Proportional My Ass!

Posted by Melvin Bray on July 25th, 2014 filed in Useful Perhaps

I know I am Johnny-come-late to both of these news stories, but I have to say something.

first, watch this video…

Even if, as the police want to say, Eric Garner were resisting arrest (which I don’t see; I see a man not knowing why these officers have gone from talking to now reaching out to grab him, while at the same time, someone in plain clothes has just jumped on his back), if what you are doing leads to my death, at what point would it have been appropriate for me to resist the thing that is killing me?

WHEN do I get to value my own life?

There is even video showing EMT workers choosing not to help Garner once they are finally allowed on the scene.

After the fact the officers say that Garner had been accused by a local shop owner of selling individual cigarettes, which means he was not paying taxes on each sale (except for the taxes he paid when he bought the cigarettes himself)–a misdemeanor offense. At most it should have carried a fine. Jumping on someone’s back and choking them into submission is completely disproportional to the alleged crime. and the idea that the onus is on Garner to remain calm in the midst of that sort of life threatening assault is absurd.

That brings me to the second story. Yesterday Israel inadvertently (we hope) bombed a UN-operated school, as it pursues what is supposedly an assault on the militant political party Hamas by terrorizing the entirety of Palestine. As of yesterday the death toll in Israel’s 17-day offensive is 788 Palestinians to 32 Israelis. What about this is anywhere near proportional? No wonder Hamas keeps winning elections in Gaza–the front line for Israeli aggression. As wrong as Hamas usually is, people under fire want someone to fight for them.

Even if we still lived in a world where “an eye for an eye” made sense, in the last 17 days Israel has extracted 20-times the pair of eyes in return for its losses. This is far more than a pound of flesh!

But what kind of moral leadership can America lend? It won’t even demand proportional response from its own law enforcement 50 years after the cameras in Selma laid bare for the world the brutality and harassment under which a select people in this country are forced to live. How can it stand up and demand–not entreat, not ask, not call for, demand!–Israel restrain itself, when both nations’ myths of their own exceptionalism leads them to do exactly the same thing?


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