Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Bust a Cap

And he smote them hip and thigh
with a great slaughter: and he went down

and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam

--Judges 15:8

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

--The Tyger,
William Blake

After all, we are not children.
It's time we planned our life.

--Moshe Dayan


These are frightful times, we are told. Apocalyptical, for some. How to survive? Hunker down and trust those in power have got your six is the answer for most people. And the power we seem to most trust is delivered by those who co-opt the posture and jargon of the military. Militarism has infiltrated almost every sphere of activity today.

The "Houlihan" olive drab fatigues are the woman's best-selling pants this season (Reporting for Duty, the Houlihan), and everything red-white-and-blue is always a good seller. It seems like most t.v. shows revolve around the police or military hunting down the relentless menace.

And look at the above images from the latest Brownell's Police catalog. Behold the Darth Vadar look-alike with his tricked-out black rifle and the assault team gracing the cover -- the only friendly character is the dog.

The police shifted a while back from the old "protect-and-serve" paradigm to being paramilitary organizations. In some cases, their role has been further removed to performance art, as in the case of the Detroit Special Reaction Team team which partnered with a television crew to film their May dynamic entry gone wrong, in which
a 7-year-old girl was killed after a flashbang grenade landed on the sofa where she was sleeping.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, supervisor of the Gulf oil spill, has been speaking of the hopeful moment when the "well is killed"
(BP aims to deal well a death blow.) What -- is everyone a Samurai today? An oil well is an inanimate object, foundering or not. One cannot "kill" that which does not live.

Perhaps this is the result of too much Twilight, vampires and zombies. Since these creations walk and talk on-screen, that must mean their menace lurks amongst us. Invasion of the Body Snatchers was the penultimate trope, for who is to say they do not walk among us? We all have to sleep sometime, and who hasn't wondered precisely who is that person sleeping next to us?

Yesterday we were told the oil has gone "rogue", as in
the rogue oil will be "bullheaded" back down into its source rock (bad oil). Sorry --elephants may go rogue, but oil cannot. Oil is a blob, a slick -- it covers and smothers passively, and gets pumped into tanks -- but it cannot go rogue. Going rogue may be the prerogative of Sarah Palin, but never an animate chemical, which is a life form several layers below that of La Palin.

Early reports of the gusher said it had gone "asymmetric", implying that the oil in its well-behaved state had a symmetric structure. In fact, the media was borrowing from the military jargon, and we all know (if we don't understand) that asymmetry has something to do with terrorism and warfare.

We should get a grip, and that begins which reifying our terms. Not everything is out to get us, despite the magazine articles which trumpet the killer microbes on our kitchen countertops, killer fat and killer obsessive-compulsions.

We may all be vying for limited resources and our little niche, but the confrontational military model might not be the one most likely to ensure survival.

--Jim & Lisa

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Anonymous RangerHazen said...

Eisenhower weeps and so do I.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 12:19:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo, bravo...
Lay it on..


Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 2:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

i pretty much see violence as a viable solution to almost everything.... five finger death punch. yeah, i said "viable'.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 5:06:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Viable -- yup, even if the targets aren't.

(You've chosen a tune that makes people want to "drop kick farm animals". That takes some doing.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 6:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

Lisa, you can always go to darksplat.com and provide constructive criticism. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 7:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Rez Dog said...

Phony words from a phony war

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 8:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


You know I'm deeply appreciative of the musical perspective you provide and the wonderfully apropos historical You Tubes.

[I think I'm going to develop something on the cartoonish and the occult in entertainment today. I'm sure there is a military tie-in somewhere. I hope you're there when I do, culture maven that you are :)]

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 9:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

R. Dog,

I grow tired of the platitudes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 9:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Choloazul said...

The militarization of everything (Memphis City School's new superintendent, fresh from the killing fields of Miami Dade K-12 wants his own private army fully tricked out with high powered cars and SWAT gear, but answerable only to him) is merely another spin on the power-go-round.

