I’ll keep this one short and hope you read the link to my other blog. Gay marriage is now legal in ALL states and has been recognized as Constitutional by the Supreme Court. It has been a long, hard road for LGBT couples and it is about damn time.
Many people, gay, straight, and everything in between, are overjoyed. Many others are not. They range in their reactions from being mildly bothered to foaming at the mouth, calling down fire and brimstone upon the ungodly.
I primarily want to address the angry folks. Years ago, I was a homophobe due to my former religious conviction. Last year, I wrote an article about my transition from being against the LGBT community to being a strong supporter and advocate. I ask that you take several minutes to read my story, especially if you don’t like me already. Please click the link below.
To those who are on the side of marriage equality, but know others who are not or are anti-gay, I ask you to please share my story with your family and/or friends who are still on the “other side” of this issue. (I, for example, used to be for the right for gays to marry, yet believed homosexuality to be a “sin”) We are all in this thing called “life” together and are all living this American Experience. Let’s do what we can to encourage togetherness and change rather than division.
I don’t even want to write a blog about this… I am sick of this “same story” playing out again and again in the USA: A random, innocent black man shot to death by police.
Thankfully, in this case, a civilian’s camera was running.
The footage speaks for itself:
Here is the Anderson Cooper discussion on the shooting:
The citizens of the USA are weary of unjustified shootings, beating, arrests, and murders of individuals by police. It happens to individuals of all ethnicities. Yet, it happens disproportionately to African Americans. Much of that situation is carried on the back of a failed “Drug War.” Though, as in the shooting at hand, you never know when being pulled over even for a taillight infraction that you will survive the interaction with cops. To the good cops out there, my hats off to you. This isn’t about you. It is about the vicious, malevolent, and inhumane officers among you who take advantage of and hurt those who they have sworn to protect.
What is the answer? I’ll give you my opinion on what is the fastest way to make progress. I assert the the first major step is an immediate Executive Order by President Obama that all officers, unless undercover, must wear a functional body cam while on duty. Also, that a no tolerance clause for “my cam wasn’t working” be added. If an officer’s body cam “isn’t working” during a questionable situation or any situation where a citizen is injured, he/she will be put on appropriate leave and the situation investigated. If a 2nd situation happens, unpaid leave. If a 3rd, termination. Though, if any investigations lead to charges, then the law should run its course in those cases. Of course, in my perfect world scenario, it would still take time for police departments to order body cams and train officers to use them. Due to that, a reasonable time limit would need to be included in the Order.
I am not a huge fan of Executive Orders. But, we are in a position where the red-tape must be sliced through post haste for the protection of the populace at large from its “protectors.” Executive Orders have been used for all kinds of things. Obama might as well use one in the best interest of the American people during their immediate time of need. Are body cams a total, 100% solution? No. Still, mandatory body cams are a hell of a step in the right direction.
I also call for town, county, and state governments to create citizen boards, voted in by the public and who are NOT, nor have EVER BEEN members or law enforcement, for the oversight of law enforcement in said jurisdiction. They must have enough power to handle situations and recommend the dismissal and/or charges brought upon corrupt or abusive officers of the law.
The only positive, and I use that term in the loosest possible way, is that the shooter, North Charleston Officer Michael Slager of South Carolina, has been charged with murder. Unfortunately, a 50-year-old black man, Walter L. Scott, is now dead over a broken tail light.
I have only two more things to say: 1. To the family of Walter L. Scott, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. It is my sincere hope that you are able to get as much justice as is possible for your murdered family member. 2. To the citizen who recorded the video of the shooting, the USA is forever in your debt for bringing the truth of this shooting to light. Thank you for your courage.
I am looking forward to smoking my first Cuban cigar! Today, President Obama spoke about the changing of the United States’ official approach and policy toward Cuba. For the full speech, see the video above. The U.S. will end the decades-long embargo and be immediately working to re-establish diplomatic relations which have been severed for over fifty years.
For some more relevant information and a good laugh, check out this recent segment about the Cuban Embargo from, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
I made it out to my local polling station with my wife this morning. We intended to miss the heavy traffic there by showing up after early morning voters and before those coming at lunch. Our strategy worked and we were in and out in less than ten minutes 🙂 Not much of a sacrifice to do our civic duty.
I encourage you to make your voice heard today as well! Do your due diligence, inform yourself on your candidates, and vote your conscience. If you don’t like any of the candidates, write one it or vote, “no confidence.” Just vote. It’s not too late to go to your local polling station today. If you don’t know where it is, please click this link to find out:
If you need more encouragement regarding the importance of voting in this mid-term election, please watch this satirical, yet important segment from Last Week with John Oliver: