December 30, 2016

Which Song do I Post: Orlando, Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, Dallas?

The last time I posted something about relations with the police was not the best of times:   that was in December 2015 when the first of the six police officers indicted in the death of Freddie Gray was cleared due to a mistrial.   Well, if you've been paying attention, you know that now we're "three for three":  since December 2015 two other officers have been acquitted.

That, however, is not why I'm here.  Why AM I here, you may ask?   Well, while it's ain't exactly clear, there's something happening here in the United States of America.

This one, by Buffalo Springfield, seems to be the most appropriate.    Why?   Well, let's look at the last forty-eight hours in our great nation.    While I COULD recap, I'll simply start by reposting (of course, posts are now edited to include information SHOULD anyone have found themselves not paying attention).

1.   July 6, 2016.
So...Baton Rouge.   As we watch the videos, let's contrast the apprehension (and execution) of Alton Sterling to that of Dylann Roof.   Remember him?   Dylann Roof, the young man who shot and confessed to shooting - murdering - nine people at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston last year.   While there are "questions" surrounding Mr. Sterling's dealings with the police (watch the videos - he was assassinated), let us not forget that Mr. Roof was apprehended alive, placed in a bulletproof vest, and taken to Burger King.

Apprehended alive.   Meanwhile, in Baton Rouge....

*that's all for today*

2.   July 7, 2016
So:    Falcon Heights, Minnesota.   Shall we discuss the fact that the deceased was obeying the officer's orders when he was shot WHILE IN HIS CAR, with both is girlfriend and a four-year-old child watching?   shall we discuss the fact that his girlfriend, a very brave woman, remained incredibly articulate as she shared footage LIVE via Facebook (if you're curious, the video in which this woman watched the love of her life BLEED OUT is still circulating)?

Shall we discuss that Louisiana is an open carry state and that the deceased in Minnesota WAS licensed to carry his firearm?  Shall we discuss that neither of the deceased at any time brandished their respective firearms at the policeman who, well...does it even need to be said atain?

I don't think we have to be reminded that Dylann Roof was apprehended alive, fitted with a bulletproof vest, and taken to Burger King - do we?

Do we need to discuss that this was the SECOND in less than twenty-four hours?
*that's all for today*

3.   So:   Dallas, Texas.
Dallas, Texas.    One of the many cities in which there was a LARGE demonstration in response to the unreasonably vicious disregard for human life evident in the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille.  THIS one, however, ended with savage attacks against the Dallas police and has (at present writing) resulted in the death of FIVE officers , the injury of six others, and a civilian injury.

How many memories of Dallas do I have?   The most present and most gruesome being when, after five days in the Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans Basketball Arena, and the basement of the Hyatt Hotel, I arrived in Dallas in a post-Katrina ten-hour bus caravan.   More on that at another time.   The second is from 2010 when I was able to attend the National Performance Network Annual Meeting.

All of that is a big WHATEVER, though, as I am deeply disturbed.    Someone - a group, perhaps? - found out about a Black Lives Matter demonstration taking place in Dallas and decided to take the law into his (or their) own hands last night.   Snipers.   Five police officers dead.   This was NOT the work of a "loose cannon":   with five policemen dead, it is more than safe to say that whoever the assailants were, they were well trained.  I shall not speculate, but I remember a poem titled "Earth" in which one of the subjects said "the fact that they did that shows that there were intelligent people living there".   I'll find the poem, but think about it.    What we just witnessed was NOT a part of the Black Lives Matter demonstration (as further evidenced by reports in the news).    This was a coordinated attack against the police by skillful, well-trained shooters whose intention was to besmirch the Black Lives Matter movement.
With that, we're WAY past gun control.   Far, far, FAR away....

While news reports are saying that three people in Dallas are in custody and a fourth suspect "neutralized", let's look at this - and let's look at it in the lens of what happened in Orlando and what COULD have happened in West Hollywood just a few weeks ago:

June 12, 2016:
Twice in less than twenty-four hours attacks against the LGBTQ community were brewing.   Fortunately, the one in Los Angeles was stopped before it could start.   Sadly, however last night's Orlando tragedy will stay in our hearts and minds.   

TWICE - in less than twenty-four hours.   Less than ONE year after the Supreme Court ruled that states must allow and recognize same-sex marriage.   It's time to revisit Larry Kramer's 2004 Cooper Union speech again (for those who are truly interested, the title of said speech is "The Tragedy of Today's Gays", and it's a darned good read.   Mr. Kramer pulls no punches, and everyone in indicted for good reason).
TWICE - think about it....and while Marco Rubio has declared the assailant in the Orlando massacre "the new face of the war on terror", shall we see an elected official call these premeditated attacks on the LGBT community exactly what they were?   Furthermore...will ANYONE step up and call these attacks exactly what they were to be - targeted mass murder of gay people?

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