The Guardian has published the first of a 5-part series examining the culture, and tragedy, affecting Kern County here in California. The county darkly boasts of having the highest per capita rate of police-involved killings of civilians in the United States. The chart below lists American counties with 10 or more police killings in 2015.
One thing that strikes me right off the bat: these are areas with large Hispanic populations. Los Angeles county, a national behemoth of population clustering, makes the cut. Forget Ferguson or Chicago or Cleveland, they have nothing on the locations in this list, but you would never know it judging by the media’s hysteria level. Black civil rights groups have done this kind of thing [public protest] for ages and have demonstrated they are quite articulate and demonstrative in portraying their side of things. Whether one agrees with their methodology is another matter, but it is what it is.
(**On edit, they “have nothing on Los Angeles County”**)
The opening sequence from The Guardian lists victim names of some police shootings in Kern County over the last couple of years and the pattern is rapidly apparent.
Is it a matter of “practice” or simply a cultural/ethnic artifact?
Black people are typically more emotionally expressive, to say the least. They hold nothing back, even when engaging in such behavior is to their collective detriment. It makes sense that they will make the largest hay out of the “smallest” things and police killings seem to follow the same pattern.
From my personal experience, Hispanics (Mexicans in my case) tend to be more reticent about public displays of defiance. The corrupt elitism that festers in many Hispanic governments and communities is an outgrowth of this “shut up and mind your own business” mentality. It allows crooked authorities to thrive quietly while everyone goes about their life. Hispanics make terrible civil rights subjects.
In fact, according to this graphic, in 2015, Blacks are actually quite safe from the police in Kern County. Whites and Hispanics are the targets of the day.
(*Note: In some news reports, Benjamin Ashley was dubiously referred to as Black…he may be mixed, but to refer to him as Black is laughable. The only victim whose ethnicity is unknown was shot on Sunday and reports have not been released. Everyone else is verified Hispanic or White.)
To be sure, there are public displays of protest in Kern County, but rather than destruction of their own community or indulging in histrionic displays of playground behavior, the scene that typifies most Kern County “rebellion” looks something like this.
This promises to be a clear, undramatic deconstruction of police misbehavior in Kern County.
Police misbehavior does exist and we all know it. Only through such clarity and calmness, can and should police abuse be examined, not from the gutter perch of dramatics and violence.
I’ll be reading.