The Eye of the Fish

Leviathan
June 8, 2020

USA: Failed nation

As a blog dedicated to commenting on Architecture and Urban Design in Wellington, you could argue that I should have no reason to make any comment on the disruptions in America caused by the death of George Floyd. You could, but you’d be wrong – it’s my blog and I’ll write what I like, about what I feel. The Eye of the Fish looks in many places, not just towards Whanganui-a-Tara.

I think we’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the world who wasn’t shocked, outraged and deeply saddened by the blatant murder of Mr Floyd by someone who is meant to be a protector of the people. “Protect and Serve” it says on most police badges, and while we are not yet quite in a state of Robocoppedness, it clearly doesn’t say the Verhovenesque mantra of OCP’s “Whatever it takes”. Yet this is what it has. The USA has an extraordinary array of armed forces, and is in effect one giant military machine – to an extent completely unknown here in little-old-noo-zealun. There are wave upon wave of armed officers – not just the Police, but also Sherifs, Marshalls, National Guard, Coast Guard, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcers), TFA (Tobacco and FireArms), FBI (You know that one), CIA (and that too), NCIS (sorry, that one’s made up) as well as the National Guard, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, and now the Space Force. And Secret Service. There’s probably more – almost definitely more – but I haven’t got the time to count them. There is also the local residents – the American Constitution holds that the People have the right to bear arms as part of a militia, should the States ever go rogue. Arguably, that time is now. Ironically, just one force is strictly forbidden of waging war against the civil population – the Military. And that’s the one that old dumb-ass himself tried to mobilise against the people…

NZ, by comparison, has just the Police and the Defence Force who carry weapons – our Fisheries officers are only allowed to carry a large mackerel as a weapon, and our DoC rangers may only slap you with a wet podocarp leaf or a pre-deceased possum, rather than pull out a gun and get all medieval on yo ass. Our secret state spy agency is only allowed a briefcase with a copy of Penthouse and a pie. Even our Police do not yet routinely carry weapons (South Auckland excepted, sorry to say) and our Defence Force is largely for show – we can’t afford live firing at sea (shells costing thousands each) nor on land (I believe those playing at war in Waiuru are authorised to say “Bang” loudly). We don’t know how lucky we are.

George Floyd was an innocent man who did not deserve to die and the man who murdered him does deserve to be locked up immediately – although a public execution of the police officer concerned would probably be a worthwhile exercise in bringing home to the Police Force that this shit is serious. Yes, policing is an ugly task, but it strikes me that the best thing NZ could do is to offer to go over there and teach the USA Police how to actually be a police force. God only knows we’re not a perfect force and that many of our cops are no doubt as racist as anything as well, but even so, a five year old at first week of school can tell you that you should not just kill someone for no reason. America’s police force is – on the face of it – badly in need of some basic training. First – do no harm. Second – protect and serve. Third – keep the peace. Certainly not: Kill anyone with a black skin, just because you feel like it.

As we all know (well, with the possible unfathomable exception of the Fox-News-watching racist kiwi in the paper in the weekend), America is ruled by an idiot, with a compulsion to lie all the time, a narcissist and sociopath who is destroying the country that once held some respect in the world. Now we just feel pity. Time for him to go, by force if necessary. America deserves a better president. The world deserves a breathing space from his toxicity.

Leviathan
8 - 06 - 20

You’ve gotta admit, as a piece of urban intervention, that giant logo in the top photo, is a brilliant piece of social statement. So: there’s the link to the whole Wellington urban design thing, right there.

stuart gardyne
8 - 06 - 20

No argument from me. What is more important than people. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

Andrew
8 - 06 - 20

While I agree in the most part with your sentiments I do think that the idea of public execution is not something you should be condoning – even in jest.

Levi
8 - 06 - 20

Andrew – if the death penalty exists in that State where the police officer blatantly murdered Mr Floyd, then they will already be executing people who are convicted murderers. There should not be any exception made for a white police officer, either for being white or being a cop. If he is a murderer, then he should die. Simple as that. Of course, the American justice system will see him wait for 15 years on Death Row, in order to waste significant public money, but I’d say that in order to ram the message home, it should be done publicly, and quickly. Not all human life is sacrosanct. For the “good of the nation” and putting the death of one officer against the several thousand a year who die unlawfully, then it seems to be a good idea to sacrifice one life in order to save many.

The death penalty is not legal in NZ and we don’t have the same problem as the USA so I’m not advocating it for NZ.

Betterbee
9 - 06 - 20

I’m with Levi overall, but with Andrew about public execution – barbarism leading to more barbarism is just playing Trump’s game.

But it’s irrelevant, anyway: the cop has been charged with 2nd-degree murder, for which the maximum penalty in Minnesota is apparently 40 years, not death. According to Wikipedia Minnesota abolished the death penalty in 1911, so for 50 years in that respect it was more civilised than NZ.

Alan
9 - 06 - 20

There are some advantages to America fervently lowering its IQ, not just with the President but also the general population. I read today that “In a recent survey, 24% of Americans said they will refuse a coronavirus vaccine.” The anti-vaxxer movement in the United States is one of the more stupid movements around, and the good thing about NZ having a tight border control is that in future we can just say: “No vaccination, no entry.” That way at least we get rid of some of the more stupid potential tourists.

m-d
9 - 06 - 20

It’s the flouride in the drinking water, Alan, governments put it there to reduce IQ (along with all the chemicals to feminise the population – which has the side-effect of making frogs gay).
I know this is all true because Alex Jones broke the news on Infowars. Trump endorsed Jones some time back, which means it can’t be fake news.
Which all meas to say that we’re in the same waka, so to speak, with shrinking intelligence and gay amphibians. It’s okay though, I ward of the effects with a cure-all health product containing…

