“America is just 5% of the globe’s population, but we have 25% of the world’s imprisoned people, and I tell you, that is not because Americans have a greater proclivity for criminality, it is because our legal system is not a justice system.”
— Thank you, Senator Booker. I’ve been saying this all along.*
* As it turns out, I may have inadvertently been the source for this entire theme. A reader reached out on twitter to let me know they’d used my line on Senator Booker’s Facebook Wall about calling it the legal system instead of the justice system, to which the Senator replied, “Profound.” A week later, he delivered this speech. Profound, indeed.
Last night, a man with a pocket knife was shot dead by the LAPD on a bustling corner of Hollywood Boulevard. Of course, no officers were hurt.
“No officers were hurt.”
I’m constantly reading that sentence these days. It’s the go-to closing line for every dry and dreary news report about some poor bastard being beaten up, choked out, or gunned down by the police.
The news that no officers were hurt is supposed to be a good thing. It’s supposed to be an assurance. For me, it’s not. For me, it’s an accusation.
If no officers were hurt, then tell me why another man is lying dead in the fucking street. If no officers were hurt, tell me how you can even begin to justify the use of all that lethal force.
“No officers were hurt.”
Every time I read that line, it feels like further proof that police are trained to kill before risking even the slightest injury to themselves. I’m sorry, but I’m just not okay with that.
We give these men badges, and in exchange for that authority, we expect them to be held to a higher standard. We give these men guns, and in exchange for that power, we expect them to put the safety of others ahead of their own.
They aren’t living up to that standard — not in Los Angeles, not in New York, certainly not in Ferguson, and probably not in your neighborhood either. Time and again, all I see is evidence that the police aren’t putting anyone else’s safety ahead of their own.
Do you know how I know that?
“No officers were hurt.”
I went on a bad date last night. It was with the kind of guy who describes his loft as industrial, yet clearly has never worked a day of hard labor in his life. Not that he was a bad person, just a little too dainty for my tastes.
He took me to a low-rent art show, the kind where disapproving gallerinas refuse to pour more than two sips of wine into cheap plastic cups. On the bright side, the people-watching was epic. There was no crowd control whatsoever, and the tiny gallery was choked with hipster lunatics with zero interpersonal skills. Watching them constantly violate each other’s personal space was far more interesting than anything on the walls.
The face-palmiest moment of the evening came when I learned that one of the show’s artists was my date’s ex-girlfriend, a fairly important bit of information he chose to share with me right as we were walking into the gallery.
It was pretty obvious he was using me as arm candy, which normally I don’t mind, but I absolutely cannot stand being bamboozled, and dropping an ex bomb at the doorway is one of the oldest bamboozles in the book.
The dude’s fate was sealed when I realized I liked hanging out with his ex more than him. Turns out, she was the cool one. We bonded over how little either of us gave a shit about the date.
So yeah, I guess it wasn’t a total loss. She and I traded numbers. We might hang out. I dunno. I’ve built friendships in this town on a lot less than a bad date with someone’s ex.
Look past the dull thickness in Darren Wilson’s eyes and there’s nothing but underdeveloped manhood and the secret joy of being a killer.
We have to stop giving guns to these desperate loaves of sourdough. We have to stop granting authority to weak minds and shallow souls simply because they stand in a dumb blue line long enough to ask for it.
This man was never supposed to be anything more than a blunt tool for the use of physical force, and that is far too low a standard, because the worst thing that can be said about Darren Wilson isn’t that he was a bad police officer. The worst thing that can be said is that he was an average one.
This isn’t a police officer. This is a fucking storm trooper. Look at him. Nothing about this man says protect and serve. This man’s profession is violence and his paymaster is the state.
This is the kind of jack-booted thug Governor Jay Nixon wants working on behalf of Missouri against the peaceful citizen protestors in Ferguson, and here’s where it gets extra fucked-up: This poster-boy for police militarization also happens to be a racist right-wing cop who recently shot and killed yet another black teenager.
