He wanted to teach me a lesson about how serious this stuff was

It’s hard for me to imagine eight cops were really riled up to do that

Thank you for subscribing to Hell World. Please consider purchasing a subscription to receive every issue or giving a gift subscription to someone you want to bum out. Thanks to Tyler Littwin for the art.

Subscribe now

Give a gift subscription

Gregory McKelvey looked out his window and saw the cops in riot gear marching up the street toward his home. He thought to himself that’s really weird what’s going on he told me and scared for what was about to happen next he did what a lot of teenagers might do he he ran upstairs and hid under his bed. Maybe if no one answers the door they’ll go away he thought.

Instead his grandmother went to the door and just as she arrived they forced their way in with guns drawn.

“I actually think most of those officers thought they were doing something different because it’s hard for me to imagine eight cops were really riled up to do that,” he said.

One of them thought he might have stolen a calculator at school.

The officer who had taken to harassing McKelvey of late rifled through his things. The dog was freaking out and his grandmother didn’t understand what was going on. They took his computer his family’s computer and his cell phone and then they kept them for a year all while trying to crack the case of the missing calculators but in fairness it was a TI84 which at the time about ten years ago would have gone for around $60 so you can understand the urgency of the mission.

Gregory McKelvey@GregoryMcKelveyI had a police officer stationed in my high school. At one point he got a warrant to investigate me for a stolen calculator, that I didn’t steal. He kicked down my door after school one day with 8 other cops in riot gear with guns drawn on my Grandma.

I spoke with McKelvey after reading a thread he posted on Twitter this week about his experience having police officers stationed in schools. In Portland near where he grew up the school board voted this week to pay police $1.2 million a year to be stationed at schools around the city five days a week despite protests from students and activists who say the board hadn’t allowed enough time for the community to voice their thoughts on the issue. The school board chair Rita Moore who had previously pledged to oppose such a measure was not in attendance for the vote this week.

Previously school resource officers would be on hand at schools around the city for a handful of days at no cost to the district.

Vice chair Julie Esparza Brown the only board member of color was the lone no vote.

She explained that “she'd been unfairly targeted as a person of color and that she was worried about how this decision would adversely affect children of color in schools,” as Oregon Live reported. She said she’d also been against having armed police at Portland State University where she is a professor and where officers shot a man to death this summer. Jason Washington a forty five year old postal worker and Navy veteran was shot at seventeen times and hit nine times by the school officers roughly thirty seconds after they got our of their vehicles. Witnesses said Washington was trying to break up a bar fight at the time but a jury later declined to bring any charges against them for killing him because juries love to believe in the good intentions of police.

People tend to think about the presence of police officers in school as offering a measure of safety in the case of a school shooting which may or may not be true but they don’t tend to think about what the police are supposed to be doing during all the downtime when schools aren’t under assault. It may not seem like it but schools in America aren’t actually being shot up all day every day year round. So cops, given nothing else to do, will always revert to being cops. If they’re stationed at an otherwise relatively peaceful school they’ll often go looking for people to harass or for exciting crimes to solve to make themselves feel like they’re not wasting their time. And it’s no surprise what types of students end up being the recipient of their attention.

A while after the time his home had been raided McKelvey was arrested again by the same officer at track practice.

“After that the coaches would not let me become captain, again impacting my college options. It also impacted which kids would risk associating with me. For some kids this means hanging out with kids who are actually committing crimes and falling into that life,” he tweeted.

“I was expected to go to school the next day with him there. I had to hold it all in. I had nightmares about it for years. I couldn’t focus in class, I was always terrified. The white kids were getting stickers from him as I feared for my life.”

Subscribe now

I called McKelvey this morning to hear more about his story and to learn more about the situation in Portland schools. The twenty five year old recently relocated to Atlanta where he works now for a non-profit focused on issues around homelessness is a board member of the local DSA chapter.

I’ve read the news reports on the police in schools issue but can you explain it from your perspective?

