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May 15, 2012

Supreme Court to hear case over whether Seattle cops should have tasered a peaceful pregnant woman for speeding

To serve and protect. Unless you're a black woman. Police Taser Use on Pregnant Woman Goes Before Court - NYTimes.com
The case involves Malaika Brooks, who was seven months pregnant and driving her 11-year-old son to school in Seattle when she was pulled over for speeding. The police say she was going 32 miles per hour in a school zone; the speed limit was 20. Ms. Brooks said she would accept a ticket but drew the line at signing it, which state law required at the time. Ms. Brooks thought, wrongly, that signing was an acknowledgment of guilt. Refusing to sign was a crime, and the two officers on the scene summoned a sergeant, who instructed them to arrest Ms. Brooks. She would not get out of her car. The situation plainly called for bold action, and Officer Juan M. Ornelas met the challenge by brandishing a Taser and asking Ms. Brooks if she knew what it was. She did not, but she told Officer Ornelas what she did know. “I have to go to the bathroom,” she said. “I am pregnant. I’m less than 60 days from having my baby.” The three men assessed the situation and conferred. “Well, don’t do it in her stomach,” one said. “Do it in her thigh.” Officer Ornelas twisted Ms. Brooks’s arm behind her back. A colleague, Officer Donald M. Jones, applied the Taser to Ms. Brooks’s left thigh, causing her to cry out and honk the car’s horn. A half-minute later, Officer Jones applied the Taser again, now to Ms. Brooks’s left arm. He waited six seconds before pressing it into her neck. Ms. Brooks fell over, and the officers dragged her into the street, laying her face down and cuffing her hands behind her back.

May 13, 2012

This is a protrait of soldiers in Afghanistan as a ticking time bomb of malice and cruelty

Reading this after reading the piece about the psychopath children, well, you see some parallels. The American Scholar: Afghanistan: A Gathering Menace - Neil Shea
Up ahead, in the stream of black shapes, were the American soldiers I had come to fear. They were men who enjoyed demolishing Afghan houses, men who shot dogs in the face. The pair who had embraced like lovers, one tenderly drawing the blade of his knife along the pale, smooth skin of his friend’s throat. There was a guy who’d let the others tie his legs open and mock-rape him, and there were several men who had boasted of plans to murder their ex-wives and former girlfriends. We paused in the darkness. A line of Afghan soldiers shuffled past, also nearly blind without night-vision equipment. They moved into position for the coming raid, clumsy as boxcars, trailing their own earthy stink. I thought back to what an American Army sergeant had told me hours earlier. “This is where I come to do fucked-up things.” His face had been clear and smooth, his smile almost shy. It was a statement of happy expectation, as though Afghanistan were a playground. He was the de facto leader of a platoon I will call Destroyer, and although he is a real person, not a composite, I have heard his words in many variations, from many American combat troops. But he and some of his men were the first I had met who seemed very near to committing the dumb and vicious acts that we call war crimes. . . . We sat on the patio in the late, hot afternoon, airing our foul, boot-pruned feet. The soldiers of Destroyer talked about how their house searches had become demolition parties. They shattered windows and china, broke furniture, hurled civilians to the ground. Earlier that day, they had blown up a building. They tornadoed through Afghan houses and left such destruction that their ANA allies at first tried to stop them, then grew angry, sullen. “They were so pissed they wouldn’t hang out with us anymore,” Givens remembered. “They kept saying ‘No good, mistah. No, mistah.’ And I was like, ‘Yes, fucking good. Plate? Smash. Is this a drum? Smash.’ ” He laughed. “ ‘Oh, mistah, no.’ ” I imagined the Afghan soldiers standing by, helpless, while Destroyer destroyed. I thought of attacks over the past several years in which Afghan policemen or soldiers had suddenly turned on their NATO allies and opened fire. Such betrayals have been increasing. Sometimes the Taliban claim responsibility for them, but often it seems the assailants have been taking revenge on foreign soldiers for some perceived insult to their honor. It was not hard to envision the seeds of such an attack sown in the ruts of Destroyer’s visit. . . .