Frustration, “Revolution” and Dead Bodies

While not conclusive, Gavin Long appeared to believe that he was part of a budding revolution. After five cops were murdered in Dallas, Long, a former Marine, took gun in hand and killed three more in Baton Rouge.

On a social media site registered under the name Gavin Long, a young African-American man who refers to himself as “Cosmo” posted videos and podcasts and shared biographical and personal information that aligned with the information that the authorities had released, so far, about the gunman.

“One hundred percent of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppressors,” he said, “have been successful through fighting back, through bloodshed. Zero have been successful just over simply protesting. It doesn’t — it has never worked and it never will. You got to fight back. That’s the only way that a bully knows to quit.”

No one put Long in charge of the lives of other African Americans. No one told Micah Johnson, the Dallas killer, to make the decision for other black people. But they acted nonetheless. Whether it was the product of thoughtful analysis, unfettered emotion or cognitive impairment, or all, or other issues, it still happened.

There will be a debate at Fault Lines today, with Chris Seaton and Noel Erinjeri tasked with making their best arguments for and against the killing of cops. So it’s clear, neither believes that killing anyone is ever acceptable or the answer, even though they will argue their respective sides zealously.

Has “the revolution” begun? There will certainly be consequences. If cops were unduly afraid of black men before, prone to shoot too soon, needlessly, this will increase the fear. Because of what Long and Johnson have done, other people may well die. The black men and women who will pay for their choices didn’t authorize these two to start the revolution on their behalf. They didn’t make a choice to sacrifice their lives because Long and Johnson have had enough.

There is way too much talk, angry rhetoric, justifying the frustration suffered by Black America. Some deny it. Others exaggerate it. Many inflame it. There is also talk of reform, recognition that the situation is horrible, but despite the headlines of change, the hope, it hasn’t materialized. The warring tribes can’t put down their words, their weapons. Not even for a day.

There are some fools on social media screaming for more bloodshed. Whether they would give their lives to back up their cries is unknown, but I would suspect there will be twisted people who will be radicalized by this, who will take up arms, who will kill and be killed. This doesn’t make for a revolution, but it may well make for more death.

I can speak only for myself. While I would like to believe I understand the frustration, I realize that I don’t. I can’t. I can only see it from the safe distance of my life, and it’s mere hubris to believe that I can feel what others feel.

It’s easier to know what the cops are seeing. Law enforcement is comprised of hierarchical organizations, with people at various levels to speak for it. It’s a flawed hierarchy, but it provides a chain of command that gives some voices authority to speak.

There is no leadership of the Black Lives Matter movement. There are some voices that are better recognized than others, with their own followings, but also with their detractors within the ranks. Even the ranks are hard to discern. What is missing is a grownup to take charge of the decision-making. To say “no, stop this.” Or, god forbid, to say, “the revolution is here.” Then again, even back in the 1960s, as Martin Luther King marched peacefully in the streets, Malcolm X was ready to fight.

Ironically, the nation’s first black president is in office, and this might have been his opportunity to demonstrate leadership, to take charge of this, to be the grownup. Instead, he’s tried to be everything to everyone, to offend no one, to commit to nothing, to appease all sides. And by doing so, he has reduced himself to irrelevance.

To call for the end of the killing, the anger, the dehumanization, seems too obvious and trite. Yet, if the killings don’t stop, there will only be more dead bodies. Where are the grownups? Where are the leaders with guts and brains?  How many more dead bodies will it take?

25 thoughts on “Frustration, “Revolution” and Dead Bodies

  1. KP

    “Ironically, the nation’s first black president is in office” …and seems to have had no more sympathy for or empathy with his fellow black Americans than any white President.

    If he was going to do anything about Police-black citizen relationships, the time was years ago and its too late now.

    I don’t know where the answer will come from, but it won’t be from him!

    1. B. McLeod

      There are economic factors at issue, to which his life of privilege has never been subject.

  2. Billy Bob

    Revolutionaries are never beneficiaries of their own revolutions,… unfortunately for them. The benefits, if there are any, rain down upon their descendants. Just as great artists are never beneficiaries of the great appreciation of their artworks which are inevitably left behind. Many examples here, filling up our museums for our pleasure and amusement.