There’s been a movement toward getting rid of cops in schools at the high school level in Portland but also at the college Portland State University. Recently cops killed two people within the last year there, so there’s a lot of momentum toward removing cops from schools. The last thing people really expected was to get the opposite where they’re adding police in schools. Especially when the person who is the board chair now was asked specifically about this in debates and said they would support removing officers from schools. The board chair was conveniently not at the vote but it’s hard to imagine a vote would have happened with the strong opposition of the chair.  

Portland is the whitest major city in America so I think for a lot of the students and especially the parents officers in schools do make them feel more safe. So I think it’s important to tell the stories of the people who do not feel more safe.

Is the school board Republican? Is is this like Trumpian we’ve got to harden the schools rhetoric?

No, it’s so much worse than that because they’re all what across the country I guess would be called pretty liberal Democrats. It just goes beyond party. I think their idea of it is they don’t think about what the officers spend most of their time doing. Rather they think about school shootings. So they’re trying to protect the school from a possible shooting, but it’s funny because these are the same people that would laugh at the notion of a “good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun” unless that good guy is a cop.

Where were you in school when your encounters with the police happened?

I went to a school called Southridge High School in the suburbs of Portland like ten minutes away. The demographics would’ve been identical to most Portland schools. As soon as I started high school where there was an officer there, it was like constantly bing afraid of being arrested for stuff I either didn’t do, that my friends did, or that every white kid was doing also, like smoking pot. White kids are running around smoking pot all over high school and their biggest fear is that their parents are going to find out and it doesn’t even cross their mind that they’re going to be arrested for it.

You were hassled by one in particular?

This officer thought that I was a part of stealing a specific calculator. There was a cart of calculators that was stolen earlier in the year and he thought whoever did that was probably responsible for any stolen calculators. It was a TI84 at that time I think they were like $60.

I would get called into the office whenever anything went missing. I had no reason to steal I wasn’t poor or anything. But all of my black friends would get called into the office, and when you do it’s not like just the vice principal’s office it’s a police officer and the vice principle.

People tend to like it, she said. They like the pay.

Who doesn’t like to to get paid?

Thanks for subscribing to Hell World. Please consider purchasing a subscription to make sure you get every issue like this one from the other day or perhaps a gift subscription for someone in your life who you think is in too good a mood all the time.

Subscribe now

Jackie Crow lost one hundred pounds and she’s very proud of that fact and why wouldn’t she be that’s almost an entire adult human being that she doesn’t need to carry around with her anymore. If you lived for years with a one hundred pound person riding around on your back and then one day they got off like ok I’m done with the piggyback ride now you’d be elated. Imagine how much more lightly you could step.

Jackie Crow lost the weight by working as a delivery driver for Amazon although not really working working for Amazon it was working for herself is what they call it and Amazon just happened to tell her where and when to do the work and monitored how efficiently she did the work all the while being able to increase or decrease her opportunities to do the work whenever they decided. Still it’s a job right. It’s not though but still right.

Three years ago Jackie Crow who is almost fifty years old was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and she weighed three hundred pounds at the time so she needed to make some changes in her life and when the gig with Amazon Flex came along she made the most of it.

"I feel great. I have more energy, I'm active, I don't need a walker anymore," Jackie Crow told KSHB in Kansas City and we know about her story because Amazon the company with almost $180 billion in revenue a year owned by the richest man in the history of the world shared the piece on Twitter and you have to admit it is pretty generous of them to allow Jackie Crow to lose all that weight.

Amazon News@amazonnewsAmazon Flex allowed this woman to lose 100 lbs in 18 months by creating a workout while delivery packages. https://t.co/uBk49fYzFi

Imagine if you had $140 billion like Jeff Bezos and then lost $139 billion of it. Imagine how much more lightly you could step.

People think we live in a harrowing dystopia but the world is really a lot dumber than that. This sounds like something out of Philip K. Dick or whatever similar dude you care to think of but as many people have pointed out it’s literally an episode of Nathan For You and I’d say that’s fair that’s about what we deserve. The real twist of the knife of Hell World is that we get to slowly boil through the invention of all of the punishments of techno-futuristic space capitalism without even living long enough to see the cool stuff like Moon Men.

