Evidence 9/16/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

We should be beyond certain things. To call ourselves a modern and civilized nation, we should be past the war on women, minority suppression, and the imposition of religious philosophy on others. And yet, here we are.

I’ve posted in the past about the refrigerated evidence lockers when I was the director of the evidence section and forensic lab of a police department. Although not restricted to evidence of this type, they were largely used to preserve evidence from rape cases. It’s difficult not to raise the recent developments in Texas here, especially with Governor Abbott recently explaining away the necessity of underage rape victims being forced to carry babies to term by making the outrageous statement that they’ll just simply arrest all of the rapists and get them off of the streets. While I agree with him that rape should be a thing of the past, his statement is so naïve that it’s offensive. There are a multitude of agencies fighting rape for years, and the concept that it only occurs in the street is just plain moronic.

As far as police brutality on minorities, I find it curious that there has not been nearly as many stories recently on this topic, and yet we should never forget that it’s still an issue. Perhaps the problem before Biden was a president that seemed to actively pursue a path of war on peaceful protesters, sending out undercover agents without badges or identification to kidnap minorities off of the streets and enlisting the equivalence of goon squads to violently “clear out” protesters, but the brutality remains. Just today I’ve read two reports on police brutality against minorities. Out of California, a study shows that children are more likely to be hospitalized after police interactions if they are a minority. In Louisiana, a study shows that video evidence of police brutality against minorities end up being digitally buried. In fact, in the Louisiana story, there is evidence that police even bragged about their brutalizing treatment of minorities over official channels.

Just weeks ago, we pulled out of Afghanistan, putting an end to a war that has lasted for two decades. Sadly, it took us twice as long to learn our lesson about warring in Afghanistan than it took the Soviet Union who was in the same war just a decade before ours. It took a matter of days before the government the US put in place fell and the Taliban took full control. Ostensibly the war in Afghanistan was begun in the search for Osama bin Laden, but that is a political lie. If we had credible evidence of Osama’s location in Afghanistan, it would have been much easier and far less expensive (both economically and based on the cost of human lives) to simply go in and get him. Instead, the war seemed to have been about the rich oil fields that, early in the war, we desperately attempted to save as the Taliban fought to destroy them. But the primary concern about the Taliban is that it is a theocracy, as many governments in the middle east are. Based on their theocratic interpretation of the Qur’an, women are second-class citizens (if they are citizens or, indeed, people at all), whose bodies and movements are governed over by the men in charge. Ironically, largely based on arguments pointing to the Bible, women in Texas are in the exact same situation. Their bodies are regulated by the men in the government, and their travels are restricted (meaning they cannot travel to a clinic known to provide abortions). About twenty years ago, the US embraced Saudi Arabia, also a theocracy, because of how advanced they were with women’s rights on dress, travel and education. Over the years, these rights have slowly been stripped away, and today women are not allowed to travel freely, must dress covering themselves from head to toe, and are denied access to education. These rights weren’t stripped overnight. It was a long, slow process, no doubt beginning with reproductive rights. It’s not Muslim countries that is the problem. It’s theocracies.

I find it disgusting that we still need evidence lockers for rape victims. I find it offensive that we still have Americans whose rights are being trampled on by excessive force based on the color of their skin. I find it inexcusable that people are still pushing for laws based on the moral code of their religion over the rights of people. I find it heartbreaking that it’s necessary to point these things out.


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