Posts tagged Milwaukee

Cops Are Here To Protect You (Cont’d)

Happy Ides of March! To-day is Tyrannicide Day (observed); to-day is also the International Day of Action Against Police Brutality. I don’t know why anyone would be so paranoid or anti-government or anti-cop as to call for protests against police brutality. Everyone knows that cops are here to protect you.

  • Unnamed 19-year-old single mother, Milwuakee, Wisconsin [t/w: sexual violence committed by a police officer]: a 19-year-old single mother, who has chosen to remain anonymous, had a brick thrown through her window, and someone trying to kick in her front door, so she called 911. When the police showed up to help, they took her brother outside and sent her boyfriend out of the house; then one of the cops, Police Officer Ladmarald Cates, rapist on patrol, took the opportunity to corner her while she was alone and repeatedly rape her. When she tried to get outside to tell other police about what happened to her, her rapist grabbed her, spun her around, and had her arrested for assaulting a police officer. She was held in jail for 12 hours while other police called her a liar until she was finally taken to a hospital to be tested with a rape kit. Then they sent her back to the county jail and imprisoned her for four days without any charges ever being filed against her. The police force eventually fired Cates for idling and loafing on duty [sic!] after they confronted him with DNA evidence of the rape, but the local DA declined to prosecute. The survivor was eventually able to find a lawyer who helped her take the case to the Feds for a civil-rights complaint; when they investigated, they found out that before he raped her, Police Officer Ladmarald Cates had already been investigated five times before for illegal behavior, including three previous allegations of sexual abuse. (The local DA had declined to prosecute in those cases, too.)

  • Bassil Abdelal of Chicago, Illinois: Abdelal, the owner of B&B Beauty Supply on the West Side of Chicago, was robbed at gunpoint last year while trying to close up his store. Somebody who saw what was going down called the police from a CTA station, so the robbers ran out of the store. He stepped out to see where they were going to, and picked up a gun they had dropped to protect himself. Then, when the police showed up to help, Abdelal dropped the gun, but they shot him 11 times while he screamed Don’t shoot; I am the store owner. Then they handcuffed him in the ambulance and denied him medical treatment while they questioned him. Then they came by the hospital again in the middle of the night and handcuffed him to the bed, and harassed and interrogated him in repeated visits for over a week.

  • Delma Towler of Altavista, Virginia: Towler, an 83-year-old woman, called 911 to report a burglary at her home. Then she went out into her own backyard, with her gun to protect herself; the police, showing up on the scene to help, gunned down Delma Towler — shooting her three times and killing her in her own backyard — for not responding to shouted orders that she could not hear without her hearing aid. According to the press report, The officer, who hasn’t been named, has been placed on administrative leave . . . . He is believed to be a veteran [sic] with more than 10 years’ experience in the force. . . . The Altavista Police Department chief Clay Hamilton said an internal investigation found the officer involved was not at fault as he followed department policy.

  • Kristen Walker and her boyfriend James, of Rochester, New York [t/w: traumatizing harassment, sexist language, physical violence against a rape survivor by police]: Walker (who is white) and her boyfriend (who is African-American) were harassed by a security guard while shopping in a convenience store late at night earlier this month; then after leaving the store found that they were being followed by police officers. It turns out they were being followed because the security guard — himself an off-duty RPD police officer — had called 911 to tell his buddies that he thought Walker and her boyfriend were suspicious because they were carrying a massive amount of cash on them (they had just gotten their tax return). So, hot on the scent of a possible drug seizure, two police cruisers pulled them over and multiple officers swarmed the car to demand ID and interrogate the two of them separately. When Kristen Walker asked why they pulled them over, the cop replied None of your fucking business, we don’t have to have a fucking reason to stop you. When she pointed out they need to have reasonable suspicion to justify a traffic stop, the police officer told her Yeah?, you smart ass little bitch, get the fuck out of the car. Then he grabbed her by the arm to pull her out of the car and wrenched it behind her back, marched her over to the police car and slammed her head on the trunk. Walker, a rape survivor, was alarmed and told the cops she suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the sexual assault; they ignored her and had both male officers conduct a pat-down search. One police officer told Walker I should beat the fuck out of you, and threatened to pepper-spray her in the face while she was hand-cuffed in the back of the police-cruiser. When she asked for the name and badge number of the police officer, he told her Blow me you little whore, and shut the car door. While she was in tears, a female officer came by, looked inside, and said Aw, look at the little baby crying. When the police failed to find anything in her car, and another police officer told told her they were going to release her and her boyfriend, she again asked for their names and badge numbers, and the cop told her If you get their names and badge numbers you’re either going to jail for disorderly conduct or they’ll take you to the hospital for a mental health arrest. When she got home, she dialed 911 and asked for a supervisor to get the names and badge numbers of the police officers who had pulled them over, interrogated her, harassed her, humiliated her in the most vulgar and violent ways, searched her, beat her, threatened her repeatedly with even more extreme physical violence, re-traumatized her and violated her civil rights in every way over carrying too much cash which is, as you may know, not actually against any law. The officer on the phone explained why they had been singled out for being stopped and searched but also refused to give her the names or the badge numbers of the officers who did it. When a local journalist put up a story about it on the Internet and contacted the city government in Rochester, he was told that they will not be releasing the names of the officers pending an internal affairs investigation.

