This story by way of Power Line. It is kinda same old, same old. Deranged black guy armed with a chain threatens a police officer. The officer tries to talk him out of the chain, then uses a Taser. The taser doesn’t work. The officer spends the next couple of minutes ordering the guy to drop the chain and backing away. The suspect doesn’t and the officer ends up shooting the suspect. The suspect is DRT. That’s police talk for Dead Right There.
This being Power Line, the sympathy is for the cop. Any criticism directed his way is that he waited too long to shoot. That’s an easy judgment to make on Monday morning from the easy chair. Having been there, I know he acted when he did, as he did, at just the right moment. There are things no body cam is ever going to capture.
I can’t point to a single statement, action, or omission, on the part of the actor, that keyed the officer to act, NOW! But, I know it was there. I can almost guarantee that in the immediate aftermath the officer cannot recall it. It will come.
Look at the video again. Think back to an argument with a sibling when you were both under six. It probably when something like this: “Did not!” “Did too!” repeated over and over. As long as the chant repeated nobody won and nobody lost and nobody got hurt.
That’s what was going on in the video, only with chains and a gun. Neither side was winning or losing. It was a stalemate.
Going back to the childhood argument, the stalemate was broken when one side or the other decided that their position was no longer prevailing or keeping pace with the counter argument. This may have been indicated by an increase in volume or change in cadence. This subtle change was a signal to act. What followed was either a plaintive cry to Mommy, by the loser, or a punch delivered by the winner.
I’m not being zen or delving down into old school cop instincts. I suspect that at some level the officer responded to a subtle change. Yeah, the officer could have fired many times before he did. However, he waited for his right time and then acted.
“Suicide by Cop” is now part of the lexicon. It happens, but not as often as one would suppose. A suicide by cop occurs when a suspect sets up a situation that causes a police response. Once the police respond, the police are forced to kill the actor.
I think there is another game being played. It involves the marriage of technology with a game first identified in the black community, in the 1930’s. The circumstances are similar to suicide by cop. However, death is not the intended outcome. For lack of a better term, I’ll call it “Strutting Bad Ass.” There is a cultural basis for the game that can be found in the black community. Wikipedia describes it:
The Dozens is a game of spoken words between two contestants, common in black communities of the United States, where participants insult and use other verbal rudeness each other until one gives up. It is customary for the Dozens to be played in front of an audience of bystanders, who encourage the participants to reply with increasingly egregious insults in order to heighten the tension and, consequently, make the contest more interesting to watch. It is also known as “blazing”, “hiking”, “roasting”, “capping”, “clowning”, “ranking”, “ragging”, “rekking”, “crumming”, “sounding”, “checkin”, “joning”, “woofing”, “wolfing”, “sigging”, or “signifying”, while the insults themselves are known as “snaps”.Wikipedia
The Dozens may require two acknowledged contestants, an audience and verbal bandage, Strutting Bad Ass does not.
Strutting Bad Ass is street theater at its finest, all the world is a stage. I was introduced to the concept while working as a narcotics investigator. I had an informant who was a black old school gangster. This hulking menace to society stood about six feet and came in at about 280 pounds. He was starting to carry a substantial gut but still had prison built weightlifter chest arms and shoulders. The wife beater tee shirt he habitually wore showed off full sleeves of prison tats. The cornrows in his hair almost but not quite completed his fashion commentary. The final statement was the pink fuzzy bunny slippers he habitually wore on those mornings when I picked him up.
The morning sessions were devoted to paying him. Once paid he required transportation to one store to buy coffee, another to buy minutes for his throwaway phone and then still another for whatever. At each he would shuffle off to the store in his fuzzy pink slippers. He would carefully eye anybody standing around and seated in cars. I thought this was out of concern for his reputation. It wouldn’t do his reputation any good to be seen with a white boy. But that wasn’t it.
Looking closer, I saw that even dressed as he was, or maybe more appropriately, because of the way he was dressed, he was invisible. The only time I saw anybody react to the pink slippers it was another thug wearing a shower cap. The reaction was one of acknowledgement and approval.
