Tag Archives: police brutality

Finally Re-posting The Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Distribution

After all these years I finally got back to posting this. The Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Distribution. I wrote this sometime around 2002, maybe shortly before or during the time I was going to school for web development. I didn’t really want to write it at first, but I had a website called Get To Know a Marijuana Dealer that’s point was to show that drug dealers are people too, to humanize us and help people understand that we aren’t these evil monsters that we’re depicted as in the media, that we sell drugs because we believe people should have the right to make their own decisions and do with their own bodies as they choose, or in my case, because we believe some of these drugs are amazing substances that can have tremendously positive impacts on society. I started dealing marijuana because it was something I believed in, something that made me feel like I was making a difference, contributing to society, fighting back against the tyranny of government and society that is driving our suicide and chronic depression rates to all-time highs.

I quit in 2007 because it was just too much work for too little payout, because my web development career took off and I stared making so much more money than I ever could selling weed, but mostly because I moved to a new city and just didn’t have the customers anymore. I miss selling pot. I really do. I felt like I was actually doing something with my life. Now all I do is write code for websites.

It took me a month or so to get all these 40 pages set up and posted, mostly because I always have something going on around me. I spent 13 years living alone, and I finally decided to get a roommate again just two years ago and I still haven’t completely adjusted to all the activity around me. It’s very hard for me to write when other people are in the room with me so I let this website and my other writings go to waste in trade for all the extra activity. Anyway, on the few occasions when I was working on these pages, I found them bringing back memories, some pleasant, like that feeling like I was a rebel, fighting for a better society, knowing that my efforts would eventually help bring about legalization and a freer community for the future. But it also brought back a lot of unhappy memories about dealing with the police, and the pain of all those lies they told me and all that ignorance I had about how police behave. I believe the most important thing anarchists can do to convince people that police are not the good guys, is to simply tell it like it is, to give facts about how police actually do what they do, and what it actually does to people when they do it.

I don’t think I’ve ever done a good job of communicating the psychological effects of the things the police did to me… like how devastating it was for me to find out that they systematically, and without any show of remorse, lied about everything they possibly could to manipulate me into giving up my friends and then tried to manipulate my friends into killing me, all the while insisting they were my friends and were trying to help me, then having so many people assume that I’m the bad guy because I did something illegal, even when many of them didn’t believe it should be illegal. But it’s funny that even after they tried to destroy my life and get me killed, the truly traumatic thing that they did to me happened in a completely unrelated situation, where I was walking home from a Halloween party because I knew it was illegal to ride a bicycle after drinking, and I was mistaken for someone who had stolen a DVD player. I describe this event in Chapter 24, Dealing with Cops. The officer pointed a gun directly in my face, treated me like an animal, then when he found out I wasn’t the guy he was looking for, didn’t even have the common decency to say he was sorry.

I don’t think many people truly understand what this can do to a person and what it feels like to have all of society supporting the people who did this to you.

A DVD player. That’s what I remember anyway. They were willing to kill me over a DVD player, a DVD player that I didn’t even steal. That cop is considered a hero for this. For the rest of my life I will have to live with the fact that my entire life is worth less than a DVD player. I will have to know that everyone who supports the police, sometimes my own friends and family, would rather have seen me with a bullet through my head, brains splattered across the pavement than they would live in a world where their DVD player might get stolen.

I think I may have thought about this event every day for the last decade and yet, in that chapter, I just kind of glazed over all the important emotional aspects of that story. I didn’t mention the part where the trauma caused me to black out for the remainder of my walk home or how I wasn’t capable of laughing for a couple days afterward. I guess I was too proud to admit to that kind of thing. Even now I still see that gun bearing down on me and that trigger finger twitching and some days I can’t for the life of me get it out of my head. At least when I got arrested for marijuana and the police tried to get someone to beat me to death, at least I had known beforehand that I was playing with fire and for some reason that was not nearly as traumatizing.

I had this overwhelming urge to fight back that night I was mistaken for a DVD player thief because I thought for sure the officer was going to kill me regardless of what I did, considering the rage and hatred I saw in his eyes, and the fact that he had stalked me for a couple blocks before finally confronting me, and the fact that I was running an anarchist website, but I fought back against those instincts and did what he told me to do. If I did not have the emotional control of someone as deeply logical as myself, I would easily have been dead. I think many of my friends in that exact same situation would have been shot to death simply for not having immediate control over all that sudden adrenaline.