  • All domestic violence victims, New York, New York: the New York Police Department recently issued an order to all police ordering them to run criminal checks on victims who call 911 to report domestic violence to the police. So now if your partner is beating you, and you call 911, when the police show up to help they will also be checking your name in all NYPD databases to determine whether they’ll be arresting you for anything including for minor offenses like unpaid tickets. According to the New York Post, A [police] source said that even if detectives wanted to take pity on someone who was battered by a spouse, they would feel pressure to make an arrest to avoid getting in trouble with superiors. We have every right to arrest that person at that moment, the source said.

  • All K-12 students, Pennsylvania: Bristol Township School District allows them. Neshaminy and Pennridge schools do not. And Palisades is discussing whether to permit them. But most local school districts have no specific policy on strip-searches of students. Without a policy, there are no guidelines, meaning students can be forced to take off all clothing if suspected of carrying prohibited contraband or material that could pose a threat [for example, dangerous substances like ibuprofen –R.G.]. Statewide, more than 100 school districts have adopted a policy example provided by the Pennsylvania School Board Association in 2009, which sets out the circumstances in which it believes a strip-search would be reasonable and necessary. Palisades introduced its proposed strip-search policy during the school board’s Feb. 6 meeting, leading several parents to speak out against such searches. It defines when administrators could legally strip-search students: a reasonable suspicion that something was being concealed that would be a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the school population and could be recovered only by the removal or searching of a student’s clothes. . . . There are no possible suspicions that could possibly make it reasonable for school administrators or resource-cops to ever have the power to force a student to undergo a strip-search.

  • Charlene Holly, six children, and the family dog, Samson, of Chicago, Illinois. Nine Chicago police officers, lead by Officer Patrick Kinney (the rest of the officers are not named in court documents), broke down the door and forced their way into Holly’s apartment, dressed in army fatigues and with guns drawn, screaming Get on the ground! and demanding at gunpoint that an 11 month old child show his hands. They killed the family dog by choke-dragging him up from the basement and then left him in the upstairs laundry room, where he died. When the police finally showed their warrant, the warrant said that it was for a man named Sedgwick M. Reavers and it was made out for the second-floor apartment at 10640 S. Prairie Street. The apartment that this paramilitary squad had broken into, with guns drawn, was the first floor apartment. When Samuel Holly, Charlene Holly’s husband, tried to make a complaint about the wrong-address storm-trooper raid, the warrantless search and the killing of their dog, the police would not take his complaint over the phone; when he showed up at the police station the next day, they refused to take the complaint, and told him that he should have made a complaint last night.

  • Deborah Braillard, of Maricopa County, Arizona: Braillard, a diabetic, was arrested on minor drug charges and thrown into the Maricopa County jail. She died in jail because the sheriff’s office denied her medical care for three days, even after other inmates warned the jailers that she needed help. This was back in 2005; the story is in the news again because the Maricopa County sheriff’s office has just agreed to make Maricopa taxpayers pay $3,250,000 to Braillard’s family in order to settle the case, after a judge ruled that jurors could be told that key evidence in the case had been destroyed by the sheriff’s department. Of course the people who personally decided to imprison Deborah Braillard and to kill her by denying her access to needed medical care will never pay a cent out of their own pockets.

