The People of the Community of Tempe have taken to the streets to protest the unjust killing of Dalvin Hollins by an officer of the Tempe Police Department, Edward Ouimette, on July 27, 2016. Scheduled as a peaceful and an informative space, in full exercise of the First Amendment Right to Free Speech in Public Spaces, the People have gathered to ensure, that neither is what happened to Dalvin Hollins forgotten or continues to go unanswered, nor, the type of ruthless abuse of power by the police, those who have sworn to protect us and uphold the law, is allowed to persist.
The responsibility of the Police, do not include and should never include being judge, jury, and executioner. However, when the police continue to kill people, especially Black and Brown Human Beings at will, with impunity, then that is precisely the list of responsibilities the institution of law enforcement has usurped from the People. Murder is wrong no matter who the responsible party is and that includes when police officers are responsible for murder.
Tempe Against Police Violence, a local anti-police-brutality grassroots organizing body of people have are/have presenting a list of demands:
We in the Tempe community demand justice for Dalvin Hollins
We in the Tempe community demand that Officer Lieutenant Edward Ouimette be fired and removed from the police force immediately, not to be hired by another precinct. He is not fit to ‘protect and serve’ our community or any other as an officer of the law.
We in the Tempe community demand all evidence, including but not limited to statements, interviews, audio, and video footage relating to the killing of Dalvin Hollins be made accessible for review by the community and the family of Dalvin Hollins.
We in the Tempe community demand an accountable police institution that has community oversight with enforceable punitive powers, implicit bias training, and a revision to Police training that extracts racial profiling as a component.
We in the Tempe community demand a formal and public apology be made to the family of Dalvin Hollins for the wrongful killing of Dalvin Hollins.
Let’s assume that we agree that there is such a thing as a crime and that we agree that a particular act is a crime. Let’s further assume that we agree this particular crime warrants a specific set of reactions and punishments. For this argument to hold we will also have to assume that the person ‘suspected’ or ‘convicted’ of the crime is also responsible for the crime and ‘guilty’ for the crime.
If the agreed upon standard for reacting to a suspected crime violation is to assume innocence until proven guilty, then it is a manifest contradiction to assume guilt until proven innocent. It is furthermore a violation of our social agreement and social contract with the authorities, which is a far greater CRIME because they have sworn an additional oath to honor those agreements, something that the average citizen has not. When an officer presumes guilt and assaults and batters a ‘suspected’ crime violator and proceeds to beat or murder them, then that is a violation of the social contract; it supersedes the agreed upon response and is not listed in the punishments for the ‘crime’ thus, making the entire situation unjust and in violation; a manifest contradiction of our agreement.
Assuming that the individual ‘suspected’ of the crime is actually responsible and guilty, and further assuming that the officers presumed them innocent until proven guilty, and further assuming that they were not ill-treated in violation of our social contract and their additional oath to uphold that contract; then there is a specific set of punishments that society has agreed are relative to the crime.
Death, murder, rape, harassment, hazing, or torture are not listed among the specific set of punishments for that particular crime.
However, that is what our legal and penal system is sentencing people to and none of us agreed to that. Therefore, all the people and institutions responsible for this violation of our social agreement and contract are in non-compliance, are in violation of their additional oath, and are the greatest criminals in this nation.
This argument, as you noticed in the beginning and throughout assumes quite a lot. It assumes that their is no racial, economic, or gender bias. It assumes that we agree to the laws as they are written and the outcomes of those laws. It assumes that we know what the sanctions are and that we agree to them. It assumes that oaths have actually been taken by our officers and that they can and should be held accountable. It assumes that the agreement we have made with our officials means anything at all.
However, if nothing has become glaringly clear over the last year, it is that all of these assumptions prove to be false and that means the entire system and all of its orchestraters, colluders, contractors, politicians, merchants and so on, are in violation. If this is true, then it must be the case that they do not serve us, THE PEOPLE, and that contradicts the entire United States Constitution, which invalidates our entire government.
The United States government is not a legitimate government; it does not receive consent from THE PEOPLE, it mandates it; and that is an autocratic, totalitarian system, not a representative democracy.
First of all, it is not just apathy or a lack of concern for particular communities that is the problem; it is the blatant oppression and harm to particular communities that is the problem. What Shell and other fossil fuel companies are engaged in is Environmental Racism. Now, I know this may be a concept that is difficult for most people to wrap their heads around so I will explain it to you.
When people in America hear the term racism, they tend to think of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), Jim Crow and the segregation with all its relevant signage, and Slavery. When people in America think of the consequences of racism they tend to think of Lynchings, Police Brutality, or events such as the Holocaust or the Genocide that occurred in Rwanda.
What is distinct about the list above is that they are all easy to identify, they all possess the characteristic of a particular individual or group as being the cause of the harm done. To flesh that out, the person or group responsible for the harm is seen in proximity to the person or group that is harmed. For example, in these recent police shootings of Black People that are plaguing our country, we can easily trace the path of the bullet from the gun it was fired from, which includes the person who pulled the trigger, to the person who was shot. A person with no scientific experience could identify this.
