The profitability of social media rained down a perverse twist has lent itself to bigotry. Although, the haters unflappably rely upon institutional suppression of disenfranchised American communities, Crowdfunding catapulted outcasts, failures and inept rejects into the financial security they'd can only fantasize. Let me walk you through some successes and bumbling failures.
First up - Darren Wilson originally migrated from the police academy to a job with the Jennings Police Department in Missouri. He received his training at the now disbanded, corrupt department in 2011. After migrating to Ferguson and shooting a surrendering Michael Brown down, Wilson was placed on administrative paid leave. A GoFundMe campaign sprouted up despite company policy prohibiting the spread of intolerance and hate with a webpage adorned with ugly, racial epithets. Go figure, rewarding a cop with over a $500, 000 for hunting an unarmed teen isn't considered proliferating intolerance. Within six months, Wilson walked away with almost a decade in earnings in less than one-tenth the time of the per annum salary of the typical Ferguson cop at $66,000.
Next at the end of 2014, park surveillance captured the last moments of 12-year-old Tamir Rice playing with a toy gun in a public park, in the open-carry state of Ohio. Timothy Loehmann, a Cleveland cop shot the child two seconds after getting out his squad car. He remains on administrative leave still receiving his $52,000 per annum. The City of Independence, Loehmann's former employer, declared him unfit for duty while handling a firearm and eventually he resigned in 2012 subsequently leap frogging to Cleveland. It seems funding sites may limit their greed to younger children murdered on video.
Earlier this April, another revolting video emerged of former cop Michael Slager shooting Walter Scott in the back as he unsuccessfully tried to flee for his life. Initially, North Charleston PD released and prepped the customary social media assault on Mr. Scott's character. The slain man was portrayed as an aggressive 'perp' attacking a valiant officer defending his life, (hmmm familiar tired strategy") Quickly, news outlets released video of the actual encounter of the shooting".Ooops" fortunately, for the Scott family, Slager's hubris goaded him and other cops into turgid prevarications. Although, GoFundMe rejected the campaign, supporters ran to Indiegogo but they subsequently reversed their decision, probably due to lack luster profitability. Blame public reluctance to oppose the grisly video exposing the cop's fictitious narrative and his subsequent euphoric exaltations after the killing.
Nevertheless, the extent fabricated police reports, embellish stereotypes contradicting video or evidence, by consistently rewarding their malfeasance with administrative paid leave or as cops jokingly term, 'paid vacation' is repugnant. Redefining justice, law enforcement in this manner does not serve our end but only hastens a steep and steady demise.
However, loathsome bigotry can't only be laid before the feet of the nation's police departments, although their fetid feelings are more likely to result in violence or deaths. Corporations, and businesses are reaping the harvest of expressing their prejudice" i.e. Chick-fil-A.
2012 sales increased by 12 percent, to $4.6 billion despite the raucous arising from CEO and family member Dan Cathy's blatant hostility toward marriage equality. Conservatives emerged from their crevices touting greasy Chick-fil-A bags on TV and social media. The LGBT community and their allies rallied amazing, inventive celebration days and events across the country on store-front franchises. The vicious denouncements against gay marriage, receded for a moment with the extraordinary victory for Windsor v US in the summer of 2013 by the Supreme Court, reaffirming the civil rights of LGBT individuals.
Never to be defeated by justice, fairness or equality, conservatives mined the resentment unfurled by the ruling as an infringement on their right to inflict and heave their beliefs onto the lives of others. Armed with mini-lawsuits sprouting up in jurisdictions across the country, small businesses objected to complying with public accommodation policies. They fell back on their unfettered standby, protection of personal beliefs. Although, state versions of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, RFRA generally mirrored the spirit embodied by the original policy, Indiana's Governor Pence took the execrable advantage of fomenting LGBT bigotry by signing legislation. Ah, the condemnation from multiple quarters across the nation, including several governors banning state paid travel to the 'Hoosier' state. Pence's political fiasco was capped off by 'tanking favorables' and like fellow conservative Gov. Hutchinson, eventually tailed-tucked from the notoriety with a revised and signed Arkansas' law.
Still in the morass, GoFundMe ever the capitalist exploiters of tragedy or bigotry, enriched a no-name, Indiana pizzeria to $842,000. Increasingly, small-business owners twisting the entrepreneurial spirit are chasing the crowd funding lottery and hitching their futures to bigotry, even murder. Others have unsuccessfully trekked this knotty course. A Michigan proprietor of a tree trimming service hung nooses and confederate flags in the front of his home and business to the disgust of neighbors. To his chagrin, this purported tribute to an unnamed friend who hung themselves only resulted in bad press alienating the community.
Again, sailing to the good life is edged by a rocky coast, which may dredge up torrents of trouble. Another tool from Michigan, which owns an automotive shop proclaimed he would deny service to LGBT patrons but happily provide discounts for gun owners. Between vandals tagging the shop/property/cars, and the absence of a business operating license levying city fines, the money was rolling out. Compounding this genius' woes, the Secretary of State expressed serious concerns about this mechanic's threats to partially reassemble cars hinting at an investigation. Karma, law enforcement hailed truck-loads of reprisals and unwelcome public attention".and no crowd fund.
As the world witness Baltimore blasting into a smoldering center of civil change following the cryptic circumstances and narrative enveloping Freddie Gray's death, again events leading to murder are individually profitable. All the implicated officers are on paid administrative leave, indefinite vacations, but for how long? Is the rational rooted in salaries/benefits that are drawn at the taxpayers' expense, including those people law enforcement targets? Consider the resources/multi-millions spent on policing demonstrations, impending lawsuits, time loss on closing down businesses and municipality clean-ups in the protection of the 'wall of blue'. Is the difficulty of recruiting predominantly respectable cops insurmountable or is the problem solely the culture and profession?
Following the announcement by Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, of her intentions to pursue charges against six Baltimore cops in the death of Mr. Gray, a GoFundMe page popped up requesting donations. Given the charges ranged from second-degree murder to misconduct, the page was unavailable within the hour. Perhaps the video documenting his wails of pain, the context of his death or the company deciding NOT to ignore their terms of service led to this response. Even so, I doubt the company was fueled by an attack of conscience or decency.
And although a decision on marriage equality is expected to be decidedly positive, affirming loving couples the right to secure legal and social recognition, I know faux religious freedom claims to justify persecution are not over. Crowd funding for bigotry is in its infancy. A plethora of fertile issues exists awaiting exploitation in perverting RFRA. Adding to the circus, will be scurrilous business owners, indifferent corporations, violent and abusive cops seeking an easy pay day cheered by hordes of fools donating to further ignorance and intolerance.
What a sophisticated technological world we live, yet remain haunted by the ugly ghosts and legacies of the old.