  • Ferdinand Hunt and Sidney Newman, of New Orleans, Louisiana. Hunt and Newman, two black teenagers, were hanging out on Conti Street after a Mardi Gras parade, waiting for Hunt’s mother to come back from getting some food. Nine plainclothes State Police officers and a NOPD cop then rushed them, surrounded them, and then — in spite of neither young man posing any physical threat at all — were caught on video throwing them across the sidewalk into a wall and beat them. The state troopers claimed that while they were patrolling the French Quarter, they noticed two individuals who appeared to be juveniles and decided to ID them; this is, apparently, how they go about finding out who’s who in New Orleans.

  • Kimani Gray of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York: plainclothes cops swarmed Kimani Gray, a 16 year old boy, late at night, claiming that he adjusted his waistband and attempted to leave when he saw them. So instead of letting him leave peacefully, they pulled him aside and confronted him. Then they shot at him 11 times, killing him. They claim he was pointing a gun at them. Gray was hit with seven of the 11 shots fired; three shots hit him in the back. Less than a year before, plainclothes NYPD drug cops shot and killed an unarmed 23-year-old woman, Shantel Davis, only blocks away. After vigils and protests against police violence in Brooklyn in the wake of the most recent shooting, riot cops set up roadblocks on Church Avenue, grabbed Gray’s sister Mahnefah off the street, kettled protesters and arrested 46 people, mostly for disorderly conduct..

  • Jabbar Campbell of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York [t/w: homophobic language, graphic photo of injuries inflicted by police against a gay man]: Jabbar Campbell, a gay African-American man living in Brooklyn, threw a gay-pride party at his apartment. Police got an excessive-noise complaint related to the party; but when a squad of police showed up at the apartment, they claim that he ignored their demands to discontinue a party and then pushed Sergeant Juan Morero, attempted to flee and flailed his arms at cops and behaved belligerently. Campbell denies that that’s true — but whether it is or not, what happened next is that a gang of nine cops forced their way into the building, deliberately turned off a surveillance camera in the building, and then proceeded to hold him down and beat him repeatedly, punching him in the face and striking him with clubs and flashlights until he lost consciousness, all the while screaming You fucking fag and homo. He was taken to Kings County Hospital with a black eye, a split lip and a bloodied mouth, needing 9 stitches and then taken to jail for 24 hours on charges of resisting arrest, attempted assault and marijuana possession. Police questioned party-goers about whether they were having gay orgies or screwing each other. When Campbell filed a lawsuit against the NYPD over the beating, more armed men, wearing police jackets, broke into his house without a warrant and with their badges hidden from view, refusing to give their names, demanding ID from the gusts at Campbell’s house and searching everyone there. According to Jabbar Campbell, the officers who attacked him are still on the job, although they are being investigated by IAB (internal affairs bureau) and the ADA.

  • Stanley Gibson of Las Vegas, Nevada: Gibson, a 43-year-old US Army veteran suffering from severe anxiety and depression, had a series of run-ins with police over the course of two days and was acting increasingly erratic and disoriented. Police boxed in Gibson’s car on the road; when he refused to come out after an hour, the cops decided to force him out by breaking his windows with beanbag rounds and then filling the car with pepper-spray. Instead, Police Officer Jesus Arevalo fired seven live rounds from his rifle, killing Gibson, who was disoriented, completely unarmed, and had made no attempt either to come out of the car or to attack the police. Back in December, a government grand jury declined to indict Arevalo on murder charges after evidence was presented during hearings closed to the public and Gibson’s family. Now that the case has already been decided using secret evidence, Metro is using Gibson’s case as the first case for their new Police Fatality Public Factfinding Review, a public process created by Las Vegas Metro Police Department’s Sheriff Douglas Gillespie and the Las Vegas Police Protective Association’s Chris Collins to replace the previous Coroner’s Inquest system for police shootings with a new system intended to make the hearings less adversarial and promote the dissemination of information to the public. (To the public, natch; this only goes one way. In the new dissemination-system there is no opportunity for testimony from witnesses, no power to compel police to testify under oath, and no representation from the victim’s family or non-police witnesses.)

