450 Comments

The Floyd murder case speaks for itself. It sickens us all, as do the mass shootings throughout our lives. I am 71, and am experienced enough to know it is not likely to stop before my death. Yes, I hope it will, and will fight against the slaughter.

As to the coronavirus, I and my wife are fully vaccinated, still wearing masks and acting according to CDC guidelines. It is prudent, smart and will help the community to rid ourselves of this menace.

We hope you all feel the same way, because none of us can do this alone!

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I too am 71 and fully vaccinated. I am also former law enforcement (FBI) and we are sworn to serve and protect. Officer Chauvin did neither and is a disgrace to his badge and a criminal.

We need serious police reform (not defunding) and major gun control legislation. These are way past due and our country suffers for it.

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I agree, but we have had decades of "reform," which usually adds up to some sensitivity training and not much else. Though "defunding" has become an unfortunate target, the intent behind it is sound: to take some of the funds spent on policing and redirect it to interventions that do not involve the police. Eugene, Oregon has a very successful such program, CAHOOTS, which has quietly been saving lives and saving money for 30 years.

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But why "take some of the funds spent on policing?"" Why not ADD to the funds spent on public safety to contract with community mental health and other services? We look at this issue as a zero-sum game. Ain't! The very rich pay very little taxes. Time to fund our social services adequately again.

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Whereas I agree with you in principle, my thought is that, if you take some of the social service duties out of the police department, they will require fewer cops and a lower budget.

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But, a better way would be to offer communities grants for mental health services - written with clear assessment of the problems, outline if goals, and data points to assess for success. Then the picture would be clear, and if the answer is less police officers, it would be gradual with union and community buy in.

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This is an incremental approach and I think we are past that point. And the current police unions will never agree. Besides, the groundwork had been done in many communities, most strikingly Eugene, Oregon. We don't need more study, we need action.

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The mental health fiasco of Regan continues to haunt the nation. The promise was for community health centers to manage the 'deinstitulization' of the mentally ill. Those centers were never provided, even though the research showed that a friend, a home, and a job (or a reason to be), would create successful transition.

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Yes, that is the ideal.

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MaryPat, yours is idea worth exploring. Our services have been supplanted by the pay nothing, do nothing unless it makes a dollar system that exists in most states right now.

Time for the upper 10% to pay their way.

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And defund the bloated defense dept. that alone would change everything

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Ah, the defense department? Eisenhauer advised us to beware of the military industrial complex. We have not done that, nor do I see us doing that in the near future.

We are motivated by fear of the rest of the world invading and overrunning us, or so it seems.

The defense department cannot even pass a simple annual audit. So how do you beat those eggs???? I wonder?

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I'm all in favor of funding social services, under the "stitch in time" theory. But I'm guessing most people responsible for municipal budgets do see it as a zero sum situation. Rising taxes is quite the cudgel against "tax-and-spend liberals."

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Yes, friend, reform. Sadly the “bumper sticker” people got to the issue first. I have a nephew and a few friends who are on the job. A good start might be to find a way for police to be inside the community, a part of every day life, rather than a flying squad that shows up only when there’s trouble. Maybe I’m a Pollyanna about this, but I want to know the people wearing the badge and not fear the people behind the badge.

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Camden, NJ went through a major police reform and restructuring. Afterwards, part of police training was to be dropped in a neighborhood for the day, told to make friends with the locals if they wanted water or access to a bathroom. Then back the next day, same. It seems to have helped. It's not even a radical new idea - remember beat cops?

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I just wonder if we have gone too far down the road of militarization and violence for this to be effective now. I suppose it's the difference between pessimism and optimism. I see no signs that there is any will within police departments to even acknowledge the failure of their philosophies and practices, nonetheless work to reform them.

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I definitely agree with the over militarization of the police which subconsciously makes them more aggressive. Of course, this is partially the result of our lack of gun control which often led to our police being outgunned. It’s a vicious circle that needs to be broken.

