Blame Hollywood?


This morning, there was an op-ed in the Ny Post slamming cowardly Hollywood liberals for bowing to terrorist threats and canceling the
premier of “The Interview.” The Rogen/Franco joint where two journalists travel to North Korea to assassinate Kim Jong Un.

Hollywood is a city in California that has housed some of the biggest film studios in history. It is not a singular hegemonic group. But, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend for a minute that it is.

Hollywood did not kill that movie. Sony did. But they only did after movie theater chains decided to pull it.

Regal cinemas based out of Knoxville Tennessee. AMC theaters based out of Leawood Kansas and Cinemark theaters based out of Plano, Texas. Texas is not exactly your liberal stronghold.

Now if you want to blame anybody, you can blame Sony, who gave these theatre chains the option of not showing the film, but Sony is a Japanese company and Sony Corporation of America based out of New York.

The list of people most seething mad about yesterday’s decision are “Hollywood” types, who took to Twitter yesterday to vent their outrage. One of those who had a particular axe to grind is Steve Carell. Carell’s film Pyongyang was canceled before it even began production. Who canceled that film? It was Fox; Fox owned by news corp. Which also owns the New York Post, which published an op-ed this morning blasting “Hollywood” for being cowards.

Hollywood,on the other hand, is the one who made the movie in the first place.

Now to be honest, I don’t completely blame the theaters and Sony for capitulating. The hack on Sony has wrought havoc on them. The threat, while probably not real, was credible enough to weigh a risk evaluation. And while o like those guys, Rogen and Franco are not Gilbert and Sullivan. High art, this is not.

But in any event, to blame Hollywood cowardice is not only unfair. It’s completely inaccurate. I look forward to seeing this film when it eventually leaks on the Internet.

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It’s like being stabbed twice

I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’ve now read the shocking news. It’s 5:45 am. I’m awake as usual; a product of my sadistic circadian rhythms and an ocean of regret.

The attack which has hit so close to home, 1,600 steps from my front door. A knife-wielding man entered 770 Eastern parkway and stabbed an Israeli student, before being shot by police. Blood spilled where I’ve danced, drank and prayed. But in all honesty that was not what I feared.

I feared the other shoe.

I trudged miserably through the December Rain I arrived at Shacharis, late as usual. Wet. Confused.  Cold. Miserable. Scared.

Naturally,the “shul sshh-ers” lost before the battle had begun and we were all discussing the previous night’s events. I gleaned a few new details, such as the assailant’s death. And I waited for the other shoe to drop.

I prayed; as I always do with distraction and a helping of angst. Then, as the men of my shul were finishing up with their tefillin, somebody suggested we should say chapter 20 of tehillim (psalms) a common practice in prayer for a person recovering from illness or injury.

“should we say capital chaf?” some one asked.

“Why?” A young man answered. “The shvartze’s already dead.” Laughter.


I was repulsed. By the boy who made it. He doesn’t know better, but I was still repulsed. By the reaction. The inevitability. As a black Jew, it’s always coming.

There it is, what I always dread. The backlash. The race backlash It always comes. Sometimes, big. Sometimes small. But it always comes. Living in Crown Heights there are going to be incidents. There are going to be attacks, muggings, but with each one with it brings a new referendum of the entire black community, as if there is such a thing.

I have a confession. Whenever I see an incident of a Jew being attacked, in Crown Heights, there is a part of me–not an insignificant part–that hopes there is another Jew responsible. It brings me no pride to feel this way. It’s a secret I’ve held on to for years, but I hope for the problem to be from within the community.  That way, the anger will be directed inward and not outward; and hopefully, there will be some amount of introspection or consideration. But not this time. Not now.

Blame the Mayor.

Blame the cops.

Blame Obama.

Blame the Blacks.

The accusations will start, followed by recriminations.

Then eventually, somebody will ask for my opinion, whether I want to or not. I’ve been interrogated about Trayvon, Ferguson, Knockout.

The knockout hysteria was the worst, because I was both looking over my shoulder and made to feel responsible. I spent many wasted hours trying to rationalize the attacks and explain how they were over-hyped by the media. It was as much self preservation as it was debate. And it always is, when it comes to these complex issues regarding race and the modern age.

But consider this. The thing that made the early-morning attacks so impactful, was that it could have happened to any of us in the community;  Jewish, Lubavitch, Crown Heights. It was so directed, yet so random, that it’s impossible to not take it personally. It’s as if we personally were stabbed.