  • Alex Landau of Denver, Colorado [t/w: reporting of racist language and extremely graphic photos of injuries from the beating]: Landau, a 19-year-old Community College of Denver student, was pulled over by police, allegedly for an illegal left turn. Cops escalated the traffic stop into a drug search; when they asked to search the trunk of his car, Landau refused, and asked whether they had a warrant — so a group of cops punched him in the face, then beat him for several minutes, after he fell to the ground, with fists, a radio, and a flashlight. They pressed a service revolver to his head and threatened his life. The cops claim they thought they saw a gun, but Landau was in fact completely unarmed. After they stopped beating him the cops laughed at him and said, Where’s that warrant now you fucking nigger? [sic] Then they dragged him across the grass and left him to bleed; they denied him medical treatment for so long, while getting photos taken for their paperwork, that he went into shock on the way to the hospital. He needed 45 stitches and suffered a broken nose, a concussion, and brain injuries from his severe beating at the hands of the police.

Siege mentality

Last month, POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine published another ill-tempered tirade by retired L.A. cop Dean Scoville in the magazine’s Patrol Tactics section. (You may recall Sergeant Scoville from his previous ill-tempered tirade in which he openly praised police brutality against captive prisoners.) This most recent tirade, Four More Cops Killed: Where Is The Outrage? launches into this subject with the following claims of imminent and growing danger that people (non-police) pose to government police:

Shortly before I retired, I openly speculated that we were on the cusp of a new era where people would increasingly bring the fight to us. Moreover, I said they would prove to be greater threats, less predisposed to gangsta-style shooting and actually recognize the significance of sight alignment and trigger control.

I also noted that technology has helped the people who want to kill us develop better eye-hand coordination and tactics via video games and other poor man’s combat simulators, …. They have also become more sophisticated in their choice of weaponry, and are fast becoming better armed than us, accessorizing with everything from laser sights to cop-killer bullets.

… More recently, economic stress, racial strife, a resurrection of militia types, and spillover from Mexican cartel activity have made this toxic cocktail even deadlier.

— Sergeant Dean Scoville (2009-12-01), POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine: Four More Cops Killed: Where Is The Outrage?

He closes the article with the following credo:

Yes, I believe that the job is increasingly dangerous. And it is made more so by what is put out there about it.

(This is used as a springboard for a couple pages’ worth of rambling complaints against society at large for our willingness to embrace anti-cop sentiments and stereotypes, with a special focus on the alleged anti-cop drum beating of Hollywood, rap music, and those segments of society who have fundamentally failed to hold their own [sic] accountable — and, just so we’re clear, by those segments of society, Scoville means black people.[1] Also, I guess he’s pissed off that Dick Wolf decided to cast Ice-T as a cop in Law and Order: SVU.)

Scoville’s claim that being a government cop is increasingly dangerous is not an isolated claim. For example, down in the comments section on the article, another retired government cop, mtarte, writes:

I’m retired now and still wish I could do the job, but today’s cops are in much more dangerous situations than ever before.

— mtarte, in re: Sergeant Dean Scoville (2009-12-01), POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine: Four More Cops Killed: Where Is The Outrage?

In Milwaukee, by way of explanation for why Milwaukee Police Department had begun arming regular patrol cops with semiautomatic rifles:

It’s obvious that our officers are facing an increasingly dangerous threat to their safety as well as the safety of the community as represented by these weapons ….

— Police Chief Ed Flynn, quoted in Officer.com (2009-04-24): Milwaukee Police Increase Firepower

CRIPT Academy, a tactical training outfit for government cops, says that it:

… provides cutting edge training, information, and service that is continually updated to adapt to today’s fluid environment which is becoming increasingly dangerous for those professionals that must operate in harm’s way.

— Officer.com Directory: CRIPT Academy Mobile Training Teams

If you spend much time at all reading articles and public statements by government police, you’re likely to see this received factoid over and over again. Time never alters it; things only get more and more dangerous. No matter what year it is, it’s always this year that’s poised to become the most dangerous year for police ever; in 2007, in an article on how government cops can better confuse detained Suspect Individuals about their rights to refuse searches, former government cop and government prosecutor Devallis Rutledge offered the following:

So far, 2007 is the deadliest year for law enforcement officers in nearly three decades.

