Enemies Among Us

Robert Davis made a mistake. And a busy intersection in the New Orleans French Quarter in twenty-first century America transformed itself into a street pitted by the hatred of decades ago, where he found himself gazing up at old-south bubbas confidently reconstructing him into a bloody mass of tissue as he writhed in his own blood.The father of Khursheda Sultanova made a mistake and the elitist beasts still roaming the Russian landscape stabbed his 9-year-old daughter to death on an open street in the middle of a civilized society.

In the presence of all of his social order, Yusuf Sultanov couldn't protect his daughter from the murderous voracity of a group of attackers who in their racist insanity felt threatened by one little girl.The parents of Anthony Walker made a mistake and allowed their teenage son to leave their home. They didn't know that the day would bring him into contact with famished wolves racing among the sheep, hungry for the flesh of those it hadn't been able to taste in a long time. But the color of the terrorists' skin in London's subway bombing unleashed the blood-lust long waiting and in one of the oldest civilizations in Europe their son's head was cloven in two.They, like Jean Charles de Menezes, the mother of Suzie Pena, Devin Brown, Amadou Diallo, Abner Louima, Anthony Baez and tragically numerous others, made the same mistake. The mistake of thinking they were equal and free in a part of the world where certain heinous individuals still questioned the validity of their continued existence.

They believed they lived in societies civilized to the point that the enemies of mankind couldn't rise up to harm them or their families and they were wrong.In the beating of Davis we saw the beginnings of the process of death and in most of these others we saw the conclusions. And though some of these acts of violence upon the people named above were not all committed by police in uniform but by civilian mobs, I contend that the same spirit was just as much in the uniform as in the swastika-labeled clothing of the neo-Nazi skinheads who stabbed Sultanova to death. Just as it was there when Menezes and Pena lost their lives.

It's the same spirit wearing a black boot that will kick a man as he lies in the midst of his own blood. Violent, vicious, merciless.This is the spirit of the bestial among us and they are not always terrorists or other so-called criminals, at least, not in the sense that we would define them. Unlike terrorists and criminals, these beasts are often officially and culturally-sanctioned and live freely and even honored among the societies. They populate our corporations, our law enforcement agencies, our cities, our towns.

But in times of revelation, they are recognized by the spirit of the mob, a spirit that gets its strength and fuel from the small unaddressed hatreds that occupy men's hearts but never finds place for expression except in the pack.These beasts are also not always physically violent, but intellectually so. They occupy the highest echelons of governments and universities in extremists who tear and chew at the thoughts of any group or any one who demands equality in disagreement or freedom in dissent. They propagate and proselytize beliefs that outside the pack, they would never dare to condone.Yet the most common and recognizable of them is found in the uniformed brutes who viciously assaulted Davis.

They thrust themselves upon our worlds in rude and violent forms. Yet most often in the form of the mob.A mob characterized by the violence it carries out in the light, in the light of the camera, in the sight of men, in the village square, it does not hide. It is this characteristic that subliminally frightens. Because most people know that some of the vices of the human heart are kept in check only by the light and and keeps many from sinking into the abyss of human depravity.But in a bright and blinding light, the New Orleans police officers persisted.

And in that one lone detail they reached a level of group brutality seldom witnessed before. They reached a level that the murderers of Sultanova and Walker and Pena didn't reach.They persisted, despite the presence of the AP producer. They persisted through screaming witnesses and rebukes. They persisted despite the glare of the camera.

They persisted. What can be said about the characters of such individuals? If that kind of light will not deter them, nothing will.Theirs was a persistence that shocked the soul. And we must not make the mistake of failing to recognize the source of it as some others who would twist reality.

It finds its heart in the irrational, unremorseful, unrepentant spirit of the mob. And the mind-set and sadistic rule of the mob must not be tolerated.



By: S. D. Harrell

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