And for some of us, it’s like being stabbed twice.

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Five Jewish-themed Instagram Accounts You Should Follow: Part One

Recently,my Instagram account @thehipterrebbe got a huge boost and recognition from my friend and Journalist Sonja Sharp in her essay on Crown Heights titled My Journey to The New Jerusalem. It was a moment which validated my constant and at times obsessive dedication to the picture-sharing social network.

Calling Sukkos my favorite holiday would hardly be groundbreaking nor surprising. The holiday is a mostly festive, zesty affair without the same existential and moral pressures of its two predecessors, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Moreover, it’s by far the most photogenic of the holidays.

Sure, it lacks the pyrotechnic flair of Chanukah or Purim’s audacious masquerade spectacle, but the earthy charm compensates for the ornate and lavish decor of its counterparts. It’s the curious juxtaposition of bringing one’s life and meals outdoors while also bringing inside plants, one of which spent a minimum of three years exposed to the elements before being coveted as the most expensive. It’s the two-week-long parade of men, women and children proudly carrying palm spears upright and regal to their homes. There they will wait to be meticulously crafted into a holy bouquet. It’s men praying, wearing worn, decades old tallesim against crisp yellow esrogim. It’s a photographer’s dream.

What other medium appropriate for the expression of this yearly wonder than Instagram.

Instagram for me is much more than a vessel for the proliferation of teenage vanity in the form of  self portraits and daily meal logs. It’s a crucial avenue for my self-expression and individuality. When I first started my account 146 weeks ago, while crossing Cleveland on a spontaneous road trip, I did not fully grasp the potential it had for connection. As my interest developed, I met people with a similar curiosity in the app. I would eventually go to “meet ups” with total strangers to walk around take pictures and talk. I began to explore niche communities of instagramers that shared passions for me in three areas, bicycles, Brooklyn and Judaism.  

ben collage

If a picture is worth a thousand words, than an Instagram is 7.14 times as efficient than any tweet.

I developed a fascination with them and a habit to follow their daily posts with great interest. My interest in Judaism took me all over the world a series of low-resolution square snapshots.

I’ve collected a strong, but by no means comprehensive list of some of the feeds that I take the most interest in. I made the list based on their having a mostly or partially Jewish theme; and having an unfamiliar interest while at the same time connecting to me.

In not-so particular order

1. Aba Abbo @abaabbo


Russia and Religion
I’m not even sure when I we started our mutual followship of each other’s feeds, but I’ve always been intrigued.  His account is not much more than a daily documentation of his life as a Chabad Jew living in Moscow. But, it’s managed to maintain my rapt attention for at least a year. It’s a charming vignette into the life of an ordinary Jew with his own personal touch of filters and interesting angles.

I’ve kept an eye on him, watching his life go from single man, to married, to with child, all while living a very similar Jewish lifestyle to mine .

2. Federica Valabrega @federicavalabrega
Rome Jerusalem Brooklyn


Bikes and Balabustas
I first became interested in Federica’s feed for its cycling content. She covers many criterion races on the racing circuit. When I followed her I found an Italian-born, world trotter who spent a lot of her time photographing religious Jewish women from Tunisia to Paris to Brooklyn, documented in her book Daughters of the King. Her website is

frederica collage

3. Musya Herzog @ms_musya


Ink and Intrigue
After meeting Musya about a year and a half ago, I first became aware of her art when attending a history class she live illustrated. Not long after I became a fan of her drawings, mostly simple, but nonetheless clearly, identifiable has hers. Her feed is full of her illustrations, predominantly pen and ink, but also paint. With this she documents the many facets of the Jewish year from the holy to the mundane. Much of her work can also be seen on her tumblr account

musya collage

4. Mariska Camp @marisharocks


Rabbis and Rockstars.
There are photographers who spend years crafting a unique style that can be instantly identified as their own.  With an off-camera flash and medium to wide angle lenses, Marisha had pretty much accomplished this with her portraits, which are easily recognizable from their bright faces and dark eerie backgrounds.

marisha collage

Her work is also defined by her choice in subjects. She can be seen fearlessly sliding through a throng of hassidic men, capturing Crown Heights’ other black and Hispanic populations or in the Midwest documenting the citizens of America’s heartland. Her fantastic website carries more of her great work.

