- William H. Douglas
Citizen Death Reveals The Nature of the State
Six years ago a man was murdered in broad daylight, throttled to death while pleading for his life from a gang of armed and violent thugs, all for the dastardly crime of being suspected of selling individual cigarettes to willing customers. I am, of course, talking about the execution of Eric Garner in broad daylight by Officer Daniel Pantaleo of the New York Police Department and his cohort.
Photos relevant to this article:
A visibly pregnant Saraneka Martin cried, “my baby! My baby!” as she was shot in the stomach with a rubber coated steel bullet before being knocked down by Austin, TX police officers.
Eric’s last words? I can’t breathe. He said it eleven times and not once did the police let up. A father of six children on the ground pleading for his life, begging simply for air and not once did these barbarians let up enough so that he could breathe. They choked him to death as he plead for his life from brutal, hardened, uncaring men. You can watch a video of it if you wish to see the tragedy itself. Though I warn you, it is not entertainment. It is, in essence, a snuff film.
So, what happened to these murderers? Nothing. The accessories to the crime -the gang members in black holding Eric down- were never held accountable for any crime while the actual murderer simply lost his job. You read that correctly. Officer Daniel Pantaleo throttled a father to death in the streets in broad daylight and what were the results? A slap on the wrist. If we committed a similar crime we would be facing life in prison without parole. But when a police officer does it? Quite often the the worse punishment they face is losing their job. And why? Because, and I quote:
“[United States attorney in Brooklyn, Richard P. Donoghue] went over the arrest step by step, maintaining the government could not prove Officer Pantaleo willfully used excessive force to violate Mr. Garner’s rights.”
The government could not prove that a police officer who throttled a man to death while begging to simply be able to breathe used “excessive force.” A grand jury said it “saw no reasonable cause” to convict Pantaleo of murdering Eric despite the fact that the city’s chief medical officer and an independent forensic pathologist both agreed that it was Pantaleo’s choke hold that killed Eric. Oh, and Pantaleo’s firing? It only came five years after he murdered Eric on the sidewalks of New York City as he cried for the simple gift of one gulp of air. Eric was murdered in 2014 and Pantaleo was fired in 2019.
Why did it take so long for a known murderer to lose his job? Why isn’t he and his entire cadre of murderous thugs behind prison bars right now? It is quite simple. The cops believe they have the right to murder you and get away with it. Just read the response of Patrick Lynch, President of the New York police union. He explains quite well why they think the murder of Eric Garner was justified and why you should comply with every command from a police officer, even if it is unjust:
“We feel badly that there was a loss of life. But unfortunately Mr. Garner made a choice that day to resist arrest. You cannot resist arrest. Because resisting arrest leads to confrontation. Confrontation leads to tragedy.”
Did you understand the message there? Do what you’re told, even when what you’re told is wrong, illegal, or unjust because if you confront police in anyway they have the right to kill you. There is no crime so small, so petty, so meaningless that the police will not beat and murder you to enforce and, if they do, they will always be right and almost always be protected for doing so.
So, why do I bring this up, several years after the major events unfolded? Two reasons:
First, this event, and the many others like it, reveals the true nature of the state in a raw and pure way that it otherwise tries to keep hidden behind flags, banners, songs, and other emotionally manipulative patriotic nonsense. Secondly, because it has happened again.
Meet George Floyd. He was a man whose friends remembered him as loving, his co-workers remembered him as kind, and his family remembers him as a gentle giant. In the words of the owner of the bistro where George worked security, George was, “A friend that was always available to work, always helps, always helped with cleaning up, we loved him a lot.” Like Eric, George was the father of a 6 year old daughter. George also coached children’s football. Tragically, he will be remembered as the infamous photo of his head being crushed.
On Monday, May 25th, 2020, George Loyd was in the backseat of a pulled over SUV. Police, responding to a reported “forgery in process” (whatever that means in a situation where they obviously aren’t counterfeiting US dollars) pulled Lloyd out of the vehicle because he “matched a description of the suspect,” handcuffed him, and at some point, claiming he was resisting arrest, pinned Lloyd to the ground, and knelt on his neck for so long that it strangled him to death. Like Eric Garner, George Floyd died begging the jackboot kneeling on his neck for the basic human right to breathe, to not die while pinned to the street like an animal. Like Eric Garner, the jackboot in question and his posse of thugs denied George that precious gift and basic human right. They strangled him to death while grinding his face into the hot tarmac of a Minneapolis street on a late Spring day. You can see the video of George, begging for his life, telling the officers that he couldn’t breath, pleading for them to please let up off his throat as he wheezes and cries in obvious agony here. But, again, be forewarned. It is essentially a snuff film.
The police department initially lied about George’s arrest. This from the New York Times: The police said the man was found sitting on top of a blue car and “appeared to be under the influence.” “He was ordered to step from his car,” the department’s statement said. “After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.” The statement said that officers had called for an ambulance.