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It seems that it ultimately comes down to leadership. Police serve the public, our taxes pay for them. They must follow the public will, but it takes a strong enough person in charge, who has the proper support, to push them in the right direction.

It's a tall order though, because if the police don't like what they're told, they just have to drag their feet a little and crime goes up. It's a little but of a devil's bargain with them, and a tough nut to crack.

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And don't forget the unions, which have effectively shielded criminal police officers from justice.

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Syd, it is a tough nut to crack, but it is worth doing and if not us, then who?????

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In my suburb I knew quite a few local policemen by name, they have known my children and my neighbors children, attended the mayor's cookout, patroled daily and waved and stopped to introduce themselves. We knew our local cop so well he would knock on the door to chat, stop and get out of his patrol car to greet kids playing together, or get a drink of water (just like you say) and was a part of high school graduation parties and still keeps in touch on Facebook. In the past twenty years I have seen this sense of community drastically decline which I partly blame on the new recruits that have replaced the retired gentlemen I knew and/or their training. They really need to step up the community involvement.

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Countless Black Americans would be happy to have similar relations with local police, but they are denied the chance.

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This is what happens when a ruling minority party tries to drown government in a bathtub.

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I have also seen some young people who want guns to feel that power. Two young men I know want to be cops because they want to carry a Glock. One of them is a young man of color who is 18 and bought one the day of his birthday. He and his friend were messing with it in their apartment and shot it off. It went through the wall into the apartment next door where there was a baby. No one was hurt, but they were scared to death.

You have to take lessons and a test to get a license to drive a car, a dangerous 1-2 ton vehicle. The same should be required of a gun-- you should have to take lessons in safety and maintenance, operate under a supervisor for a certain period of time, and take a test.

There is absolutely no reason to have WMDs as civilians.

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And they don't need to all carry guns all the time. British cops (in a society with just as much racism and possibly an even worse classism) do not habitually carry guns. This means they are more likely to engage with the public in a less confrontational, less aggressive, more communicative fashion. Sure, there are power-drunk assholes among the British police, too, but fewer fatalities at their hands. It takes a lot more effort to murder a citizen that pisses you off or scares you if you only have a truncheon. Altogether too easy with a gun. Of course, then we have the lethal chokehold - I confess I don't know any figures on that in the UK.

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I have watched many police shows from the UK and noticed how often they don't go into a crime scene with guns drawn or even guns on their person. I often wondered if that were try to life. It really stands out and seems to keep the calm. Of course it also helps if the perpetrator is also assumed to probably not be armed.

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I'm happy that you had this experience with the police, but it is not the norm and never has been. I assume you are white; people of color do not have this kind of relationship with the police and never have. And the idea that "community involvement" can in any way ameliorate what ills American policing is analogous to recommending aspirin for stage 4 cancer; we need surgery and chemotherapy, not palliatives.

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I understand that it is not the norm. I know it is a bandaid. It is a place to begin and something that should be a common effort by the police and fire departments. My neighborhood is 60/40 white and POC. I am just stating that I noticed the decline in the community involvement in my neighborhood. It was a good thing and it did make a difference in the attitudes toward the police and from the police. The respect for each other has to begin somewhere. If they were part of the community they were policing it would be the seeds for more empathy and compassion to grow. The actual reforms are so much more vital and important, but the little things can grow. Just like mandatory mental health training and assessment, making community involvement mandatory is a small start.

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I think this is, indeed, a Pollyanna take, unfortunately. We have gone too far down the road of authoritarians with guns believing they can exert their power and control over lower caste people. We need to entirely rethink policing in our country or this will continue to happen.

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Perhaps it begins with recruitment and socialization. Military veterans are trained in warfare but not policing. They are very different skills. And once out of the police academy, who is training them on the job? What behaviors are rewarded by the respect and friendship of colleagues? It is a huge problem, no doubt, but one that will eventually tear our country apart if we don’t work to fix it. And no, it will not be easy, but all the “easy” things have been done and haven’t worked very well. So now it’s time for adult solutions to a societal problem.

