Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

Calgary

Behind the Violence, Looting & Vandalism During the Black Lives Matter Riots

Published

6 minute read

Image Credit: Michael Tracey 

It has been just over 2 months since the death of George Floyd in the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the hands of 3 police officers in broad daylight, ignited a global conversation on police brutality. The significant outrage invoked by this tragedy has manifested across the globe in the form of mass protests under the banner of Black Lives Matter. While a significant number of protests have been peaceful presentations of solidarity and collective calls for change, a number of cities throughout the United States and across the world have been devastated by violent riots, vandalism and looting. The response of the media and general public to these instances of violence, which have left a number of people dead, have dramatically deepened the ideological divide surrounding the already controversial issues of systematic racism and police brutality.

One side of the argument is highlighted by an opinion piece written by Robin D. G. Kelley, an American history professor, published in the New York Times titled “What Kind of Society Values Property Over Black Lives?”. This article argues the media’s focus on looting as a part of the riots is a way to deflect from the central issue. “The police keep killing us with impunity,” says Kelley, “Instead, once the burning and looting start, the media often shifts to the futility of “violence” as a legitimate path to justice.” 

Similarly, an InStyle piece by Jacqueline Schneider states, “If you’re more concerned about looted storefronts than the brutal loss of life that spurred these protests, please re-evaluate.” The article goes on to highlight certain leading fashion brands, such Marc Jacobs and Coach, have come out in support of the protests despite the material losses sustained by their brands as a result of the looting and destruction. Marc Jacobs published an Instagram post featuring the vandalism of a Los Angeles branch location with the simple caption, “A life cannot be replaced. Black Lives Matter.” 

A number of other works with a similar sentiment have emerged over the last two months, many of which make reference to the work of Martin Luther King Jr. While King is largely known for his unwavering commitment to non-violence in the face of oppression, he “recognized violent political rebellions … as the organic response to racial oppression and structural violence” (1).

 ““Alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, [the looter] is shocking it by abusing property rights,” he said. The real provocateur of the riots, he argued, was white supremacy.” (2)

Therefore, many of the arguments that do not denounce looting as a part of the riots lean on this ideological argument along with the notion that the destruction of property should not be discussed alongside the loss of human life. 

On the opposite side of this controversial debate, journalist Michael Tracey presents an investigative report featuring first-hand stories from shop owners and locals in small US cities that have received minimal coverage throughout the riots. In something of a post-apocalyptic Purge-esque collection, Michael Tracey’s interviews showcase the current quality of life in places like Atlantic City, Fort Wayne, Green Bay, Olympia and more.  The impact of the riots in these areas has been the significant destruction of small businesses and housing projects, burnt buildings and cars, shattered glass and windows barricaded with plywood, oftentimes featuring bullet holes. 


Photo Credit: Michael Tracey 

According to Tracey, who spent six weeks travelling the US collecting testimonies and documenting the unfolding implications of the ongoing riots, “…The primary victims – meaning those who feared for their safety, suffered severe material losses, and whose lives were upended – are themselves minorities, and were targeted by activist whites.” 

Tracey shares the stories, fears and opinions of a number of minority locals and shop owners who struggle to make sense of the looting. Victims of the riots highlight the lack of available emergency responders during the crises, adding to the level of fear and helplessness being experienced. In one video, Tracy interviews a local resident, who “recalls being told during the riots that there would be no fire or police service available and people needed to fend for themselves.” 

A number of boarded up storefronts, many of which will likely never open again, feature signage with the phrase “Black-owned business”. Tracey believes this is both a statement of pride as well as a plea to be left alone by rioters, “Does the ubiquity of these types of signs, in which owners declare their ethnic or racial status, seem healthy to you?” he asks.


Photo Credit: Micheal Tracey 

These disparate opinions position looting and violent rioting as an inevitable response to minority oppression and injustice, while highlighting the logical inconsistency that occurs as a number of those being victimized are themselves, minorities. While this debate continues to unfold, the chaos remains ongoing across the United States, where many protests have continued to take violent turns and the death toll continues to rise.

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Calgary

Being a Cop has Always Been a Thankless Job

Published on

Being a cop has always been a thankless job.

But in our current climate, police would be happy for the bygone days of a thankless community, compared to what they are currently enduring.

Never before in modern history have police officers been accused of being the worst of society.  Today, the reputation of cops is constantly under attack by the media. And fringe groups who purport to have a noble agenda are paradoxically allowed by our governments to wreak havoc on our cities without consequence. Entire city blocks have been burned, children have been murdered, and yet the media all but ignores the backlash of the problem, which they themselves are largely responsible for inciting.

