The politicians who decry Tyre Nichols’ killing are the same ones protecting the power of the police to tyrannize us.

by Jack Mirkinson, Discourse Blog

It is horribly fitting, somehow, that the release of the footage showing five Memphis police officers beating Tyre Nichols to death came so soon after the most recent string of high-profile mass shootings in California.

In the space of a week, we have seen two deeply interconnected examples of the American addiction to violence, and of our political system’s total unwillingness to do anything to stop it. Because just as the gun people are happy to accept a world of endless death, the cop people are, on a fundamental level, content to accept the institutional tyranny that constitutes policing, even if things get a little out of hand now and again.

A black woman stands in front of a line of armed police at a protest against the killing of George Floyd.

By “cop people,” I mean the political, economic, and cultural forces that have collaborated to give the police almost infinite sway over our lives. Their language may have gotten smarter, but their devotion to the power of the cops has not changed one bit. This is especially true of the Democratic Party, which hides behind talk of “systemic racism” and “better policing” to mask its fealty to the police.

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