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I am retired nurse, and have always said that the compulsive personality of nurses is hardwired into us long before we choose a profession that treasures it. I believe the same is true of police recruits and violence as a solution. I agree that it is a culture problem, but rooting it out would require a resolve I have yet to see and a systemic change beyond anything ever attempted.

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Another retired RN, nursing school was an indoctrination into a powerful culture. Police academy is the same. The mores and local inculturation can be insidious. Resistance brings retribution until one falls in line. Teaching in these locations may allow the resistor to create spaces for a radical understanding by students. Of course the dominant culture presents challenges to continued resistance.

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Reid, we have already had a systemic change. It was slow and inexorable. Now that we have had it and seen what it has wrought, perhaps, it is time to change again?

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Given the concurrent crisis for AAPI people, indeed anyone who values justice, we should be able to say that All Lives Matter. But that decent sentiment has, outrageously, been hijacked by people for whom it signifies nothing. Its effective meaning is Black Lives Don't Matter, or Only White Lives Matter.

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Complexities and nuances don’t make for bumper sticker facility. The shallow nature of this public ‘discourse’ damages the potential for meaningful conversation. Sad and frustrating.

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Thanks for posting this as a former FBI agent. My husband is a former police officer. His natural inclination is to support the police. But he realizes now how often the police abuse their authority and fail to “serve and protect”. He gets so angry at those officers who not only commit these horrendous acts, but at the ones who cover them up. You know the old saying “there’s nothing worse than a reformed smoker”. Well, there’s nothing “worse “ than a reformed police officer. I say that not to be funny, but once they see for their own eyes how awful this behavior is, look out!

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Sorry, but too little, too late. Anyone who witnessed or knew about abuse (which was essentially every cop) and said nothing is complicit.

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Yes, if indeed they witnessed or knew about it. But remember, there ARE many good police officers with integrity. If they conducted themselves with dignity and fairness, and didn't see anything to report, it isn't fair to paint them with that broad brush of "too little, too late".

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Reid, you are right. The problem shows itself every time there is an officer, or officers who decide that it is time to show everyone that they can take care of the problem whether the victim is black, asian, white or any other type of mixture. Murder is never the answer and this was murder.

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No doubt, there are good police officers with integrity, though exactly how many relative to the "bad apples" is unknown, as many cases of police abuse are never even reported, and those that are go mostly unpunished. The 3 officers assisting Derek Chauvin with the "arrest" of George Floyd were not among the good apples, and there is no broader brush than racism.

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He was “teaching “ those junior officers...

Chauvin had a history with Mr. Floyd.

The submission of the junior officers is a systematic problem

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I think our point of disagreement is the "bad apple" argument as opposed to systemic rot, which is what I believe we have. There is a culture of silence, the "thin blue line" philosophy, which is pervasive and toxic in policing, even among "good" cops.

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The brotherhood of police is strong and it needs to be. Their dedication and sacrifice is keeping our society together. That said, we all know right from wrong and a bad cop reflects on all of them and needs to be weeded out.

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Sorry, no. No excuses, please. The brotherhood of police is too strong and it doesn't need to be. What do they sacrifice other than time and rest, and what are they dedicated to? Maintaining their own power, allowing them to get away, literally, with murder. How can we fixate on "a bad cop" when the system produces so many? Can we expect anything beyond bad apples when the whole tree is rotten? The mere existence of the Blue Wall of Silence (with go-along prosecutors) makes every cop complicit whenever one is accused, however justly. It all but ensures that police will not know right from wrong, or not act appropriately when they do.

I am so tired of America SVCKING. America at its worst simply svcks.

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Sorry, back.

One can’t throw out the good with the bad. Think about our society without the police. Change needs to happen and in a big way but blowing everything up is not the answer.

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No one is saying to blow everything up. And no cities burned down last summer. Not one. Please spare us the fallacy of the excluded middle, a false choice posing two extreme alternatives with only one acceptable. Other alternatives are possible.

