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A Deeply Fractured US

BeyondTheNow

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Most probably know that there’s a substantial US military and law enforcement population on Twitter. I follow some. Reading their thoughts & viewing what they’ve been RTing/posting in the last few days has been heart-breaking.

I think military pers in general carry with them a pre-conceived notion by some civilian populations that they’re cold, detached, mindless and just do what they’re told without further thought, or care, for the impact on others. While this may be the case (and absolutely necessary) during some Ops/situations, of course we know this is far from the truth.

We’re witnessing profound moments in US society atm. And it’s anyone’s guess how things are going to continue to unfold...or unravel. (The reasons for this could be—and already have been in different threads—discussed ad nauseam...and that’s not the purpose of this post.) Personally, I’m not looking forward to November. Whichever way their election goes, it’s going to be a disaster and my heart goes out to all American citizens right now.

All social media platforms, while they certainly have their respective negative aspects, are also providing an integral glimpse into the pain and fundamental unrest that many are experiencing. Law enforcement, military, civilian, politicians, etc. Some may think this is nothing new. But this is different.

Covid has obviously not helped tensions; people were already on edge. But I suppose a lot of this was inevitable.

This post isn’t meant to focus on one’s agreement or disagreement with their leadership. It’s simply meant to showcase that the world is watching, and many are concerned and saddened by what Americans in general are trying to manage right now.

https://twitter.com/combatcavscout/status/1267801436076879873?s=21

https://twitter.com/snafu_sgt/status/1267677212917956608?s=21

https://twitter.com/rebeccawsmv/status/1267618739727499264?s=21

https://twitter.com/ranger_up/status/1267776043617837057?s=21
 

mariomike

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Lots of "armchair quarterbacking" about the video.

What is not shown is Hennepin County paramedics working on Mr. Floyd for almost one hour.

They were informed only that he had “trauma to his mouth,”. 

After he was pronounced at 2125, they were immediately put back in service, and were responding the next day to the unrest in Minneapolis prompted by Mr. Floyd’s death.

 

MilEME09

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIkOG2vtE1g

This hurt my brain to watch, this guy actually is advocating to basically abolish police forces, and give the money to communities cause crime will magically stop some how. Why the CBC gives these people screen time blows my mind.
 

Xylric

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The first moment my grandfather began teaching me history, I became convinced that civilization itself has always been a polite fiction, a thin veneer over a slowly rotting and poorly bound structure primed to collapse with any sudden strong gust of wind. While there is some truth in that, more accurate depiction of the frailty in civilization is less an engineering metaphor, and much more of an ecological one. There's a video that I utterly adore which I think is a perfect illustration of the metaphor of what law enforcement (and to a lesser extent, military force) ought to be when it comes to civilization:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K_YQZheKr4

I trust I need not explain the metaphor, but I will happily do so if asked.
 

Kat Stevens

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MilEME09 said:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIkOG2vtE1g

This hurt my brain to watch, this guy actually is advocating to basically abolish police forces, and give the money to communities cause crime will magically stop some how. Why the CBC gives these people screen time blows my mind.

Fuck this guy.
 

PuckChaser

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The US has been fracturing for years. Their media has become hyper partisan drumming up anger and outrage on both sides of the spectrum. CNN is even telling its viewers that rioting is just the voice of the unheard and a Presidential candidate's staff is bailing rioters out of jail. It's absolutely unbelievable.
 

QV

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They really need to round up and prosecute all those involved in seditious acts including media if it can be proven they are purposefully misleading in their reporting to incite people to rebel against the state.  The problem is who is "they".  Many no longer trust the institutions and everything is partisan.   

 

Jarnhamar

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Would anyone be surprised at the US media trying to whip up people to make Trump look bad?
 

BeyondTheNow

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PuckChaser said:
The US has been fracturing for years. Their media has become hyper partisan drumming up anger and outrage on both sides of the spectrum. CNN is even telling its viewers that rioting is just the voice of the unheard and a Presidential candidate's staff is bailing rioters out of jail. It's absolutely unbelievable.

Decades upon decades.

The media issue isn’t going to dissipate until the divisiveness does, and those who encourage it. One is a symptom of the other, and vice versa.

It isn’t solely CNN—one can’t only place the blame on a network. There are multiple influential and well-respected persons of colour arguing that point also. They’re not condoning the behaviour, but conveying the reasons behind it. Yes, there are those exploiting an already volatile situation; that’s not in dispute and most aren’t discounting those instances.

Part of my thinking for the initial post (but failed to outline) was contemplating how a military can possibly serve a country adequately with the degree of political (and otherwise) discourse that the US is experiencing?

 

blacktriangle

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Jarnhamar said:
Would anyone be surprised at the US media trying to whip up people to make Trump look bad?

