Friday, October 27, 2017

Protect and Serve

Could you be a cop? You would be admired by many, feared by some, and hated by others. Could you wield deadly force, if necessary? Aye, there's the rub. In the heat of the moment, could you take another''s life to save your own or that of another? When the smoke clears and the one who threatened is found to only have fake gun, how would that make you feel? 

In Madison, until recently, cops were told "the purpose of deadly force is to stop the threat." This seems to be a clear-cut directive that would entail little hesitation when time is of the essence. Now suddenly, cops must first consider that their duty is to ensure the "protection and preservation of all human life", victims and perpetrators alike (New Police Procedures). This new policy takes into account not just the appearance of imminent violence, but the circumstances in which it occurs and the state of mind of the individuals involved. And still a decision needs to be made on the fly as a situation unfolds. The point is, that cops have other options, including deescalation and non-lethal force. 

The trick is processing this additional instruction in a short amount of time. The other part of it is overcoming preconceived notions about the citizen being confronted. Will the mentally ill and people of color be given the the same benefit of the doubt? Training to implement the new policies will help cops adjust the way they interact with the public, but changing their cultural response may take a more concerted effort.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Grasping at straws

Conflict comes in many forms. This year has been tumultuous on the political front, with everyone choosing sides and no one giving an inch. As a liberal it has been weirdly satisfying to see republicans battling other republicans (WI Republicans squabble over state budget ). On the other hand, it just increases the ongoing splintering across the political spectrum leading to greater inertia on issues that need to be acted on.

There might be one bright note that could come from this free for all, and that is the possibility that those remaining moderates of either persuasion might feel more inclined to break ranks, meet as equals, and forge a compromise on legislation that would both help people and not crush the economy. It is a slim hope, but one I grasp at.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

those who serve

This veterans day, I would like to honor those who served. Not because they traveled to war torn countries and protected the US from threatening forces by systematically eliminating the enemy, but because they were willing to risk so much for an ideal of homeland and freedom. What is appalling about this sacrifice, is that their patriotism was used as a foil by rich and powerful men to preserve their own wealth at the expense of those less fortunate.

Someday, peaceful missions will not entail the deployment of air and ground troops, but rather healers, teachers, engineers, and social workers who seek to mend the wounds of the world, not throw salt in them. Until then I urge you to serve as independent emissaries to the struggling families and individuals of far-flung corners of the earth, where little is known of mercy and hope has not been imagined for many, many years.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Call to Arms

Young men have been running off to war since men filled the valleys and rubbed shoulders with another sort.
They have been called by men of power with voices of fervor and admonition.
They have been promised honor and glory and the reward of the righteous.
They have been taught to hate and kill and set fire to the land.
They have been average men, not murderers.
They have been seeking meaning in their lives.
They have been mourning the loss of their homeland, their bright futures, the love of family.
Will you also join the fight and kill other young men?
You seek to protect the innocent, but when you fight, kill the real enemies of men:
  • prejudice,
  • injustice,
  • poverty,
  • intolerance.
  •  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

If they were white

Watching the videos of police responding with lethal force in traffic stops and simple pedestrian violations, it is hard to believe that grand juries fail to convict officers of illegal conduct and that federal investigations also fail to indict the officers of violating citizen rights.

They say that procedures were within the law and that the actions taken were justified. You just wonder if things escalated so quickly because there is no policy in place to provide for a calmer treatment of circumstances. Was the suspect about to kill someone or was he just not paying attention and went through a stop light?

You have to wonder if the police are so quick to rush to judgement when the person stopped is white. You just wonder if the person would not have even been stopped if the person was white. White folk do not have a monopoly on lawful conduct. Black folk can drive their cars from one side of the city to the other, but they better not look cross-wise at the man, because then they're guilty from the get go.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

If so why

Do you kill for god and country? If so why?
When you think of the world, do you picture a map of political boundaries or the picture of the whole earth from space? If so why?
Do you think that the good can be protected by killing other people? If so why?
If you are a soldier defending America, is your first response putting a bullet through the heart of your enemy? If so why?
Do you honestly think that killing for god and country is OK if it is for a good cause? If so why?
Do you think your god is the only god and wants to destroy all other gods? If so why?
Do you think the only response to attack is lethal force? If so why?
Do you believe that there is no middle road between non-violence and obliteration of the other guy? If so why?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Reasons Why

What need is there for violence against the non-believers
who blaspheme Mohamed the prophet.
Their slurs can do no harm to the prophet,
who has ascended to his place beside God
the all powerful.
Their slurs can not hurt you since you know
that Mohamed is Blessed above all
It is to their detriment that these slurs reflect,
exposing to the world their ignorance of the truth.