I've long felt that blurring the lines between law enforcement, and 'make the other bastard die for his...' was a mistake.

On the other hand, you never know when even the most mundane traffic stop is going to end up like this: http://www.commercialappeal.com/videos/detail/west-memphis-shooting/

And notice that the situation was ended not by lasers or tactical air strikes, but by Orwell's 'rough men'.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 9:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep..cops , kids, finger-painting, K-9 demonstrations, SWAT presentations
Helicopter landings..video taping children...
Combat assault with MacGruff..
Fear machine running amok.

What's wrong with this picture?

From Buffalo Paper this week:

Tonight is the 27th annual National Night Out Against Crime and special events are being held all over Western New York. One of the biggest is the one in the Cheektowaga Town Park from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the park's Lions' Pavilion Shelter, 2600 Harlem Road. They include a K-9 demonstration, bike registration, SWAT presentation, child fingerprinting, a visit from McGruff the Crime Dog, a car seat safety check, health screening, a children's bounce house, face-painting and refreshments.

Another is the one sponsored by Tonawanda Town Police from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Lincoln Park Arena, Parker Boulevard and Decatur Road. It features a helicopter landing; finger-painting, DNA and video taping for children; police demonstrations and displays; a smokehouse trailer, petting zoo, face painting, balloon making, fire trucks and, yes, McGruff the Crime Dog

Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 11:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Mc Gruff,
I hope that they have Hooters waitresses in the petting zoo.
I'd give a DNA sample.

Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 11:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...

I think it really started to change in the late 80s and mid-90s, seemingly as a reaction to concerns that crime was going to be completely out of control in the future and the perceived militarization of urban street gangs.

The usual events mentioned are Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the Los Angeles shootout. Dangerous, militarized criminals need dangerous, militarized police to fight them... with no thought at all to the real cost of that. A police officer on every corner will certainly keep crime down, but that brings plenty of problems of its own.

Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 11:54:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


My mother was raised in NYC, and talks affectionately of the days of the "beat cop" who knew the denizens of his block because he was "on the corner".

What problems do you think that model would bring?

Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 3:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Choloazul said...

One of my mentors had been a rookie cop in NYC in the late 50s, a skinny red haired kid at the time.
They dropped him off in Harlem and said they'd be back in 8 hours, no radio, a call box a few blocks away, a handful of .38 rounds... that's it.

He quickly decided to become the best neighborhood cop ever, and it served him well.

How did we move away from that model?

Some point to reported firebombing of police cars during Watts etc. or the Miami and North Hollywood shootouts as part of a cycle with Waco, MOVE, Police Corps etc. as reactions.

IMHO that leaves out the fact that while individual officers may *embrace* escalation, they usually aren't the policy makers... the politicians are.

And what do politicians stand to gain from Robocops?

Friday, August 6, 2010 at 2:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Thank you for the story of your mentor.

Your question is a provocative one ("And what do politicians stand to gain from Robocops?"), and perhaps is not limited to the role of policemen. What happens when anyone becomes "robocop" and goes on autopilot?

Friday, August 6, 2010 at 3:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...

I wasn't referring to the "beat cop" model, which strikes me more as the way law enforcement SHOULD happen. A local "peace officer", if you will.

The model I was worrying about is the "police on every corner, watching everything you do" model, especially in a country like the USA's where force is the first resort of everyone. When you have a system of laws as complicated, arbitrary, and illiberal as in this country, one of the last checks on tyranny is that the cops are just too darn busy to chase down things that aren't critical threats to life and limb.

Cops are people too, and they are as responsive to incentive as anyone else. This means that in the real world, more cops are not always better, even though cops purport to provide a critical civic service.

Monday, August 9, 2010 at 12:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Choloazul said...

With a camera on every corner, and interlinked databases, I'd be more worried by the fact that there are around 3 private security employees for every sworn officer, and they are increasingly being given tactical equipment, and a heavy dose of 'us vs. them' indoctrination... inside the US of A.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 6:51:00 PM GMT-5  

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