30 April 2015

The New New Republic is Much Better than the Old One.

This was an Actual TNR Cover
If just because the old one was run by a racist who would have directed the magazine write something about white anxiety in Baltimore, while the post Marty Peretz version actually calls out the Washington Post's Baltimore PD source as a liar:

Ever since we first saw citizen video evidence of his arrest shortly after it happened and learned of the fatal injuries he suffered, we’ve all been wondering exactly what happened to Gray. Up until last night, we only know that Gray suffered some kind of “forceful trauma” that nearly severed his spine and crushed his voice box; we also learned he received no medical treatment from the officers on hand. But on Wednesday night, the Washington Post published a report that stemmed from that police leak, containing the alleged account of a prisoner who had been placed in the same police van as Gray after his arrest. The unnamed prisoner, who is still in jail, could not see Gray in the van—yet according to the Post, he told investigators that he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” and believed that he “was intentionally trying to injure himself.” The Post story hadn’t been published for more than an hour before local journalists like WBAL’s Jayne Miller began debunking it, saying that it didn’t match her earlier reporting: Police commissioner Anthony Batts told media last Thursday that the second prisoner in the van said that Gray was “mostly quiet” and that there was no evidence that Gray was causing himself any harm. “We disagree with any implication that Freddie Gray severed his own spinal cord,” said Jason Downs, a Gray family attorney. “We question the accuracy of the police reports we’ve seen thus far, including the police report that says Mr. Gray was arrested without force or incident.”

Let’s entertain this notion, for a moment, that Gray had decided to injure himself or end his life over an arrest that began with an errant look at an officer, or because he happened to be carrying a switchblade. Is it realistic to believe he would have succeeded to this tragic degree? Whoever at the Baltimore Police Department leaked this clearly relied upon us not understanding how much physical force is required to nearly sever one’s own spine and crush a voice box, all while handcuffed. One doctor told the Baltimore Sun that Gray’s injuries were more consistent with those seen from high-speed vehicle crashes. The van made several stops while he was in it, but did not crash even at a low speed.

Granted, this wasn’t the first time someone tried to explain away what common sense tells us was police brutality. Conservative outlets had circulated nonsense about Gray having a pre-existing spinal condition that required surgery days before his arrest. But now we have the Baltimore Police Department, using the Post as an uncritical conduit, trolling the public and the media. Yes, that seems unwise in light of the violent unrest we’ve seen this week. Far more disturbing than a question of their policing strategy, however, is what this leak indicates about this department and the answers it's willing to offer.

No matter how many shouts are heard or windows smashed, the Baltimore police have asserted that they control the narrative, and that they alone determine what we get to know about why Gray died. They have no respect for Baltimore’s anger. That’s a lot more chilling to me than teenagers tossing bricks.
The language is a trifle florid, but this is also much better than what the "Old" New Republic would written, which would have at its focus comforting the comfortable.


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