No, I wouldn't be. Or outside forces (state or non-state actors) pushing on a societal "pressure point" in an attempt to subvert the US for one reason or another. That, and a lot of people just want an excuse to riot.
 

PuckChaser

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I agree BTN, I only singled CNN out because that's the video I saw of them condoning rioting. Hyper partisanship has been a hallmark of US News Media for decades. You can't get clicks and ad revenue online without supporting a partisan confirmation bias and drumming up anger/hatred/disgust with the other side.

There's never a reason or excuse for rioting or looting. Even in the catalyst case (George Floyd), charging the officer involved with murder had bi-partisan support. Even the President, who's been constantly accused of racism, stated quite clearly that he believed that the officer was in the wrong and he hoped that justice would be done. That bi-partisan support dissolved after the first police officer was assaulted in the name of "justice".

The Sheriff of Flint, Michigan is probably a perfect example of what 99.99% of police officers in the US feel. They're out to help the communities, not searching around to beat minorities. Anyone that thinks the majority are out there to do wrong has drank the kool-aid. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDbKAkb8oLs

A majority of these riots are being fueled by social media. Expect very soon the Chinese, North Korean, Iranian and Russian cyber teams to start cutting videos out of context and spamming Twitter/IG/Facebook with them to stoke more violence and protests. The people that want the confirmation bias will eat it up and the spiral downwards will continue.
 

Xylric

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BeyondTheNow said:
Decades upon decades.

The media issue isn’t going to dissipate until the divisiveness does, and those who encourage it. One is a symptom of the other, and vice versa.

It isn’t solely CNN—one can’t only place the blame on a network. There are multiple influential and well-respected persons of colour arguing that point also. They’re not condoning the behaviour, but conveying the reasons behind it. Yes, there are those exploiting an already volatile situation; that’s not in dispute and most aren’t discounting those instances.

Part of my thinking for the initial post (but failed to outline) was contemplating how a military can possibly serve a country adequately with the degree of political (and otherwise) discourse that the US is experiencing?

Well.... A certain Roman returning from campaign comes to mind...
 

mariomike

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For those old enough to remember the Rodney King riots in LA, it spread to Toronto. I was sent downtown from HQ driving an ambulance bus. They smashed both windshields, and most of the aisle windows too!
 

BeyondTheNow

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PC,

Yes. There are several instances of peaceful protests and exchanges between law enforcement and protestors circulating about. Sadly, for the reasons you mentioned, several media outlets are only focused on the most extreme/tense altercations.

Personally speaking, I’ve reflected on my own thoughts and it’s very easy for me to sit back and confidently state that there’s zero reason for breaking the law in any capacity. I’m comfortable. I have everything I need. I’ve never once been in a situation where I’ve felt threatened by law enforcement, or by my government, nor am I exposed to regular messages (via varying means) that I ought not to trust pretty much anyone. I live in a nice neighbourhood, I have clean drinking water, a fridge full of food, feeling safe when I venture out at practically any hour. It’s so easy for me to impose my values and outlook on life on to others, and question the actions of another. But we know that not all members of society can be considered as lucky. I honestly can’t tell you how I would react to certain biases dictated by my upbringing, my environment, family, friends, media influences, etc if I’d lived my whole life in fear and feeling less-than. For me, I can disagree with the behaviour of another, but I don’t think I can go so far as to say there’s no excuse for such-and-such. (Obviously speaking within the confines of the criminal acts of looting, vandalism, etc. as they apply to what we’re discussing.) Any number of factors dictate what a person feels their entitlements are when under constant stressful situations.

There’s a very thoughtful video that Trevor Noah released addressing recent events. One doesn’t have to agree with everything he says, but he reasonably raises points of consideration when observing and forming opinions about the things that have been going on.

Trevor Noah On George Floyd, Amy Cooper & Racism In Society | The Daily Social Distancing Show

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb4Bg8mu2aM

Edit to add:

I just saw a CAF friend shared this post on FB written by a US caucasian military mbr. The post is public. This lends weight to the question I posed earlier about how a military can adequately serve its country with all that’s going on. The country is undeniably fractured, so by extension, its military would reflect aspects of conflicting ideologies amongst its personnel also—from the highest tiers down.

One of the first things I learned upon enlisting in the military is the U.S. Army's motto: "This We'll Defend." Not even out of high school, I raised my right hand and swore an oath to defend the Constitution -- the foundation on which our republic stands -- from all enemies, foreign and domestic. It's important  to note, the oath is to the Constitution and not the president or any other power. Yes, soldiers obey the orders of the Commander in Chief, but our allegiance is to the Constitution. The military is not a casual tool of the powerful; it's an instrument of peace and bulwark to safeguard liberty. The Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, speech, association, and life. I do not agree with the destruction of property, but I do defend the right of people -- particularly those disenfranchised by inequity and injustice -- to protest for their Constitutional rights. Deploying troops, putting the military in charge of the response, and encouraging force against American civilians is a bridge too far. A few buildings may have to burn before I will ever condone the use of a blunt-force instrument like the American military in American cities against Americans. This I will defend.