But normal people who have not experienced this, they just don’t understand what it’s like, and just blindly assume that the police are always doing good in our society, and that everyone they hurt… well, we must have somehow deserved it.

And I think most people who have had experiences with cops have some kind of long-term emotional trauma. That’s kind of the whole point. If these experiences weren’t traumatizing, they wouldn’t be very good crime deterrents. It’s just that the trauma is frequently manifested in different ways, such as self-loathing, anger, or actually giving in to this idea that you’re a horrible person who deserves to suffer or that your whole life really is worth less than whatever it was that cop was willing to shoot you over, or a blanket hatred of society. If we really want to make a difference, we need to be open and honest about what happens in our minds after we are arrested or go through an experience with the police so that people can see how counter-productive they are to a peaceful society. I guess I’m as guilty as anyone of that.

That’s how I feel now, but I guess when I wrote this book I was thinking more along the lines of fighting back by selling more weed and engaging in civil disobedience.

PUPPYCIDE: The Documentary by Ozymandias Media — Kickstarter

This is another post in my new style of just writing and not really editing, flying by the seat of my pants, if you will. As a result, this post starts off talking about this documentary about cops killing dogs and rambles on into a confession about my childhood.

PUPPYCIDE: The Documentary by Ozymandias Media — Kickstarter.

I read once many years ago, before the internet, that many police departments tell their officers to always shoot dogs when they are on drug busts because it intimidates the criminal and gets them emotionally worked up so they are more likely to make a mistake and get themselves convicted. It’s a pretty effective strategy if you think about it. Now I’m sure most people would read this and just assume that it’s too horrible to be true, at least in our country, but it’s not. Once you become a person who accepts that kind of violence and cold-heartedness, you generally don’t go back, and the scary thing is that it’s real easy to seem like the good guy and continue fitting in with society.

You're trying to tell me shooting dogs is all for officer safety?
You’re telling me shooting dogs is for officer safety?

Please take a look at the video on this page if you believe that police are the good guys in our society. Take a look at what is just a small sample of the suffering that they cause every day. These are not just isolated incidents but are a product of policy and a fundamental problem with the way we are going about crime prevention. While I very much support the goals of this documentary, I disagree with the clip that implied that the problem is a lack of training and that the officers don’t really want to kill these dogs. It’s not about the officer protecting himself, it’s about him being overcome with a primal, animalistic urge to have the ultimate power over another living creature and to feel that adrenaline.

And I must admit that the reason I believe this is because I feel that primal urge too. I recall as a child, a peer took me behind his house to a stream and we sat down on the edge of the stream and he pulled out a little saucer and filled it with some fingernail polish remover he’d gotten from his mom’s medicine cabinet, then he caught a fish and dropped it into the saucer so he could watch it suffer and die. He made it clear that he had done this before. That event still messes with my head some days. I think I remember him talking about capturing a cat or squirrel or something and torturing it but I’m not sure if he was talking about an idea he had, or maybe he was just trying to freak me out because he saw how I didn’t like the whole thing with the fish, or maybe it was something he actually did. There were certainly other things that made me question his character. Anyway, the guy is a respected police officer now.

But I think this may be the first time I ever told this story. I have a few of these kind of stomach-turning stories that I’ve never talked about. I assume most people have these kind of stories that they never talk about because it’s just not something you bring up at the dinner table, but I think why I hold back talking about these kind of events is that I don’t feel as disgusted as I should. A part of me was fascinated by this kind of thing. I never got into hurting animals because I never saw the point as they were already so helpless and innocent, but what I wanted to do was hurt people. That’s why I wanted to be a cop.

