Monday, November 15, 2010

The United States of America Jumps the Shark, Girl Gets Killed

"A nighttime raid. A reality TV crew. A sleeping seven-year-old" — What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones? From the story that pretty much eulogizes the country I grew up in:
    A half-dozen masked officers of the Special Response Team—Detroit's version of SWAT—were at the door, guns drawn. In tow was an A&E crew filming an episode of The First 48, its true-crime program. The conceit of the show is that homicide detectives have 48 hours to crack a murder case before the trail goes cold....

    The SWAT team tried the steel door to the building. It was unlocked. They threw a flash-bang grenade through the window of the lower unit and kicked open its wooden door, which was also unlocked. The grenade landed so close to Aiyana that it burned her blanket. Officer Joseph Weekley, the lead commando—who'd been featured before on another A&E show, Detroit SWAT—burst into the house. His weapon fired a single shot, the bullet striking Aiyana in the head and exiting her neck. It all happened in a matter of seconds....

    "I'm worried they went Hollywood," said a high-ranking Detroit police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigation and simmering resentment in the streets. "It is not protocol. And I've got to say in all my years in the department, I've never used a flash-bang in a case like this.... It was a total fuck-up."
I haven't lived in America for almost fifteen years, but I do remember when A&E was a serious network and when America, for all her flaws, was a serious country. God rest the soul of Aiyana Jones, may her killers be brought to justice, and may America return to some sense of normalcy.

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Blogger Zach said...

God have mercy.

"It feels like there ain't no love no more."


8:34 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Who needs love when there's Reality TV and SWAT teams? Seriously, the America I left in 1996 was not like this, although the seeds were planted.

I'm often surprised at how much Korea has changed in the 13 years I have been year; far more surprising is how much an ancient polity (by world standards) like America could have changed.

10:41 PM  
Blogger kushibo said...

Concerns that police officers act tougher to look tougher in these kind of roles are at least as old as the TV show Cops, which has been running slightly longer that The Simpsons (literally).

Complaints that suspects might be treated rougher than they should usually fell on deaf ears, with many in the general public believing that (a) if they're running from the cops — or if they're on Cops — then they are probably guilty and (b) if they're guilty they pretty much deserve what they get. It's why we tolerate rape and other sexual assault in US prisons.

Make no mistake, poor Aiyana's death is tragic and I share the hope that her killers — the ones in uniform and the ones in the boardroom — are brought to justice, but this is merely a few upticks up from what's been going on for a couple decades now.

3:18 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Very perceptive, especially that second paragraph. It's high time "law and order conservatives" started calling themselves what they truly are: fascists.

I agree with you the decline has been going on for some time. Archbishop Fulton Sheen suggested that "it began on the 6th of August 1945 at 8:15 am."

Domestically, two marks of our decline have been the militarization of the police coupled with mind-numbing "TV programming" (thanks, danightman), which horrifyingly converge in this case.

Just as the once-great Happy Days slowly declined before the Fonz "jumped the shark," so has our country. May 16, 2010 is as good a day as any to mark the last gasp of what was America.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

It always astounds me that police departments use these miniature grenades so liberally. I've seen a case like this before, and the police decided to have a little fun while executing a search warrant for a handgun. At least they only killed the family's dog in the process and not the toddler.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Oh, and one of the more disgusting details about that case was that the mother whose apartment was raided was an attractive woman in her 20's. She was relatively lightly dressed on this midsummer's night. So, what did one cop do? Leave his personal phone number on a piece of paper in her living room! The police department had a hard time denying misconduct.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Francis Xavier said...

Prison rape was - I've been told - barely a problem in America's prisons until they were racially integrated. The different races would stick to themselves and protect each other; and sheriffs would appoint trustees (prisoners who essentially had their act together) to supervise the others.

It was only when egalitarianism was imposed in America's prisons that rape became quite common, and more often that not it is not only or even as much about perversion as about payback to members of ethnic group deemed to be more privileged.

If all of America's Christians would only vote for politicians willing to speak out against prison rape, the nation's well-being would improve immeasurable overnight.

8:24 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

What does it say about our society that prison rape is a source of humor, not outrage?

8:47 AM  
Blogger Francis Xavier said...

Everything I needed to know. I kissed the ground when I disembarked from the aeroplane ending my American stint.

9:08 PM  

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