D Fischer, Historians' Fallacies

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I don’t see anyone suggesting blowing everything up. I think change is what is being suggested

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No need for euphemism. SUCKING and sucks. Concise and appropriate. And I agree with you.

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Thanks, DH. You should hear me say it in person. My personal rule = no profanity here in LFAA, but creative misspellings do well enough.

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I totally hear THAT!

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I have a lifelong very close friend who's career was in many roles in law enforcement including a Chief of Police who is now an adjunct professor at a law enforcement college. He has made a point of always advocating that law enforcement should train policy, procedures, and technique, but hire for character. He believes you cannot train character. He believes that most of the “bad apple” incidents can be traced to those character flaws and they could have been identified in the hiring and screening processes before employment and during training.

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I don't think the history of policing in this country supports this sanguine view, though. Police culture is steeped in bigotry and stereotypes and reinforced by our society's entrenched and systemic racism. The rot goes deep, and people like your friend with good intentions, while I don't doubt his basic integrity, are imagining that the problem is one of individual character rather than societal culture. There is no evidence I can find that he is right.

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I agree that we, citizens and voters who comprise the society you speak of, tolerate if not even encourage the systemic poor character that may pervade some or even many policing organizations. That is the systemic, societal rot you speak of. That can only be changed by educating and convincing society that the problem exists and needs to be addressed. However, if that is successful there will need to be actions taken within law enforcement to accomplish the necessary change. Simple condemnation is not correction. So let's look at the correction actions. Simply denying funding is punitive not corrective. My friend's suggestions are corrective but only a start. I am sure there are more. If you have thoughts on corrective measures to contribute, please offer them. If we agree there is a problem, let's try to correct it not just scream it's broken.

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But we have to, as a society, agree that it's broken before we can fix it. And I am under no obligation to come up with solutions in order to point out the problem--that's a false premise. I don't have to be able to put out a fire to recognize it and pull the alarm. The idea that we have to "educate and convince" the American people that systemic racism is a problem before we can have systemic change in policing pushes true reform back decades into the future, because we are extremely skilled in turning a blind eye to racism and have been doing so for 450 years. We don't need incremental change, we need radical change, and we need it now.

As far as solutions, three are easy fixes: demand that the police are held to the same standards as the rest of us as far as use of force goes, with some allowance made for the job they have to do but none when their use of force goes beyond what is called for; to that end, qualified immunity must go unless it has very strict limits. Second, decertify police unions that act in bad faith to protect their membership to the exclusion of the people they are supposed to serve. Third, institute a social services and mental health intervention group in every city and town, and fund them adequately. Do NOT send police out with them, but allow them to intervene in cases where appropriate. I worked in a county hospital with hundreds of mentally ill and potentially dangerous clients and did not have to kill a single one; I was trained in de-escalation techniques that really work.

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Defund the Police has become a catchphrase that doesn't properly convey the details of the idea that police have become the catchall for multiple societal ills that would be better addressed by shifting funding to social service agencies.

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Unfortunately the “defunding” sound bite mischaracterizes what is needed. Public safety generally should deploy the most appropriate resources to address public safety calls. Sending the fire department to respond to burger alarms or the police to respond to a fire alarm clearly makes no sense. Far too many public safety incidents would be better served by more appropriate public safety resources than an armed police patrol officer. That should be obvious to all. Why do we not describe both the problem and obvious solution better?

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That's the point I was (ineptly) trying to get across. The desire for improvement is best communicated clearly and completely. The "defund" is a bumper sticker or meme, and does little to advance improvement. Your examples are clear and apt; I'd argue in addition to more community policing which can recognize potential problems and defuse them as an alternative to always sending in combat troops to respond to things that could have been avoided.

Having a defined link to social services and mental health professionals could be a good idea in the context of community policing. There's more, to be sure, but we have to start somewhere.

