Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Self-Unmade Martyr

The recent determination the Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joe Gliniewicz took his own life, ostensibly because his peculations over a seven-year period, amongst other prior infractions perhaps, were about to come to light, is demonstrably tragic.  I feel for his family, because in a way, they are losing him twice--first as the man they knew and loved, and again, as a man they didn't even know. I can't imagine their sense of loss, and wouldn't wish it on anyone in the world--and he gave them that.

All this is not to smear the life of "G.I. Joe Gliniewicz, whose staged homicide resulted in the useless man-hours of hundreds of officers in a manhunt that wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars and could have resulted in the slaying, assault or pointless charging and possibly (because we can't pretend these things don't ever happen, can we?) sentencing of innocent people.

This person could not have made a messier end for himself with a dozen years planning.

No, my point is that this particular death was used to try and smear the Black Lives Matter movement: when the best argument against indicting cops who slay in the line of duty is to let the investigation happen and the facts present themselves over time without a rush to judgment, it was astonishing to see how quickly a rush to judgment against a whole movement of citizens occurred by police-backers before a full investigation let the facts present themselves.

This is still a tragedy, and a very strange one. This was not the only case of an officer shooting himself and blaming imagined others since September. Odder yet, sometimes the people who get blamed are real people who catch hell for the frame-up. And this really weird thing were cops blame other people for getting shot isn't even that new a thing--it predates the BLM movement.

Trust me, I don't entirely know what to make out of all of that. It kind of reminds me of Charles Stuart or Susan Smith. It's amazing how the image of the violent POC hangs out there waiting for white people to blame their grotesqueries on.

In any case, I think the strange unmade martyrdom of GI Joe Gliniewicz should give us all a little pause about how quickly we reach to politicize deaths. For instance, there's something I can't put my finger on about the Goforth murder that tells me this isn't anything to do with BLM. I'd kindly like to suggest that people who want to demagogue about what lives matter and when go take a long walk off a short pier. And once that cold refreshing splash wakes you the hell up, realize that yes, duh, of course, all lives matter. But every case is complex but not all cases are unique. And yes, racism is a real damn thing. And not all cops are simon-pure and halo-ready.

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