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Smoke, Mirrors, and the Rule of Law
The story of the sheriff's deputy videotaped
as she dumped a paralyzed man, Brian Sterner, out of his wheelchair and onto the floor at a Tampa detention facility has taken a new turn. The Hillsborough County deputy, Charlette Marshall-Jones, has been charged
with one count of felony abuse of a disabled person. She has posted and been released on a $3,500 bond.
In response to this new information offered by commenter Moody Blue here at The Dark Wraith Forums
, I offer the following response.
Much broader issues are not being addressed concerning the sheriff's deputy who dumped the quadriplegic. Despite the butt-covering apologies, first by Chief Deputy Jose Docobo, who called the deputy's actions "indefensible at every level," and then by Sheriff David Gee, who said
he was "personally embarrassed and shocked by the horrific treatment Mr. Sterner received," watching that video tells a starkly different story from the official line that the treatment was outside policy guidelines and contrary to training of the law enforcement personnel of the county.
Those PR-attenuating flaks' drool is without a shred of credibility. That video clearly shows a uniform, well-practiced, pervasive disregard for fundamental human decency. It wasn't just that one woman, the one who poured the quad out of his wheelchair; it was all
of those deputies in that office. Every one
of them stood around with utter dispassion while Sterner hit the floor, then flailed about while the deputies moved in like mechanics about to do a 15-minute Quik-Lube oil change on a car with bad suspension. Those officers did not display even so much as a hint
of concern for the venality of the incident in which they were actively, knowingly participating.
Quite tellingly, the video seems to show large windows right behind where the action was occurring. That indicates this was no secretive, furtive act done in a quiet, unobserved place; instead, this was done right where it could be seen, not just by department personnel, but also by civilians.
That renders evidence of a very different story from the one being pumped to the ever-gullible media by the sheriff. He is engaging in mere risk mitigation tactics: he is kicking the low woman on the totem pole for what she was doing as part of a pervasive culture of disrespectindeed, lawlessnesson the part of yet another law enforcement operation that overwhelmingly deals with the public as if an accusation of a crime is sufficient justification to commence retributive, extra-judicial punishment long before the courts have the opportunity to rubber-stamp the convictions already made accomplished facts by police.
This is the Abu Ghraib story of Lynndie England all over again: a person who was probably not the monster made of her by scandal-swilling journalists who fearlessly hunt the weak and small, but who was, instead, a woman who got sucked into a sexualized, violent, abusive, machismo culture and then got destroyed while the man at the top of the chain of command, President and Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush, and a whole bunch of vicious people below him, including then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, walked away
without even so much as a scratch
It is just sickening; and because it happens over and over again in this modern Medievalism of immune noblemen, the opportunities to be sickened occur with a systematic regularity that defies the bleatings of those who imagine that justice is somehow done by the occasional hanging of the compliant commoner for the sins of the mendacious sovereigns.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
Thank you, Wraith. I sincerely appreciate your addressing this. You've helped me greatly with your perspective.
(I was responding in the comments for the post below this one, as you were putting up this new one!)
...and as I edited the article no fewer than five times to tone down my rhetoric and shorten my sentences.
The Dark Wraith specializes in the run-on sentence when steaming under the collar.
I'm hip. That the worst thing I saw too. I have seen that kind of crap elsewhere, but most times the guy deserved it. No matter what this guy said to her, there's no defense for this. Just another day in the office. Who's ordering lunch, today?
This happened right up the highway from my town (I live in Hillsborough County, FL).
And of course I was horrified. I was also reminded of the incident not too long ago--same county--in which a rape victim, fresh out of the hospital, was unceremoniously taken to jail for a couple hundred dollars worth of outstanding parking tickets, and then denied her doctor-prescribed dose of Plan B (emergency birth control routinely given to rape victims) by the jail nurse, a "pro-life Christian" who said she could not give out such a medicine and later denied that she withheld it.
Many of our prisons and jails are now run by private contractors, too, companies that, invariably, turn out to have donated Big Dollars to JEB! when he was governor (or running for the office thereof.)
This latest outrage is disgusting, but not surprising. Sometimes I really hate this state.
I feel for ya, Litbrit. While my memories of living in Florida are good ones, there's a reason why Florida has it's own banner on Fark. Crazy shit, indeed.
Once the fundamentalists finish off evilution in the schools, everything will work out just fine!
While reading about Bush's suggestion that wealthier medicare patients pay more for benefits, this hit me:
The Medicare program provides health coverage to about 44 million elderly and disabled people. Medicare spending is expected to reach $425 billion this year. The program is growing at a rate of about 7 percent a year, which is a threat to other essential programs, such as defense, education and roads, GOP lawmakers said.
Heaven forfend we should dent the defense budget. It's so lean and mean now, it's a wonder the soldiers are still wearing shoes!
Good morning, Mr Wraith.
I know a fellow (casually) that was an MP in the Marines. He served in the First Gulf War.
His take on the Abu Ghraib thing is a bit different.
You see, the Marines are the ones that ordinarily have jurisdiction over detained combatants, and they go through training exercises as to exactly what the proscribed procedure is when refusing an illegal order from a superior officer. (UCMJ states, and I forget which Article it is, that to carry out an order which is illegal in nature is, itself, a crime.)
He believes it was a set-up from the get-go. From the time the Marines were removed from guarding the prisoners, it was a set-up from that point on.