Yep, that’s right. This is a confirmed photograph of Jason H. Flanery, the gun obsessed wingnut of a police officer who fired 17 shots at 18 year old VonDerrit Myers Jr. last month. Here he is, in all his geared-up glory, still very much on active duty, ready and willing to reign down even more brutality and terror onto the civilian population of Ferguson.
I’m feeling kind of vulnerable at the moment.
There were all sorts of things I was supposed to be doing this past month, and I’ve been neglecting them. I know I have. Whatever sins of procrastination I may have committed these past thirty days were necessary, though.
I’ve been transitioning out of a romantic relationship. I know that sounds like a fancy way to say I’ve been going through a break-up, but I’ve gone through break-ups before, and this has been an unfamiliar experience.
I suppose the result is the same in the end, but this time the process has been so much more introspective. I’ve been alone through it in ways that I’ve never been alone before. Not lonely, but completely on my own.
The strangest part about it is that not all that much has changed. Of course, things aren’t the same anymore, but they aren’t that much different either. I still have someone in my life that I love very much, but things are platonic now.
The transition from romantic to platonic was painful, but somehow natural. I still haven’t wrapped my head around how it happened, because it’s something that I used to think was next to impossible.
It did happen, though.
I had to take some time away from him at first, but we’ve since started hanging out again. The very first time he introduced me to other people as his “best friend,” it was jarring to hear the words. Still, they were completely accurate. It was a label that finally fit who we were to each other.
I thought it would upset me more, but it didn’t. I want to be his best friend. I want somebody in my life who’s as smart as me and sees the world like I do and can talk as much shit as I can. It’s an honor to be his best friend. Maybe that’s what we were all along.
I’m not to the point yet where I can high-five him when he gets laid, but I think I’ll be there soon enough. In the meantime, I’m completely undateable. I just don’t give a shit right now. The holidays are coming up, and I still have all this work I need to focus on, and I think it’s enough that I’m finally ready to crawl out of my own head and push forward with the next phase of my life.
We’ll see where it takes me.
Republican twits trying to fuck with me on election day don’t know that I fuck right back.
Midterm elections are a big fucking deal. Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of how I hope everyone votes this Tuesday. (If your state isn’t listed, that means it’s either not a Senate battleground state or it doesn’t have any ballot measures that caught my eye. Still, get the fuck out there and vote!)
No on 1 — Prohibition of Foreign Laws — This pandering frivolous bullshit is aimed at Islamophobic bible-bangers who live in fear of Sharia Law. It’s toothless and stupid legislation meant to appease the toothless and stupid.
No on 3 — “Strict Scrutiny” of Gun Restrictions — This amendment would require the highest level of judicial review for any matter of law that might affect a redneck’s ability to own guns. The right to bear arms would be elevated to a fundamental right and given the highest possible protection in Alabama, you know, unlike a woman’s right to make choices about her reproductive health.
Yes on 2 — Marijuana Decriminalization— Duh.
Yes on 3 — Minimum Wage Increase — Double Duh.
Mark Pryor for Senate — He’s an idiot, but at least he’s not a Republican. (We simply cannot let Republicans win back the majority in the Senate, you guys. This is one of those elections where you gotta get out and vote for the Democrats, even if they’re schmucks. Think big picture.)
Yes on 4 — Alcoholic Beverage Initiative — So, yeah. Arkansas is just now getting around to a state-wide repeal of prohibition. Better late than never.
Yes on 5 — Minimum Wage Initiative — The minimum wage in Arkansas is $6.25 an hour. This would raise it to $8.50 by 2017. Arkansas fucking sucks, you guys. Make it suck a little less.
Jerry Brown for Governor — I hate that our Governor’s name is Jerry, but I suppose he’ll do for now.
Gavin Newsom for Lieutenant Governor — This pretty boy will be President one day. Get used to voting for him.
Kamala Harris for Attorney General — Kamala is the kind of human being you want enforcing the law. As far as career politicians go, we’re lucky to have her.
No on 1 — Water Bond — You guys saw Chinatown, right? It’s all about who controls the water. This proposition is just corporate agribusiness squeezing $7.5 billion worth of boondoggle projects and cheap water out of a state that’s already broke.
