A Riot in a Pear Tree

What a rotten year. Riots, decapitations, sickness, suicide…it felt like the earth went through a three-hundred-day bowel movement. I feel like talking about twelve of these tribulations, so get ready for a little random reflection.

Day One, Ferguson: Michael Brown was not a good person, but he didn’t deserve to die for his sins. The riots in Ferguson aren’t just about Michael, though. They’re about the degrading image of the police force, which has turned from Andy Griffith to the OCP in just a few decades. Do you feel safe with trigger-happy, heavily armed soldiers in your streets?


Many of the fires in Ferguson are misdirected and opportunistic, sure, but that doesn’t mean the spark that lit them wasn’t righteous. The folks complaining about it don’t seem to understand it. They see this shit on television and wish these protesters would shut up and get back in line. The cops shoot people everyday, black and white, so what? I think that attitude, that resignation about our state of affairs, is what Ferguson is really about.

Years of watching the news, and the TV series COPS, taught me that starting a fight with the police is a big no-no. They aren’t afraid to whip out the taser, the pepper spray, the truncheon, or the freaking pistol if they decide you’re a threat. I know I’d get no support if a cop beat me senseless, because everyone watches those programs, and everyone knows the same lesson.

The media has trained us to gradually accept this immutable law: if you make a cop mad, you deserve whatever you get. I don’t know if I want to live like that.

UCDavis_pepperspray[1]My experiences with police have all been pretty cordial. Even my encounter with the cop who gave me a speeding ticket left me thinking, “Gee, what a nice guy.” Of course, I’m a middle-class white person with blonde hair and blue eyes. Still, if I ever do have a problem with an officer, I’d like to expect that it won’t end in my death. If it takes a riot to keep the watchmen watched, I say riot on.


Author: lisvender

Writer and animator in Central California.

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