(TMU) Opinion – Over the past 100 years, the use of tear gas has become ubiquitous among the police and military forces of authoritarian regimes all over the world. This chemical agent is commonly used, and is often called a “less-lethal weapon” by authorities and their supportive media, which causes many people to forget that this is a chemical weapon that is banned in warfare by the Geneva Convention. Sadly, people all around the world have become desensitized to this chemical weapon being used in the streets of their neighborhood.
Jamil Dakwar, director of the human rights program with the American Civil Liberties Union, says that tear gas was initially developed during the first World War for use on the battlefield, and while the chemicals have since been refined for use against protesters, they can still be extremely dangerous and sometimes even fatal. He also pointed out that the risk of hurting or injuring innocent people is extremely high with a weapon like this.
“In general, it could be lethal. In fact, there are incidents where people were killed by these canisters. The problem with tear gas is that it’s also an indiscriminate weapon. If you think about the way that it’s being deployed, it doesn’t really distinguish between young people and elderly, the healthy and the sick, people who are peaceful protesters or those who are using violence. But the idea is that this has become the first trigger — the first thing that law enforcement would use — as if it is going to be the way to de-escalate and end the protest. Most of the time, it’s really used to suppress protest and that’s really one of the fundamental problems with it,” Dakwar told PRI.
Despite chemical weapons being banned in international conflicts, individual governments insisted on the power to use the gas against its own citizens, because they claimed that it was their only option to suppress demonstrations without using lethal force. However, this excuse entirely ignores that allowing the protesters to demonstrate, or succumbing to their demands could be a potential option.
The use of these chemical agents on protesters sends a clear message that their voice is not welcome and that their demands will not be taken seriously by authorities. In many cases, the use of tear gas causes further blowback from protesters, and does little to de-escalate conflicts between protesters and police. This was seen during the past week’s protests in Minneapolis, where demonstrations were largely peaceful until the streets were filled with tear gas.
When used in enclosed spaces, tear gas can also become combustible, and in many circumstances, including the high profile Waco siege, deadly fires have been blamed on the use of tear gas. Furthermore, the long-term physical effects of these chemicals are not very well-known, especially when it comes to children, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions.
According to one study using data collected from protests in Bahrain, women who were exposed to tear gas were more likely to have miscarriages. In those same protests, a man with asthma was killed from inhaling the chemicals.
Tear gas is a chemical weapon banned in warfare, so why is it used so often?
Posted by AJ+ on Friday, November 30, 2018
Cops TV Series Cancelled After 33 Seasons Amid Police Brutality Protests
(TMU) Op ed – In most mainstream television shows, movies, or books, the police are almost always the heroes of the story, and much of the real-life experiences that people have with police are often let out of the picture entirely.
This has helped to maintain the prevailing narrative that the police are the good guys and that they spend their days dealing with the worst elements of society, and protecting the world from thieves, rapists, and murders.
In many ways, Hollywood has acted as a propaganda agency for both law enforcement and the military, by always deferring to authority in their depictions of people in these roles.
These types of shows aren’t a small phenomenon either, cable and streaming services are flooded with them and they have had a profound impact on the public’s perception of the police.
This has slowly started to change, as cell phone cameras have allowed for widespread documentation of police brutality.
However, the death of George Floyd and the protests that have followed have accelerated the conversation about police reform to the point where it is becoming less and less socially acceptable to be affiliated with the police.
This shift in the global consciousness will undoubtedly push networks to reconsider airing shows that glorify the police. In fact, this has already started to happen. Cops, one of the longest running shows on TV, was canceled by the Paramount network amid the growing protests.
“Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return,” a Paramount Network spokesperson said, according to Entertainment Weekly.
There are over 1,100 episodes of Cops, and the show was preparing for its 33rd season.
The footage presented on Cops has actually been controversial long before this recent interest in police brutality. As far back as the 1990’s, the show was accused of propagating harmful racial stereotypes.
A 1994 study from Old Dominion University found that viewers of the show were more likely to associate crime with people of color because the suspects depicted in the show were overwhelmingly black or latino, and the police officers were mostly white.
Again in 2004, additional research showed that the content on the show was so biased that it could be used to justify racial profiling.
The show’s creators John and Morgan Langley responded to these criticisms during a 2018 interview, saying that they have long since corrected this problem, but the efforts seem to be too little too late, and the format itself is quickly becoming offensive to most people.
If the sentiment to bring extreme reforms to policing continues to grow, this style of cop show may become a thing of the past.
The future is also uncertain for the show Live PD, a successor to Cops which appears on A&E. According to THR, A&E pulled last week’s episodes of Live PD and there is no clear indication when or if the next episode will air, although the network is promising that it will be back at some point.
Local Business Owner Shot And Killed By Police Enforcing Curfew On His Weekly BBQ
(TMU) – The Kentucky National Guard fired live ammunition at a crowd while enforcing the recently imposed curfew in the very early hours of Monday morning, leaving at least one person dead.
The incident took place just after midnight, according to Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad, who said that the city’s police were sent to a parking lot to break up a crowd along with the National Guard.
The police and the National Guard claim that they were shot at during the altercation, but as of this writing they have given no proof to support these claims.
The police have not recovered any weapons or bullet casings from the scene to prove that it was someone in the crowd who fired the first shot, and they have offered no video evidence.
“Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at. Both LMPD and National Guard members returned fire, we have one man dead at scene,” Conrad said in a statement.
In a statement posted to Twitter on Monday morning, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear repeated the claim that the someone in the crowd fired first, once again, while offering no evidence or information about potential suspects, or the person who was killed.