I don’t talk about it much because I don’t want to freak people out and shatter their view that I’m this wonderful, caring person, even if I am a bit emotionally distant, but when I was a kid I had a lot of really horrible fantasies that involved me doing awful things to other people like bombing their homes, killing their children in front of them, locking them in dungeons to starve to death, cutting off their fingers and laughing at their screams. They never transferred into real life, thank God, but they could have. However, in all my fantasies of horror, killing and torture, I was never the bad guy. Never once did I fantasize about being a serial killer. I was always a police officer punishing people who were even more horrible than me–like drug dealers–I was a fighter pilot bombing the russians to prevent the evils of communism or a government sanctioned terrorist, killing off the British because for some reason when I was a kid I thought we were still at war with the British. I was so convinced the British all deserved to die for supporting a government that tried to keep America from becoming it’s own nation. I was always a patriot, always a fighter for truth and justice. Even when I was smashing the skulls of small children in these fantasies, I was still the good guy, merely doing what had to be done to teach the hard lessons that need to be taught… except those were all excuses and in reality my fantasies stemmed from nothing more than a carnal, animalistic part of my brain that just wanted to feel that power, adrenaline and sadistic intensity.

I don’t know how I grew out of it, but I suspect it had to do with Star Trek and that one scene where Spock is behind the window and gives his life and says “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.” Or maybe it was my liberal, peace-loving parents, or a combination of things, but I grew out of it, thankfully, by my early teens. I wanted so badly to be a cop or soldier and when I grew out of my fantasies, I grew out of that desire. I believe that a large percentage of police and soldiers are people just like me who never grew out of that phase. They’re doing it for the action, because they enjoy it. The patriotism and “serving and protecting”, fighting terrorism, etc. are just the adult versions of the excuses I made up for wanting to kill all the British.

So a part of my anarchism stems from my fight against myself, but that part of myself is something I don’t talk about, another example I guess of how hard it is to talk about the real, deeper reasons we became anarchists. I’m an anarchist because I fear that part of myself. I’ve seen it myself and I know what it can do and I know how easily that kind of awfulness can seem like a good and necessary thing. I’ve seen how our brain can make up excuses for ourselves and believe them intensely. I don’t want to give too much power to people like me, because when given a license to do awful things, we will do awful things, we can do them without remorse and we can tell you our excuses with a straight face because we believe them ourselves.

Injustice Everywhere

Injustice Everywhere.

This is a site providing a daily news feed of police brutality and misconduct. You can see that every single day in the US there are twenty or thirty different stories of police officers doing awful things. Everything from beating up their wives to falsifying evidence, tazering children or having sex with kids. Here’s some examples just from yesterday (March 18 2012).

  • Edinburg TX cop gets probation in official oppression plea for shaking down a motorist in order to get his customized cooler full of beer.
  • Collinsville IL cop shown manufacturing cause to search motorist’s vehicle in home video made by that motorist.
  • Yakima WA police are accused of intentionally misinterpreting state law as an excuse for keeping a police sergeant’s misconduct and the investigation into it a secret, and it isn’t the first time they did so.
  • Youngstown OH cops are accused of cuffing & arresting a grandmother in front of her grandchildren without charges.
  • NYPD officers shown on video slamming an Occupy medic head-first into a door window, breaking the window while arresting him for unknown reasons.
  • Orlando FL cop suspended w/o pay for unspecified period of time for throwing a woman to the ground on video, breaking her teeth in the process.
  • Newark NJ cop accused of hitting mentally ill man in the chest with a running leap punch before he died.
  • Del City OK police are being accused of a coverup after witnesses claim they fatally shot an unarmed teen in back while his hands were raised.

So my question is, where do these stories come from? Are they just crowd-sourced? I have a feeling this is not an exhaustive list and there are even more stories that never make it to this site because they just can’t keep track of every paper and community in the country.

Then take into account the basic idea that only a tiny percentage of criminals are ever caught for their crimes. I’ve read that statistically the average child molester assaults dozens of children before ever getting caught. Some research indicates similar numbers for rapists. I know from personal experience that the average drug dealer can make hundreds if not thousands of deals without ever getting busted and without even taking basic precautions. I’ve read interviews with police who claim the numbers are similar for murders. There is no reason to think police brutality and misconduct is any different than any of these other crimes, except for the fact that police are in a much better position to hide their crimes and understand how to get around the laws far better than the average criminal, and because the majority of victims and witnesses are too terrified to come forward.

For every article of police abuse and misconduct posted here, I think it’s reasonable to assume there are a hundred more that go completely unnoticed. As I’ve said before, this is not an issue of a few bad apples and being more vigilant about reporting misconduct. This issue runs far, far, deeper. If we ever want a peaceful society we must make a fundamental shift in the way we think about and deal with criminal behavior.