5. Abby Berman @abbyberm


Caffeine and Culture
At first glance, Abby’s many shots of her daily coffee intake would seem to lump her in with the millions of morning sharers of lattes and grandés, but she really takes an interest in her coffee; like really. Each steaming square marks the country of origin (mostly African nations) and often carries the label “fair trade.”
abby collage

In addition, Abby shares the fruits of her frequent travels throughout the world including India and the African continent.

It has been an honor sharing these with you and I hope to continue again soon.

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Consider The Chicken


I wasn’t even sure what I was doing or where I was anymore. The Crown Heights I knew had been transformed into a Hieronymus Bosch painting set in the shtetl. Several batteries of floodlights illuminated the cloudy night sky; and the standard issue New York City sodium-vapor streetlights cast the whole scene with an eerie orange glow. The streets were unusually packed for a Tuesday night at 8 PM. Several of the stores that would normally have been closed for several hours at that point had their doors open. Children and families were every where. And of course, there were chickens. Hundreds and hundreds of chickens.

The stage was set at Crown Heights’ main thoroughfare, the corner of Kingston avenue and Eastern Parkway. The streets were essentially shut down by the throng of pedestrians flitting this way and that. The Southern Mall of Eastern parkway was loaded with strollers, families and the chicken towers. As I made my way east, the clucking cacophony grew and the smell increased. It was an unpleasant mélange of bochur sweat and chicken feces; and the blood. I will never forget the blood.
Residents of Eastern Parkway are well familiar with the annual trucking of the chickens. A flat-bed truck loaded with stacked with male and female poultry rolls down the service road in front of the NCFJE building. A table is set up where the chickens will….well…you know. Kapparos is the controversial new-year tradition involving the slaughter of a chicken ruffles more than a few feathers every year.(hehe) The chicken is purchased, traditionally one for each member of the family. Either a rooster or hen is used, corresponding to the gender of each person. The chicken is then slaughtered by a shochet. The meat is then contributed to the poor and needy. This is the one part that I feel most can get on board with.

The true source of the minhag of Kapparos is difficult to pin down. Some say it can be traced to the azazel, a beis-ha-mikdash-era goat which was cast down a mountain in atonement for the sins of the Jews, but this is not so clear. Like the goat, the chicken symbolically (and this is important) takes on the sins of the supplicant. The symbolic nature of this transfer of transgressions is important, because as the RambaM says, sins can not be transferred. Also, if we could just “de-sin” ourselves birdstyle, there wouldn’t be any need for fasting the next day.

The practice has always been controversial. Rabbi Yosef Caro discouraged it. The RambaN was against it. Not for the reasons we hear about today, but it’s worth noting, because it wasn’t always  a minhag of the Jewish people; and it should be noted, that the practice is not universal to all Jews even today.

Every year in between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur the script resets and the controversy over kapporos plays out again. The visiting protesters from PETA, who come to Crown Heights for their annual chicken liberation pilgrimage, are treated as a mild and inconvenient pogrom. Accusations and recriminations fly back and forth and precious little discourse is exchanged. The protestors are accused of anti-semitism and “frum baiting.” PETA’s checkered past is also naturally called into question; partly, their practice of animal euthanasia. You can throw all the shade you want at the gawking, screaming, picketers who line the streets of Crown Heights every year and call them whiny, lefty, anti-semitic, tree-hugging, hippies. But that doesn’t mean that they are wrong. The ad hominem attack only serves to expose a serious weakness in your own position.

This blog is clean

While, I myself have many problems with the way that meat is treated in and out of the kosher realm. I wouldn’t join the the ranks of those who picket synagogues and slaughter houses. I find them too aggressive and distasteful, even if they have some solid points. However, I abstain do from the consumption of beef and, for the most part, don’t eat chicken. (I was vegetarian for a long period of time, but I was having trouble with my protein. So, from time to time, I will eat chicken. But i don’t always like it.) There is far too much separation between the slaughter house and the dinner plate for me. The relationship between a man and his living, breathing food should be sacred. I cannot divorce myself from the notion that the food giving me strength was once its own independent being. Furthermore, I would like to know that the food I eat was treated in the most sanctified way possible. I’m often ashamed by the sporadic nature of my vegetarianism, but I still believe in the concepts behind it.