    We believe a new revolution HAS begun, one which will eventually–which must– roll back the police state and its handmaiden, the “prison-industrial complex”. In the words of our President, we must remember, the PIC affects not just the dark populations and Hispanics; “it affects all of us”. We agree that the President’s words were banal, stating nothing more nor less than the obvious. But he is known for that: A disappointment and a weak prez. No FDR or Winston Churchill, he! Merely a Constituitional law prawf who somehow managed to bootstrap his way to the Top Job, nothing more nor less. Yawn!

    Recent presidents have all disappointed us. We have not had a decent one since Ronald RayGun and his sidekick “Read-My-Lips” Bush #41. (RayGun flamed out because he caught the Allah Zheim Disease and lost his marbles.)

  3. Nick L. EMT-P

    “The question of who is right and who is wrong has seemed to me always too small to be worth a moment’s thought, while the question of what is right and what is wrong has seemed all-important.” AJN

    Bro, I feel you!

  4. Jake DiMare

    Has “the revolution” begun? I don’t know…But there is one thing I learned from history class: If the ruling elite maintains a corrupt, broken society with unequal access to opportunity, justice, and representation then the people will begin to get restless. If they fail to fix it, the people will start breaking stuff. If they obstinately refuse to change course when the smashing begins, there will be blood. It’s happening again.

    From my perspective, the only thing that’s surprising is how many people, given access to the amount of information we have access to today, are surprised it’s happening.

  5. Greg Prickett

    This isn’t a binary equation, involving only police on one side and BLM on the other. That may be the focal point of the spark, but it involves so many groups that if the spark catches fire, we will be in for a much bigger problem than a racial civil war.

    1. SHG Post author

      Definitely. There are many disaffected individuals and groups disconnected from BLM who may well seize upon this as an opportunity to vindicate their anger and frustration.

  6. Troutwaxer

    Gavin Long and Micah Johnson both appear to have been pretty crazy, and I suspect both would eventually have shot someone or done something equally awful. The question was, before Eric Garner – Philando Castile, who were they going to shoot? Probably not a cop. At this point, we’re still at the stage where the people shooting cops are pretty crazy. Its not a war or a revolution until the sane people are shooting at cops.

    We’re very few police killings away from sane people shooting cops. If we don’t stop the problem very, very quickly, we’ll be up the well-known creek without a paddle, and things won’t stop for a couple very bloody years, at which point the U.S. might not be a democracy any more.

    So how do we stop it? I think forced retirement, with pensions, of the very worst cops.* Their records will tell, and those records can be accessed by the Feds, and those cops can be blacklisted. The whole thing might cost a billion dollars or so, but it will pay back that money by stopping something very, very ugly.

    * Minus 10-20 percent of the pension, because of the time all our Officer Friendlies punched that black kid in the mouth, then charged him for “attacking an officer with his teeth.”

  7. John Barleycorn

    ♡What is missing is a grownup to take charge of the decision-making. To say “no, stop this.” Or, god forbid, to say, “the revolution is here.” ♧

    And you put that request on the  “revolutionaries” without even pointing out or acknowledging that there are “revolutionaries” on both sides hoping to exploit the current climiate to create “utopia” and violence they do like because it’s “justice” afterall.

    Meanwhile all the “grown-ups” from Black Lives Matter non-violent protesters by the tens of thousands, cobwebed black leaders like Jesse Jackson, politicians of all stripes on either “political” side, and police chiefs and police union heads from across the nation are all saying “stop this” (the violence that is) because this is “war”?

    Are you trying to frustrate yourself or just  wuss-ing out, or did the rules all of the sudden change? Then again perhaps you are pondering what lettered flag/s to run up your mast?

    What about all the  “peace and justice” you have been been serving up and placing on the table next to thousands of tight, subtle, and appropriate center pieces? A squall rolls in and all of the sudden you have the midshipman panicking to put the crystal away?

    You  “just can’t” feel the frustration from the bridge of your carrier in a squall after floating on simmering seas?


