Ferguson Police Department: Probably a Bunch of Awesome Guys

If you search “Ferguson” in Google news, you’ll see journalists taking back the negative things they said about the FPD, numerous comparisons of Ferguson to Benghazi, and now an officer who says the stress of Ferguson protests caused him to drive drunk. What you won’t see much of is discussion of the DOJ report on the Ferguson Police Department.  To be fair, I found that the CIA torture report was an easier to get through (though much longer) read. The 105 page PDF took me an unusually long time to get through, but now that I have read it…well, I wish I could say it was shocking. It’s definitely some fucked up shit.

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The FPD created  an environment in which the sole purpose of the police force was to make money for the city. If that sounds reasonable to you, please recall the purpose of the police is to protect and serve the citizens, not to rob your of your rights via your wallet. How does a $571 fine for tall grass or a $302 fine for manner of walking sound? To me, it sounds fucking absurd. To the FPD? Reasonable! Of course, I guess absurd crimes deserve absurd fines — after all, what is manner of walking? Since 95% of the people arrested for it were black, one can assume it’s for being black while walking.

In a city with a per capita income of $21,000, it doesn’t take a Mensa scholar to realize that forcing citizens to pay $571 for having weeds in the yard might be an impossible task. Fortunately, the city found a way to fix that: you can be arrested for not paying your fine in full and on time — many times people are given court dates within a week, so hopefully everyone in Ferguson just stockpiles all their extra pennies in case the police decide to fuck with them. Of course, police often incorrectly write the court dates or times on the citations, so even if you do have the money to pay…you might still get a warrant! Pretty messed up, huh?

But wait! There’s more! Let’s imagine you’ve been given a ridiculously high fine and you want to pay it, but you can’t afford to pay it all at once. So you send the court $20 or $50, with a letter explaining why.  Joke’s on you! Ferguson wants its money, and it wants its money NOW! The court has repeatedly rejected partial payments from citizens, claiming it can’t process them. Nothing says “we care about protecting the people we serve” like locking away old ladies for not mowing their lawns!

Oh, hold on! I’m wrong. I know what makes it clear you care about the citizens you serve: fuckin tasing them for no reason!

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 6.05.44 PMThe report repeatedly drives home the fact that the FPD uses their ECWs (Electronic Control Weapons) as the only option. While other police are trained to diffuse situations, the FPD fires their ECWs first and worries about consequences later — oh, wait. Just kidding. They don’t worry about the consequences, because there is no accountability. Almost no one bothers to fill out the reports when an ECW is used, and if they do it’s so poorly done they might as well not. Keep in mind there’s an easy way to track whether or not you fired your ECW: you have to replace the cartridge.

But it’s okay. I’m sure if the DOJ investigated other police departments, they’d be golden. I’m sure this is a one off situation that isn’t deserving of national attention. Those crazy race and class baiters should be ashamed of themselves!

Ah, yes. Totally reasonable.

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I’ll Have Belle for my Wife, Make No Mistake About That!

With the sucess of 50 Shades, I’ve been questioning the messages behind other popular movies. Unfortunately, it has led me to one of the Disney films I remember really liking as a child. This may or may not be well discussed by others, but I don’t know; in general I’m not one of those people that enjoys Disney movies as an adult. It wasn’t until very recently that I started wondering if Beauty and the Beast was just a story about a bunch of abusive assholes and terrible people.

Beauty was my favorite Disney movie because I always related to Belle. As a child I was so shy I’d cry if people (not strangers. Just anyone) talked to me. I would rather read a book than talk to people or look where I was going. As an adult, I’m super excited for every movie Emma Watson makes. What I’m saying is, re-watching this movie made the past 90 minutes of my life suck.

I’m going to assume you have some idea of the plot of Beauty and the Beast. Belle is pretty but a bookworm, and everyone thinks she’s weird — including Gaston, the asshole handsome guy who declares he will marry her, despite her disinterest. Meanwhile, there’s the Beast, a formerly handsome prince turned into a beast for being an asshole. When Belle’s dad gets locked away by the Beast, Belle offers up herself as the Beast’s prisoner (or guest) instead. The Beast obliges, Belle’s dad is too weird for the townspeople to believe his story, hijinks ensue. In order to break the Beast’s curse, he needs someone to love him while being a beast.

