In the week after the murder of Scout, a friend and comrade to many, we mourn. We condemn the structural violence that killed them– police domination, violence and marginalization towards gender non-conforming people, the pressure and lack of support at a Georgia Tech– and the cop who murdered them.
But we also remember their beautiful life.
Scout, who went by the pronoun “they”, was intersex, gender non-binary, queer, an anarchist, a comrade, a friend to many. They were president of the Pride Alliance at GA Tech, and seen by many as a leader on campus for queer rights. They marched in the streets and organized against DAPL, Trump, fascists, and more. Some of us met Scout at police abolition meetings or in the streets.
The university administration, police, media, and sadly other students have attempted to flatten their life and death and strip it of all political meaning. Media has focused on the mental health aspects and insisted on the loaded term “suicide-by-cop” to justify or excuse the action of the cop; university administration has presented it as an “tragic accident” instead of murder; some students have blamed lack of funding for police or lack of Crisis Intervention Training.
But these narratives divert attention away from the question of why police are on Georgia Tech’s campus in the first place, or the reality of transmisogyny at Georgia Tech, or the pressure on someone not only fighting to succeed as a pressure-cooker school with a severe lack of support for students, but also someone fighting for liberation in a culture which respects and rewards patriarchy and white supremacy.
Students at Georgia Tech tell the story: the school does not support LGBTQ students, leaving many queer, non-binary, and/or trans students without resources needed to survive and thrive under patriarchy, let alone the stress of university life. The LGBTQ office is literally a converted closet. Mental health goes severely unsupported at college campuses generally, but especially at Georgia Tech which has an unusually high suicide rate among its students.
At the same time, Georgia Tech is listed in the top 100 most militarized universities in America– as number 26. Further funding for mental health services, while a positive step, does nothing to address the other threat: cops on campus.
It’s time to remove police from Georgia Tech, from all college campuses, and from our lives. This murder shows us yet again that cops are a danger to the lives of students and everyone. Knowing that police will not protect us, we need to learn to protect ourselves and our communities– both from the violence of transphobia, misogyny, racism and other structural violences, and from the police.
By continuing the struggle against police brutality, homophobia and misogyny we try our best to honor Scout’s life.
If you’d like to meet other folks in Atlanta who want to build this kind of world, A World Without Police has organizing meetings every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 7PM at First Iconium Baptist Church.
Rest in Power, Scout.