(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘police

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually”*…

 

Law enforcement officers across the United States are using a variety of weapons on protesters during demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality. George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. The fatal encounter has triggered a wave of protests across the country and around the world. Many of the events have been peaceful but some have turned violent, with scenes of arson, looting and clashes with police.

Authorities have imposed curfews on dozens of cities across the country, the most since the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968…

weapons

Often described as non-lethal, these weapons can seriously injure, disable and even kill. Police have used them against peaceful protesters as well as members of the press during the demonstrations.

Chemical Irritants

Chemical irritants include tear gas and pepper spray, which cause sensations of burning, pain and inflammation of the airways.

Public health and infectious diseases experts have opposed the use of chemical irritants such as tear gas, saying in an online petition that they could increase risk for COVID-19 by “making the respiratory tract more susceptible to infection.”

Because chemical irritants can spread widely, bystanders and individuals other than the intended targets can be exposed to the chemicals…

Reuters unpacks what U.S. police are using to corral, subdue and disperse demonstrators: “Weapons of Control.”

Attorney General Barr insists that pepper spray is “not a chemical”; but of course it is (as its manufacturer brags and the CDC agrees)– and a particularly dangerous one during the coronavirus pandemic.

See also “Crocodile Tears,” a history of tear gas and its use, and “The Power of Crowds,” a historical consideration of attempts through time to manage or constrain mass gatherings and of the resilience of the crowd.

* James Baldwin

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As we come together, we might recall that it was on this date in 1872 that Samuel Butler‘s Erewhon was published.  A satirical utopian novel, it skewers Victorian society in a manner reminiscent of Swift’s dismantling of 18th century society in Gulliver’s Travels.  Butler meant the title, which refers to the “country” he describes, to be understood as the word “nowhere” backwards (though the letters “h” and “w” are of course transposed).

220px-Erewhon_Cover source

 

Written by LW

June 9, 2020 at 1:01 am

“The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it”*…

 

From Ulysses S. Grant to Philando Castile— how the automobile fundamentally changed the relationship between the police and the citizenry: “A Brief History of the Traffic Stop (Or How the Car Created the Police State).”

* Dudley Moore

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As we stay in our lanes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1900 that the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company was founded in Akron, Ohio (also home to arch-rival Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and another two mid-sized competitor tire places, General Tire and Rubber and BF Goodrich).  The company’s founder, Harvey Firestone, parlayed his close friendship with Henry Ford into a role as prime tire supplier to the Ford Motor Company, starting in 1906 with tires for the Model T.  In 1926, the company opened the Firestone Natural Rubber plantation in Harbel, Liberia.  The largest plantation of it’s kind in the world, it operated until it was seized, in 1990, by Charles taylor and his NPFL forces.  The company’s ventures in Liberia have been the subject of considerable scrutiny and criticism, including a 2005 Alien Tort Claims Act case brought in California by the International Labor Rights Fund and a 2014 investigative report by ProPublica entitled “Firestone and the Warlord,” and a PBS Frontline documentary by the same name.

The first Firestone store

source

 

Written by LW

August 3, 2016 at 1:01 am

“In memory everything seems to happen to music”*…

 

 

What do you hear when you mix the easy sounds of ambient music with the insistence of a police scanner?  Listen to San Francisco, or to any number of other cities

… at YouAreListeningTo.

* Tennessee Williams

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As we tune in, we might send forcefully-metered birthday greetings to Kenneth Patchen; he was born on this date in 1911.  A poet and novelist who experimented with form (most notably, with incorporating jazz into his readings), Patchen was widely ignored by the cultural establishment in his lifetime; but (with his close friend Kenneth Rexroth) became an inspiration for the young poets–  Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, and others– who became known as the Beat Generation.  In 1968, near the end of his life, The Collected Poems of Kenneth Patchen was published– and Patchen was embraced by the Establishment. The New York TImes called the book “a remarkable volume,” comparing Patchen’s work to that of Blake, Whitman, Crane, Lawrence, and even to the Bible.  In another review, the poet David Meltzer called Patchen “one of America’s great poet-prophets” and called his body of work “visionary art for our time and for Eternity.”

