How Fear Infects

by Patrick Appel

TNC connects the Oscar Grant case to the cop who pulled a gun during a snowball fight:

"Fear" is the common defense for officers who abuse the state-sanctioned right to brandish lethal force, excusing everything from the killing of Amadou Diallo to pulling a gun in the middle of a snowball fight. The question, however, remains--If you scare this easy, why are you a cop?

My old friend Julianne Hing has the best write-up on the Oscar Grant verdict, by far. Adam Serwer is in the same ballpark as Ta-Nehisi:

Times change, but the radioactive fear of black people, black men in particular, has proved to have a longer half-life than any science could have discerned. This is not a fear white people possess of black people -- it is a fear all Americans possess. It makes white cops kill black cops, it makes black cops kill black men, and it whispers in the ears of white and nonwhite jurors alike that fear of an unarmed black man lying face down in the ground is not "unreasonable." All of which is to say, while it infects all of us, a few of us bear the brunt of the suffering it causes.