Watching the killing of Philando Castile.

Cop: “Fuck! Fuck!” (You can hear the pain in his voice. He feels exactly as guilty as we all know he should be.) “I told him not to reach for it!”

There isn’t any anger, not real anger. Just fear. Right here in the video, it’s a fear of God, fear that he just did something terrible, fear that he’s going to have to live with this.

I know the sound and flavor of this anger. It’s not real anger or hate. It’s the forced artificial anger of the male, privileged; that false, toxic masculinity that says tears are for women and touch is for homosexuals. Why was he never given permission to weep? Why was he never given permission to feel remorse, and apologize?

Why did his parents and his culture never give him permission to *be wrong*?

When I was separated from my heart, the only emotion – singular, really – that I was allowed to feel was anger. Feeling sad? Get mad. Feeling happy? Get mad. It was never a real solution to anything, only a legalistic one.

Speaking of legalism, why do the cops have to go through the entire procedure of booking, and processing? Why do they have to let gun and safety and law-abidance get in the way of humanity? Uncuff the mother. Hug her, hug the shooter, drive the man to the hospital yourself. You’ll catch hell with your boss and maybe even the government, but you’ll have a mom and her daughter and the community behind your back.

At Kilwins, I have permission to break the rules to make people happy. I’m just giving someone on vacation a free taffy, or giving a stressed out student two dollars off on her comfort food. We are dealing with life and death here, a beloved member of the local school who memorized three hundred students’ names and their food allergies, a mother in pain and duress. Why do our police have less freedom than me giving candy to college kids? Why does bureaucracy and the fear of career loss trump humanity and the fear of the blood on the cross?

Toxic authority, police brutality, and white evangelical Christianity

“What we see in the bloody images of shooting victims in our social media age is analogous to what happened for centuries when monks stared for hours at bloody crucifixes of Jesus and wept at what their sin had done to him. For most of Christian history, the cross wasn’t a theory or a piece of jewelry, but a very real, physical object used in penitential spiritual practice in order to wound the heart into repentance.”

Just kidding, I know the answer. Men aren’t allowed to cry and cops aren’t allowed to be wrong.

The injustice to the black victims is so obvious we spend time and effort trying to deny it with sacrifices to Baal and Mammon. His name is Philando Castile. He was a pillar of the school community where he served. He is survived by his *fiancee* and her daughter. This is law enforcement destroying the family, destroying it in more real and aggressive reality than any theoretical effects of gay marriage.

If you will not feel for the black lives, then feel for the blue lives. Denying responsibility does not save or serve them, it kills them even harder. Listen again to the flavor of that, “Fuck!” repeated throughout the video. He yells it after they have Diamond Reynolds cuffed. It isn’t the KKK lynch call that I half expected, it’s the plaintive wail of the wounded heart. BLACK LIVES MATTER to him who just killed one, violated the sixth commandment in full choice and consciousness of what he’s done. Is this going to go away even if we were to throw the full might of the white/male privilege machine at shutting up the poor, the mourning, the hungering and thirsting for righteousness? Is a legal victory going to do anything for the guilt of taking the life of an innocent, the heart pain of being a confirmed and conscious sinner?

Is money and protection worth a lifetime of the pain that can be healed with one, “I’m sorry. I’ve done you wrong. There is no excuse for what I did.”? By crying, by weeping, by mourning for the life he took; by feeling out the agony as agony, by accepting the guilt as his guilt? The body bruises in response to impact, or increases blood pressure in response to clogged arteries. There’s a real healing purpose to the feelings that we feel.

Peter Rosenberg gets angry at a cop who cannot even say out loud that a bad cop did bad.
In the My Little Pony community, the “brony” community produced a disturbing amount of male-gaze porn for what is supposed to be a safe space for little girls. #NotAllMLPFans were like that, and even a majority weren’t. But their silence allowed the sexualizing and sexism to fester, boil over into the death-threat misogyny that infects near every online boys club — aimed at teenage girls; enable and protect actual child predators and their proclivities. A pornographic image made it into Google safe search results for My Little Pony and a child fan was as traumatized as by personal sexual assault.

In response, the non-shitty members of the community broke their silence, started calling out toxic masculinity whenever it reared its head, put in active work policing Google’s search results. Now the toxic brony community is more isolated and niche, Google returns exactly the results “My Little Pony” should, and cartoon fandoms are more active and successful in keeping pornographic proclivities where they belong.

I have learned in archived Tumblr posts, how a small number of bad apples can poison an entire space for everyone, and how a few good people can render their evil powerless. This was the work of teenagers on Tumblr writing posts and drawing art about children’s cartoons. If they can do it, why can’t police?

This isn’t about blaming all individual police on a personal level. This is about calling them out. I’m a feminist MLP fan, but my silence contributed as much as misogynists’ pornography to the poisoning of the space for everyone. I believe you, police, when you say most of you are good guys — I believe Jesus so radically that I love even the police who pull the trigger on black lives and end them unjustly. That is not the point. The point is that you have a responsibility *as good people* to call out, police, and quarantine the people doing a bad job in your community.

Dallas policemen, who posed with BLM protesters and shielded them from gunfire, you are good people. Will you answer the responsibility to be great people and lead the protest against cop on black murder?

NYC former police who marched with Occupy Wall Street, you are good people. Police and sympathizers, will you answer the call to be great people and make police a space where men and women like that officer have the safety and freedom to call out and criticize the police and the institution, without being fired and silenced?

It is not that you pull the trigger, it’s that you have a culture that does not give you permission to admit that you did. Even if you wanted to. It is not that we disbelieve in the existence of good cops, it is that we are angry at your silence about the systemic protections of the bad ones. The Baltimore hidden space where police took citizens to beat them up away from prying eyes and legal accountability. The systemic silencing and firing of police who try to speak up about institutional corruption and racism. The inability to call a spade a spade, and say that police murdered innocent people on video.

The authority of the badge vs. the authority of the cross

Silence over the captive terrorism of our high school students and our transgender siblings. I watched images of police kicking a pregnant girl on the ground until she miscarried. Will you be the first to refuse to enforce NC’s inhumane HB2 law? Will you put career and life on the line to stand with those who need you most?


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