THE REAL GUILTY PARTIES

George Floyd and the Blame Game

You could hear the collective sigh of relief yesterday as millions of Americans, white, Black, Native and all those “others” exhaled after the Derek Chauvin verdicts were read in court. George Floyd’s murder in front of Cup Foods in Minneapolis, the firing of cops, the arrests, the trial and the conviction of the kingpin have all marked a significant moment in history.

Let’s step back in time. The 1820 US Census showed there were 233,524 free Blacks in America along with 1,538,038 slaves. The total population of the United States that year was 9,638,453 people. If you use the wretched “one Black person is three fifths of a white person” equation, those 1.5 million slaves counted as 922,823 humans. What an immoral reckoning! Leaving out that ridiculous statistical fraud, our country was 18.3% Black in 1820.

The next US Census (2020) will show how much we’ve changed if they ever get in finished properly. But according to the 2010 Census, the African American population was about 13.5%, but that number is deceiving as to the impact of the black vote in certain states.  Even in 2010, the Black population in Louisiana was 33 percent, Georgia – 32 percent, Maryland – 31 percent, South Carolina – 29 percent and Alabama – 27 percent. The largest percentage was found in Washington, D.C., affectionally called “Chocolate City” back in the 1970s, with African Americans making up 52 percent of the population.

The belief that freed southern slaves took off to live in northern states of the US is a myth. On top of that, if the Republican party doesn’t figure out how to serve the Black community in the south, the right-wing stronghold will dissolve. That being said, what are we doing about another vital statistic?

According to Statista.com, 212 people have been shot and killed by police so far in 2021. Included in that grim count are 50 white people, 30 Black, 20 Hispanic and, weirdly, 112 with no reference to their race. Yes, this is not evidence of police targeting African Americans, but that is not the point, it’s the 212 deadly force incidents that matter most. Why are cops killing our citizens so often? We have no counts of how many cops tased people or hit them over the head with a stick, but the glaring fact that came out of the Derek Chauvin trial is an abysmal lack of policing standards in America. The lawyers for the accused cop said that he was following his training, while members of his own police force said he wasn’t using the proper techniques. Maybe it’s time we codify these practices and present a standard for EVERY police department in America. Is that too much to ask? We should start by making the suffocation of a suspect by a cop a felony crime.

People shot by police by year and race

Too many people argue for the cops, the guys with the guns and the power to end another human being’s life in a split second. Yes, they surely deserve our support and we do pay them with our tax dollars, but they shouldn’t have licenses to kill. We need them and they shouldn’t be defunded, but that money ought to go to better training along with a set of guidelines for the entire country. A white man with a Confederate flag appears to many cops to be much less confrontational than a Black man holding a cell phone. Bias is everywhere, and we must also address how a Black cop faces a white guy wearing a Nazi T-shirt. Prejudice must be trained out of every law enforcement officer.

Sure, accidents will happen, like using a gun that you thought was a taser, but what led to that kind of force being used in the first place? The answer is FEAR. I may be on the wrong side of history with this question, but here goes — why are white cops so afraid of Black men? They will shoot them faster than they would an insane white guy. Walk through some facts with me here.

Kyle Rittenhouse

On August 25, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a man named Kyle Rittenhouse, then a 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, traveled across state lines to shot and kill. He allegedly killed two people and wounded another during multiple confrontations at two locations. He was armed with an AR-15 style rifle and, according to witnesses, one of those he shot had a handgun. Police saw him walking up a street, armed and marching straight toward them. They offered him water and they talked. This man had just killed two people and the cops allowed him to keep his gun and simply walk away. If he was someone they saw as a threat, or was Black, they would have detained him, or worse, killed him. Although he was armed and in tactical gear he was white, and they didn’t see him as a threat even though he could have shot them.

That is a great example of either systemic racism or cops being so biased that they saw a vigilantly as a friend and not a foe. Their job is to protect all citizens from harm. People, we are at a turning point. We do not have a grand victory over evil with one conviction of one bad cop. We have a lousy system of enforcement training and we need to fix that.

Rosa Brooks, author of the book Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City, said on TV the other day that typical police training for firearms is about two weeks in a classroom followed by a couple of days on the shooting range. I believe the machismo of most male law enforcement leaders can be summed up this way, “Of course they know how to shoot, they want to be cops.” That is nonsensical and wrong. The use of a gun by a cop should always be the last resort to resolve conflict, but as we saw in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, guns are pulled out and raised at a suspect’s head immediately, especially when that suspect is Black.

According to the Army Times website, “Body camera footage shows 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, dressed in uniform with his hands held in the air outside the driver’s side window as he told the armed officers, “I’m honestly afraid to get out.” The officer said, “Yeah, you should be!” We’ve all seen the video of Nazario being drenched with pepper spray as he sat in his car. By the way, he’s suing the police for $1 million claiming his rights were violated. Too bad there isn’t a video. Oh wait, there is.

The blame game will continue. It’s how police, their unions, their management and governments avoid large payouts to victims of police malfeasance. If putting your knee on a man’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds is standard procedure, then we have given police judgement by fiat of the badge and the power of extrajudicial executions. That’s not a place where I want to live.

Here, perhaps, is some good news. After the guilty verdict in George Floyd’s death, the Associated Press reported that Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected to announce the Justice Department is opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis. Hopefully, this will be is a first step in making stronger laws for the police to follow and for us to rely on. If we don’t act on this, we are the guilty party. Shame on us if we think one trial fixed everything.