Whatever on 2 — Rainy Day Budget Stabilization — This is exactly the kind of slow-moving bullshit that should never be put to popular vote. Budgeting by ballot initiative is one of the primary reasons this state is so fucked.
Yes on 45 — Public Notice Required for Insurance Company Rates — If you’re lucky enough to have health insurance, this proposition would help protect you against exorbitant rate hikes. This one’s a no-brainer.
Hell No on 46 — Medical Malpractice Caps and Doctor Drug Testing — This is a sneaky, horribly written piece of legislation that will make lawyers rich at the expense of doctors.
FUCK YES on 47 — Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative — This is a wonderful proposition that will make our justice system a little more just. The only people who oppose it are cops. Enough said.
Yes on 48 — Referendum on Indian Gaming — More casinos? Fine. Whatever.
Mark Udall for Senate — Republicans are hate-voting against Obama one last time with these midterms. Incumbents like Mark Udall might lose their jobs, and the Democrats might lose the senate. Not good.
FUCK NO on 67 — Personhood Initiative — Not only should you vote no on this evil piece of anti-abortion legislation, but you should punch anyone in the face who would vote yes. I’m serious. Punch them right in the fucking face.
Charlie Crist for Governor — It’s not so much that Charlie Crist deserves to win. It’s that Rick Scott really deserves to lose.
YES on 2 — Medical Marijuana — Next up, medical cocaine!
Michelle Nunn for Senate — Please, please, please vote for Michelle Nunn! Come on, Georgia. You can do this!
Jason Carter for Governor — Okay, yeah. He’s kinda cute.
Yes on the Minimum Wage Increase Question — This is a nonbinding referendum, so it needs to pass big to become a mandate for state representatives.
Bruce Braley for Senate — He’s not gonna win. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that Joni Ernst is a dumb cunt with a shitty haircut.
Greg Orman for Senate — Running as an independent, Greg is the closest thing we’ll ever get to a “Not Republican” Senator from Kansas. He’s basically a wealthy capitalist with socially liberal tendencies. Oh well. You take what you can get from a state that just started teaching evolution last year.
Paul Davis for Governor — Paul Davis is a decent man. Sam Brownback is a bible-banging fucknut. That’s really all there is to it.
Alison Lundergan Grimes for Senate — Everyone go vote for for Alison. Get all your friends to vote for Alison. Make your parents vote for Alison. Come on, Kentucky. You can do it!
Mary Landrieu for Senate — If enough of you get out and vote, there’s a slim chance that she might win. Come on. Get off your asses and participate in your democracy.
Jeanne Shaheen for Senate — Seriously, is Shaheen loses to that empty suit from another state, you guys are all a bunch of syrup-slurping assholes.
Yes on 1 — Redistricting Commission Amendment — This proposal would establish a bipartisan commission to prevent gerrymandering. It’s good shit. Every state should have one.
Kay Hagan for Senate — This one’s gonna be close. I’m just hoping Asheville has good weather on Tuesday and that it rains like hell in Charlotte.
FUCK NO on 1 — Life Begins at Conception Amendment — This is another evil anti-abortion measure. Not only should you vote no, but you should make mortal enemies with anyone who votes yes. Face punches, all of them.
Yes on 91 — Marijuana Legalization — How is this not already legal in Oregon?
FUCK NO on 1 — Abortion Amendment — Ugh. Yet another fucked up ballot measure trying to erode a woman’s right to choose. Vote no, punch everyone in the face who supports it, and then go write some country music.
Wendy Davis for Governor — She’s not gonna win. Texas is gonna elect another shit-kicking Obama-suing right-wing asshole, as per usual. But come on, Texas women, the least you could do is get out and vote for someone who has your back.
No on 591 — Gun Rights — This initiative would make it easier to buy an AR-15 than it is to open a credit card. America is so fucking stupid sometimes.
Yes on 594 — Gun Responsibility — This initiative closes background check loopholes for people trying to buy guns online or at gun shows. It’s the antidote to 591.
Yes on 71 — Marijuana Legalization — Let’s get high in our nation’s capital!
So far, this is the entirety of my Halloween costume.