— Devallis Rutledge, POLICE: The Law Enforcement Magazine (October 2007): How to Justify Officer Safety Searches

The thing is that all these claims are false. Both in factual detail and in overarching narrative. They could easily have been discovered to be false by taking even a cursory glance at statistics about police deaths in the line of duty. In fact, 2009, when Dean Scoville declared the job to be increasingly dangerous, was the safest year for government police in the U.S. since 1959, in terms of absolute numbers of police officers killed while on duty. With only a few exceptions, the number of government police killed on the job had been decreasing steadily for the past 35 years. Here’s the annual data for the past 35 years, as reported by the Officer Down Memorial Page yearly reports.[2]

Year Total line-of-duty deaths Deaths from violent attacks
(Excluding terrorist attacks.)
Total violent deaths adjusted to 2009 population
1974279149215.48
1975240148211.93
1976202117165.92
1977189108151.63
1978215109151.42
1979214120164.87
1980210113153.44
1981201105141.18
1982194100133.18
198319392121.41
198418483108.59
198517985110.23
198617880102.79
198718284106.97
198819485107.26
19891967998.75
19901627187.76
19911487591.47
19921707286.60
19931638398.53
199418086100.84
19951857789.22
19961436473.30
19971777686.00
19981766673.82
19991514954.18
20001635560.13
20012426772.45
20021596367.41
20031475154.22
20041645658.99
20051645456.37
20061565455.84
20071936566.56
20081384242.62
20091204949.00

Or, if you prefer, here’s the chart. The blue line represents the absolute number of cops killed that year in the line of duty; the yellow line best represents the overall danger to cops from violent attacks (specifically, the number killed in violent attacks against police, adjusted to the U.S. population at the end of 2009).

It shows three lines, each sinking steadily with occasional upticks, for the total number of police deaths, the total number due to violent attacks, and the total number of violent deaths adjusted for 2009 population.

Coming back to Devallis Rutledge’s deadliest year in nearly three decades, it’s true that 2007 saw a sudden jump in the number of police killed, compared to 2006. (The next two years saw a sudden drop back to the trend of decreasing police deaths.) But the main reason for that was a jump in deaths due to automobile accidents and other accidental deaths; the number of cops killed in violent attacks — 65 total — was less than the total number killed in 2001, let alone the much higher rates of violent deaths in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. And in fact, if you adjust for the increases in the total population, and the absolute number of police on the streets, it turns out that the increasing safety of government police over the past 35 years is only the tail end of a general trend that has been going on since 1921. (The temporary uptick in violent police deaths from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s never ended up producing more per-capita violent deaths than there had been in 1935.) Following the yellow line, you can see that 2008 and 2009, at the tail end of this trend were the safest years to be a police officer in over 110 years.

Here's a chart showing three lines, each sinking steadily with occasional upticks, for the total number of police deaths, the total number due to violent attacks, and the total number of violent deaths adjusted for 2009 population. The yellow line, representing the number of violent deaths of cops adjusted for U.S. resident population, shows the steepest and most consistent decline, with 2008 and 2009 lower than any other years else on the chart.

In other words, it’s never been safer to be a cop in America than it has been over the past 2 years. Yet boss cops, spokespeople for the government police, and articles written by cops and for cops, constantly repeat the demonstrably false claims that criminals are more violent than ever before, and that government cops somehow face more danger on their patrols now than they ever have before. That this is a complete lie would be obvious to anyone who had spent 15 minutes perusing the police’s own institutions and resources for honoring their fallen comrades. The interesting question, then, is what kind of purpose the constant refrain of this unfact from government police serves — what it means when ever-more-heavily-armed government cops keep insisting on a completely mythical ever-present, ever-increasing danger to their politically-sacred persons, in spite of the evidence of the senses and the consistent trends over the last century of historical reality. When you see heavily-armed, well-protected men trying so very hard to psych themselves up to believe in a growing danger that does not actually exist — and when this constantly repeated Big Lie is used to slam pop-culture for any attempt to portray any abuse of police power; to swat down real-life complaints about police belligerence or invasions against civil liberties; to explain the alleged need for assault rifles, tanks, cordoning off strategic hamlets in inner cities, and a niche industry in warrior mindset trainings — I couldn’t much blame you if you did see some real danger in this concerted effort to inculcate and reinforce a consciously-constructed, fact-resistant permanent siege mentality among patrol cops. But not danger for the cops.

Do you feel safer now?

