WTF: Two tales of police brutality. The beating of Rodney King led to riots. The shooting of Milton Hall led to desk jobs.

DISCLAIMER:  I don’t know what the fuck this is.  I live about ten minutes away from where Milton Hall was shot, so I guess this is my attempt at journalism — without sacrificing my love for (side-notes) and curse words.
If I had my own newspaper, this would be the page three editorial.  And no one would read it. (Just like actual newspapers.)

Rodney King:  The Battered Drunk Driver Who Inspired an Uprising.

On March 3, 1991, Rodney King had a few drinks and was out being a drunken driving asshole.  King (who was on parole after serving time for  armed theft) decided he was going to try and outrun the Los Angeles police that were tailing him and avoid picking up a drunk driving charge (bad idea.)  A high speed chase pursued and Rodney’s escape attempt had attracted the attention of multiple police in the area – and a helicopter. When King finally pulled over, he was still being a dickhead (drunk) and wouldn’t get out of his vehicle.  Rodney eventually complied, exited the car and followed the officer’s instructions to lie on the ground. When police rushed to seize him, he resisted and was subsequently tased.  King, now immobile, was quickly beaten to a pulp with batons by the obviously irritated police officers.   A small portion of the fiasco was caught on camcorder by a member of the community, recording right as King was down from the Taser.  The clip of King getting pummeled by police received airplay on a global scale and was met with much public outrage.

Four officers faced trial for their roles in the beating.  When tried at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the jury failed to reach a verdict on one of the officers.  The other three were acquitted of all charges.  Up to this point, the Los Angeles police had already been pissing everybody off and protests were beginning– but the acquittals made all hell break lose.  On April 29, 1992, protests turned to riots.

The angered masses lost their fucking minds.  Businesses were looted and burned. Fifty-three people died and over two thousand more injured.  It took the Marines, U.S. Army, National Guard, and the police to restore order.  At the end of it all, the city had a billion dollars in financial losses.   All because a group of cops needed to prove some sort of point through thwacking batons.

Eventually, the Federal Government swooped in and put the police officers on trial.  Two out of four were convicted and served time.   Rodney King went on to sue the city and eventually settled for $3.8 million.  For Mr. King, being a victim of police brutality was probably the best thing that ever happened to him. He was able to live out the rest of his life being a drunk driving fuck-up without having to worry about robbing someone for cash ever again. He even landed a role on the Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew!

But being the victim of police brutality doesn’t always guarantee a million dollar settlement and higher standard of living.  Just ask Saginaw, Michigan resident Milton Hall.

Oh wait, you can’t – because he’s dead.

Milton Hall:  Target Practice for the Future Deskbound

On July 1st 2012, police were called in response to a homeless man, Milton Hall, after he reportedly spat on a convenience store clerk.  Police arrived to the scene and found Hall waiving a knife around and shouting nonsense (being a crazed bum) in a nearby west Saginaw shopping center parking lot.  Police tried to diffuse the situation, but Hall, who had a history of mental illness, was non-compliant and hostile.  The situation started to gather attention as more officers arrived to the scene, making eight in total.  The escalation and subsequent shooting can be seen in this amateur video from a passing motorist.

In the recording police repeatedly asked Hall to drop the knife and at one a point a female officer can be heard practically begging him to disarm.  Undeterred and on a different mental plane altogether, Milton can be heard encouraging the police to “release that motherfucking dog.” When Milton started making violent gestures and taking steps towards an officer and canine unit, six Saginaw police opened fire – a reported forty-six or so times.  Needless to say, they stopped Milton from getting too close to the dog.

Five police officers and one sergeant were immediately put on paid leave following the bullet storm.  Within thirty days, all the police officers involved were back to work, albeit – on desk duty.  Internal investigations were launched and the buzz surrounding the story could be heard on a national level.  Civil Rights leaders Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson caught wind of the story and both delivered speeches in Saginaw (because Milton Hall was black and his death offered a spotlight) – barking about justice, encouraging protests, and at one point Jackson offered an opinion that the Saginaw police “executed him in a kind of legal lynching.”

As the excitement over the Jackson and Sharpton visits wound down, Saginaw residents could do nothing but reserve judgment until the investigation concluded.  On September 12th, 2012, Saginaw County Prosecutor Mike Thomas announced that he would not be filing charges.  Thomas stated that the extensive, ten week investigation “did not yield enough evidence supporting the filing of criminal charges against the officers involved.”  He later continued, “it is the decision of the prosecutor’s office that we do not believe that the arresting officers are chargeable for their actions.”

Despite public outcry, apparently Mike Thomas considers six police guns and forty-six shots with only eleven hits – completely justifiable to take down one bum with a knife.  Perhaps if one of those extra bullets would’ve hit a passing citizen, he would have changed his mind.  Maybe the cops would’ve received sixty days of paid leave instead.

While the police officers face little repercussions for their actions, many citizens are left in disbelief over a broken system.  I’m not saying that Hall didn’t deserve to be shot.  Given the situation, the police had every right to shoot him once, twice, or maybe even three times.  Forty-six shots fired to subdue one man with a knife is an unacceptable and dangerous way to conduct police business.  The beat down of Rodney King was much more justifiable than the massacre of Milton Hall, and as previously stated… that incident led to full-scale riot.