 

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Retired AF Guy

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Jarnhamar said:
Would anyone be surprised at the US media trying to whip up people to make Trump look bad?

Doesn't need any help from the media, he is quite capable of making himself look like an idiot all by himself.
 

Brad Sallows

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"Deploying troops, putting the military in charge of the response, and encouraging force against American civilians is a bridge too far."

An interesting choice of frame.  Another frame: deploying troops, putting the military in charge of the response, and encouraging force to protect American civilians.
 
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stellarpanther

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There is no excuse whatsoever to riot, loot and destroy peoples property however this has been going on for decades.  I spent a lot of time growing up with family in the U.S. and racism is alive and well down there.  African Americans and Latinos are treated differently and often in a more aggressive manner.  Until that changes, this will continue.  The shit that happened last night in Washington when the police and national guard cleared peaceful protestors so Trump could have his photo op was unbelievable but just an example of the heavy handed tactics that are often used.  I'm not sure if it's still on TV but I've watched episodes of Cops and even though the camera is on them, the police do things in an aggressive manner that made me shake my head.  Imagine what some of them will do when the camera isn't on.

 

Brash

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Brad Sallows said:
Another frame: deploying troops, putting the military in charge of the response, and encouraging force to protect American civilians.
I might frame it that way if I had seen more violence and injuries perpetrated by the "belligerents" (aka protesters) against American civilians.
Up to this point I have seen many more pages of linked videos of escalated unprovoked violence by law enforcement.

This makes it hard to believe that more untrained enforcement bodies will do a less violent job while "protecting" civilians.

Force begets force, apparently US administrators are throwing away the playbook for civil unrest https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/minneapolis-riots-ferguson-1.5590678 as well.
 

CBH99

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I think we all knew the US would eventually reach a point like this.  I don't think any of us saw a series of horrible events in such a short period that would lead them to it so lightning quick...although the building blocks of this have been slowly being laid for years now.

-  An unarmed woman (An EMT, mind you) shot by police, who executed a "no-knock" warrant on her home, looking for a suspect they already had in custody...

-  A young black man murdered by 2 white men, one of whom is a former police officer, while a 3rd man videotaped it.  Charges were ONLY laid after the video became public, MONTHS after the incident...

-  An unarmed, handcuffed black man on the ground who had his throat/neck compressed by a white police officer who knelt on him for a prolonged period of time, ignoring his obvious pleas of "I Can't Breathe."

^^This is in addition to daily occurrences which helped seed the polarized mentality & perception that has led to this.



Between a US President who regularly attacks the institutions that are part of the US foundation (rightly or wrongly, doing it via twitter rants isn't the way to go about it) - the national leadership seeming like a revolving door of officials - the unreal nonsense of the CIVID stuff, the American MSM being a fairly toxic influence on the mindsets and thoughts of most Americans (sadly more of an infotainment source than an unbiased information source) - a MSM that seems to intentionally use it's influence to polarize the population, etc. 

I think we all knew this was eventually going to happen.  We may not have known the catalyst, but the tinder box was being built for a long time.


Looting and rioting?  Move right in and stomp it out, absolutely.

Engaging peaceful protests with force, and escalating situations?  Absolutely the worst possible thing to do right now. 



While law enforcement is used to people videotaping their interactions, American law enforcement has never had more cameras & eyes on them as they do right now.  Deescalating these situations, being compassionate, and showing themselves in a light of 'not your enemy' could not be more valuable than right now.


I agree with the poster above who said, their election in November isn't something I look forward to.  Truly don't.  I honestly Pray that 'America gets back to normal' soon, so that people can go back to being fairly apathetic by then... 


:2c:
 

CBH99

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Brad Sallows said:
"Deploying troops, putting the military in charge of the response, and encouraging force against American civilians is a bridge too far."

An interesting choice of frame.  Another frame: deploying troops, putting the military in charge of the response, and encouraging force to protect American civilians.



From what I've seen so far, the US military involved has been very mindful of their public image, and their Oath to their Constitution.  Very professional, and haven't been heavy handed at all. 

While the US military does have a fantastic PR machine behind it...this is an unforeseen, amazing opportunity for the US Armed Forces to portray themselves truly of the people, for the people. 



They can absolutely score huge PR points & be impressive in the public image simply by being professional. 
 
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