Well-intended people have been duped into believing that roughly half of society are devout white supremacists, and that visible minorities are being hunted and killed by the police.  The media bolsters this false narrative daily, which has created an incredibly unstable and explosive environment. When a group of people believes that they are in danger of being killed by the police, it’s only natural for a member of that group to be afraid, and resist arrest.  When you resist arrest, you are making a safe situation dangerous by escalating the force required to arrest you. If you comply with the orders of the police officer, you are almost ALWAYS safe.  It is extremely rare that a compliant arrestee is harmed or killed as a result of the arrest. In those rare instances, the police officers are likely at fault, and deserve to be charged. Only improved training and selection practices can reduce these rare instances.

A part of policing which very few average people are willing to engage in is combat.  Most people have never been in a dangerous fistfight, but for cops, getting into scraps is a common occurrence.  Some of these fights involve armed bad guys who are high on crystal meth, and who are nearly impossible to control.  When a crazed meth head charges at you with a knife, the only realistic response is to pull out your pistol and fire a few rounds into the center of the target.  The pollyanic fools who cry, “you should have shot them in the leg!” have no concept of the reality of combat.  There isn’t a police officer alive that has the training and skill to reliably make a “leg shot” against a crazed charging assailant.  And no, a taser is not reliable enough to deploy in this situation either.

Armchair critics are quick to judge and condemn the use of violent force, without having the faintest idea of the reality of a combat environment.  Many will recoil at the word “combat”, by saying, “combat is for a battle field, not for our streets! Our cops are not soldiers!”   And, they would be wrong.  Combat is a violent “must win” altercation.  When someone is violently resisting arrest…that absolutely qualifies as combat.  It’s not the police who initiate the combat…it’s the person being arrested who creates the combat situation, which the police have no choice but to respond to with force.

Police officers work in a world that is completely foreign to most middle class folks.  The average person can no more understand what it is to be a cop, than they can understand what it’s like to live on Mars.

It seems that the public has forgotten the simple fact that cops are just people.  Flawed, regular human beings who have decided to risk their lives so that others may live safely.

When people join the police force, they do so for one of four reasons.

  1. Most join out of a sense of responsibility to provide meaningful service to their community. These people tend to make the best police officers, and often make up the majority of a good police force. Lately the media has been ignoring the fact that most police officers fit this description.
  2. Some others join out of a sense of adventure, craving fun and action in their job.
  3. And there are those who join simply to have a respectable, and reliable source of income.
  4. But unfortunately, there are a few who join because they crave having a sense of power.  These are the problem cops which every police organization tries to weed out, yet every police service has at least a few of these problem children to deal with. These are the minority of cops, which the media are currently focusing on, and they are painting all police with this contaminated brush.

In addition to these four types of police officers, there is a rare outlier. Occasionally, a trigger-happy psychopath will slip through the cracks.  The psychological evaluations are put in place as a filter to weed out these types of applicants, but no system is perfect.  Psychopaths often know the right words to say, and how to mask their true identity.  Even a lie detector test can be defeated by a psychopath or sociopath.  I won’t pretend that these people don’t occasionally make it onto an otherwise honourable police service, however I also won’t agree that police services across the western world have been over-run by them as the media would have you believe.

There are bad apples in every organization, and try as you might, you’ll never weed 100% of them out.  If you’re going to have a large group of people, there will always be a tiny minority within the ranks who will potentially cause great harm.

The truth about police officers is that they have chosen a life of dangerous, high stress service, so that you and I can live a safer, less stressful life.  They deal with dangerous people, so that YOU don’t have to.  They literally get punched in the face, so that YOU don’t have to.  Lets face it, most people have no ability whatsoever to defend themselves against a violent attacker.  We should all be grateful to those who put themselves in harms way so that they can arrest, and lock up the people who are a danger to society.

Now, with all of that being said, how can Police officers muscle through the negativity and added danger they now face?

Let’s’ start with something we can control, which is our perspective. 

“I hate you!” are three words a parent never wants to hear from their child. When it happens, although it may sting for a moment, a good parent quickly realizes that their kid is simply having a fit, and doesn’t know how else to express themselves.   Also, it’s easy to discard unkind words from a child by realizing that they simply don’t know any better.  “If they knew better, they would do better” is a mantra I strive to remember.

When it’s a large group of “adults” who are pitching a fit in the form of a riot, it’s difficult to remember that they don’t know any better.  EVERYONE feels justified in their cause, regardless of the facts at hand.