[1] These cop haters are often composed of those segments of society who have fundamentally failed to hold their own accountable, the likes of whom celebrated the King riots, the O.J. acquittal, and the Oakland shootings. This is followed up by out-of-left-field references to Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

[2] If you’re interested in getting the dataset in spreadsheet format, just drop me a line and I’ll send it along. For what it’s worth, if you compare thse figures with figures from other sources, like the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund annual statistics, the numbers are typically very similar, but differ by a few. I presume that this is from differences over which agencies to count as law enforcement officers (Officer Down, for example, counts MPs deployed on overseas assignments.) In any case, the numbers tend to reveal the same trends over time. I used Officer Down’s numbers because they provided an easily-accessible breakdown on causes of death over the years they covered.

See also:

Public schooling #2: Criminal texting

(Story thanks to a private correspondent.)

In Wauwatosa, Wisconsin (a suburb of Milwaukee), a 14 year old girl was detained by the police at her high school, interrogated, searched by a male police officer, arrested for disorderly conduct, then body-searched by a female police officer, in order to find a cell phone that it turns out she was hiding in her pants. The charge is that she was sending text messages in class after the teacher told her to stop, and then hid her phone from the teacher when the teacher tried to confiscate it.

Oh my God! Quick, call the cops, before somebody gets hurt!

As far as I know, there has not yet been any public mention of why the Dean Of Students And Head Football Coach thought it was appropriate to escalate the situation into a police interrogation or to launch this ridiculous investigation of a student’s inattentiveness in class. Here’s how Jeff Griffin, the school’s pig-in-residence, justified browbeating, busting and humiliating a 14 year old girl over a minor classroom management issue:

Back in Mr. Swittel’s office [REDACTED] was confronted with the fact that her teacher and two friends said she had a phone out in class. [REDACTED] continued to deny having a phone. She stated she does not own a phone and her dad’s phone is at home.

[REDACTED] was advised she was under arrest for disorderly conduct. She was told her disruption in class with the phone out, the refusal to obey the teacher, and her not telling us the truth is what got her arrested. [REDACTED] was asked again about the phone and she was also told she would be searched incident to the arrest.

— Jeffrey S. Griffin, Wauwatosa Police Department Incident Report Number 09-003386 (2009-02-11), courtesy of The Smoking Gun

Please note that in the view of School Resource Officer Jeffrey S. Griffin, disrupting class by silently sending text messages, or disobeying a teacher’s requests in the classroom and then lying about it to try and cover it up, is not a pedagogical matter; it’s a police matter, and in fact a criminal offense for which you can be forcibly detained, hauled off, arrested, and fined up to $5,000.

See also:

Masculinity Studies 101: Color Coding

Today’s lesson comes to us (thanks to Feminist Law Professors) from a recent trend-story from Ananova on gun stores’ efforts to draw women in as customers:

Firearms shops in the US are stocking pink rifles and shotguns to encourage girls to get into shooting.

A report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says the Gander Mountain hunting store in Waukesha stocks several pink guns.

They include a Remington 20-gauge shotgun with a pink and black stock emblazoned with the slogan: Shoot like a girl if you can!

Store manager Chris Hanson said the guns were aimed, so to speak, at girls and women interested in hunting.

He said the shotgun, and a Crickett rifle with a bright pink stock, were both selling well.

In Baraboo, Jim Astle, owner of Jim’s Gun Supply in Baraboo, has been coating guns in pink and other colours for four years. His 12-year-old daughter owns a pink camouflage shotgun.

Females want to shoot guns, but they want them to look pretty, too, he said. Guys could give a rat’s butt what their gun looks like.

Now, if it were true that guys emphatically don’t care what their gun looks like, then you would expect that a guy would be just as happy to carry a gun that looks like this:

an AR-15 assault rifle painted pink

… as he would a gun that looks like this:

an black AR-15 assault rifle

I encourage you to give any gun-loving male that you happen to know the choice between the two, and see whether he is really indifferent to how his gun looks.

Most men actually have very strong preferences respecting fashion, appearance, color, and so on. Male society enforces these preferences as prevailing norms for masculinity, vigorously and often violently. Anyone who pays a few second’s worth of attention to branding in pop culture can find this out, if he or she did not already know it. But because men and their preferences are treated as the default case, especially when it comes to echt-male pursuits such as shooting, these strong preferences are rendered invisible, whereas women’s are marked out for special observation and remark. This has the further effect of allowing men to pose as especially pragmatic, as if they are coolly unconcerned with pursuits and preferences that they characterize as both feminine and frivolous. Even though, in fact, they have similar pursuits and similar preferences with which they are no less concerned.