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Yes, I agree entirely, though with one caveat: social service agencies can't "accompany" police because the person with a gun is always in charge and their very presence can cause escalation when the opposite is what is called for. Where appropriate, social services must be the first and only responders. Once again, I hold the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon up as exhibit A. This system of intervention has been highly successful and they only rarely have to call for police backup.

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Thanks for some actual facts! I wonder what other successful programs are now in use.

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Because "send a social worker or mental health professional instead of a cop" just isn't as catchy.

Seriously, though, those who take the refunding slogan literally are being disingenuous and intentionally obfuscating. They don't even want to engage in the conversation.

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How about Public Safety Should Use the Right Tool For the Job

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Oops, defunding.

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To put in a word for the much maligned "defunding" movement - many of us who want defunding are asking for a parallel refunding (or even funding for the first time) of the many support services that have been depleted or disbanded or never funded that would take duties from the police that they are not trained to perform, but are nevertheless expected to. If there is a dearth of extra money in a local government's coffers after covering law enforcement, we believe that reducing the police budget should be used to transfer many duties to mental health, drug rehabilitation, education, and other services that would be better and more competently performed by experts trained in those areas, not by police officers. I have had conversations with local officers and former officers in my city and from their descriptions of their training at police academy, it is clear they are daily sent into situations for which they have absolutely no tools. That is the reasoning behind defunding. Put the money where it will do the most good; and rather than asking police to do things for which they do not have the training, knowledge, or experience to handle, let's get in those who do have that training, knowledge, and experience.

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The problem with the "defunding movement" is not it's prescription for what needs to be done to end police violence against BIPOC and anyone else, for that matter. It's the word "defunding" for goodness sake! White people who have either never needed police assistance or - more likely - have had a positive experience when they have needed it, mostly see the police as protectors of them and their property. And even if they are tuned in to the George Floyd killing and its repercussions and are aware of and worried about repeated unwarranted violence against BIPOC and see this as a problem and are offended by the injustice and immorality of it, they can still imagine situations in their own admittedly privileged and usually safe lives when a cop might really come in handy.

Is this fair? No, of course not. Are most white people going to support lower spending on what they view as an essential government service? No, probably not. Can they be convinced to support real police reform at the polls? Why not if they are convinced it is in everyone's interest? Will the worst racists and insurrectionists support it? Never in a million years.

Clearly the hiring of police needs to be more selective, training needs to be re-imagined and greatly improved, jobs now dumped on the police because no one else is willing or able to do them should be farmed out to unarmed, well-trained specialists, police unions need to be reined in and laws regarding the use of force need to be changed in favor of less force, to be used only when all other alternatives have been exhausted. The police need to be demilitarized. There should not be the cozy relationship between police and DAs that makes police misconduct nearly impossible to sanction. If I knew more about this issue, I'm sure I could go on, but I do know that the term "defunding" is totally, even naively, counterproductive if we want the violence against BIPOC to end. Things will never change if we are always having to explain exactly what we mean by "defunding" instead of laying out a comprehensive reform of policing which - when all is said and done - could require more money to run than the present system. So be it, money well spent.

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You are correct about the fear using this word engenders. But I contend that the expansion of policing in our lifetimes into an instrument of social control has created many more problems than it has solved. Policing has always been about serving the interests of the propertied and the powerful; and modern police, when they harass, bully, and murder in order to "teach lessons", are performing exactly the way they are meant to. Sure, there are individual "good cops", but there is systemic rot in policing - which is why many of us want to see reform go down to the bone.

A very good book on policing - not only in America, but elsewhere, too - is "The End of Policing", by Alex S. Vitale, in which the author recounts the origins of policing and the many efforts at reform that have failed over and over again. His argument that the problem is not training, diversity, or methods, but that the ongoing expansion and support of police authority works against community adhesion, creates social injustice and actively harms the public.