Regardless of the haters, try to remember why you’re there in uniform.  You are there to serve those who need you, with or without their appreciation.  Your life is one of sacrifice, and some days suck worse than others, but there are still good days.  You help.  You DO make a difference, and whether the public knows it or not, they need you.

Remember that the anti-cop sentiment is based on a belief in a false narrative.  Despite the demonstrative evidence to the contrary, these misguided people actually believe that the Police are out to get people of colour.  We must realize that although misguided, their outrage is real to THEM. They really don’t know any better, and it’s not their fault.   The media has created this environment with their bias.

Be mindful of your focus.

Now is a great time to stay off of Facebook.  If you can’t limit your social media, then at least purge everyone from your contacts list who shared negative posts about the police.  It’s easy to unfriend, unfollow, or even BLOCK people.  You don’t need to engage. You won’t change anyone’s mind, so why try?

Remember, and focus on those who appreciate you.  If you look, you’ll see armies of supporters who are cheering for you.  They may be the “silent” majority, but they are there all the same.

Mark E. Meincke
Listen to this article on Operation Tango Romeo HERE
Continue Reading

Alberta

Jann Arden’s messy alter-ego returns for second season of Calgary-set sitcom

Published on

CALGARY — Real-world Jann Arden is handling the COVID-19 pandemic better than she thinks TV Jann Arden would.

“She would have been doing crowdfunding for herself,” the singer and actress said of her messy, self-involved alter-ego on the Calgary-set CTV sitcom “Jann,” which returns for its second season Monday.

“I think she would have been feeling very sorry for herself and making everybody around her realize just how terrible life was for her.”

For the actual Arden, the pandemic has been about rolling with the uncertainty and acknowledging her plans were not the only ones upended.

She was supposed to kick-off a 19-date cross-Canada tour in May and said it was “gut-wrenching” to have to put it on hold.

“There was a lot of fear and a lot of disappointment but you also realized very quickly how the whole planet was going through the same thing,” she told The Canadian Press from her home west of Calgary.

The first season of “Jann” ends with a different kind of uncertainty clouding the singer’s tour plans.

As she stands outside a “Burning Woman Tour” bus emblazoned with the face of her fictional nemesis Sarah McLachlan, viewers are left wondering whether she’ll board.

After all, her sister Max, played by Zoie Palmer, is on bed rest at the end of a high-risk pregnancy and her mother Nora, played by Deborah Grover, is showing early Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Jann — the character — is still something of a hot mess in Season 2.

Well-meaning grand gestures underscore a cringeworthy inability to read the room. The love she feels for her on-again, off-again girlfriend Cynthia is evident, but not always expressed in the most mature way.

“And I look terrible,” Arden said. “I look so unhinged for most of the second season that it really is hilarious.”

But she said the unpolished, ugly bits make it all the more satisfying when her character does pull it together.

“There’s always a payoff. People want to see you at your worst in order for the best to ring true.”

The second season’s first episode also shows McLachlan in a silly, less-than-glamorous light when the two get into a sloppy wrestling match.

In reality, Arden said she and McLachlan get along just fine.

She said McLachlan was a “good sport” during her guest appearance.

“Her part’s very physical and she was absolutely able to poke fun of herself.”

Other guest stars in Season 2 include k.d. lang as herself, Elisha Cuthbert as a mean school committee mom and Keshia Chante as an up-and-coming pop star.

Arden said Grover’s rendering of her TV mom will continue to be the show’s emotional ballast and bring out the most caring, loving qualities in other characters.

The singer’s real-life mother died in 2018 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s. She said she’s heard from “hundreds, if not thousands” of other people who have been through the same thing.

“I wanted to be in a position to teach people and to cheer them on.”

“Jann” has been renewed for a third season. Script-writing is underway and shooting is set to begin in January.

Arden said she has no worries about keeping everyone safe from COVID-19 in the controlled environment of a TV set.

Singing in front of thousands of fans is another matter. Arden said she hopes she can go on tour in April or May of 2021, but it’s no sure thing.

Her “Hits and other Gems” compilation that was supposed to drop at the same time as her tour this spring is instead being released next Friday. Arden’s new memoir, “If I Knew Then: Finding Wisdom in Failure and Power in Aging” is out Oct. 27.

As the pandemic drags into fall, Arden said she’s planning to read, write and spend time with friends.

“I think you just have to lean into it and be patient. Wear a mask, remain diligent and be kind to people,” she said.

“There’s a lot of whining and people feeling sorry for themselves. They need to get their heads up and out and onto their shoulders and look around them.”

“Jann” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CTV.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 17, 2020.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading
;

Trending

X