Their initial report has been quickly proven false. Video has emerged of Floyd’s arrest that shows the police department lied. As you can see from security camera footage, George was not sitting on top of a blue car, he did not resist arrest, and he was handcuffed without any serious difficulties. In fact it shows him sitting calmly handcuffed against a wall where police leave him alone for a moment. He doesn’t run, he doesn’t fight, he doesn’t resist. This video picks up where the security camera footage ends, showing George fall to the ground and then three different police pinning him to the ground. Again he is not fighting. He is not resisting. But he is being murdered in broad daylight with multiple witnesses.
In response to this murder, riots have erupted in the city of Minneapolis as angry people explode in anger at the injustice of everything they’ve suffered under the whip of the state. The four officers involved have been fired and Jacob Frey, mayor of Minneapolis, is calling for Chauvin to be prosecuted. But the riots are about more than George’s murder. It is about the violence and oppression directed against the rioters again and again that they have not been able to defend themselves against nor seek justice for because the power of the state seems too great and powerful to confront. So their anger has festered, sitting deep in their bones, like a poison slowly leaking into all the parts of society. Finally all that fear, anger, and rage exploded, set off by the match of George’s murder. The people of Minneapolis have rose up, attacked the police, and set parts of the city are on fire. Both literally and metaphorically, Minneapolis burned.
The Nature of the State
These murders, and the many like them, reveal the true nature of the State in a way that nothing else does. They prove that George Orwell was far more correct (and literally so) in his description of state power in 1984 than many wish to acknowledge:
“Always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - for ever.”
As discussed before, the nature of the state is brutality, violence, and control. Statist (“state-ist”) governments rule through violence and the threat of it- do what you’re commanded to do or it will beat you, kidnap you, cage you, and kill you if you don’t. This why men like Chauvin are repeatedly protected by the system despite them repeatedly violating even its so-called “rules.” Whether he was breaking the “rules” or not, he was doing what he was meant to do, so he gets protected by it as much as it can. As Dr. Robert Higgs explains so succinctly and clearly, the government is not your friend and does not care about you:
“If the government were on your side, if it really had your best interest at heart, why would it issue so many commands to you (and other innocent persons), with notice that your failure to comply will result in fines, imprisonment and, if need be, your death? Is this how a friend would treat you? Indeed, is this not how a terrifying enemy would treat you?”
To paraphrase Officer Lynch, do what you’re told by the government because resistance leads to confrontation and confrontation leads to tragedy- your death. This is the nature of the state and it is perfectly illustrated by the actions and powers of the police in a way that is undeniable.
The nature of policing is one of overwhelming, legally privileged and protected terrorism. Police are men and women with guns roaming around cities and towns, forcing people off the roads, extorting from them sums of money large and small under the threat of being kidnapped (arrested), sexually assaulted (pat downs, strip searches, and cavity searches), robbed (“civil asset forfeiture”), extorted (fines), and caged (jailed). The only difference between the police and the highwaymen of yore are that the police mostly don’t ride horses anymore. They’re robbers, rapists, and thugs- sharks looking for blood. No matter what you do, you have no right to life, liberty, or property according to the state when confronted with the commands of its enforcers. The laws are corrupt and enforcing such corruption makes you corrupt. The perpetuation of evil is evil.
And if you resist these corrupt laws, in any manner, the ending is the same. Remember, merely being a free thinking individual who wants to know why he or she is being arrested is a crime for which you -like Eric- can be murdered. It doesn’t matter if you’re violent or nonviolent. A violent resister will be summarily executed or beaten to death if possible. A nonviolent resister might try a tactic similar to what accidentally happened with George Floyd by simply falling to the ground and refusing to get up or assist in being lifted and carried to the police car. And just like George, the nonviolent resister could be murdered in broad daylight. This is not “police misconduct,” rather this is policing exactly how it is meant to function as the militarized local enforcement arm of the state.
While there is something to be said for how privatizing policing would positively effect change, the truth is that until we do something to change that reality of the state -of the nature of the government itself- then no matter how many protests or riots we have, no matter how many petitions we sign, no matter how many laws we change, no matter who we elect, our faces will never be far from the boot. This is because the root cause -the power of the state to do what it will to you- will not have changed. No matter how often you hack away at the corrupted branches until you strike the root of corruption, nothing will change. Even the rare occasions that the individual villains who murder people are held accountable, it will not matter unless we abandon the State itself. The spilt blood of those villains will merely become blood libations to pacify the rage drunken masses, the slain bodies of Pantaleo and Chauvin laid upon the altars of vengeance to the gods of Democracy nothing more than sacrifices that continue the power of the State. Until we realize that it is the system itself that is the problem and which needs to be abolished, then all that will happen is more men and women will be murdered by the State and its operatives who will in turn be sacrificed as scapegoats taking all the blame, allowing the system of oppression that is the state to continue unabated.
This utopian project we have embarked on that says if we can get everything just right, we can give a ruling elite the power to beat, cage, and kill whoever they want and those in power will only use that power for good must be abandoned for the delusion that it is, otherwise George Floyd will not be the last man murdered by the State and it’s enforcers. And next time it could be your husband, your wife, your son, or your daughter. It could be you.
“Statists are the utopian dreamers who imagine that individuals acting under the magical banner of government can plan, coerce, and coordinate millions of lives.” - Jeff Deist