there should no longer be any need to prevent American citizens from flying.  If the federal government is reluctant to stop using these lists to keep people off planes it could mean only one thing and that is it’s not a security instrument but rather a coercive or punitive one.

The skies are very vulnerable right now


These are not the words of a potential terrorist or enemy of the US, but rather the proclamation of a whistleblower with the Air Marshal Service, talking about the rampant discrimination faced by females, veterans, blacks, minority groups of all types in the Orlando, Florida office of the Air Marshals. The managers of that office were far more preoccupied making crude jokes and pranks about and against co-workers than they were with protecting passengers; one local Florida TV news crew even recorded marshals sleeping while on duty, drunk or vandalizing personal property. Yet, these are the people who are charged with insuring the safety of America’s air waves post 911 at an enormous cost of money to the public’s treasury and even by the admission of one of them they are ineffective because of…..dare I say it…….their inability to deal with a multi ethnic workplace, discrimination.

After 911, when government agencies were either created or expanded to deal with perceived threats against America, bureaucracies grew so quickly and to such an extent that they became inefficient, off message and unfocused, and possibly ineffective in their mission and at a cost of trillions of dollars. We were told such expansion would produce good results, a consolidation of efforts, more efficiency to fight to preserve our way of life.  Rhetoric flew fast and furious in much the same way as government expanded, but after 9 years it seems we are no better off with no appreciable gains in the war on terror than we were on September 10,2001. There’s this

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work….

Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

At least 20 percent of the government organizations that exist to fend off terrorist threats were established or refashioned in the wake of 9/11. Many that existed before the attacks grew to historic proportions as the Bush administration and Congress gave agencies more money than they were capable of responsibly spending.

We are plagued by a bloated bureaucracy which harbors uninspired servants whose lapses endanger the security of the homeland. Not much has changed since 911 except the deficit, the size of government and the burden tax payers are paying for the perception of security, which begs the question is all this worth the price?