    How about lawyers for re-examing the “reasonable standard” because bullets are for knuckleheads declaring “war” and it’s just too fucking obvious for figurative and literal lame ducks and let alone active figureheads of every feather to float on, let alone figure out?

    Seems to me this post is a reckless and wanton disregard of your past efforts and  a gross departure from what an ordinary and reasonable Admiral in the Nebraska Navy would have done in a similar situation.

    Oh, I got an idea let’s have a  “Is violence against police  inevitable, wise or justifiable for African Americans?” DEBATE?

    Fucking lawyers I swear they are worse than children sometimes.

    P.S. If you are dragging your anchor put up the Y flag but if your vessel is just stopped and making no headway  put up the M flag. It could be you just need a tug though, and that would be be the Z flag. I shudder to think you are contemplating your other choices but then again after this post there is no fucking telling what kind of shape your vessel may be in.

    Frustrating and more than a little bit disappointing that you weren’t well aware of the effect of drift on your plotted course.

    Man up, cork a bottle and set course all this floundering around will not do.

    The Admiral call for a “debate”. You seriously crack me up sometimes.

    And here they “pirate” ships were starting to admire your resolute determination for a fair fight in any weather.

      1. John Barleycorn

        Why yes, yes it does. That’s it!


        And here I thought I was trailing magic mirror reflections back and forth between; is that guy a 54 wearing his favorite Admiral’s dinner jacket in a 48 and holly shit, that guy is an Admiral dress cut 42 in a 54 he “tailored” as a fashion statement.

        If it wasn’t for that time piece on your wrist, bringing it all together with unmatched precession I might have had a meltdown.

      2. Billy Bob

        Took you only two minutes to read that drivel? Man, you’re fast! We gather BarleyCorn has a “naval” background. Ha. The Ocean will do that to you, sea-sickness-breath. That is not debatable! Say, what did he say?

  8. st

    When peaceful change is impossible, violent revolution becomes inevitable.
    There is no excuse for any of these killings, on either side.
    Every no-bill and not guilty verdict further convinces those who are subject to the very real oppression that the system is rigged and will never change.

    One thing no one is saying is that in 21st century surveillance state America, there is no possible justification for most traffic stops. They are dangerous to the stopped motorist, dangerous to the cop, and they create serious danger for passing innocent motorists, as a result of the instant traffic jam produced by every cop stop. The fact that cops have trained themselves into pants-shitting hysteria about traffic stops and nearly every other encounter with the taxed just adds to the risk.

    Trading cop lives and motorist lives for a little bit of loot is a bad trade. Let the government keep the loot, and stop putting cops and citizens in harm’s way. There’s no excuse for it.

    A cop should see an infraction, hit a button on his visor, dashcam, body cam, whatever, make a brief verbal memo about what he saw, and that’s it. The ticket comes in the mail. If we can issue red light tickets via a camera with no human present, we can certainly figure out how to issue speeding tickets, broken taillight tickets, and other revenue generating forms when there is video and audio evidence to support the mulcting.

    Every wonder why radars and lasers don’t snap a photo of the offending vehicle, with the speed reading superimposed on the image? That choice doesn’t bear much scrutiny.

    End the war on drugs, and a huge amount of police violence stops. The war on drugs is lost and being shut down. Police can stop wasting themselves on it any time they want.

    There are many more things that could be done, but I’ve already gone far off the 4×6 index card that holds all acceptable opinions by Serious People.

  9. B. McLeod

    The obvious defect in this “fighting back” against “bullies” theory is that the violence is random. Neither one of these guys knew one thing about any of the officers they killed. They had no idea whether the officers were the most exemplary paragons of fairness, or the foulest of abusive villains. Johnson killed officers for being too white. Long just killed whoever came to the ambush. It was random, and that is obvious. As such, it gives abusive officers no reason to clean up any of their subpar behaviors. They’re still just as likely to be randomly killed if they do, so why bother? That’s why going off the deep end and killing police makes no sense, and will fail to accomplish the goals of the would-be “revolutionaries.”

    1. John

      That undoubtedly is next – targeting killings of those seen as “bad”. Then it will spread to killing family members of the “bad”.
      Retaliations by the “mildly bad” to avenge the fallen “bad”.

      This will all end badly.

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