Statement from Governor Andy Beshear: pic.twitter.com/MyHxcE3Ntn
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) June 1, 2020
However, the family of the man who was killed later identified him as David McAtee, and they say that he was an innocent bystander.
“He didn’t hurt nobody, didn’t deserve to get shot down like he did. I don’t know what happened, but whatever happened here, my brother didn’t do nothing wrong. He was an innocent person, and innocent bystander. He did not deserve this at all,” McAtee’s sister told WAVE3.
His sister also said that McAtee and the group that he had assembled with were not even a part of the protests, and that they had gathered in the parking lot for a barbecue and live music as they do every Sunday night.
McAtee, who is the owner of a local business called “Yaya’s BBQ Shack” was helping to serve food at the event as he does every week.
Police and National Guard were reportedly going after any crowd that was violating the city’s curfew, and this peaceful weekly gathering was targeted as a result.
In addition to protests relating to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the city is also protesting the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her home by Louisville police earlier this year. The police were conducting a “no-knock” in search of her ex-boyfriend.
While George Floyd has been a spark for the protests, each city has its own list of people who have had their lives taken or otherwise ruined by their local police department, and now as many of these police departments are responding with even more brutality, those lists are only getting longer, further escalating the growing conflict between citizens of the US and the police.
With their heavy-handed tactics, police are only increasing the hostility that people feel, and they are proving what the protesters have been saying all along.
Man Threatening Protesters With Bow and Arrow Gets Beaten Down and Car Lit on Fire
(TMU) Op Ed – Shocking footage from downtown Salt Lake City has spread showing a middle-aged white male screaming “All Lives Matter!” from his car window before climbing out of his car and aiming a large bow and arrow at people participating in a massive protest against police brutality and racism in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
After pulling out his large hunting bow, the motorist – who later identified himself as Brandon McCormick – allegedly fired an arrow into the crowd. However, the alleged firing of an arrow was not captured on film and there are no reports that anyone was hurt by the weapon.
Regardless, after waving around the compound bow at protesters and threatening them with the deadly device, McCormick was quickly swarmed, beaten, and taken to the ground by protesters.
In one of the videos, someone shouts: “He’s shooting a bow!”
“Get this m***********, man,” says someone else. A woman then points to the bow and arrow, the woman says, “Don’t you dare!”
Twitter user @Gingersonfire wrote:
“He got out of his car, yelled ‘that’s it’, and shot into the crowd before being tackled.”
“He was yelling and me, and then aimed his bow at a black man standing behind me. The black man saw it coming, charged, and tackled him.”
— No Seas Racista 🇵🇷 (@Gingersonfire) May 31, 2020
A second video clip filmed from a different angle shows demonstrators seeking cover and hiding behind vehicles near McCormick as he wildly swings the weapon around.
In a Twitter post of the video, user @princesslondy wrote: “F*cking bastard deserved it. Who the f*ck does this?!”
— ♛ ʟᴏɴᴅʏʙᴀʙʏʏ ♛ (@princesslondyxx) May 31, 2020
After McCormick received a swift pummeling, protesters then smashed the windows of his compact car and flipped it over before proceeding to set it on fire, according to social media posts.
The SLC police retreated and allowed rioters to light the man’s car on fire. pic.twitter.com/aXhBhXQODO
— No Seas Racista 🇵🇷 (@Gingersonfire) May 31, 2020
McCormick, who was also in possession of a large knife, was quickly taken into custody by police.
In a later interview, McCormick accused protesters of attacking him after he began shouting disparaging slogans at them from his car. He complained:
“First I got beat up when I yelled, ‘All Lives Matter,’ then I pulled out weapons, then I got beat up some more, then cops grabbed me and my car got totaled.”
Hinting at an apparent criminal background, McCormick added that he is a reformed supporter of the police. He said:
“I’m a changed civilian, I’ve changed my life, I back up the law enforcement … I know some cops are bad.”
When a reporter urged McCormick to treat a wound sustained in the altercation, he replied: “I can’t afford to, I’m on unemployment.”
He later told Deseret News that he “came down here originally to help the cops.”
“But, all I did was yell out, ‘All lives matter’ and I got beat up by black people.”
McCormick is originally from Barstow, California, according to his Facebook profile. The profile also includes several far-right posts about Democratic politicians, including one where he expresses a wish to “go back in time to take out Oboma [sic] and Hillary in the crib.” In a separate post, he also expresses his wish that he could travel back in time to kill “Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler, and stalled and musaliny” (Stalin and Mussolini).
Other posts are so grammatically mangled that it’s difficult to ascertain what he was trying to say.
If you didn't grow up during the cold war and or you and or your anaesters are here ileagely. You shouldn't be alloud to vote!!!!!
Social media users have mockingly dubbed McCormick “Hawkeye” after the Marvel comics character who is known for being an ace with a bow and arrow.
One user remarked:
“Nobody told him to act like Hawkeye from Avengers and launch an arrow into the crowd. When you do clownery, the clown comes break to bite.”
Another user commented, “Hawkeye stay useless.”
Twitter users also blasted McCormick for his use of the slogan “All Lives Matter,” which is largely seen as a term used to discredit and undermine the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” The latter slogan was devised by activists to elevate the visibility of Black people whose lives were claimed by unjust police killings and to convey the message that it is wrong to dehumanize and kill them.
In one Twitter post, user @PizzaPartyThe60 highlighted the irony of the situation, writing:
“He said ‘All Lives Matter’ and then proceeded to try to take a life.
“How on brand.”
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