Mendocino County
Mendocino County Samson1976/

The Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman now considers one of the white mothers, Jennifer Hart, of the six adopted children of color, a criminal. From the evidence his department has gathered from the mysterious crash that killed five people early last week (three of the children are still missing—one of whom, a black boy named Devonte, briefly became an internet celebrity when a picture of him hugging a white cop went viral), shows that the driver, Jennifer Hart, had the pedal to the metal when her 2003 GMC Yukon flew off the California cliff and crashed into the rocks and waves. "I'm to the point where I no longer am calling this an accident; I'm calling it a crime," Allman confidently told reporters yesterday.

As for the three missing children? "Right now, we have to leave open the possibility they could be in Washington or Oregon or elsewhere in California... There is always that possibility," said Sheriff Lt. Shannon Barney to the New York Daily News. This possibility sounds terribly optimistic. Those kids are either dead in the ocean or dead in a place that the suspected criminal or criminals left them. At this point, one must only imagine the worst. If Jennifer Hart did drive off that cliff, it's fair to suppose that the more we open up her and her family's story, the uglier it's going to get. The California coast was just the culmination of years of lord knows what and how awful.

The Hart family, also known as the Hart tribe, are believed to have fled Washington state after CPS started investigating child abuse allegations on March 23rd. Sarah, the driver of the car, already had a record for abusing one of the children. If she is indeed a criminal, then those kids were living in hell.

Next time you see a picture of a black boy wrapping his arms around a white cop and crying do not instantly think: See, a better world is possible, if we just try to make it happen. First think: That ain't right; that boy must really be in deep shit.

But why did so many white and liberal Americans fall for this image, which is becoming more and more sinister as evidence of child abuse and murder mount? Because they want to change things without really changing their way of life. To obtain a good of idea of this kind of wishful thinking, recall how liberal whites go on and on about the population bomb exploding all over the brown and black Global South. They worry that the planet may not be able to sustain so many humans, and strongly advocate UN and US aid for birth control and family planning programs to curb the crisis. But this neo-Malthusian position completely avoids the deeper and truer problem. Carbon liberated by, say, a baby in Africa is nowhere near that liberated by a baby in the US or Europe. Black people fucking like rabbits in the tropics is the least of our problems; and this whole emphasis on the population bomb is, in essence, a way of trying to change the world without really changing one's way of life: habits of consumption, modes of transportation, forms of habitation.

The same thing made the image of Devonte go viral. Middle-class liberal whites very well know that racist white cops hurt and kill people of color and protect their wealth and way of life. But when people of color demand fundamental changes to law enforcement, many liberal whites imploded into inaction. What does it mean to totally reform this institution from top to bottom? What will it mean to me? What might I lose? Surely we can all just get along. It's not that cops are that bad. Some are actually kind. It's just a simple matter of seeing eye to eye, heart to heart. We're just one big family. Suddenly, the image of a crying black boy hugging a white cop flashes on the screen, and Whoomp! there it is: Like to your heart's delight.