My objection is not in the slaughter of course, but in the treatment, that being the ’T’ in PETA. I believe that shechita ritual animal slaughter is humane. This assessment is also held by renowned animal scientist Temple Grandin. Grandin herself received an award from PETA for being a visionary. Grandin said that she had no problem with animals not being “stunned” before they were killed by traditional Jewish methods. Her objection, was in the animals’ treatment prior to their necks being cut. And herein lies the question at hand. Is there a problem with their treatment? Well…

There is definitely something off-putting about the sight of so many creatures stuffed in to bird cubicles. Barely able to move. Anybody who has ever been on a farm will know that chickens move around. They were given legs for a reason and wings…for…well something. This is a video of one of last year’s daylight chicken sessions. I found it difficult to watch. And I would imagine anybody who is not at least somewhat bothered by the images of the birds flopping helplessly on the ground are neck-deep in cognitive dissonance.

Some of it is pretty gross

Torah and rabbinic literature is replete with references to animal welfare being an area of concern. These most often culminated in the broad topic of  “Tzar balei Chaim” There is some debate over whether this important issue is D’oraisa (from the Torah) or D’Rabbonim (from the Rabbis of the Mishnaic and Talmudic periods). What is clear though, is that it predates the modern practice kapporos. And in my opinion, should override it, but eh whatever. I’m not too attached to my opinions.

Furthermore, the practice has outlived the conditions that may have made it more meaningful. Back in old Russia times, a chicken that you ate was owned by your family. So when you had your chicken killed, it served as an actual sacrifice (not in The Torah sense, that would not be okay without the temple) It meant something. This animal which you raised, you were giving up in atonement of your misdeeds.(also it wasn’t transported across state lines in a chicken stack, but not the point I’m bringing here) Nowadays, there are very few people who keep chickens in Crown Heights.

It’s hard to see that pain and sacrifice on many of the smiling faces who tweet, Instagram and Facebook themselves holding the chicken over their head. For them, touching the bird is an once-a-year novelty.

It should be noted again,that unlike the Azazel, this chicken is not scattered for as carrion. It’s distributed to be eaten by the needy. For this reason, many use money for kapparos as a substitute. The money then would ostensibly be donated to charity. Others use fish.

I don’t want to condemn anybody for how they choose to go about the next few days. G-d knows I have a lot more than some chicken shaped skeletons in my closet. However, we are in the midst of the aseres yomei teshuva (the ten days of repentence). Is now not the appropriate time for reflection and introspection. We still have some time before our sin clocks reset to zero; and I choose to take that time to ask the question. Is this something we should still be doing? If Jews do one thing right, it’s hold steadfast to it’s traditions.

The name of the song is not…♫ adaptatiooooon adaptation♪

But, there are things we don’t do anymore. We no longer execute transgressors of shabbas. We no longer pass off the childless widow to her husband’s brother. Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this. Not this way.

I don’t know if there is something inherently wrong with transporting living beings in cramped quarters to their imminent deaths, but as a Jew, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Gmar Chasima tova

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It’s time to move on from 9/11

A boy born on Tuesday September 11th 2001 would have had his Bar Mitzvah now. That boy would have began to be held culpable for his decisions and been taught how to survive as an adult in this world. It’s time that we grew up from the scared, paranoid children we became that day.

There is a scene from “The Siege,” the 1998 film, starring Denzel Washington about a wave of bombings that hit New York. Washington’s character is sitting at a security briefing when a phone rings. Then a beeper goes off; then another cellphone then another. The rising pitch of the score let the audience know that something was up. There was a terrorist attack in progress.This movie sums up my 9/11 experience several times over.

During my “where was I when” moment, I was crossing the quad at Towson University. Less than a week into my college career, I was not yet 18. A friend told me some vague account of a plane hitting the WTC and another hitting THE Pentagon. I looked up and all around me, every one was on their cellphone. Thirteen years ago, before obsessive smartphone attachment became the norm, it was quite unnerving. I sprinted to the student union, to the large-screen television there, just in time to see the growing plume of dust that would cover the country for the coming decade; maybe more.

I became obsessed with “The Siege.” Many of its events seemed prophetic in 9/11’s wake. The paranoia, the fear, the depression, the crackdown on personal liberties played out before my eyes just as scripted. The only difference, was that it ended. The climax of the film sees a standoff between the FBI and the final terrorist cell. The good guys win the war is over. The Army General who overstepped his authority is punished, roll credits.

