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Mike Hadmack
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What I like best about this is that once the police discovered that it wasn't a bomb, they accused Mohamed of constructing a bomb hoax.

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If you read my writing regularly, you know that I'm fiercely critical of police abuse. But that doesn't mean – and has never meant – that I'm critical of police as a whole. When police are a part of the community that they protect, they act as first responders in emergencies, resolvers of disputes, and protectors of the public. Police, at their best, are the best of us, and the profound public trust placed in them – the extraordinary legal powers that they have – reflect that, in the hands of good people, these dangerous tools make all of our lives better.

And of course, this public trust is what makes the reverse true, as well: police, at their worst, are the worst of us, and the betrayal of this public trust makes the "bad cop" – whether they be violent or simply corrupt – one of the worst enemies our society can have.

In this context, I find Michael D'Antuono's painting "It Stops With Cops" particularly important, both for what's right about it, and for the important other part that it misses. (For those unfamiliar with his work, D'Antuono was also the painter of "A Tale of Two Hoodies:" http://artandresponse.com/paintings/a-tale-of-two-hoodies-racism/

When cops are out in the field, they are dealing with tremendous stresses; a great deal of the job, after all, involves dealing with people at their worst, often angry, violent, and unpredictable. It's all too easy, in a situation like this, to fall into separating the world into cops and everyone else, to see your own community as a hostile force. When that happens, things become very, very, bad. And nobody is more able to help a cop avoid this than another cop: police officers can look out for one another, and keep each other from falling off that edge.

The cop in the middle of this painting might not actually be a bad cop. He might be a good cop, who under tremendous stresses, has come close to snapping and beating or killing a man. And his partner's hand on his baton, stopping him, could be the thing that stands between him and becoming one of those bad cops.

His own partner might need the same from him, another day.

This is part of why I don't actually believe that much in the idea of "good cops" and "bad cops." What I've really seen are good departments and bad departments. Bad cops don't last long in a good department, because they are surrounded by people who will stop and restrain them. And likewise, good cops don't last long in a bad department, where they'll be sidelined at best, and victims at worst.

And nor does that boundary stop with the people in uniform. Culture often starts from the top: not just the chief of police, but the prosecutor's office, the judges, City Hall, where the norms and boundaries of behavior are implicitly set. One other thing I've noticed is that a bad department never occurs in a vacuum: it has to be enabled by all the rest of the city structures around it, who will turn a blind eye when it comes to misconduct, who will promote and protect bad actors, who will let things slide until they become the norm.

And those city structures are never invisible to the general public: when things have gone bad, the public has tacitly agreed to it being the state of affairs as well. Often, and most poisonously, the city itself has split (most commonly along racial lines, in the US, but other lines certainly occur), and one side has made City Hall and the entire apparatus of law enforcement its creature, with tacit permission and encouragement to beat, harass, extort, oppress, and murder the other.

So yes, it stops with cops: It's the responsibility of police officers to watch out for one another, to remember that that same public which is full of perps and villains is also the public which you are there to protect, to keep each other from falling into becoming bullies and thugs behind a badge.

But only a few things stop there. Most of the things stop with the community as a whole. If the cops in our cities have gone bad – not merely in our own personal experiences, but if we hear other people in our cities saying that the cops have gone wrong, even as we see them seeming to be fine – then it's our responsibility, as a general public, not to allow it to happen. To demand accountability and professionalism. To not elect people who claim to be "tough on crime" and implicitly mean "tough on the other side of our community," or worse, "lenient on bad cops."

And more than anything else, the thing which makes that possible is to see your community as a single, integrated whole, which succeeds together or fails together. The worst of these diseases happens when people in a community see themselves as "us" and "those interlopers;" that's the factory for the conditions where the cop in the middle of this picture is the rule, not the exception, and nobody is holding him back.

Cops can stop it, but they need our help. We would never expect the fire department to be putting out fires if we were spraying gasoline on them all the time.


For more of Michael D'Antuono's art, see http://artandresponse.com/. h/t to +Grizwald Grim for sharing this picture. And thanks to my own local PD, the +Mountain View Police Department, for being some of the good guys: we need more people like you out there.
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I worry every day that my children will be slowly consumed by digital distractions despite any efforts I make to counter the trend. 
Minecraft on the Cover of The New Yorker
https://blog.adafruit.com/2015/06/22/minecraft-on-the-cover-of-the-new-yorker/

Minecraft features prominently in last week’s cover story in the New Yorker.

Any parent of a four-to-x-year-old will likely understand this week’s cover. Most everyone else will probably be confused.

Minecraft is a video game invented, in 2009, by Markus Persson (a.k.a. “Notch” to the seven hundred trillion humans who play it), as a sort of intuitive reimagining of the landscape of his Swedish childhood, but with zombies. Simultaneously writing and releasing the game, like a sort of wakeful brain surgery, Persson and his staff coded while an algorithmically increasing number of players sent suggestions, found bugs, and played and played and played Minecraft, before the full version was released, in 2011. Then the whole genome of the project sold to Microsoft last year, for two and a half billion dollars. (Concerned parents can view the fascinating documentary “Minecraft: The Story of Mojang” for more info.) Persson recently became notable to the over-forty set for buying a seventy-million-dollar house in Los Angeles (he only very recently became the owner of an automobile, and appears, like me, to dread human contact), and he no longer works on the game.
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That orange slice was probably 90% for me

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TIME’s new cover: The Roots of Baltimore’s Riot. The city’s eruption follows decades of systemic failure. http://ti.me/1OIuNwZ
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