From the first moment the Beast’s house supplies talk to him about Belle, he says of course it has crossed his mind she will be the one to break the spell. That means he’s thinking about her falling in love with him when he does things like lock her away and refuse to feed her.

Of course, the Beast grows in the movie, and both the Beast and Belle are outcasts of society. But she is a prisoner during the Beast’s transition. If that could have been expressed in any other way, then this could have been a charming story of watching the Beast struggle to understand politness and how to get over his anger at being shunned by the world around him.

Pro tip: if you’re close with your dad and he calls your boyfriend that “horrible fella,” you should run away. Fast. Same thing if your boyfriend prohibits you from seeing your father.

What do you guys think? Is my mind just 50 Shades-ed out, or does this rub anyone else the wrong way as an adult?

50 Shades Shittier

I promised a round two of why I hate 50 Shades, so here we go. After I wrote about the books last month, I had a bunch of people explain to me how it isn’t abuse and Christian becomes an amazing guy in the end. Thankfully, I actually read the last book instead of listening to the Champions of Grey; no, no he does not stop being a terrible piece of shit. One passage stands out to me more than any other, and I’ll get to it in a moment. 

First, has anyone else ever listen to a friend bitch about a guy and not know what to tactfully say in response? You know, a nice way to say things like he doesn’t call you because he isn’t interested? Or it probably isn’t that he hates relationships, he just hates the idea of one with you, and nagging won’t change that? Or his decision to fight with you whenever you go out without him is a controlling and damaging tactic, and not something you should just get over? Because I find so many women (and I’ve been guilty of this, too!) brush off these actions by making excuses — he’s mysterious, he’s a bad boy, he needs changing, he’s just like Christian Grey, whatever. For people who felt the need to school me on my stance, that right there is the problem. 50 Shades encourage the idea that asshole men can be changed, that manipulative behavior is endearing, and that it’s fine to emotionally manipulate women into being in relationships they repeatedly say they aren’t comfortable with. If someone is doing these things to you, reading it depicted as great and romantic can make you feel like you’re overreacting.

My worst nightmare is being forced to have a child. In order to help avoid that, I do things like not date men who want children. Apparently it’s Christian’s nightmare, too — except he doesn’t run for the hills when Ana expresses her desire to have children. In one of the scenes I personally found most uncomfortable, Christian forces hormonal birth control on her — motherfucker, how about you get snipped if you never want kids? When Ana, who is depicted as being the dumbest person alive (despite her college degree), inevitably forgets her demanded Depo appointments, she gets knocked up. Over and over she worries about how angry Christian will be. When she tells him…well, there’s nothing I can do but show you. Keep in mind they are married and her father just almost died.

“Christ, Ana!” He bangs his fist on the table, making me jump, and stands so abruptly he almost knocks the dining chair over. “You have one thing, one thing to remember. Shit! I don’t fucking believe it. How could you be so stupid?”
Stupid! I gasp. Shit. I want to tell him that the shot was ineffective, but words fail me. I gaze down at my fingers. “I’m sorry,” I whisper. “Sorry? Fuck!” he says again.
“I know the timing’s not very good.”
“Not very good!” he shouts. “We’ve known each other five fucking minutes. I wanted to show you the fucking world and now … Fuck. Diapers and vomit and shit!” He closes his eyes. I think he’s trying to contain his temper and losing the battle. “Did you forget? Tell me. Or did you do this on purpose ?” His eyes blaze and anger emanates off him like a force field.
“No,” I whisper. I can’t tell him about Hannah— he’d fire her.
“I thought we’d agreed on this!” he shouts.
“I know. We had. I’m sorry.”
He ignores me. “This is why. This is why I like control. So shit like this doesn’t come along and fuck everything up.”
No … Little Blip. “Christian, please don’t shout at me.” Tears start to slip down my face. “Don’t start with waterworks now,” he snaps. “Fuck.”

God, I’m so glad that Christian is reformed. Maybe people get that impression because we learn that Christian is into BDSM because his mother was a crackhead. I can’t even.

Out of some sick curiosity, I tried to watch the movie…but it wasn’t available on Time for Popcorn, so never mind.