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Lanita, I agree with you 100%, but the changes we both want will not come either quickly or easily. Most Americans -- for reasons that have a lot to do with our economic system and traditional moral values you and I may or may not share with them -- like the idea of being able to call for a cop when they hear someone trying to break into the house at 3 in the morning, or if they have just been mugged, or had their car stolen, or witnessed some act of violence. Some Americans have preferred to arm themselves to the teeth to deal with these situations, including BIPOC who know that police response can be slow and unpredictable -- to say nothing of deadly -- but this clearly leads to more violence. The proliferation of arms in the general population is part of the reason we now have SWAT teams dressed - and armed -- like Star Wars stormtroopers responding to domestic disputes. The whole situation is totally insane, but it is part of the general insanity in a world where nearly 8 billion people are competing with one another for goods and services and destroying the environment as a consequence. It is unsustainable, as is the American model of policing.

But, as we humans are intelligent beings, we should be able to change anything about our society, including policing, so that it serves everyone equally, even if this means fundamentally rethinking the whole purpose of the police. But the political slogan "defund the police" will no more help accomplish positive change than "defund the military" will end war or "defund hospitals" will improve healthcare. Any institution can be reformed and improved if enough voters want that to happen, but perhaps the first reforms should be to our democracy, to our schools, to our absurdly regressive income taxes, to our tolerance for other people's suffering, to our stunted empathetic imaginations.

Policing as it is done today should become unthinkable, but "defunding" it, as the average person is likely to understand the concept, will just create further anxiety and division. It was an unfortunate choice of a word to attach to a worthy cause, has already done more harm than good and needs to be jettisoned ASAP.

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And I have friends who have been in the police and one of them I love like a brother. But I am very glad he is no longer in the force because I don't like how his mind was being twisted in order to defend the brotherhood.

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Understood, but the messaging is terrible and gave the Right a talking point that resonated in a very negative way. That is the problem, not the concept as you have presented it which is very necessary. The message is important, however and this one was a disaster.

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Brian I’m 71 too and heeding all the warnings. Considering the big picture of how many have died it’s the least we can do to prevent more deaths

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Me too! Approaching 70 and never felt younger!

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I have about 2 months left of my 60’s ! I guess we’ll be toasting each other soon!

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Me too! 64 and so not yet eligible in my state. I am very anxious to get the vaccine. My husband has had his two shots - I'm ready.

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Definitely with you, Brian.

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🙏

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Right there with you Brian

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Do you have a reference or link showing direct protection from getting or infecting others with the vaccine. I can’t find one anywhere and up to this date, I have not heard that assurance coming from any of the medical people. I’d be very happy to read something like that or hear it. Thank you.

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New study out yesterday of 3000 health care workers shows clear efficacy (~90%).

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Can I get reference for that? Do you have a copy or a link or anything like that?

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Oh gosh I didn’t mean that. That’s been out for a while. I mean actual results based on real people. The testing they did before they let this vaccine out to the public was incomplete. Generally vaccines are tested for a much longer time on a larger population. I’m looking for documentation of actual cases. That’s what I thought you were talking about.

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Check the CDC and/or NIH web sites, or state Health Dept sites (at least those in blue states with honest record-keeping). The Covid vaccines will receive as much scrutiny and documentation as any in history, probably more, with so much at stake.

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That is what this is. Look closer.

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If Derek Chauvin's intent was to restrain George Floyd, he accomplished that as soon as Mr. Floyd was on the pavement. If he thought he needed to kneel on Mr. Floyd's neck to "teach him a lesson" - as if this experience could have taught Mr. Floyd anything he didn't already know about the dangers Black people face when they are arrested in our country - that too he had already accomplished in less than a minute. The remaining 7 or 8 minutes of Chauvin's kneeling on Mr. Floyd's neck was deliberate torture, and when this continued past Mr. Floyd's calls for help as he breathed his final breaths, when this grown man was in his last waking moments, thinking of and then calling out for his mother as he died unnecessarily and unjustly, what was Chauvin thinking and feeling? Obviously, only he knows, but judging from the expression on his face he was not worried about or even much interested in the fact that he was snuffing out a human life with an act of wanton violence, under the eyes of horrified onlookers. That no one intervened physically to throw officer Chauvin off his victim is a testament to the justifiable fear of the police shared by many Americans, especially People of Color.