As of September 13th, many feel (self-included) that justice has not been served.   Only time will tell if the violent actions of the Saginaw Police will cause an equal or greater reaction from the residing public.  So far, zero uprisings have been started on the behest of Milton Hall.  Considering the condition of Saginaw, a riot wouldn’t send much of message anyways.  Shuttered businesses can’t be looted.

A city that’s already broken can’t be destroyed.

And at this point, who would dare to square off against the Saginaw P.D.?

NOW YOU KNOW: I vote Democratic because I can’t afford to move to the Netherlands.

“’I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen… I know it won’t be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.” – George W. Bush.

I’ve been daydreaming about leaving America since the age of fourteen.  My faith in the system was lost on a cold Michigan night in November 2000, when Florida botched their polling system and seemingly handed the presidential election over to George W. Bush.  The whole thing seemed too convenient for W.  The son of a former president winning the state that his brother, Jeb Bush, governed after a huge polling controversy didn’t (and still doesn’t) seem like a coincidence. I remember asking myself at the time, “Is this Democracy just a Monarchy in disguise?  Is the game rigged?”

Bush’s presidency did nothing to restore my patriotism, but opened my mind to conspiracy theories I would have otherwise shut out.  The Bush’s are all alien-lizard-people who are skin changers and part of the Illuminati who want to establish a New World Order by staging a shadow-government orchestrated terrorist act?  That explains everything!

When Bush won again in 2004 by using folk-isms such as “you don’t change horses’ in midstream,” and by feeding off the fear of the general public to gain votes, it only made my dreams of fleeing that much more persistent.  I felt like I didn’t fit in with the majority of America, because I didn’t.  I often wondered aimlessly about what Canada is like.

Nonetheless, by November 2008, I was still an American… but hopeful.  Bush and Cheney were finally leaving office and a charismatic black man with the unfortunate (for this political scene) name of Barack Obama was leading the polls.  Right wingers demonized him as a liberal-socialist-Marxist-Kenyan-Islamic and all the noise made me want to vote for him all the more.  Obama’s marketing campaign of HOPE and CHANGE made me all the more anxious on election night.  When the results came in positive for Obama and the Democratic Party – who now controlled the House and Senate; it felt like a new day dawned in America.  I dreamed of smoking marijuana at a gay wedding reception and taking a legal prostitute to get an abortion from a Mexican illegal immigrant the morning afterwards.  Because that is what the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world had me believing would happen if Obama was elected (and that’s what every liberal dreams about.)

As the 2012 election approaches, Obama still has my vote.  I’m not absconding from this country anytime soon and he’s the lesser of two evils, even if he is drastically disappointing to many liberals.  My biggest problem with Obama is that he didn’t turn out to be the extreme leftist that he was painted to be by the opposition.  I’ve heard Republican colleagues express fears that upon reelection the real Obama will come out and his true European-socialist agenda will be known.   That sounds like wishful thinking to me.

I’m banking on Obama winning, because I don’t see how anyone could possibly vote for Mitt Romney.  Between questionable dealings at Bain Capital, his reluctance to release tax records, paying a lower tax rate than most of Americans on the years he did release, his constant flip-flopping, pandering to the working-class people he has nothing in common with, and his VP pick of Paul Ryan (I could go on), the candidate doesn’t really seem to have ground to run on.  Yet he somehow remains close in the polls.  And technically he’s not even Christian!  I thought that was a must for Conservative voters, who want to run the country using the Bible as an instruction manual.

Therein lays my issue with being American.  A lot of my separation stems from being a non-believer in a country full of theists.   In the United States, much of our public policy is dictated by the Holy Bible. Christianity is to blame for the question of abortion and women’s rights finding its way into the news cycle every six months. It is why two people who are in love, but share the same sex, can’t get married.   Jesus Christ is the reason I can’t smoke marijuana before going to see The Dark Knight Rises without fear of prosecution.  I guess since Obama is pro-choice, in favor of gay marriage, and used to smoke marijuana – the fact that Romney doesn’t believe in the same Jesus is okay with the Conservative base.  And on second thought, I don’t think the Bible is to blame for the prohibition of marijuana.

For now, I wait with anxiously for November to come and go.  I know that whether it is Romney or Obama as our president in 2013, nothing is really going to change for me.  The wealthy will notice a huge change if Romney/Ryan wins, as their tax rate will decline to twenty-five percent if the VP’s budget plan is enacted.  Poor, liberal, atheists such as myself will only find true change if we move to Europe.  More specifically – the Netherlands.  With its beautiful rolling hills, a climate comparable to Michigan, and a population consisting of many liberal nonbelievers; it sounds like home.  Now I just need to figure out a way to get enough money to get there…

Now you know, my American dream is to leave America.

I’m sorry U.S.

It’s not you, it’s me.

P.S. Is it cool if I stay here until I find someone new?  I mean, I still like you a lot… I just don’t think I love you.