BG’s piece on drugs vs guns was excellent as usual but I thought I’d stick my two cents (adjusted for the results of Mitt Romney’s tax loopholes) into the mix here.
I live in a rural area roughly halfway between Los Angeles and the Bay Area/Sacramento corridor. Yep… pretty much right on the borderline between the “turfs” claimed by the Nortenos and the Surenos. This, plus the fact that the gangs like to do a lot of their “business” these days in these rural areas where law enforcement is a bit more sparse and maybe not quite as sophisticated as in the big cities, makes these “borderlands” hotbeds of gang activity.
As a result, our little backwater county has had more than it’s share of the kinds of shootings described in BG’s post. In fact, the latest one was just last night. It wasn’t the first time it’s happened by a long shot and it won’t be the last. We’ve had two police officers killed in recent years by gangs, one who had been deliberately targeted as part of an initiation rite.
Last night’s incident was in the town’s biggest shopping mall. Neither of the two bangers got a scratch but three bystanders were wounded.
Dozens of others have been killed or wounded in drive by incidents, gang initiations and assassinations. In one of the most noted cases, we had a case several years ago where a young father and his small daughter entered an intersection just when two bangers on opposite corners decided to throw down on each other. Bullet came through the window, barely missing her and killing her father instantly.
When the punk that did the deed was asked by media how he felt about killing an innocent bystander, all he said was, “He shouldn’t have gotten in my way.” Again, none of the bangers was even scratched. Bastards can’t shoot worth a damn which makes them doubly dangerous.
The problem however isn’t so much just the guns, especially when we’re talking about bangers. A major part of the problem these days is that these punks are on our streets doing their thing relatively unhindered because we supposedly don’t have enough personnel or money to protect our citizens from actual organized crime and gang violence and actually win the “war” on gangs”, the “war” on crime, the “war” on drugs, the “war” on grandma farting in church or whatever your favorite domestic “war” happens to be.
Yet in the past few years, many of our law enforcement agencies, especially those in the densely populated metro areas, have received federal grants with which they have purchased millions of dollars worth of extremely high tech weaponry up to and including armored assault vehicles and highly sophisticated assault weapons. Virtually everything our soldiers on the front lines carry has been made available to our law enforcement agencies.
At first glance, this would seem to be a good thing because you’d think that these police agencies were finally equipping themselves for some kind of all out assault on the criminals that have had law abiding citizens afraid to walk the streets in their own communities after dark for decades now.
Actually, that appears not to have been the case. After years of almost total neglect in which local and state level law enforcement agencies WERE definitely hamstrung by a lack of personnel and funding to go all out on the criminal element, we’re finding that the taps have been turned on not so that they can better protect you and me from the street thugs and the gang bangers but so that they can protect the interests of the one percent from you and me. Now THAT’s a sobering flipping thought, eh?
As of now, virtually all of our law enforcement resources are being used to protect the interests of the corporations against the 99.9% non-violent protests of ordinary innocent citizens. All that weaponry and ordnance, all those overtime hours? They go to support actions against people just like you and me. And the real honest to dog criminals that were the offered justification for the almost total militarization of the friendly neighborhood cop on the beat?
Hell they’re out there in ever growing numbers still preying on and endangering innocent citizens with virtual impunity. Well, unless they happen to cross the line and kill or injure an officer.
What I’m trying to say is that plain old law abiding citizens are more and more finding themselves between a rock and the proverbial hard place, trapped between rampaging gangs of criminals on one side and… especially should they decide for whatever reason to assert their constitutional right to free assembly and peaceful protest… rampaging police officers on the other. Not an ideal situation and certainly not one I ever thought I’d find myself in. Not in this country.