Of course Derek Chauvin has a right to be represented by a competent lawyer who will try however he can to prove his client's innocence or at least that there were mitigating factors and that Mr. Floyd died from a combination of traces of illicit drugs in his blood and pre-existing health problems, not from the physical stress and damage caused by a police officer kneeling on his neck. Our Constitution (6th Amendment) guarantees the right to counsel.

At least in this case, an instance of unprovoked police violence was witnessed by multiple bystanders, captured on several smart phones and shown to all Americans in all its horror. There was no way to simply pass it off as an accident or a case of the police reacting in self-defense or out of fear that a "suspect" was armed and intended to commit violence. The prosecutor had little choice but to bring this to trial. And now we will find out if our Constitution and our laws are worth the paper they are printed on.

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The killing of George Floyd was a 'lesson' for Blacks. Like lynching, done in public, done with swagger and done to make it clear to everyone that white is supreme, Black is inferior, look what I can do. This is why it is so searing. I couldn't watch much of the video of Floyd's death, but later I saw other videos of the people standing by--there were some bystanders, they were yelling and telling Derek Chauvin "You're killing him!" "I'm a registered nurse, you are cutting off his breathing!", and Derek had the other policemen (Derek was training the other policemen who were there, and I'm sure he was 'teaching' them too) push them back and control them. Less than ten White, Black, Hispanic, people of all races were standing there deeply upset, taking videos--but not cynically or like voyeurs, to record the evidence of the act, to bear witness. Their faces were so appalled, sad, anguished, helpless and upset. The people watching this travesty were assaulted too, and they were also being "taught a lesson" along with Floyd. That is what is really disgusting about what took place here; everyone knew what was happening. This was an act of white supremacism declaring its victory and dominance. Not law and order. Quite the opposite. I just hope the jury does the right thing.

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You have nailed it, Shelly. It was Chauvin's swagger, looking directly at the cameras trained on him, confident that nothing would happen to him, that make this so clearly an act of murder.

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Derek Chauvin lynched George Floyd. We must not shy away from this fact. Last year David Blight, author of "Race and Reunion" on post-Civil War America, stated that it was a torture-murder. That is a key hallmark of lynching, along with some kind of accusation, and the denial of due process. It was a public spectacle too, a common if not universal aspect of lynching. Call this terrible crime by its proper name, and punish the criminals accordingly.

P Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown

I Wells, Southern Horrors

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I believe you are right, Shelly, the larger intent of Derek Chauvin was to conduct an impromptu (but tragically familiar) lynching, the traditional display of white supremacy in America, and his intended audience was not only passersby, many no doubt local residents, but his younger police assistants, arguably his accomplices. The "Look mom, no hands," ease with which Chauvin killed the helpless Mr. Floyd is truly atrocious.

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Yes. You are right. A lynching. I feel sick.

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Agreed. Chauvin was purposely killing George Floyd to deliver a brutal, ruthless, public "lesson". I fervently hope the jury delivers the essential countermanding social lesson we so deeply need, by convicting Chauvin of murder and hate crimes.

I wonder if Chauvin is a psychopath or sociopath. I am not a mental health professional. Based on this WebMD definition, psychopath seems like a better fit. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/sociopath-psychopath-difference

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Although I don't disagree that Chauvin's whiteness has something to do with his behaving with what he assumed would be impunity, but I think there is an intersection in this case - and in all cases of police brutality - with police supremacy. There were non-white officers working with Chauvin that day who aided and abetted him. Every time I see a Blue Lives Matter bumper sticker or hear that there is extra outrage when a police officer is killed (as though their lives matter MORE than anyone else's?) I feel the same frisson of horror that I feel every time I review the names of their victims. There is a deep problem with policing itself that draws and/or creates the Chauvins of this world. Those who wash out during police academy are not the psychopaths and sociopaths, it's the overly empathetic. And yes, I know that does not apply to every single police officer or even every department in the world. I'm talking about the big picture, the need for social control that those in power crave more and more - and the ways they use policing to achieve it.

