I remember, years ago, when the news of torture in Iraq first came out, I wrote an article entitled US Finally Treats Iraqis Just Like Americans. The point was that abuse and rape is so rife in US prisons and jails, that waterboarding and stress positions are really only embellishments. To an outsider it is evident that the US police and prison system is out of control.What if accidentally invading Iraq, building up the GitMo Complex, and the public release of the presidents support for torture were not mistakes?
So when I read that police in St. Paul pepper sprayed a jailed woman over her entire body, then refused to let her wash it off—I'm not surprised. When I read that a number of prisoners were on a hunger strike to convince guards to get medical care to an anemic women who had passed out, I'm not surprised.
'Cause here's the truth. Shoving people around can be a lot of fun. And being a cop or prison guard lets you do it almost as much as you want to. As a practical matter, brutality and abuse of power almost never leads even to a slap on the wrist, let alone being fired or criminal charges. Don't piss off the really important people (of whom there are fewer and fewer every year) and you can be a petty tyrant to anyone else you please.
[ cf The Deeply Broken American Police System ]
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