Henry Miller, the Cops, and Keith Lamont Scott

“Months have passed since the incident and yet I can’t forget his face, his manner, his whole being. He’s a man, and I can say it calmly and soberly, whom I could kill in cold blood. I could shoot him down in the dark and go quietly about my business, as if I had just brushed a mosquito off my arm.

“He was unclean, unfit to associate with human kind, even with those misfits behind the bars. As long as I live I shall never forget that cruel, ash-grey face, those cold, beady man-hunter’s eyes. I hate him and all that he stands for. I hate him with an undying hatred. I would a thousand times rather be the most incorrigible convict than this hireling of those who are trying to maintain law and order. Law and order! Finally, when you see it staring at you through the barrel of a rifle, you know what it means. A bas puissance, justice, histoire! If society has to be protected by these inhuman monsters then to hell with society! If at the bottom of law and order there is only a man armed to the teeth, a man without a heart, without a conscience, then law and order are meaningless.”

–Henry Miller, “The Soul of Anesthesia,” The Air-Conditioned Nightmare.

*

Miller’s books are a grab-bag of sheer genius, sharp insight, German romantic bombast, and occasionally flat-out nonsense. Sometimes all four can manifest themselves on the same page, or even the same sentence. I have always been a fan of his works. Personally I take issue with his Orientalizing of blacks, Chinese, Jews, and others whom he idolizes as much as he trashes (well, that is Miller for you: he is, or was, a walking mass of contradictions). And you can have his romanticized view of the Old South, which comes perilously close to that reactionist old-school Agrarian crap–the kind of nonsense that Allen Tate and Company eulogized in I’ll Take My Stand (1929).

As a self-admitted “Brooklyn Boy,” I don’t think Miller ever truly understood what the South was all about, anymore than he truly understood Jews or African Americans or in particular the Chinese, whom he was overtly fond of extolling in long rhapsodic passages in his books. Miller was a first-generation German-American profoundly alienated from mainstream American culture. For Miller, the Others–whether artists like Kenneth Patchen, Beauford Delaney or Dr. Marion Souchon, or Jews (like Bezalel Schatz or his second wife, June Smerdt-Smith-Mansfield-Miller-Corbett), or blacks (like Duke Ellington, Delaney, DuBois and Armstrong)–were screens onto which he projected his own rage and disgust at Anglo-Celtic-Germanic America. Miller extols Patchen and Delany to tear down a philistine America. Not that it was necessarily a bad thing, however: Anglo-America needed it. It still does. But all of this is beside the point.

I did not need Henry Miller to tell me anything about the brutality of American police, because I already know what American police are capable of. I posted the above quote because Miller’s sentiments about American law enforcement are precisely in alignment with my own. Miller’s disgust corroborates my own. Miller’s rejection of America’s phony sense of innocence regarding its treatment of criminals–not to mention the very society and culture that helps spawn these criminals–corroborates my own.

Keith Lamont Scott was not a criminal, but the cops in Charlotte-Mecklenburg wished to believe that he was. It’s an old, old story. Today the police in Charlotte have “confirmed” (not) that Keith Lamont Scott, who was killed on Tuesday, September 19th, actually did have a gun in his hands when they confronted him. Purportedly, the video footage (if one looks hard enough) shows that Mr. Scott was armed. According to Yahoo News:

Police say Scott was holding a handgun, which investigators recovered from an apartment complex in Charlotte, and posed a threat because he was not obeying police orders to remain in his vehicle and drop the weapon. An officer subsequently fired his gun, hitting Scott, who was later pronounced dead.

Scott’s family, however, said he was not armed and was holding a book while waiting for his son to be dropped off from school.

The officers were searching for a suspect who had an outstanding warrant, according to a police statement. Police said Scott was not the suspect officers sought.

Police have identified the officer involved in the shooting as Brentley Vinson, who has been employed with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department since July 21, 2014, and is currently assigned to the metro division. He has been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues, according to Putney.

Vinson was not wearing a body camera at the time, but the other officers who responded to the incident were.

My answer to all of this is simple. It does not matter if the late Mr. Scott was or was not carrying a gun in confrontation with the cops. I have not seen the footage. In my mind, it does not matter whether I see the footage or not. I am convinced that Mr. Scott would have been killed whether he was or was not armed. In that case he would have been better off taking one of those suited-up thugs with him to the other side.

There is really no point in going over this ground again. To quote the late, great James Baldwin, “it has been said, and said, and said; it has been heard and not heard.” It is well known that the American police, like the bulk of law enforcers the world over, simply do not, never have and never will have the interests of the average man or woman on their front burners. The cops may be human beings, but they serve the interests of beasts. The cops are in the streets of Charlotte, Washington, D.C., Houston, Baton Rouge, Baltimore, London, Paris, Harare, Mumbai, Istanbul and other urban cesspools to maintain what the elite of these respective nations has determined to be “order.”

This “order” can be spelled out in layman’s terms. We already know what it means. The order is a pyramid. We know that; it’s just that we are generally far at the bottom of the pyramid or, just perhaps, somewhere in the center, sandwiched between the big shits in the capstone and unwittingly putting more weight on those at the bottom of it. Those at the bottom are generally black, generally Africans, and carrying the stinking weight of the world. For them, life is often more unbearable than death; yet we wonder why so many of them resort to drugs or alcohol or kill each other in impotent rage, filled with anger that they feel they can’t take out on a cop, let alone an Elite. For the elites, life is generally light, airy, whimsical, full of humor and goofy things; that Hollywood actor is always full of gags if he’s not full of drugs.

