On Respect

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I remember seeing this tumblr post.  And I remember thinking, yeah, that’s it exactly.  That sums it up.

When I was six years old, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling that being me is against the law.  I was thirteen when the state I was living in at the time passed a law saying otherwise.  I was twenty three when the supreme court reversed their decision, and decided being someone like me is in fact legal in every state in the US.

I was twenty four years old when a cop started hitting me with a nightstick for ‘resisting arrest’ because I dared to cite that Supreme Court  cause when he was writing me a citation for being who I am.  I questioned his ‘authority’.  I didn’t ‘comply’.  I didn’t treat him with ‘respect’.  So I was beaten, thrown into the back of a squad car, and got to spend two days in jail before getting medical attention.  Other things happened in those two days.  Some at the hands of cops.  Some simply due to the actions of those cops.  I was told I was lucky.  That I could have been killed.

And the people who told me that are right.  I was lucky.  I could have been killed.  And the cops would not have suffered any consequences for either killing me or letting me die in their custody.  Because I questioned their authority.  Because I ‘resisted’ being arrested for something that was no longer a crime.

I was left with medical expenses and court fines, plus I lost my job due to not being able to show up for work or call in those two days.  The cops suffered no consequences for those events.  I was told I would suffer consequences if I tried to file a complaint.  I had learned my lesson the first time.  I shut up.  I complied, so I wouldn’t die.

I’ve gone to many protests in my life.  I’ve seen cops seize any perceived disrespect as an excuse to engage in violence.  And when no such opportunity was afforded them, I’ve seen cops arrange the opportunity by pushing and shoving and threatening until finally someone snapped.  And when even that failed to happen, I’ve seen cops call in plain clothes to start the altercations so they had the excuse to swarm in.  Then it’s the same story on the news.  We deserved what happened to us, and we were lucky because it would have been okay to kill us.  We weren’t ‘complying’.  So we deserved to die and we should just be grateful.

I’d like to say there are good cops.  I wish I could say there are good cops.  But as Lieutenant General David Morrison stated: “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept”.

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