The good news about the use of camera phones, body and dash cams is that police are finally starting to be held accountable for their wrongdoing. But the downside is that we as the public may be getting desensitized and traumatized from constant viewing:
The fear of becoming the next Rodney King is still here. But what has changed is how often we are viewing that fear being realized. Citizens have taken the upgraded technology available in their phones to courageously document what would have otherwise gone unseen. The uncensored horror is now available on demand, arguably more so than any Hollywood film or reality show on our DVR. (I first saw the uncut footage of Oscar Grant III’s shooting death on YouTube, not the network news.) Thanks to the advent of body and dashboard cameras, the police themselves have played their part in making such abuse more publicly available.
We talked about the impact that this viewing has with New Republic writer Jamil Smith.
Team Blackness also discussed NRA president Wayne LaPierre’s feelings on Obama’s legacy and NYC’s ban on employers looking at potential candidates’ credit reports.
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@Brachiator: kind of like the way that the constant stream of GOP bullshit just sits out there and no one mentions the stench….
If you watch violence over and over you get so numb you can’t feel anything. A much quicker way to not feel anything is to be murdered by a cop because he knew he could get away with it.
peach flavored shampoo
I’d say another “upside” is how clear it’s becoming that the judicial system is currently so insanely slanted to believe and accept the officer’s take on any shooting/beating. The video often tell a completely diff story, yet the cop walks every damn time. Almost as if the video is irrelevant to the “truth” (as the cop describes it).
The rot is being slowly exposed to some sunlight; that can’t be a bad thing.
From the linked article:
I don’t find that claim credible; in the past week one cop has been charged with manslaughter, and another has been charged with murder precisely because of video evidence.
I deliberately avoided watching any of the video of Walter Scott’s murder. I’m enraged without watching it, and I know that watching it will only make me depressed and apathetic. So I don’t watch.
I deliberately avoided watching any of the video of Walter Scott’s murder.
I also avoided watching the video, for the much the same reason. The older I get, the more outraged I am at the turn our society has taken with regard to treatment of people different than ourselves. And it’s become so much more overt than covert. How can we call ourselves civilized?
Then you have not understood the history of our country. We have been violent to blacks ever since the country has started. The recent thing isn’t new. What’s new is you’ve been exposed to it.
They used to advertise lynchings. In the pictures that would be taken and put in newspapers, preachers and children were in them. Once again, the camera has made visible what you were being shielded from by the news.
Paul in KY
@Belafon: You are correct that, compared to the early part of 20th Century & before, we are so much more civilized & not as blatant/institutionalized in our racism. There have been large & substantive gains made, but much is left to do.
It’s always been there and it’s less obvious now that it has been in the past. When slavery was legal, beating and raping your wife was legal, hanging black men from trees was tolerated, accepted and even expected, if not completely legal, any homosexual act was criminal, and discrimination was the law everyone had to follow, how has it become more overt?
There are things that should be seen – must be seen – to comprehend. Factory farming videos, for instance. Anyone who can just nonchalantly buy meat in a supermarket after that, there’s something wired wrong with you. I believe the Sandy Hook pictures should be released. I believe that mangled bodies, burned bodies from wars and conflicts should be seen. Maybe there’s a numbness after awhile, but being ignorantly, blithely oblivious is worse imho.
They used to send out souvenir postcards, skin patches, little trinkets.
Are we really more civilized? Sometimes I wonder.
The last public execution in the US happened in 1936 in front of a crowd of 20,000 people. We are not very far away from state-sanctioned executions being public entertainments, either. The crowds at lynchings are horrifying, but they’re not that different from the “normal” people who would go to public executions. I don’t think it’s too surprising that the last publicly executed prisoner was a black man.
IMO, constantly seeing brutality tends to make us indifferent to it. That doesn’t mean that these videos aren’t vital for both public awareness and to hopefully get some of the perpetrators punished, but I do wonder how useful it is to constantly show them on a loop since a lot of people will be indifferent after a few viewings.
I don’t think that being oblivious and not seeing the pictures automatically go hand in hand. There probably are a few people who could be shocked into awareness somehow, but why do I, a person who agrees with you, have to look at the pictures, too? Am I not allowed to say that Sandy Hook was shocking and horrifying unless I’ve actually seen the autopsy photos?
Don’t quite agree. People used to love the public executions. It was an exciting spectacle.
Of course, you mean White people being more desensitized. Because for Black people like me, it’s just good to see what we’ve been saying for DECADES. To see the obvious proof is a relief.
@Mandalay: True accountability will occur when some of these killer cops are convicted.
Sure, but that is distinct from the article’s false claim that videos of cops misbehaving have not increased accountability. That’s just not true.
Here’s a video of a cop misbehaving in New York just a couple of weeks ago that had consequences.
And here’s a video of a cop misbehaving in California that had consequences.
In both cases nothing would have happened if there had been no video recording. The author of the article seems to be unaware of these incidents such as these.
Podcast direct download link is broken. 404 error.
Susan K of the tech support
I found a great (GREAT!) talk by Ta-Nehisi Coates, last week in Santa Fe NM. There are 2 videos on this page: the talk itself — which includes a lengthy reading from his upcoming book, due in October, and in the 2nd video, a discussion with Michele Norris that opens with this very thing, the trauma of watching these videos over and over again.
Exactly. Video won’t guarantee consequences but no video will guarantee there won’t be any.
If I’d blame anyone for desensitizing people, I’d blame Hollywood. Compared to the horrific spectacles they can conjure up, the real thing seems … I don’t know … what’s a word that won’t make me sound like a monster? Lacking? Especially with the amateur camerawork. It’s like the real thing is less real.