But there is a difference. Mister Mega-Star takes drugs because it’s fashionable, not because he can’t deal with the struggle to feed himself, let alone his family. He can live wherever he wishes; he can have the sex partner or car of his choice, and show up wherever in the world he feels like in the blink of an eye. Hell, he can buy an island! If he feels miserable, it’s his own undoing, not that of society, since he IS society: his misery is simply an existential hangover, a feeling of emptiness, a crisis of conscience after being confronted with the cold reality of his fake, shallow lifestyle: Jay Gatsby multiplied by a thousand.

Mister Gatsby has several McMansions at his disposal; the poor darkie is lucky to have a room in a flophouse. Mister Gatsby is a gourmand who enjoys dining and stuffing himself until he bursts; the poor darkie who does the same in a fast food joint is a glutton. Mister Gatsby “collects” things but that blue-collar darkie is just wasting his money buying sneakers. Mister Gatsby has super-models waiting on him hand and foot, ready to sacrifice whatever radical feminist sentiments they may hold dear at a moment’s notice. The poor darkie, or wetback, or gook, who does the same, is “promiscuous,” not a “playboy.” His woman is a “skank” and a “hoodrat.” If he has no status within his community he has to content himself with his imagination; outside of his head, people flee from him in horror. He uses his right hand, or pretends he is gay; every day you see him haunting peep show booths and adult book stores, smelling like a goat and pawing over young men on buses and subways.  The entire value system of the society is determined strictly by color, even more so than class–which explains why an outrageous elite snob like Bill Cosby can have his reputation irreparably damaged yet Roman Polanski, Woody Allen or even Ed Gein and Charles Manson can be begrudgingly admired as “outlaws.”

Lousy food, lousy education, shitty housing, filthy streets, dysfunctional families, high unemployment or underemployment, tainted water, unclean air, a staggering murder rate, an out-of-control drug trade–not to mention the proliferation of alcohol establishments and shady “store-front” churches that no one likes to talk about: this is the world of the poor darkie. (The last two are just part of an underground economy in the black ghettos that has existed for literally centuries; again, nobody likes to talk about it.) This world is not “Africa” or “Ape-frica”: it is simply the dirty end of the American cloth, the one Uncle Sam uses to wipe his ass with. This “order” exists all over the world in varying degrees of severity. Not all of the ghettos are “black,” of course–sometimes they are white–but they might as well be: “black” is not a race, it’s a condition, as well as a state of mind. The overwhelming majority of the elites are on the precise opposite end of the color/caste spectrum, even if a few happen to be blacker than my wallet.

In other words, the very existence of cops is to protect Mister Gatsby from the poor darkie.

So in re-reading the above statement by Henry Miller, I am willing to absolve any one in those Benighted States who deems it necessary to carry a gun to defend himself against the cops. My heart does not in any way bleed for a cop shot in the head by some random citizen. Maybe I’m wrong on this score; maybe a murdered cop can be a “good guy.” But we all know that these “good cops” have usually toed the thin blue line of silence and complicity and kept their goddamned mouths shut as to the large number of domestic terrorists* among their ranks. Moreover, the police in America (and elsewhere) have made it perfectly clear that they see black people as moving targets. And seeing how they treat Native Americans on a regular basis, these cops still see themselves as a bunch of gun-toting cowboys–settlers, in other words. White, European settlers on red land.

We Afro-Americans know more than most that the cops are not our “buddies.” They are nobody’s friend, in spite of a few shining examples of cops who are caught doing some wonderful, charming things like buying ice cream for kids, or leading prayers, or partying–all caught on video camera to show the human side of an overwhelmingly oppressive force. Personally, I could fucking care less. A storm-trooper is a storm-trooper, even if he is doing the Charleston or the Suzy-Q. A nazi is a nazi, no matter if he reads my books or digs my paintings or my music. That nazi does not cease to be a nazi even if he takes off his uniform. He has to drop not only the Nazi ideology but the emotional and irrational racialism that made him put on the uniform in the first place.

There are many idiots, even avowed “liberals,” even Blacks, who still insist that in spite of the rapidly mounting evidence of police corruption and brutality, that The Law is The Law. It is not possible to tell these idiots that their forefathers spoke those exact same words at the height of Southern Jim Crow or even during slavery itself, or that Hitler’s, Stalin’s and Mao’s stooges operated precisely upon this same principle. No, sir. The Law is NOT The Law when it is 1) written by greedy psychopaths for the benefit of greedy psychopaths; 2) reinforced by murderous thugs. The Law is not Holy Writ. When the two situations above mutually manifest themselves within a given society, “The Law” has lost all moral authority–in which case, there has to be a new Law. But before there can be a New Law there must be a new and more just order. Until that time, citizens are obliged to defend themselves–even if violently–against the current socio-political Mafia that calls itself the New World Order.

*

“He had paid for his crimes in full, that is my belief,” writes Henry Miller. “If he should commit fresh ones I would blame it on the police, on the lawmakers, on the educators, on the clergy, on all those who believe in punishment, who refuse to help a man when he is down or try to understand him when in impotent rage he turns against the world. It doesn’t matter to me what crimes are chalked up against Clausen; our crimes, all of us who are on the outside, who go off scott-free, are greater. If we did not actually force him to become a criminal we most certainly helped him to remain one. And in speaking of Bud Clausen I am speaking for the great majority of men and women who suffered the same fate; I am speaking for all those to come, who will follow in his foot-steps and who have no redress until we on the outside become more enlightened and more humane.”

Thanks, Henry.

 

*It has been found that a disproportionate number of neo-Nazis and closet Klan members have also infiltrated America’s police, as well as America’s military (or “killitary,” to be more accurate). 

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