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July 24, 2020


Wayne Northey

Hi again Paul.

Haymarket Books just issued a list of its titles about "Abolition Now! Books Against Policing & Mass Incarceration" (https://www.haymarketbooks.org/blogs/80-abolition-now-haymarket-books-against-policing-amp-mass-incarceration?utm_source=Haymarket+Newsletter&utm_campaign=b43c2e4ed0-EMAIL_Newsletter_2017_11_20_HOLIDAY1_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a36ffbc74a-b43c2e4ed0-331813297&mc_cid=b43c2e4ed0&mc_eid=0eb9753b58).

I also, in relation to abolitionism, recently published "Restorative Justice: Peacemaking Not Warmaking; Transformative Justice: Penal Abolitionism Not Prison Reform" (https://waynenorthey.com/2021/03/26/restorative-justice-peacemaking-not-warmaking-transformative-justice-penal-abolitionism-not-prison-reform/) --from obviously a Christian, but no less humanitarian perspective. It may also be found in "The Kenarchy Journal: A resource for a politics of love," Volume Two (https://waynenorthey.com/2021/03/15/the-kenarchy-journal/).

One is naïve at best to associate virtues such as empathy, compassion, caring, understanding etc. with police, prison, or military. The foregoing in relation to the latter are oxymorons--at least in my personal experience and study.

Augustine argued one could be compassionate while wounding/killing the enemy, domestic or foreign. Therefore the Empire should keep a military only made up of Christians! He not only lived in a different time from us, seemingly in a different universe as well--for him to hold to such. He also never read anything of Lt. David Grossman, who keeps a website: Killology (https://www.killology.com/), that discusses the necessary killer psychology demanded of police and soldiers to do their jobs.

Yet Augustine's Just War theory (see a smattering of my posts on this: https://waynenorthey.com/?s=just+war) since his time became dominant Church doctrine in the Christian and secular West. I can only exclaim: Go figure!

Here may be found some of my posts challenging that understanding: https://waynenorthey.com/?s=richard+land.

There is never a last word anywhere except in sentences. But the above point to words problematic enough for us Christians/humanitarians to want to think again, just a little bit harder. . .

Wayne Northey

Hi Paul.

I posted this yesterday, commenting on a Report on our largest Canadian police force, the (in)famous RCMP: "RCMP Perpetuates Misogynistic, Homophobic And Racist Culture: Report"-- https://waynenorthey.com/2020/11/20/rcmp-perpetuates-misogynistic-homophobic-and-racist-culture-report/.

I have tracked these kinds of things for over four decades . . .

Mark Northey

Hello Paul,

I just wanted to say that I think I understand that you are writing from a place in the heart (that spiritual centre we all strive to think out of) when you share about your son. I believe you are trying to help us contextualize our social conscience and sense of just outrage at the 'systems', through this vulnerable and honest lens of real flesh-and-blood human stories such as your son is living.

I want to say that I appreciate your voice here, and I am trying to listen. I have had to come a long ways in my life to begin to hear what you are saying.
May God grant us all faces, one day.

Toward that divine love you hope in;
-Mark Northey


Hi Wayne,

If you get a chance, do watch this interview with former police officer, on police culture and toxicity within the system. I think it will resonate. (By the way, he's also a close friend do Paul).


Wayne Northey

Hi Paul.

Another article to consider is: "Why Many Police Are Barely Distinguishable From Racist Vigilantes" (https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/09/11/why-many-police-are-barely-distinguishable-from-racist-vigilantes/)

I have read so many similarly damning articles over many years about American police forces. I've been an American social watcher for a few decades. And as mentioned, I've read--and seen--a lot that is damning about police behaviour in Canada. "Power corrupts . . ."--Lord Acton


Wayne Northey

Hi again Paul.

I will further add a link to an article, to a book, and to two posts on my website (https://waynenorthey.com/).

The article is entitled: "Trump Didn’t Invent State Violence Against Protesters — But He’s Escalating It". It is here:

The final paragraphs read:
What these last months have laid bare isn’t that Trump’s national security agenda is anomalous; but, rather, that the system of control embodied by DHS, by Customs and Border Protection, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the various other agencies, has evolved to the point where it now primarily serves to aid and abet authoritarianism. These ugly times have provided us a warning: that the military-industrial state [I always say: the police-military-prison-industrial state], the national security infrastructure that Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about 60 years ago, is now in full bloom. Trump didn’t cause that bloom to come out of nowhere; rather, his presidency is, at least in part, the end consequence, the coming to a head, of decades of fetishization of state-sanctioned violence and brutality.

Unless we now embark upon a fundamental reckoning with these forces that have been allowed to fester and then to grow largely unchecked within the U.S. body politic over the decades (and, indeed, over the centuries), the very threads of democracy will, at ever-greater speed, come unraveled.


