Tag Archive | Torture

Domestic Tool of Torture: The Taser

This post is part of: A day of blogging for justice: Standing up against the police pre-trial electrocution of black children, women and men by taser.

Tasers are instruments of torture.

Tasers are instruments of torture.

Torture talk has been all over the news recently. The unfortunate [yet understandable] focus of the conversation is on torture in a military & international context.

This causes us to overlook the torture and murder of citizens here at home, victims of racial profiling, police brutality, and excessive use of lethal force by law enforcement.

This issue is not new, but the instruments of this type of torture are ever-evolving. While military torture involves tools like the waterboard, our domestic version uses the taser. 

Torture mentality has perverted our entire system

What happens at the top always impacts the bottom. Lawless leadership leads to lawless practices on the ground. When the Bush Administration OK’d torture, low-level interrogators became torturers. On the local level, when police chiefs embrace tasers as “non-lethal” alternatives to guns, people get killed unnecessarily.

Leadership complicit in torture and murder must be held accountable at all levels.Further, we need to preemptively demand that our leaders craft policies that prevent death, not enable it.

Our wars here at home on petty criminals and the disenfranchised should not be ones that result in capital murder.

What you can do

Contact your local police chief and ask whether officers are carrying tasers. Look up their contact information by searching for their zip code on USACOPS. If they’re using tasers not, thank him or her. If they are carrying, do the following:

  • Sign this petition calling on the Congressional Black Caucus to investigate this phenomenon.
  • Ask: Is the entire force armed with tasers?
    If not, which units have them?
  • Ask: Do officers carry both tasers and guns?
    Ask what the motivation is for this policy.
  • Ask: What’s the usage protocol for tasers?
    This will answer the question “when should tasers be used in place of guns?”
  • Suggest: Stop carrying tasers
    Direct them to our site documenting taser abuses in the US. Let them know that you’ll feel safer if police enagaged in non-lethal ways whenever possible. You know that the officers are well-trained and highly professional, and you just want them to do the best they can without taking lives.

Simply asking these questions will cause leadership to reflect on their policy. Reflection is the first step to change.

Let’s prevent this from spreading further.

One Love. One II.

Photo Credit: strangedays on Flickr

Interview with West Virginia Rape Torture Victim Megan Williams

Cross-posted on Brave New Films Blog.

The newspaper Final Call has an interview with Megan Williams, the Black woman that was tortured and raped by 6 caucasians in West Virginia recently.

Williams described the part of the torture like this:

They kicked me in the head with steel toed boots, they hit me in the head with several objects, I remember seeing a knife, and they tried to cut my foot off. They told me that is what they did to Kunta Kinte when they cut his foot off so he couldn’t run and that is what they were going to do to me.

My calendar says it's 2007, but this makes me seriously wonder.

One Love. One II.

Racism is the new Black

Cross-posted from the Brave New Films Blog.

Lots of things can characterize the state of affairs in this country over the last 2+ years: incompetence, hypocrisy, ignorance, corruption, straight-up evil. But a theme that has been overtly present in a very real way is, you guessed it, racism. Open, unapologetic, racism. Yes, it has become cool again to very visibly differentiate how non-white people are treated in this country ever since Hurricane Katrina. With nooses being hung all over the country like decorations, Black and Latin citizens being treated demonstrably more harshly in court proceedings, peaceful, thinking Black men being singled out and brutalized by Capitol Police, the largely unpublicized torture of a Black women in WV, and countless other evidence, it is clear that the more overt flavor of race hatred has taken the lead over it's covert cousin that was in the driver's seat since the end of Jim Crow. Read More…

The Weekly Dream: Do Your Part

And [God] delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.”

-2 Peter 2:7-8

 Everyday, I face a decision: either stick my head in the sand like an ostrich or be aware of what is going on around me.  Why is this such a difficult decision.  If I bury my head in the sand (i.e. work, routine), then I am in control.  I am the King of My Comfort Zone.  In this realm, I am King Comfort.  And King Comfort is extremely selfish.  However, if I choose awareness, I choose to be challenged, and on some level, see things I do not like.  I choose to feel.  And sometimes, feeling is frustrating. 