And they got some professionals in there to fan the flames behind some gung-ho type.
Now, this fellow I mentioned earlier left the service and attended a police academy (a 6-week training course), and took a job with a suburban police department.
He has since left the department. Let's say that it wasn't a good fit. And I sympathize for the guy.
This is a man that was accustomed to highly-trained professionals that took a great deal of pride in their work, men that lived on honor. And he went among backwoodsmen expecting the same. They were, after all, police, the same as him.
But no, they were lacking.
What a system shock.
Good morning, Progressive Traditionalist.
I heard a very close variation on that same story from Marines who had been in Iraq. As a matter of fact, several of them minced no words about the quality of Army soldiers and how predictably and inappropriately violent they were in Iraq. This was back in 2003 and 2004 that I was hearing this. Those cats just smoked my ears with what they had to say.
Now, some of this I have to take as old-fashioned, inter-service rivalry; but these guys were specific, and they were spitting mad about how the Army was tarnishing the armed forces at the time. The stories were simply hair-raising; and, as I just noted, the stories were detailed and precise.
I should also note that these Marines had a very different take on the females in their ranks, and even when I was in the service—back when females were beginning to be quietly integrated into "combat" divisions—I saw this same thing. It would be years before I understood it in a much broader and more learned context, but even to this very day, trying to wade through that whole aspect of the modern military in an article would be far too perilous: I have insufficient interest in almost certain misinterpretation, denial, and condemnation from just about every thinking person on the planet. Hence, I take my opportunities where I can, as in the article above, where I offer a brief and miserably tepid defense of Lynndie England.
Returning to your point, though, yes, I had heard this explanation on a number of occasions; and, although I must take military folklore with an appropriate grain of salt, the scenario rings of sensibility, both in terms of timeline (Marines were pulled and replaced with dumb Army grunt-trash) and in terms of broader facts about lack of discipline in the Army, something I, myself, saw on stunning parade, even in the presence of (and possibly as a product of) exceedingly violent, haphazardly brutal basic training.
A relatively young Army non-com I know who's been to Iraq twice laments that he has gee-whiz technology and uncountable hours of training to go with it, he has killer hikes, miserable two-week stays in the fields of the backwaters of the Midwest, and weekends absorbed with all things military; but he says he learned how to be a real soldier while he was in Iraq.
He noted wryly something to the effect that Iraq is the worst place on Earth to become a soldier.
The Dark Wraith thinks he's probably right.
Good morning, PT and DW.
Similar to Randy Quaid's naive response to his upcoming 8years in the brig, while standing on the Supreme Court steps, drunk off his ass: "Hey, in 8 years I'll be a civilian; Then I can take my case in front of the Supreme Court!"
Jack Nicholson(Billy 'Badass' Badnarik): "Yeah, you do that. Mebbe they'll shorten your sentence." , Would any utterances by Englund and her cohorts about the way they were used by their superiors make any difference, now that they've been tarred and feathered?
PT, I really am starting to worry about the police today. Strange that I happened across the book I mention above. I am now starting to see why I should be worried that police and armed forces personnel would indeed help the authorities incarcerate anyone they were told to, and in fact, would not believe you, or would not accept as relevant, anything you point out to them that would discourage them from obeying authority.
I'm about halfway through, DW, but I've read enough so far to understand now why you painted Newbie as an Authoritarian right off the bat. Looking back at some of his previous posts show a textbook example of the 3 characteristics needed to describe an authoritarian. I took the RWA test, and I'm afraid I am extremely anti-authoritarian. What the hell's wrong with me? A middle-aged guy scoring lower than most college students? Have I learned nothing from experience? Oh well, I guess I'll try to round up some coffee while I wait for the rest of you at Camp Commielovers. (Prof. Altemeyer shows that communists can also be rightwing authoritarians though, but I ain't tellin' that to the guards!)
I shore am learnin' lots of stuff!
Kinda. I served a hitch in the Army from '77 to '81, almost all of it at K-town, FRG. My company was officer records, so all my barracks mates were above average intelligence, or they wouldn't be there. In fact, it was considered the best job to get shake and baked to. (When you arrive in Frankfort, the pretty much force you to go to whatever MOS is needed, depending on your intelligence test scores. We were the only ones who required another IQ test before acceptance.(That I knew of) NO bivouacs, no weekend forced musters, practically optional calisthenics, and, because we handled the Air Force overseas discharges, loads more opportunities to get picked first for waiting list hops to other European cities.
With all that going for it, and as close to a civilian work atmosphere as the Army can be, there was indeed an Us vs Them mentality. I assume it was far less overt than your experience, and I was never much of a barracks rat, so I mingled with 'them' much more often. Especially the opposite gender.
Only your mother is excused from "parasite" status. That's it.
But, of course, when they need to purge a mother from the system, they won't need to ask her child to do it, there being so many among us who are willing to throw someone else's mother under the bus.
Good Heavens, jahf, where have you been?
The Dark Wraith thinks people should send him whereabouts reports on a regular basis.
Well, I been workin'; just got a job a few months ago. After spending 3 1/2 years out of the last five without a job, it has taken awhile to get back into the wage slave routine. On top of that, I signed up for school to learn a new language. With the new life schedule, I find that I now have rather less time and energy to spend surfing the 'net than when I was on "vacation".
Sorry DW. It's nothing personal. If it makes you feel any better, none of the blogs that I normally frequent have been getting much attention from me lately.
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