The book is An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King. The book may be found here:

The description reads (a brilliant case is made, though as one learns in reading it, its finding in favour of the King family received scant media attention):
On April 4 1968, Martin Luther King was in Memphis supporting a workers’ strike. By nightfall, army snipers were in position, military officers were on a nearby roof with cameras, and Lloyd Jowers had been paid to remove the gun after the fatal shot was fired. When the dust had settled, King had been hit and a clean-up operation was set in motion-James Earl Ray was framed, the crime scene was destroyed, and witnesses were killed. William Pepper, attorney and friend of King, has conducted a thirty-year investigation into his assassination. In 1999, Lloyd Jowers and other co-conspirators were brought to trial in a civil action suit on behalf of the King family.

Seventy witnesses set out the details of a conspiracy that involved J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, Richard Helms and the CIA, the military, Memphis police, and organized crime. The jury took an hour to find for the King family.

In An Act of State, you finally have the truth before you-how the US government shut down a movement for social change by stopping its leader dead in his tracks.


The first of my posts is a bit of a dog's breakfast, since I keep adding to its initial posting done May 30, 2020: Cornel West Says ‘Neo-Fascist Gangster’ Trump and Neoliberal Democrats Expose America as ‘Failed Social Experiment’.

There is lots there about the police and much much more about lots more! . . .

It may be accessed here: https://waynenorthey.com/2020/05/31/cornel-west-says-neo-fascist-gangster-trump-and-neoliberal-democrats-expose-america-as-failed-social-experiment/


Finally my post, with much added commentary, linking to a "The Atlantic" magazine article, tells the long history of the horrific treatment of Blacks in America, entitled: The Case For Reparations. Superbly researched and written.

It may be accessed here:

The above is some of the "additional homework" alluded to in my first response that we Whites must do, indeed, not only in America (I'm Canadian and must too confess mea culpa in, by favourable happenstance, benefitting hugely downstream from massive mistreatment of indigenous, Blacks and others) but throughout the colonized world. This understatement is simple: It ain't pretty . . .

Wayne Northey

Hi Paul.

I especially appreciated your compassion towards the end of the article.

I can generally agree with the first part: indeed, "There is none righteous, no not one".

You cannot go into much detail in a brief article. You obviously wanted to speak out about the despicable behaviour of many protesters in Portland, the sense of abandonment by elected officials towards the police. Above all you rightly wanted to speak up for your son and by extension his and your family.

I have spent 46 years working within the criminal justice system, in promoting Restorative Justice as a peacemaking not a warmaking response to crime. I have been a prison guard, but have mainly worked in church-based volunteer programs contexts with untold numbers of prisoners/returning citizens; and alongside many criminal justice professionals including police--in the Canadian context.

A few observations:

1. "To Protect and to serve" in America, as in other democracies invariably begs the questions: Who is being protected? Who is being served? What laws? Whose Order(s)? A major 2017 study, To Protect and to Serve: A History of Police in America (2017) points to answers that depend on multiple variables such as era, location, origins, etc.

To say the very least: policing in America began in brutal slave patrols that "protected and served" alright: but hardly slaves; hardly nonwhites. And the law and order upheld in America's long police history did not generally favour nonwhites . . . Perhaps the greatest possible understatement about police in America (in most democracies). . .

2. Anecdotally: If I disbelieved the stories about police and prison guard behaviour, let's say two-thirds of the time, in 46 years I have heard overwhelmingly too many damning statements about police and prison guards.

Two major Royal Commissions in Canada did exhaustive reviews of provincial justice systems in two provinces: Manitoba and Nova Scotia.

The book Justice Denied: The law versus Donald Marshall tells the story in the latter case. Both commissions found that from the first encounter with police, to all subsequent engagement of professionals in the criminal justice system including the Attorney General of each province, deeply embedded racism fundamentally informed the operation of the system at every level. These findings have been consistent with any number of Canadian studies about racism in the Canadian criminal justice system. A major study as recent as two years ago discovered that Black Toronto residents 20 times more likely to be shot dead by police--though making up about 10% of the population. (See: https://waynenorthey.com/2020/05/30/black-toronto-residents-20-times-more-likely-to-be-shot-dead-by-police-study-says/).

I could go on, for I've spent an entire career studying justice issues--and into retirement.

In this regard, Dorothy Day always rightly referred disparagingly to "That Dirty Rotten System".

3. One more book by Canadian criminologist, Thomas Gabor, who published a study in 1994 based upon a vast array of research largely done in North America: 'Everybody Does It!': Crime by the Public (https://utorontopress.com/ca/everybody-does-it-2). I've always maintained that the subtitle could have been "There is none righteous, no not one.". In it, he details 22 crimes routinely committed by police across North America from the fairly innocent such as mooching, all the way up to the most serious and violent . . . A riveting, positively peer-reviewed study.

Enough said!

Horrific indeed when police are being harmed by angry mobs. But even a superficial study of police budgets in America reveals also a horrifically violent reality that has generally only been increasing with the acquiring of surplus military equipment . . .

I respect your loyalty to your son, Paul. No doubt justified.

But I encourage you to do some more homework too . . .

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