Thursday, July 20, 2017

#JustineDamond: A Police Shooting Re-Cast

It has been nearly a week since unarmed Justine Damond was fatally shot by a police officer after calling 911 about a disturbance. I have to say, I’m disappointed on the usual suspects on both sides. Though the news coverage is thorough, usually I’d see/hear a bunch of opinion pieces from #BlackLivesMatter folk, decrying the unnecessary, excessive use of force by the police officer, who we assume will have an excuse about being “spooked” by Ms. Damond, which is why he had to shoot. #JustineDamond and #JusticeForJustine aren’t even in the top ten of Twitter mentions. I’ll give it to a few people, they are making a little bit of noise, but the resounding sound of frustration and rage that came from Philando Castile or Tamir Rice’s case is just not there.
On the other side, the #BlueLivesMatter / #AllLivesMatter folk have not done their usual caping for the officers involved. I haven’t heard anyone make inane excuses for the police, or say that Justine Damond’s pyjamas looked intimidating. No one pulled out the “if you follow the rules, you won’t get shot” mantra. No deep dives into Damond’s personal history to see if she got detention or may have stolen a pen from a bank, so that they could demonize her and label her a thug. No comparisons of her to an animal.
Perhaps it’s because Justine Damond is a blond white woman, and the officer, Mohamed Noor, is a Somali-American. Neither side knows what to do. #BLM is used to rallying about the deaths of black men and women, and really, any person of color. This is a white woman. Though white people in general are shot more than black people, but proportionally to population, this is a rare occasion. Still…This is a perfect opportunity to show that police brutality and lack of real change will affect EVERYONE. It shouldn’t be squandered.
And maybe Mohamed Noor’s African-ness, Muslim-ness, and Immigrant-ness are why the BlueAlls haven’t said a word. They are usually quick to cape for a cop, even if he shot an unarmed man in the back while running away, even if he arrested someone essentially for smoking in her car, even if he shot someone who was on the ground lying down with his hands spread out announcing that he is an unarmed mental health counselor trying to calm down his autistic patient who is holding a toy truck, not a gun. You can bet that someone will say, “Well, it’s just not clear”, “We don’t know…”, and other weak excuses for doing legal drive-bys on pre-teens. This is a perfect time to REALLY express that blue lives matter and all lives matter, and prove that it isn’t
what we suspect it is: a knee-jerk racist reaction to black people announcing that they want respect. Could it be that the casual BlueAll is having problems wrapping their head around the officer’s identity right now? Usually it’s a white cop. This time, it’s a Muslim, a demographic that has been demonized, an immigrant, another demonized identity, and black, an identity that…well…you can
read just 3/5 of a history book to figure it out…not one approved by the Texas School Board. Regardless, if they don’t speak up and talk about this officer the way they do for previous officers in this situation, it’s possible that a bunch of racist asshats will step in and do the talking for them.
UPDATE: A bunch of racist asshats stepped in and did the talking for them. Fox News ran a story about Mohamed Noor. From the headline on, they were adamant to tell you that the officer is an immigrant, Somali (one of the countries on 45’s banned travel list), and that he is Muslim. Fox is good at dog whistling. Pamela Geller went all out and wrote a whole article entitled “First Somali-Muslim Police Officer in Minnesota KILLS Blonde Yoga Instructor in Cold Blood”. What followed was her usual standard diatribe about how Muslims hate women, how immigrants will kill us all, and how refugees are wolves in hijabs, ready to strike at any time. What else would you expect from a woman so enthusiastically racist, she expressed her hate all through the NYC Subway System from 2012 until the New York transit ad company disallowed political messages because of her? Geller and Fox are just the tips of some racist icebergs. The narrative is already being crafted that Noor is a sleeper cell, that he had fear of a woman outside of a niqab, that he wished to murder white Americans (Damond was Australian, btw). BlueAlls really shit the bed on this one. They lost their chance to blindly defend a cop, and now their shittier cousins have taken the reigns…or maybe they were the BlueAlls the whole time.
#BLMs kind of shit the bed, too, to be fair. This time, it doesn’t matter that Damond was white. She was gunned down by an officer of the law. Is not excessive police violence the crux of why BLM exists? Yes, it was originally about excessive use of force against black people and other people of color, but it always spills over to everyone. The problem is the training that gives police the mindset that everyone is a potential violent suspect, not a citizen, first. Yes, the job is dangerous, but only coming out to knock heads without getting to know the neighborhood is not real protection. If anything, #BLM could find some humor in talking and doing more regarding this incident. It would be just like Affirmative Action: It was supposedly targeted for people of color, but inevitably white women will benefit more from it.

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