Point of View Columns

Coronation as Farce, Discomfort as Justification for Murder and the Normalization of Mass Murder

The past week has made it increasingly clear that as residents of the Planet Earth we are being inured to the bizarre, the obscene and the macabre. The past few days have put all of these woeful scenarios on full display, literally all over the world, beginning with….

The Coronation that Should Never Have Happened

A few days ago, most of the residents of this world could have had access to a scenario that literally was born in the Middle Ages in Europe. It is a scenario that should have been given a proper burial at least a half century ago.

Yet once again, with pageantry in full and unabashed display, the British monarchy was celebrated – as if it was a good thing. Which, history tells us, it is not.

The British monarchy was the center of the British Empire which, during just a few centuries managed to spread racism, genocide, slavery, land theft and the destruction of civilizations all over the planet. It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire. What is true is the sun has still not set on the sins of the damnable monarchy and its empire.

Entire nations were crushed under the heel of the British boot. Race based slavery and the and the globalization of the concept of white supremacy are part of the harvest of sins and crimes that are the true legacy of the British empire and, by extension, the British monarchy.

Yet news announcers going to jelly at the thought of catching sight of “the king and queen” was the order of the day this past weekend. And there was very little concern articulated regarding the use of words like “subjects” and “your majesty” in the 21st century. And even less commentary regarding how some very ordinary people are vested with immense wealth, loyalty and adoration for the simple reason of genetics or marriage.

One can only hope that this will be last whimper of a damnable institution that never had a place, and certainly does not have any place in a world where human dignity is universal and respect is earned and not inherited.

Meanwhile, it appears that murder can be justified for some new and frightening reasons….

Justification for Murder

Last week, on a New York City subway car, a murder took place in plain view of numerous bystanders, and not a single person even spoke out, much less intervened. Some background…

A thirty-year-old Black man, Jordan Neely, was a Michael Jackson impersonator with a long history of mental health challenges. His personal history did not disclose a tendency towards violence, however he was treated for his mental health challenges on multiple occasions.

On his last day alive Mr. Neely seems to have been overcome by anxiety and was running up and down the aisle of a subway car shouting things like “I don’t care if I die”. No doubt that this would be disconcerting behavior for a morning commuter to behold. But there is no indication that Mr. Neely physically attacked or threatened to physically attack anyone and he never displayed any kind of weapon or an object that could have been used as a weapon.

Nevertheless, a 24-year-old Marine veteran by the name of Daniel Penny decided to spring into action and used his military training to put Mr. Neely into a choke hold and killed him. Please keep in mind that Mr. Neely was unarmed and that once he was in a choke hold he no longer presented even a hint of danger to Mr. Penny (who was never confronted by Mr. Neely) or anyone else. And please keep in mind that dying by chokehold is a slow death and that Mr. Neely would have been unconscious and immobile for some time before he died.

To make another sad story short – Mr. Penny has yet to be charged with any kind of a crime even though he was not acting in self defense or in defense of anyone in that subway car.

And it has to be said – if a Black man had killed a white man within the context of the same fact pattern it is almost certain that he would have been arrested and charged with a crime.

And it has to be said – a Black man acting in an erratic and noisome manner can be stopped using deadly force because…well just because.

It was a crime in many parts of the South for Black men to be arrested for “reckless eyeballing”, another crime which really meant that some behavior that made white people uncomfortable was a crime in and of itself.

Let us hope that we are not seeing the past become prologue.

And finally, there is no more new news when it comes to mass shootings. And yet…

The Normalization of Mass Murder

This time (there is always a “this time”) there was a mass shooting in a shopping center near Dallas, Texas. Texas being a state where the only real gun control measure left is that you are advised to have a holster for your pistol or some kind of arm strap for your automatic rifle.

This time eight people were killed, seven were injured (some seriously, as if any gunshot would be anything but serious). The shooter was killed and immediately “thoughts and prayers” were in the air, without a serious word about some kind of rational gun control.

There has been a mass shooting (defined as four or people killed, excluding the shooter) for every day of this year. It is now clear that going to a supermarket, a shopping mall, a grocery store or a mall is a life and death decision for every man, woman and child in this country.

Yet from sea to shining sea (the sea shining with the blood of American victims), we are told that there is no real “appetite” for gun control in Congress or in state legislatures throughout the country.

And so, we are now actual witnesses to the normalization of mass murder. Something that is not the case in any other nation on this planet.

And that is what American exceptionalism looks like in the 3rd decade of the 21st century.

Very sad indeed.