Was ANYBODY going to stop the unfettered lynching of people of color in America? Did President Obama ever deliver anything more than a eulogy? Few police officers are being convicted or even indicted. Videotaped killings of black men by lawmen have become so common, those disseminating the videos are being accused of harboring fetishes. People expressing offense online are being shamed for being clicktivists, though clearly the only fuels firing public outrage are the videos. Meanwhile Black Lives Matter spokespeople have become so jaded they ridicule the efficacy of street protests. And now everyone is condemning the lone direct action taker.
The killing of any human being is terrible, but the retaliatory killings of police in Dallas could have been prevented. Not by expecting minority communities to stomach further and unending extrajudicial assassinations, but by having police curb their racism and use of lethal force. Or of course by disbanding militarized police departments. Public officials can’t even broach that conversation. Do we expect the police state to dismantle itself?
Self-styled black revolutionary Micah Xavier Johnson, a typical PTSD-hardened Afghan vet, put “suicide by cop” to the service of his embattled community and avenged the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. He didn’t shoot their actual killers, but he didn’t hit innocents either. Johnson targeted America’s systemic enforcers of inequity, hitting twelve police officers, five of whom have now died.
Let’s note those cops weren’t “protecting the first amendment rights” of a spontaneous protest of the Sterling and Castile murders, but were harassing and detering demonstrations. The officers could have chosen not to, and hopefully, their comrades in other cities, molesting other legal assemblies, may now choose to stand down, because now authoritarian bullying has come in the line of fire.
There is poetic justice for those who would decry “Blue Lives Matter”. If they’re going to pretend it, let them feel the oppressive threat of violence which black lives bear. For one evening, in a small corner of Dallas, Texas, police brutality faced a comeuppance.
For now Johnson’s act is being condemned as an atrocity, as a massacre even, though obviously his victims 1) met every standard of belligerent adversary, 2) were armed, and 3) outnumbered him. Let’s concede that Johnson is a credit to his military training. He confirms how our soldiers could so murderously rapage through our war zones against lesser equipped combatants. Johnson’s motive echoes that which provoked US atrocities overseas, seeking revenge against civilians, exacting collective punishment for deadly IEDs.
If we acknowledge the violence with which African Americans are oppressed, and the mendacity of its apologists and enablers, can we condemn violent resistance? International law accords oppressed peoples the human right to resist.
Slave rebellion leader Nat Turner is recognized today as a hero, but was exhaustively vilified in his day because he killed slave owners, indescriminate of old or young. Whites retaliated and killed many more blacks. More violence follwed from abolitionsists and Jayhawkers, all of it lamentable. But slavery didn’t end because we willed it.
Because this era’s history is written with erasers, our victors’ primary tool, Micah Johnson will probably never be praised for heroism.
Johnson will join fellow effaced cop-killer Christopher Dorner. A previous African American reservist vet who was immolated alive, killed instead of being apprehended, lest an investigation benefit from his testimony about why he could no longer bear LAPD corruption in 2013.
From Dorner’s “manifesto”, before Michael Brown, Ferguson and Baltimore:
“Those Caucasian officers who join South Bureau divisions (77th,SW,SE, an Harbor) with the sole intent to victimize minorities who are uneducated, and unaware of criminal law, civil law, and civil rights. You prefer the South bureau because a use of force/deadly force is likely and the individual you use UOF on will likely not report it. You are a high value target.
“Those Black officers in supervisory ranks and pay grades who stay in south bureau (even though you live in the valley or OC) for the sole intent of getting retribution toward subordinate caucasian officers for the pain and hostile work environment their elders inflicted on you as probationers (P-1?s) and novice P-2’s. You are a high value target.
You perpetuated the cycle of racism in the department as well. You breed a new generation of bigoted caucasian officer when you belittle them and treat them unfairly.
Mikah Johnson’s last words we only know through the spin of Dallas police, the same people who decided not to wait him out, nor to smoke him or gas him out from hiding in a public parking garage, but instead to send a robot with a bomb and M.O.V.E. his ass like every other black nationalist revolutionary.
No, you murdurous assholes, Johnson didn’t “want to kill all white people.” He wanted to kill white cops. Just like Dorner, he wasn’t a threat to the public, he was a threat to the police state. You cops ensured Mikah Johnson didn’t live to dictate “confessions” and you even obliterated his body like Osama bin Laden. Drawn and quartered essentially, to preclude memorializers being able to center on an idol to build a resistance.
You and I may grapple with what to think of Johnson’s personal rampage, but the state knew immediately his was the selfless heroism they fear most. As with bin Laden, they knew his apprehension must be terminal.
Lest I be misunderstood, I do not promote armed insurrection, sedition or murder. I cannot. But I will not condemn Micah Johnson.
I need not agrandize him either. Taken without his revolutionary ideology, Johnson was an ordinary mentally wounded veteran like many others. Homicidal vets with PTSD are at the core of our epidemic of police brutality. Our law enforcement teams are full of OIF and OEF soldiers who got their start shooting up cars at checkpoints and acting out racist genocide to their heart’s content.
It’s not a new problem, the US has always had active warzones feeding veterans into 盈彩彩票lessness for those who couldn’t cope and filling government jobs for those who thrived. Beside policemanship, a very common job for discharged soldiers has always been the post office. Rembember the rampaging gunman problem we used to call “going postal?”
America’s racism problem may be transcended by a succession of church services, but class struggle is not a hearts and minds operation. Fascist rule and its army of the rich are not going to be wished away by militant nonviolence. That’s as likely as counting on the tooth fairy.
Worrying that acts like Johnson’s will provoke increased authoritarian repression is an expression of privilege provided by someone aclimated to a tolerable status quo, clearly a white perspective for whom black lives matter not enough.
Until all of us share the plight of the average Syrian refugee, trapped in our capitalist frontier war zones, none of us are shouldering an equitable burden of the police state.
That’s why it is more than black lives that matter. The middle class greivances of Occupy Wall Street are only a class removed from Black America’s suffering. We’re still talking about privileged Americans who support a grander racism that drives our global exploitation of all peoples.
I don’t have any faith that an arc of history bends toward justice in this corporate dark age. For my own sense of what’s right, it’s important to recognize Micah Johnson and Christopher Dorner for who they were, flawed, maybe very minor, aspiring Nat Turners, who wanted to strike against today’s slave masters and their brutal blue foremen.