I confronted my snitch with my suspicions. He confirmed them. Anybody who reacted to his appearance in any manner that he considered “disrespectful” earned an immediate beat down, any time, any place. Fellow thugs could give each other kudos. Any reaction other than approval was regarded as a challenge.
The crack cocaine trade would periodically be disrupted by a series of shootings where the victims would be mid to upper level crack dealers. Typically, they were shot in an extremity, by unknown assailants. Sometimes a dealer would experience multiple incidents and be wounded several times.
What was really going on with these shootings was a whole different story. There are gunmen out there that only rob crooks. Their prey are dope dealers, gamblers, speakeasies, and anybody with quantities of illegal cash on hand. The bullet wound in an arm or leg is just good business. The goal is to motivate, not kill the goose with the golden egg.
Another snitch of mine, Randy, described a discussion he witnessed between a known hijacker and a crack dealer, “Fat Marvin.” I was targeting Fat Marvin. I had several previous confrontations with him. During each confrontation, I would find money distributed about his person. Something like this, $1500 in one pocket, $900 in the other, $3000 in a sock and $2500 in the other. Most dealers liked to flash a big wad. He was unique, in my experience.
Randy was at the HEB hanging outside while his wife was inside shopping. He was talking with a guy he described as the most active hijacker on the east side.
Fat Marvin came walking by. He wasn’t paying attention because he came within arms reach of the hijacker. The hijacker confronted Fat Marvin and as Randy put it Marvin shriveled before his eyes.
The hijacker started the conversation: “Marvin how many times I shot your ass?”
Marvin replied, “Three.”
“We both getting to old for this shit,” the hijacker observed. “How many more times, it gonna take? I gotta idea…”
“What’s that?” Marvin interrupted, ideas sounded a whole lot better than bullets.”
“Here’s what we do,” the hijacker said. “You don’t make me chase you. Every time you see me, you come over and give me everything in your pockets.”
According to Randy, Marvin gulped and agreed. He started to walk away.
The hijacker called him back, “You forgot something motherfucker, empty your pockets!
And that is why Marvin scatters cash about his person.
Where does the marriage of technology come in? Playing the Dozens includes an appreciative audience and therefor witness to one’s command of the game. Strutting Bad Ass is more spontaneous and doesn’t require a witness. Sure there are plenty of cell phones out there, but that requires a Watson to the perp’s Holmes.
These days a guaranteed video can be had by messing with the cops. There can’t be any higher accolades earned then by facing down a cop and having it captured on video. Taking a bullet and surviving insures a future on easy street. A chain, knife, broken bottle, or club isn’t like being armed. You gotta have a gun to be armed. Sue the bastards.
So what has this got to do with cops blowing up minorities? Let me add one more component. In the old days a cop could confront a group and gain compliance by shouting, “All you motherfuckers up against the wall.” No questions everybody grabbed a piece of the wall.
If a cop said that now, six of the motherfuckers would be calling internal affairs and the cop’s backup would be busy giving the Sergeant CPR.
Thugs don’t read Miss Manners. The accepted method of police communicating with thugs these days doesn’t work. Firm, respectful, implies fear, indecisiveness, and a willingness to back down. Under the rules of Strutting Bad Ass the guy that backs down (or in this case backs up) is losing.
The funny thing is that under strutting bad ass rules, a bullet in the arm or leg would be accepted without controversy. Two in the chest is not in the spirit of the game.
I am not advocating shooting to wound. Tough shit that the strutting bad asses don’t know the rules to the other game played on the street. “We the police and you’re not.”
“Suicide by cop” sounds great in a headline but in reality covers too much ground. As far as the crooks are concerned there are those who actively seek suicide by cop. The guy depicted in this video wasn’t suicidal. Living in the ghetto, he didn’t have the travel opportunities, or camera to engage in selfies.
He falls into the same category of the person who falls off a cliff taking a selfie. Oops! What we have is a miscalculation.