The lions of fire
Shall have their hunting in this black land

Their teeth shall tear at your soft throats
Their claws kill

O the lions of fire shall awake
And the valleys steam with their fury

Because you have turned your faces from God
Because you have spread your filth everywhere.

– from “The Lions of Fire Shall Have Their Hunting”  The Teeth of the Lion (1942)

Allen Ginsberg (left) and Kenneth Patchen (right) backstage at the Living Theatre where Patchen was performing with Charlie Mingus, New York City 1959. Photo copyright © Harry Redl 1959, 2000.

source

Written by LW

December 13, 2014 at 1:01 am

“Wish you were here”*…

 

Before it earned its reputation as a little town with first one, then two world-class music studios, Muscle Shoals was known for its hydroelectric facilities– as memorialized in this card, printed in 1948.

In 1898, the American government allowed private postcards to be sent with one cent stamps. Cheaper than the prevailing letter rate, this began the widespread use of postcards by the public– and the equally widespread use of postcards as an advertising tool by civic boosters.

From the 1930s through the 1950s, tourists taking their first road trips in their newfangled automobiles would frequently stop along the way to pick up a few colorful postcards to mail to the folks back home. The most popular form of eat-your-heart-out greeting was the large-letter postcard, which had been around since the first part of the 20th century but whose heyday was during what we know today as the linen-postcard era. Made of textured paper rather than actual cloth, linen postcards were printed by companies such as Curt Teich & Company of Chicago, Tichnor Brothers and Colourpicture of Boston, E.C. Kropp of Milwaukee, Beals Litho & Printing of Des Moines, and Dexter Press of Pearl River, New York, among many others. Their souvenir postcards for states, cities, military bases, and tourist attractions were usually heralded at the top by the words “Greetings From,” below which were large, blocky, dimensional letters filled in with illustrations or photographs of the destination’s most scenic or noteworthy sights.

In 1945, Dunkirk, New York, on the shores of Lake Erie, must have been known for its grapes… or so this large-letter postcard would suggest.

Since 2009, the primary resource for fans of this popular postcard genre has been “Large Letter Postcards: The Definitive Guide, 1930s to 1950s,” written by Fred Tenney and Kevin Hilbert. Published by Schiffer, “Large Letter Postcards” features more than 2,200 examples, from several dozen versions of Atlantic City cards (Curt Teich’s first linen large-letter) to cards for Coney Island, Niagara Falls, and Death Valley. Also included are several examples of how large-letter postcards were created, from the card’s initial sketch to its final design, courtesy of materials loaned to the authors by the Curt Teich Postcard Archives

Southern Illinois, where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers meet, is known as Egypt or Little Egypt. Some cards, such as this Curt Teich from 1945, included maps as well as scenic shots in their design.

Read more, find more wonderful examples and links to still more at “When Postcards Made Every Town Seem Glamorous, From Asbury Park to Zanesville.”

* Archetypical postcard message

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As we pack our bags, we might recall that it was on this date in 1910 that the first American-born female police officer was sworn in, as Alice Stebbins Wells became a full member of the Los Angeles Police Department.  (Marie Owens, born in Canada, was the first female police officer in the United States, hired in 1891 in Chicago.)  Prior to this time, women were employed as non-commissioned personnel to oversee the care of female prisoners.  Two years after Wells joined the force, two other female officers were sworn in; sixteen other cities and several foreign countries hired female police officers as a direct result of Wells’ activities by 1915, when Wells created the International Policewomen’s Association.  The University of California created the first course dedicated to the work of female police officers in 1918, and Wells was made the first president of the Women’s Peace Officers Association of California in 1928.

Wells wearing the uniform she had to sew for herself, the first police woman’s uniform in the United States

 source

 

Written by LW

September 12, 2014 at 1:01 am

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