I am not saying that All That Remains frontman Phil Labonte’s opinions are any more or less important than my own. But I will say that there’s a slight difference.
As far as I can tell, most people come to this website exclusively for my opinion. Or they accidentally stumble upon the blog, read my opinions, and think me an asshole and move on.
Oh, and I never get political. I refuse. Nothing is more divisive than political talk, so I just shy away from it generally.
Not Phil. He has no qualms with voicing his opinions on political issues, which you’ve got to imagine he considers pretty important.
That’s because tons of blogs out there are looking to rake in traffic, so they agree to interview Phil, mostly because he ignites firestorms with his inane comments.
After recently hypothesizing that black people have had a harder struggle than gay folks, himself being neither black nor gay, Phil has injected himself into the ongoing debate in America about the use of excessive police force against black youths.
Specifically, he’s made comments about the Eric Garner case. Garner, a black man, was unarmed when New York City police stopped him for selling “loosies” — single, tax-free cigarettes.
Depending on who you are, Garner was either a victim of police brutality or an aggressor who disobeyed police orders. Ultimately, Garner was placed in a chokehold and that contributed to his death, which prompted numerous protests.
Because the goons at Radio.com can’t come up with intelligent questions for Phil (which is fine; I don’t even want to interview the dude), they asked him to expound on his comments about the black and gay struggle.
“I think it was pretty clear. African-Americans have had a shit deal. You look at the prison system, I think black people [outnumber white people] six to one. You had slavery, you had Jim Crow, and now you’ve got — and this is something that Rand Paul says — you have a racial outcome.”
He didn’t stop there.
“I don’t think that cops are walking around [saying], ‘Let’s go get us a black guy!’ I don’t think that that’s happening. But, at the same time, I think that… It all boils down to legislation. Because the places where the police tend to have to patrol more [are the] poor neighborhoods. I mean, Eric Garner shouldn’t be dead for selling loose cigarettes. And it wasn’t the cops that killed him, even though the cops were physically on top of him [when he died]. It was the tax laws. It was the government that killed him. Leave the guy alone. Let him fuckin’ sell cigarettes. The reason that he’s selling [unpackaged] cigarettes is because it’s ten dollars a frickin’ pack in New York. And poor people can’t afford ten dollars a pack! So the people that are hurt by laws aren’t the rich people, they’re poor people. So if you’re a poor person, and you’re getting a shit deal, stop voting for people that wanna pass laws. Vote for people that want to repeal laws.
“More freedom is gonna end up with less negative consequences. And you won’t have people like Eric Garner dying for no fuckin’ reason. He had six kids! I mean, he was resisting, in the thought process of he was not submitting to be taken away. But he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. They’re, like, ‘Oh, he was arrested thirty times.’ You know what? Tell him to move along thirty-one [times], tell him to move along thirty-two [times], tell him to move along thirty-four times, tell him to move along a hundred more times. Don’t beat the crap out of the guy. Or kill the guy.”
Phil also chimed in on the Michael Brown case. The police shooting of an 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, has inspired protests nationwide.
“As much as we’ve been bashing on the situation with Garner, the New York Police, and the people of New York did everything right [in the wake of the tragedy],” Labonte said. “The people in Ferguson did everything wrong. The police came out in full combat gear.”
“You look at the ‘60s, there were bombings in the ‘60s, there were riots, there was violence, you didn’t see cops in full kit, like they were going into Afghanistan or Iraq. They had their riot shields, they had their batons and they had helmets. Fine. And then as soon as the Highway Patrol took over in Ferguson, you didn’t see the guys out with their ARs [rifles]. You don’t need overwatch on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. You don’t need an elevated sniping position. That’s so overblown. And, because the guy died, you’re gonna go and burn down a building? That’s retarded too.”
Nice choice of words there, Phil.
“As bad as the whole situation overall is, the over-militarization of police, the over-legislation, I think that those two issues are totally studies in the complete wrong thing to do, on both sides, and the complete right thing to do. New York did a great job. Ferguson? Not so much.”
All That Remains have a new album coming soon. If you care, you probably know all the details.
I wish people would stop interviewing Phil, like his opinion is important.
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