Back in reality, the war never ended; not after the Taliban fell, not after Al Qaeda was dismantled; not after Saddam hung from the gallows; or when Bin Laden had his eye unceremoniously replaced with a bullet after nearly a decade on the run.

I had hoped that the war would see a drawdown after the end of the same Bush administration that had seen its inception. But President Obama pulled the troops from one front and put them in another. Targeted killings and drone strikes increased in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and now it seems all but certain that we are about to write the next chapter in the Iraq war trilogy.

Our various law enforcement  agencies were given unimaginable powers, justified by the continuing threat of domestic agents. These powers have not been given back. The power that they wield has only found new targets in lieu of the previously stated ones. Laws written post 9/11 to combat terrorism are being used to crackdown on minor drug offenses. I don’t think that this is the vision any of us had in the waning months of 2001.
We have all been subject to the increased scrutiny of the TSA blue shirts. I have yet to see any evidence that their increasingly invasive and humiliation searches have made us any safer.

How many flags must we see draped over the coffins of our sons and daughters? How many Americans must suffer the indignity of losing their freedoms under the banner of a war meant to protect those freedoms?

It’s forgivable and understandable that our collective post-traumatic stress would have had more staying power than any other national tragedy, but part of being adults is mediating your emotional state with your rational understanding of what is best for you.We have long ago exceeded any rational mourning period for the thousands who are no longer with us. It’s harsh when you have to end the mourning period. After shiva (the seven-day Jewish mourning period) eventually one has to stand up. One has to go back to work. One has to move on with his or her life. It’s not easy, but it’s what is done.

I am in no way advocating that we forget the ones we lost, forgive those responsible, or ever ignore the ever-present threat of terrorism. However that obsession doesn’t need to play a central role in our lives.
No healthy person defines their identity by their worst tragedy. Jews no longer define themselves by the holocaust. It is an inextricable part of our makeup, but we are much more than that. It’s time for the post 9/11 mentality to give way to the post-post 9/11 world.

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Why I ride: A New Yorker’s love affair with urban cycling.


I know that the best sunsets in the five boroughs are inaccessible by subway. I know the fastest way crosstown isn’t by bus or taxi. I know how to sweat, how to grind how to make every light, and piss off every motorist twenty times a day and keep my cool while doing so. I love the hum of my two aluminum wheels as they roll on open pavement. I love the feeling of how rough my palms feel after gripping my handlebars for six hours straight. I love the ache of my legs after a day of climbing bridges, hills, and forest paths. I ride.

It’s 8:35 and I’m late. I should be 25 blocks ahead by now. I’m going to be late for work and there’s little I can do about it. There are no shortcuts to take, no trains to hop and no gears to shift on my single-speed, fixed-gear, SE Lager. Now accelerating to 18 mph on the Bedford avenue slalom course southbound, I escape the claustrophobic confines of the bike lane. It wasn’t doing me any good anyway. The double-parking capital of the world cares little for the convenience or safety of its two-wheeled counterparts; and I’d rather not get decapitated by a parked, box truck rental driver that forgot to put his hazard lights on.
Immediately the chorus of horns echoes through the brownstone trenches that cut their way from river to bay. One driver rolls down his window to scream me off the road, as if I wasn’t fluent in translating wordless, honking melodies of rush-hour Brooklyn. I whip my head around and take everything in every truck, car, pedestrian, tree, construction worker, pigeon and pothole. I see it all in about a quarter of a second and trust that a little computer somewhere in the base of my brain will ‘Malcolm Gladwell’ the whole scene and guide me swiftly and safely.

Act and react. I ride with my legs, eyes and brain. Everything else is secondary. I take my safety into my own hands (and legs). They hate me. They hate us. They think we’re lawless, running red lights, taking stop signs as a suggestion riding outside of the aforementioned bike lane. Well they’re right. I hold little regard for the municipal infractions that help rookie cops meet their ticket quotas. I could follow every law in the book and I still might not be safe, but I’d definitely be bored.

Living life fast is way too fun to limit it to mere five block increments. And I’d rather get ahead of the light and ride for a quarter mile with the road to myself. Because for every rebel roadie out there, there are a dozen soccer moms, cabbies and workmen who disregard the speed limit, forget about their turn blinker, and have no respect for the double unbroken yellow line. Rules are for schoolyard and the teacher is nowhere to be seen. Rules are for cars. It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s just how it is. If I get careless, I’m not taking a family of five with me. But I don’t get careless. There is an extreme order to the apparent chaos of my cross-city navigation. It’s been five years since I’ve been knocked off my wheels. You’re going to have to be trying to hit me; and you’re going to have to try very hard.