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BAD PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES

Trump’s Opinions on Crime are Worthless

You may have heard the term “suicide by cop.” Unfortunately, it can arise as law enforcement apply undue force to control the final act of desperation by a mentally ill person trying to escape the demons and delusions in their head. In the past ten days, we’ve seen more protesting because of further incidents of death at the hands of police officers whose extreme actions were caught on video. At the same time, the President of the United States has stirred up the far-right militias to counteract the disturbing tactics of a small group of violent protesters who claim to be members of Antifa, a loosely defined group whose members illegally destroy property and injure others.

Rittenhouse & Reinoehl

Antifa is a condensed version of the word “anti-fascist,” and the US group is a decentralized movement of far-left radicals or, as we used to call them, anarchists. Just as the far-right uses social media to spread its destructive messaging and plans, anarchists do the same. Both are attempting to either hijack or eliminate the Black Lives Matter movement.

Trump sees everything through a lens that people either are for him or against him. He views QAnon as good only because they support him. He has no interest in learning anything else about them. He sees the pickup trucks filled with Trump flags, long guns and “minuteman” logos as positive… period. He will not say they are bad because he doesn’t have the mental capacity to analyze them any further than what they can do for him. I hate to break the news, but Donald John Trump wants a civil war.

Our President would enjoy a “race war” so that he can keep up the fear while pitching his anti-freedom, law and order rhetoric. Last night, a fool went on VICE News, a progressive cable TV news show, and admitted that he killed the counter-protester in Portland. It didn’t take long to bring the man to justice, I mean, kill him.

The New York Times says it all, “Law enforcement agents killed Michael Forest Reinoehl while trying to arrest him, four officials said. He was being investigated in the fatal shooting of a supporter of a far-right group.” To point out the brazenness of this guy would be understating his actions. He was asking to be caught and may have wanted to be shot.

Not only did Mr. Reinoehl go on the TV news show, but back in June he posted on Instagram, “I am 100% ANTIFA all the way!” and added that, “I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! Even if some of them are too ignorant to realize what antifa truly stands for. We do not want violence, but we will not run from it either!” I must conclude that this guy was on the FBI’s radar.

In the Vice interview, Mr. Reinoehl said he had acted in self-defense believing that he and a friend were about to be stabbed. “I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color, but I wasn’t going to do that.” Okay, but going on TV to build a case for self-defense and saying he had to do it was totally stupid. Video of the incident clearly shows he was a safe distance away from his alleged victim. The audacity of asking his friend, Tiffanie Wickwire, to set up a GoFundMe page to help him with his defense is telling. He knew in advance that things would not end well.

The “task force” surrounded the place where Mr. Reinoehl was staying. Ultimately, the US Marshals Service, the Lakewood Police Department and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, along with help from the Washington State Department of Corrections, got their man. This group effort ended when Mr. Reinoehl resisted arrest and allegedly pulled a firearm on the police. They killed him, but we have no information about the number of rounds fired.

If you are wondering why so much force, well, the man killed another human being, just like Kyle Rittenhouse, from Antioch, Illinois, did. He is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the killings of two protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse is in custody in Illinois waiting for an extradition hearing to be completed, but that has been delayed for one month. I’m uncertain about the reason for the deferral, but it could be because Mr. Rittenhouse is a minor and not legally permitted to carry that firearm.

But let’s return to the real problem right now. It’s the White House “leader,” who howls at the moon and decries the radical left, holding up the killing of an antifa guy like it was Seal Team Six’s moment with Osama bin Laden. Trump will do nothing to heal the nation. He will not call for a cease fire or attempt to push back both sides. He just can’t. The lame Donald “Duck” Trump quacks and quacks about how bad things are, while continuing to root for the guys with long guns. He’s enabling them, endorsing them, and engaging in a destructive strategy. He’s become Jefferson Davis. So, if civil war is Trump’s answer to losing his power, then American democracy will be destroyed by this child president.

Here is a strange, perhaps inappropriate, observation but, hey, someone has to present it. All the people involved in these terrible incidents are WHITE. The two protesters in Kenosha who were shot by Kyle Rittenhouse were white, as is Kyle himself. The anti-protester-protester in Portland who lost his life, was white. The guy who allegedly pulled the trigger is white. This is not an African America battle playing out; it’s all about two extreme, evil groups.

Black people in America are used to white people stealing their music and appropriating their culture. It’s been happening for centuries, but the real danger for young black people in this country is an on-going bias when being approached by police officers. I believe that there is some racism in every white person in America. More Black men are killed by the police than white men, 2.8 times as often, and more African Americans than whites are incarcerated in this country. Those are facts.

Movements are always susceptible to being hijacked for ideological or monetary reasons. Yes, people are raking in cash by selling Black Lives Matter T-shirts while pro-police organizations make money through the Thin Blue Lives flag decals and paraphernalia they peddle, but these things are not important. What we all should be asking is how do we resolve this crisis? How do we battle COVID, economic uncertainty and social unrest all at the same time?

We need a father figure to bring us together, to help us understand the evil desires and dark sides of these groups and their issues. There are destructive, mean and violent people on both sides. Perhaps you have discerned my radical views on politics and religion because you’ve read my books on both subjects, but do you really know me? One of my sincere desires is God sending Jesus back down to Earth to straighten us all out. Surely, he would never preach there are good people on both sides. There is only one straight path.

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