Another John
9 - 06 - 20

The problem is that despite all of these armed services, there is no USA Police (the closest is the FBI but they are a pretty disciplined bunch on the whole). What we in NZ would consider to be your basic police constable is in the United States employed by the local council and receives their authority from them. They can’t arrest anyone beyond the area under that council’s control (something my generation all learnt from watching the Dukes of Hazzard, c.1979 with Bo & Luke Duke repeatedly escaping from the corrupt Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane simply by driving over the county line). A big issue is that many local authorities are so starved of funds that they have become dependent on court fines and traffic violations. The slightest misdemeanor (say literally driving 1 MPH over the speed limit) can, depending on the TLA, result in you having to go to court because the TLA is desperate for the money (in part to pay for the cops). Their whole judicial and law enforcement system is utterly screwed from top to bottom, not helped by the powerful police unions which can make officers untouchable when they violate people’s rights.

Levi
10 - 06 - 20

m-d ….. i’m on the edge of my seat here. Containing what…..? Alex Jones is certifiably mad – possibly the only person madder than Rumpy himself. May they both share a prison cell together for many long years…

John – thanks – i didn’t know that. Interesting prospect for us to try and unravel – and explains why the Minneapolis Council is voting to “defund” the police. I too used to watch Dukes of Hazzard, semi-religiously, much to my parents annoyance, but mainly for the Daisy Dukes. Never understood the whole county line thing at the time – now it all makes sense. I got pulled over for speeding in Malibu many years ago and left the country without paying my fine, so there’s probably a warrant out for my arrest somewhere – but that’s OK, cos I’m never going back to that madhouse country! There’s nothing quite like sitting in your car, looking at a California Highway Patrol groin, with unbuttoned black pistol just next to his hand, as he scrutinises your NZ license through his mirrored shades. Even though I’m not black, I was still shit-scared. Not a pleasant experience. “Have a nice day Sir.” I was on the next plane out of there…

Levi
10 - 06 - 20

Excitingly though, someone in the USA has sent me a parcel. No idea what it is, but I have been able to observe its progress as it takes a tour of the USA, something that I am currently unable to do. Such inefficiency….
May 15, 2020, 10:38 am USPS in possession of item CLAYTON, NC 27520

May 15, 2020, 7:39 pm Departed Post Office CLAYTON, NC 27520

May 15, 2020, 11:16 pm Arrived at USPS Regional Facility RALEIGH NC DISTRIBUTION CENTER

May 18, 2020, 9:41 am Arrived at Regional Facility MIAMI FL INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER

May 18, 2020, 9:41 am Arrived at USPS Regional Facility MIAMI FL INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER

May 20, 2020 In Transit to Next Facility

May 21, 2020, 5:14 am Processed Through Regional Facility MIAMI FL INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION CENTER

May 26, 2020, 12:05 pm Arrived MIAMI, UNITED STATES

May 27, 2020, 6:29 am Departed MIAMI, UNITED STATES

May 28, 2020, 9:20 am Departed HOUSTON, UNITED STATES
Your item departed a transfer airport in GEORGE BUSH INTERCNTL., HOUSTON, UNITED STATES on May 28, 2020 at 9:20 am. The item is currently in transit to the destination.

Here we are, June 9th. Still no bloody sight of it.

greenwelly
10 - 06 - 20

-Never understood the whole county line thing at the time – now it all makes sense

It wasn’t that long ago NZ was similar, A number of local Authorities in NZ maintained jurisdiction over moving traffic infringements until 1989, The City of Auckland was one of the largest-

In the scene in Goodbye Pork Pie where the mini in pulled over in Auckland’s Fort street (in front of the NRM building) the Officer’s insignia is clearly readable as “City of Auckland- Traffic-Dept)

Henry Filth
10 - 06 - 20

A strange, strange place.

https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/article243368196.html

Leviathan
10 - 06 - 20

Indeed. I suspect that a lot of these men/boys have previously been in the army and have been discharged – and are now hankering after the feelings of power and superiority that the military gives you. This chance to be “in a militia” and parade around feeling that you’re now big and important again – its very much in contrast to the Dad’s Army old retired gents that the UK had – and I’m not sure what the equivalent group in NZ is. I think our hard men just go bush and blast the heck out of a tree stump or an old goat, or perhaps we’re just not that screwed up to start with.

I spent a lot of lock down watching whole series of programmes I had missed seeing on TV. One of my favourites, which i watched from the start to the finish, having never seen it before, was Deadwood. Great script writing, great story lines, great acting. From back when the USA wasn’t even fully formed as the USA – just beyond the rule of white man’s law, and not under the native american’s rule either, Deadwood was set in that brief moment between anarchy and order. I think the modern American militias are hankering back to those days, when you could shoot your gun off and no one would tell you off for doing so. Its gritty and muddy and the language is perfectly filthy.

In contrast to that, The Luminaries (on TV at the moment) is set in almost the same time period, but on a set with far less budget and far less mud, along with almost zero swearing. And a lot less gun play as well – even though they are both hankering after the yellow stuff. The physical sets are almost the same – edge of wilderness shanty town chic – of course I’m watching it to see the origin of platform timber framing and the subtle sense of frontage to the ramshackle shacks. Personally, I think we should do whatever we can strive to do, to stay away from America’s warped ideals. The architecture may be similar but the people are not.

Henry Filth
11 - 06 - 20

One rather suspects that they’re the ones who haven’t been in the military. . .

m-d
11 - 06 - 20

…me too.
They’re gamers and dreamers – only much more potentially lethal than your run of the mill dreamer. Comes of being allowed to play out their games and dreams irl.

Leviathan
11 - 06 - 20

Quite a useful video from Stephen Colbert on Defunding the Police etc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNAvkbwzeTs