The headline would be comical, if it weren’t so fundamentally true. As if on cue and in answer to my previous column; When Police Become Enemy Combatants, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions has introduced legislation referred to as the “Thin Blue Line Act.” The bill would go after people who kill police officers or first responders by imposing the concept of “aggravating factor” when considering the death penalty for someone who kills, or attempts to kill, a police officer or first responder.
Unfortunately, the headline and Jeff Sessions are anything other than comical. In fact, Sessions, known to be a stalwart racist, is quite literally considered by many to be one of the last, and maybe the most authoritarian, of the Confederate generals. Some might even consider him to be president of the Confederate States of America. And in truth, his sponsorship of the legislation has more to do with fighting a non-existent war against Northern aggression, by making his henchmen above rebuke, than it does protecting the legitimate due process of law – either for the police officer or the accused.
The problem that intelligent and well-informed people face in Alabama, is that there are still plenty of rural places tucked away up in the holler where Johnny still hasn’t traveled farther from home than he has to go to fetch a bucket of water from the well. Even though this observation is quite literally true, it is just as unfortunate that it is also metaphorically true, and so extends to what otherwise appears to be “normal” people living in places like Huntsville. The fact is, the South ain’t gonna “rise again” in the sense that seems to motivate the cretins – that South simply don’t exist, that South was an entirely different animal whose politics and plantations are extinct.
There does remain the racism of people like Jeff Sessions whose successful goal it has been to jury the feeder lines into municipal police departments, and I do indeed mean Huntsville, with as many of those who are most extremely in agreement with the Senator. I’d say about half of the law enforcement in Huntsville would salute General Sessions if he happened to be in the Christmas parade.
Most folks in Huntsville aren’t really all that fired up on the South “doin’ it again” anyway. But, quietly and behind the lines, political and religious demagogues have stacked the deck in Huntsville’s police department. Based on the war like gestures seen in other cities like Cleveland, Baltimore, Ferguson and New York by law enforcement – their departments have likewise been loaded to an imbalance that doesn’t actually represent the demographics of their own town. I said, it’s not really about North and South – it’s about racism and classism.
Jeff Sessions is a demagogue, and he is prone to doin’ what’s in the best interest of his political hide. Even still, one would think he is well-enough educated, and well-enough informed to understand that humoring overly militarized law-enforcement, at what is the wrong time, and who have clearly displayed a lack of respect for constitutional values is irresponsible and even an incitement to more criminal, or jihadist, activity by police. Truth is, I don’t think he is that dumb, I think he is literally attempting to drive jihad, and I don’t think he cares one bit whether or not the institution of constitutional jurisprudence is damaged or not.
I don’t advocate killing police officers, but another “comical” aspect of this equation is the reality that when police officers are killed in Alabama the perp almost always, conveniently, ends up dead in jail – whether they received a death sentence or not. As a matter of fact, a lots of other folks, some who ain’t did nothing much at all, end up dead in jail in Alabama because of corrupt and negligent jailers.
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But, the plot continues to thicken. Not only is it clear that there is a problem in HPD and the DA’s office, three people have died of medical complications at the Metro Jail in the last year. According to AL.com the jail was already under federal court order to provide adequate medical care, and the jail et. al. is now being sued in those three cases. One inmate died from gangrene, one from complications from broken bones, and yet another from an obstructed bowel. The brazen criminal negligence of jail officials is obvious at face value.
I haven’t heard too much from General Jeff trying to find out why people who are jailed over petty offenses end up dead in jail. I don’t see him introducing any legislation going after negligent municipal politicians, or irresponsible county Sheriff’s either. And yet, does General Sessions not see that the jihad has already spilled over the lines of constitutional jurisprudence into what is quite literally “sectarian violence?” Just when, I wonder, would Mr. Sessions recognize that someone in law-enforcement, or perhaps more accurately, a cabal of several in law-enforcement, have become henchmen for their perception of God almighty, or Ala – this is “Ala”bama after all.
When, Mr. Sessions, do police become enemy combatants? When are they nothing more than the likes of Saddam Hussein’s henchmen? When do you accept the fact that many in law-enforcement have already become dangerous to the community, to the nation, to the constitutional values that actually protect personal religious freedom? When?
I think, General Jeff, you are worse than irresponsible. I think you have already crossed the line and you are dangerous, not unlike the other religious extremists in Ala’bama who do not respect God’s own admonition of separating Church and Sate. And I hope that the people of this state will finally realize that you, and the religious zealots that luv you so much, are wrong, and that you should vacate your senate chair and take your modern brand of the plantation with you on the way out.
© 2015 – Jim Casey
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