Climate Change on the other hand, has an issue of proximity, wherein the cause ‘seems,’ and only seems, to be dislocated from the harm that is done. Nothing about the atmosphere occurs in isolation, there is not microcosm about emitting metric tons of carbon on one side of the globe; as to imply that it will not affect the other side of the globe. A teeter-totter is a prime example and elementary algebra is another; what is done to one side of the equation directly affects what occurs on the other. However, regardless of the distance or the time between the cause and the effect, that does not absolve the causal chain and responsibility of what is done on one side of the globe.
The largest consumers of fossil fuel are those in Western Civilizations, such as, the United States, which has a Carbon Footprint of 4 Earths. What that means is that if everyone on the planet were to consume resources at the rate at which US citizens do, that it would require four earths worth of resources to meet that demand. While conversely, countries such as Ethiopia have a carbon footprint of 0.80. Thus, the largest production and emission of carbon is coming from countries such as the US, which is being supplied by companies like Shell at rates vastly surpassing those of countries not counted as being members of Western Civilization.
When carbon is emitted into the atmosphere it is distributed throughout the globe creating a sort of insulating blanket that locks in the heat that our planet naturally receives from the sun in terms of solar energy. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon that has been cycling for millions of years, but since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th & 20th Centuries in many Western Civilization countries, we have exacerbated and augmented this naturally occurring process and exponentially increased the rate at which the insulating blanket is forming. The best scientist in overwhelming consensus (something like 98%) have identified a two degree limit that will result in a plus or minus 25 degrees respectively throughout the planet. The IPCC or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provided this research and the consequences of not changing our behavior to our governments. The results will be #Desertification depletion of water resources, and rising ocean levels.
Now, most of the countries in Western Civilization have the resources, technology and infrastructure to protect their countries from the harms of climate change. But, the best scientific models do not identify the areas to be most impacted by climate change to be n the Global North, which are primarily populated by people who either are white or look white. The regions that will be most impacted by climate change will be in the Global South, which is populated primarily by people of color, many of who are indigenous peoples, who lack the resources, technology and infrastructure to mediate the harms that will result from climate change.
Here it is prudent to incorporate into this analysis the effects of Colonialism and its offspring Capitalism and its foundation of Liberalism and Hierarchical structures. Indigenous peoples throughout the planet have been held in a subjugated position for centuries, and have been continuously denied the ability to develop their own infrastructures and economies. Each time they have attempted to throw off the oppressive reality, they have been confronted with State Sanctioned Violence usually in terms of a military force, but often times in the form of police institutions suppressing their assertions of autonomy and independence from Western Civilization. These Anti-Colonial and Anti-Capitalism movements are nothing new and have been occurring since the advent of colonialism. To clue you in to how far the government and its tool of indoctrination Public School is willing to go to restrict access to this truth take Tupac Shakur for instance. He was named in honor of Tupac Amaru, who was an indigenous revolutionary in Peru in 1780-1781 which at the time was under the colonial rule of Spain. The Crown dispatched a treacherous, rapacious, villainous, genocidal army who murdered indiscriminately the indigenous population of the Andes to suppress the uprising. This was followed by the disbanding and rewriting of the history of the Inca people and the Tawantinsuyu Empire that the Spanish Empire ‘conquered’ in South America. The government, the state, would like the people to believe that the indigenous people, first of all, no longer exist in the lands of their ancestors; and second, that they consented to their lands being stolen and their brethren being viciously exterminated because it makes occupying our lands much more palatable for the average American.
That needed to be fleshed out because I foresaw the rebuttal that if the indigenous people had only ‘assimilated‘ into Western Civilization or ‘made their own way’ that they too would have the resources, technology and infrastructure to mediate the harms of climate change; that I have shown they are not even responsible for. So, that argument will not work here.
This now brings us full-circle back to the issue of causality and the fact that the Global North is engaged in Environmental Racism against the Global South. Racism does not require that the person or group responsible for the discrimination be conscious or cognizant of the thoughts or practices they are engaged in that is causing harm to others. Furthermore, racism requires a system of hierarchical power that stratifies and relegates particular groups of people to positions of inferiority. There is no such thing as Reverse Racism and the very term is repugnant. Anyone who argues that reverse racism is a thing first and foremost acknowledges that racism exists. The second thing they acknowledge is that it does cause harm, and this is revealed by the fact that they do not want racism done to them because of its harmful characteristics. And third, it acknowledges that they do not want to do anything to change the impacts of racism because the argument is usually made in response to a suppressed people or their allies promoting some project, policy, practice, or legislation to make the system more equitable. A person who benefits from the hierarchical system of power that stratifies and relegates particular groups to positions of inferiority does not need to be cognizant of the benefit they receive from the system to benefit from it. This is White Privilege and as Sarra Tekola has put it, Climate Change Denial is a “white privilege” because they do not have to be conscious and cognizant of the impacts of climate change, given that they are not in the Global South.
The Shell Oil Rig that is parked in the harbor in Seattle the Polar Pioneer which the corporation is attempting to ship to the Arctic off the coast of Alaska is a continuation of the colonialism, capitalism, liberalism, and oppression of indigenous peoples throughout the entire planet. If they gain access to that deposit of oil it is guaranteed that we will cross the two degree threshold the IPCC has outlined as the point of no return before we enter into a feedback loop of climate change and global harm. If Shell is ignorant of the Global Impact their enterprise will have, that does not absolve them of responsibility or of the blatant racism of their actions. The Selfishness of those who benefit by white privilege is racism when that selfishness has an impact on people of color.