“Amazon Flex allows drivers like Crow the flexibility of picking their own work schedules,” is what KSHB wrote about the whole situation with Jackie Crow and they also said the flexibility of the job helped her have time for her family and to help with the other job she has at their family pizza shop. You can be so much more flexible when you aren’t given set hours at a job and it’s nice to be able to come and go and work whenever you want without the responsibility or benefits of a full time job everyone knows that. Jackie Crow also said the extra money she makes helps her pay for her son’s college.

“I use it as a way to get my heart rate up,” Jackie Crow said over footage of her jogging briskly up the stairs in the news report. “Amazon!” she says outside the door bending down to drop off the package in a voice that sort of breaks my heart a little. Maybe she says it like that usually or maybe she thought she had to put a little extra something on it because the TV cameras were there. It’s not easy to bend down like that when you have arthritis you’d have to guess.

“I’m constantly looking at my watch,” she says on the TV and that’s probably partly for her health but also because Amazon Flex workers are incentivized to do as many deliveries as possible in as short a period of time because they’re all competing for a limited number of gigs available in their area on any given day so you have to go so fast.

Subscribe now

I called Amazon Flex just now to see about signing up to get some extra work and the woman at the call center told me I could make no less than $18 and up to $25 an hour delivering packages in my area but a report from Bloomberg said it actually ends up being between $5 and $11 an hour when you factor in expenses like gas and tolls and wear and tear on your automobile because you have to use your own car don’t be fucking stupid they aren’t going to give you a car to use where would they get cars for their business.

“Package runs are timed, and workers are kicked off the system for missing delivery windows, which creates an incentive to run red lights, double-park and go over the speed limit, drivers say,” according to Bloomberg. “After an assignment, Flex workers are sometimes required to bring goods they were unable to deliver back to the warehouse. The trip is unpaid and can take an hour or more but is necessary to stay in good standing with the company.”

UPS pays about $36 an hour plus expenses and the American Postal Workers Union says workers make around $75,000 a year. My uncle was a postal worker most of his life and he raised a few kids and owns a home and seems to have had a happy life but now he has Parkinson’s disease which is what killed his father my grandfather and will probably kill me? Remind me to look up if that is hereditary.

I asked the Amazon Flex rep what I needed to do to sign up today. Oh wait hold on I just remembered they’re shutting down USPS mail delivery tomorrow to honor the death of George H.W. Bush to which my response was: What the fuck? Most federal workers will have the day off and I just saw someone say that means courts are closed tomorrow so hopefully no one gets arrested tonight and has to spend an extra day in jail to honor the president.

“Do you have a vehicle with four doors? Do you have a drivers license, insurance?” the nice woman from the Amazon Flex call center said. They also require a background check she said. For what type of thing?

“They check to see your background, to see what’s going on. I’m not exactly sure what they’re checking for pretty sure it’s just a level 2 or level 1.”

Ah the old level 2 or level 1.

“Once you get accepted and you have the app downloaded onto your phone, you will be able to pick up delivery shifts and it will let you know on the app, if it’s a block between say 12:30-4:30, it has a certain amount of packages you need to pick up and it will let you know how much you will earn for that four hours. You pick them up, everything is self explanatory in the app, it’s step by step, you punch in when you arrive, then you get paid. Pay usually goes out on Tuesday and Fridays. It starts at $18 depending on the size of your vehicle and how many packages you can deliver. It varies from $18-$25.”

There are no limits on how much I can work she told me but there are sadly no benefits offered.

“You’re considered an independent contractor so it’s like you’re working for yourself, you’re just being able to deliver for Amazon.”

Do people actually…like the job?

“People tend to like it,” she said. “They like the pay. Who doesn’t like to to get paid?”

One way I’ve been thinking about trying to lose some weight myself is to not drink 1000 calories of whiskey every night. I haven’t consulted a dietician or anything but that seems like altogether too many calories of whiskey.

Loading more posts…