Posts Tagged: violence

Political hate

Protector 800I was recently accused of being a GOP hater, no matter what, and regardless of the agenda. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been accused of a lot worse things, so that message cut about as deep as, well it bounced right off if you must know. But this morning I thought it might behoove me to address it.

Highlights of the Republican National Convention: a hubbub on the floor as Anti-Trump delegates attempted to force a roll-call vote (they were summarily ignored by loyalists*), a cribbed speech by Mrs. Trump (sorry, the third Mrs. Donald Trump, just to clarify), a whole lot of Anti-Hillary yelling and screeching (because an entire day’s event should be based on what you don’t believe), and Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse (the guy’s a steaming pile of horse shit**, in my book, but everybody has a bit of good in them, right?).

Actually, I haven’t watched a lick of the convention. I honestly can’t care about it; I’ve already heard enough out of the GOP. They have now officially nominated a man who thinks we need to build a wall between us and Mexico and named some ridiculous specific height – because surely there are no ladders that tall. He believes we should block all Muslims from entering the US and target those already here, just in case they’re radical – because that’s not unconstitutional at all, not to mention stupid on fiscal, moral, and logistical levels. He openly mocked a physically challenged reporter, made that insane statement about what he could do on Fifth Ave in NYC and not lose a single voter/fan/morally untethered American, incited violence inside of his rallies then blamed protesters outside. You poured that gasoline, (I want to write sir but I reserve that word for men I respect).

So let me ask you this: why should I have watched the convention? I’ve known everything I needed to know about that man since his reality TV show. He’s nothing but a big, dirty mouth. I honestly can’t believe anyone could support him. What American parent would tolerate such behavior out of their children? What child would have felt a quick backhand to the mouth if that language came out of it – not that I condone physical punishment, it’s as unnecessary as me watching the RNC.

And of course I’ve heard the Trump rhetoric deniers*** who run around saying things like, he doesn’t really believe that and he’s a big supporter of women and feminist values or we need him because he’s anti-establishment. 

I’ll take those one at a time, thanks:

  1. He doesn’t really believe that: So what you’re saying is it’s okay to say anything you want, make any ridiculous claims, say the most reprehensible things, in order to get nominated? It’s okay to target the worst of the worst, lowest of the low, humanity has to offer because the means justify the end? one word: No.
  2. He’s a big supporter of women and feminist values. The only person I’ve ever heard make this claim in any believable way is his daughter, Ivanka. But of course she’ll say that. That’s her dad. Oh, and her boss. Double whammy.
  3. We need him because he’s anti-establishment. This one’s the most comical of all. Why? Sure, he’s never held any office in which he couldn’t outright fire anyone who disagreed with him. But putting that aside, the US government is run by big corporations; that’s where the money is and that’s who pays lobbyists and big portions of campaigns. This is not new news to anyone. And Donald Trump is nothing if not a big corporation (with a horrible fashion sense). He’s not anti-establishment. He is the establishment.

What about the Democratic National Convention? I’m honestly not watching that one either. I had hope for the future of America several months back, but I don’t right now. Both party’s conventions seem like made-for-social-media events, with equal amounts of the ugliest we Americans can muster. I have, sadly, come to expect this on the internet. Trolls have turned it into a (cyber) place I frequently feel unsafe wandering through. But that this type of behavior has landed in the middle of the elections and seems to have taken over?  As an adult person, I just don’t know what to think or how to deal with it. I’m sad. I’m disgusted. And I’m depressed that this process represents me, as an American, to the rest of the world.

I wish I knew what to do…

* Loyalists? Yes, that’s what I consider Trump fans loyalists. I believe he wants to turn MY country into a monarchy and himself its king.

** Steaming pile of horse shit? Actually, I think I’m underestimating the value of horse shit. At least it’s got use in the garden.

*** Deniers? Of course I used this term on purpose. These folks are the same lot who talk about climate change as though our weather patterns aren’t causing chaos somewhere new every few weeks.

Cops in trouble vs. Cops are trouble

violence

512 Americans were killed so far this year as a result of police shootings. That seems like a small number doesn’t it? Considering there are 318.9 million of us living is this great big country. If you want hard numbers, that accounts for 0.00016% of us. That’s not a lot.

Let me ask you to consider, while you’re considering those cold, hard facts, this: Each of those 512 people had someone who missed them when they didn’t come home that night. Those were not numbers on a page, but warm, beating hearts stopped by bullets from department issued firearms.

This is the price we pay for maintaining a safe society. Police are hired to keep the peace. Cops have to do their jobs. Of course they do. I would never argue that point. But 512 lives lost? Shouldn’t zero be our goal? Is that in the mission statement of any police department? Or is it something nobody’s talking about because everybody’s okay with a few deaths if it means the rest of us feel safe. Only, I know a whole lot of us who don’t feel safe anymore, if they ever did.

Let me make a parallel, if you would. It’s going to hit a hot button, though, so be prepared. We have had one death related to the measles (according to the latest CDC stats) in the past decade+. Yet we call the decision by many parents not to vaccinate their children a dire societal failure. One person, in a whole twelve years. Sure, you could argue that it’s only because of the millions of children and adults who are vaccinated, but what about globally, where the vaccination rate is much lower? In the entire world, there were 114,900 measles related deaths in 2014 (most current WHO statistic). Comparing that to just 512, 114,900 that sounds like a lot, but that’s out of seven billion people. It comes to .000016%. That’s an extra zero in there compared to police shooting deaths, and that zero represents a whole lot of extra people.

This is not about vaccines, though. It’s not about whether you’re on the helpful vs. harmful end of the spectrum on the vaccination question. I honestly don’t care what you choose, it’s not my business. What this is about is what we find acceptable on a death certificate in the box marked cause.

Here’s the thing, if we call deaths caused by the measles an epidemic problem, why not death caused by our nationwide police forces? There are a lot more of them. I understand, you could well be thinking, the cops are just doing their job. I’ll give you that, but I’ll go one better. All those measles viruses are just doing their job, too. It’s not fair to target them and not the cops is it? So, what about this? How about we get our scientific community to start work on an empathy vaccine? We can institute a vaccination program for that one so everyone would be left with a super-healthy and active empathy brain center. That’s a mandatory program I could get behind!

…and so my arguments have devolved into ridiculousness. But please don’t take that for an indication this isn’t serious stuff. Our collective national police forces need improvement. They need to be studied for what is working, what’s not, and best practices to fix them. It must be scientific, but we MUST support the men and women in blue while they do their jobs. They’re human beings. They will always make mistakes. All we can ask, all we should ask, it that they are the right people for the job, are trained well, and are required to continue training throughout their careers. And let’s push for community policing. That, my friends, is our best option. It’s going to be a lot harder to shoot a man if you know his name and where his grandma lives.

To wrap this up I’m going to leave you with this. It’s a link to statistics collected by The Washington Post of fatalities caused by police officers nationwide. It’s not a judgment, it’s not an indictment, it’s just factual information about each event, where, why, and how it happened.

it’s important stuff and you should give it a click.