It would seem counterintuitive that I would like this danger-adjacent hobby. I am after all very worrisome, often lazy and prone to extreme fits of anxiety.

But my bicycle is the best therapist, most potent anti-depressant and one of the best friends I’ve ever had.

Ask anybody who regularly rides their bike to work.Everybody should have a bike. You should get one right now. It allows you to tolerate the intolerable, saves you from murdering incompetent coworkers, and keeps the stresses of the 9-to-5 in the office where they belong. It didn’t surprise me that Robin Williams was an avid rider. The catharsis of cycling is quite powerful. A man with his demons could definitely escape them with blinding speed in the saddle of a $10,000 road bike.

So, hate all you want on the growing number of urban Lance Armstrongs filling the city streets. We’re growing. The streets are as much ours as they do belong to the internal combustion engine. And I don’t care if my ride runs on pancakes and quinoa. I’m not going anywhere except forward, and I’m doing it as fast as my legs can take me.


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Michael Brown: Not Martyr We Deserve, but the Martyr We Need Right Now

Today was the funeral of Michael Brown. The man with an all-American name was laid to rest after several weeks of chaos following his violent death. First, let’s start with an admission. The shooting of Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, is not a good test case to represent the current state of relations between Law Enforcement and the African-American Community (or America at large).  It’s time to admit it. Brown has been described by his mourning family as a gentle giant, sweet, kind and loving. I have no problem believing this is true. Brown’s baby-faced portrait disseminated by the media does not give the impression of a violent thug.

Unfortunately, Brown was not a model citizen of Ferguson, Missouri on the day he died. He was not minding his own business. He was certainly not gentle. He was committing a crime against an innocent business owner, who did nothing to deserve it. Video released by Ferguson police showed Brown stealing shows him stealing cigars, then pushing aside the store minder who confronted him about it. What does this mean? It does not mean that Michael Brown was a thug. It does not mean that he deserved to die. It also does not preclude the possibility that a law enforcement officer exceeded his mandate to protect and serve.  What it does mean is that the situation is muddied.

The only information we have about Darren Wilson, the police officer who fired the fatal shots into Brown, is that he received a commendation from Ferguson six months before the incident. That is all we truly now for now. Everything else is lost unclear. There are conflicting eyewitness reports as to what happened that day. These testimonies are just not reliable.


It’s difficult to admit, but with what is presented, the benefit of the doubt goes to Officer Wilson. Which is fortunate for him. As of yet, I cannot feel overly angry or vengeful against the officer without knowing more of the details of what happened. Again, this in no way saying that Michael Brown was a bad person or deserved to die. Nor am I saying that there shouldn’t be a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the shooting. But as a poster child goes, Michael Brown has serious failings.

However, there are a mounting number of cases of police brutality and corruption in this country that are troubling to say the least. Injuries, false imprisonment and death are occurring at an alarming rate.

The consequences for assaulting a police officer are severe in this country, however there seems to be little-to-no consistent consequences for police officers who maim, beat and kill the private, often law-abiding citizens they claim to protect. In a system where there are no consequences for corruption, corruption will run rampant, even amongst the most noble in society. Then you will have cases like Michael Brown.

What makes this most depressing, is that there are dozens, hundreds of instances of police brutality and/or corruption that have escaped the attention of the national media and The Justice Department. Many of these cases are more worthy of being a focal point for a debate on the role of law enforcement in our society, how much power we give them, and how they are culpable for their actions and misdeeds; or how the justice system is so heavily stacked against the poor, disenfranchised and, of course, young black men.

There’s Patrick Dorismond who was murdered outside a nightclub by undercover NYPD officers trying to get him to sell weed. There’s the case of Tanya Weyker who was charged with DUI (despite being sober) when an officer rolled through a stop sign and hit her, breaking her neck in four places. Then of course, there is the case of Eric Garner, who was killed in broad daylight by NYPD using an illegal choke hold. There are many more.

These people and many more would make ideal examples for how an overzealous and out of control law enforcement officer has the potential to be as dangerous as any criminal in any prison. But they haven’t carried the message as far as Michael Brown has. He’s what we have. So, let’s carry on.





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