The World’s Gone Mad…

Lately, this decision has become more immediate.  Personally, the injustice in the world seems especially intense.  From the Jena 6 to the Genarlow Wilson case, to the War, to the extremely poor race relations, to the woman who was tortured-our justice system has become a mockery.  We are more concerned about the death of some dogs than our brothers and sisters.  Our government has become mockery because it seems like it has silently and not so subtly declared war on its citizens. 

The question I have really been dealing with is whether things have gotten worse or are things just the same.  Throughout history, when law was born, so was injustice.  I used to thing that the days were getting darker, but I am beginning to believe that it is just a re-run of the same fight, good v. evil.  And each generation has had their own battle to fight to maintain and restore justice on the earth. 

Righteous Lot

In the book of Genesis, Abraham’s nephew Lot followed Abraham out of Mesopotamia.  When God had blessed them to where the land could not contain them, they parted ways.  Lot settled by the city of Sodom.  Sodom was extremely wicked, to the point where God could not find ten righteous people in the city.  Lot lived in the city, but he did not condone their lifestyle.  The new testament said that his soul was vexed.  Lot was so righteous that the inhabitants were sick of him.  So God decided to save Lot and his family and destroy the city (Genesis 19). 

How many of you have been vexed by the injustice that you have seen?  The next question is what have you done about it?  Or have you been too “busy”?  Busy is how most of the atrocities that take place occur.  In the Book of Ezekiel, God calls us “watchmen.”  What do watchmen do?  They are aware and they sound the alarm when something happens that should not be happening.  How have you been doing as a watchman? 

I am not saying that it is your job to try to whistleblow on every injustice in the world.  However, do not turn a blind eye to the suffering and injustice in the world, that way you know you are supposed to do something to make this world a better place.  We can always do more, but do something small, repeatedly over time, is better than not doing anything at all.  People are hurting, the world is hurting.  I have been challenged in my spirit to do a better job.  The least I can do is speak up. 

That is the entire mission of The Superspade and that is what we work for.  To not only be aware and speak up but to put our action, time and resources behind our beliefs.  We and our readers are people of conviction and action.  So, do not lose heart. I have not lost hope.  All this madness that surrounds us is a call to action and a call to battle.  We must fight until either peace is restored or the world comes to an end.  That is the mentality of a warrior, it is all our nothin’.  But it will not come easy. 

We must do our part.  And if we allow ourselves to get uncomfortable, God said we will be comforted.  But you cannot comfort someone who is already comfortable.  I just had to get that off my chest, because I am disgusted with what has been going on in this country and the world on all fronts.  So, sign a petition, educate yourself and those around you, work your governmental system, discuss the issues.  Just do something. 

For the Love of God, we are WATCHMEN.  And if you are already involved, push it to the limit and don’t give up.

Truth and Peace,

Steven M DeVougas

Black woman allegedly tortured by 6 white people in West Virginia

Cross-posted from the Brave New Films blog. Elaborated upon here.

Six white people are accused of kidnapping, torturing, and sexually assaulting 20 year old Megan Williams, a Black woman in West Virginia. It is up in the air as to whether this will be treated as a hate crime Hate crime charges are not being pursued.

Much like how Emmit Till's mother wanted his casket to be open so people could see the raw brutality of his lynching and murder, the Williams family has chosen to reveal the victim's name in order to force "the public to know what happened."

Funny how no one is calling this gang violence (see "Just in my opinion's" comment on this post). Oh, right, it's probably because the suspects are white

Read More…

Compromise on Torture

G.W. has now reversed his stance on John McCain’s anti-torture legislation. Well, technically, he didn’t reverse his stance so much as fiddle with the language. In general, it’s decent legislation. We shall see how it works in practice.

I see this debate as ironic. Diplomacy on torture is a quintessential oxymoron. Why not try being diplomatic with detainees instead of trying to beat answers out of them!?!?!? My bad. That might actually make sense and therefore is impossible for us to do.

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