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Exactly

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It's interesting that the defense is trying to blame Floyd's drug use or pre-existing conditions, since one of the general precepts of criminal law is that you have to "take your victim as you find him." I remember that the exemplar case from English Common Law is where a robber hit his victim on the head, only to discover that the victim had an unusually thin skull, so the blow killed him. But the victim's weakness was considered irrelevant to the robber's culpability; I have no duty to be sufficiently robust to withstand your criminal assault.

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I have been thinking the same thing. It’s like withholding insulin for a diabetic and then saying she died from diabetes. The drugs and heart condition would not have killed him had Chauvin not knelt on his airway for nine minutes.

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And, in the US, the penalty for prior or even present drug use is not public execution.

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Curiously, I spotted an earlier post where your spell-checker inserted "education" instead of "execution," and I was going to return to quip that you were correct in both instances. But now I can't find the erroneous-but-amusing earlier version -- how did you get rid of it? I've never found a way to edit my posts.

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Highlight; delete; open new comment; copy/paste; edit to your heart's delight.

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Oh yeah, why didn't I think of that? Duuuuuh.

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It was just a quick delete when I had (first of the day) temper tantrum at spell-check.

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Thanks for the tip to you and to TPJ (Camb MA) below. I'm slowly learning to stop the headlong rush to post, breathe deeply, then proofread. As for automatic spellcheck, I've disabled it everwhere possible ever since a text I once sent to a collegue about flaws in the penal system went terribly wrong. I'd rather make my own embarrassing mistakes, thank you very much.

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Spellcheck can be useful - especially in a second language - but it should not be the factory default, so to speak. Anyway, half the fun in English is inventing new words.

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Do hope the Minneapolis prosecutor remembers that case.

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As Shelly says: the other police officers could have intervened. They would not have been endangered by doing so, unlike the bystanders who were undoubtedly terrified that the other cops would open fire on them were they to actually try to prevent Mr. Floyd's murder. But these people who swore oaths to serve and protect the citizens of Minneapolis instead decide that this was fine. They were even, as I recall the reports (I cannot watch the video) joking and laughing while Mr. Floyd begged for his life. And died.

I have to admit that I have wondered if, in so many of these police-committing-murder situations, the men (and they are almost always men) in question don't wake up thinking "I think I want to kill someone today." It's the ultimate cynical thought experiment, but I cannot stop myself from going there. I had a beloved uncle by marriage who was a cop (and eventually captain) in a very rough New Jersey city, during the volatile 1960s and 1970s. He did not keep arsenals in the house. His service revolver was kept under lock and key. He and my aunt were not convinced that violence and arming themselves to the teeth were strategies to maintain the safety of their environment in the working-class and diverse city in which they lived and where they worked. He was probably politically very conservative but I never ever heard him refer disrespectfully to any of the people he swore to serve and protect. He was a credit to the police force he joined and the city he served.

In contrast, a family friend, who was a journalist for a major newspaper, was almost killed by cops in Chicago in 1968 during the DNC, even though his press pass was visible and he was surrounded by other fellow members of the press. He was singled out because he was Black.

This is not a story about "bad apples" as the Right loves to claim when they are caught doing execrable things. It is about acculturation, systemic racism, and the apparent glorification of violence as the only mechanism the police are encouraged to use when they "serve and protect." In Chicago--and nowadays pretty much everywhere--the decision was to demonize a population that was vulnerable and conveniently disenfranchised in order to assuage the toxic masculinity of horrible specimens like Richard Daly--or Frank Rizzo, or Rudy Giuliani, or (name your favorite awful mayor).

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I agree completely and thanks for so articulately describing the situation. I would only add that the way in which policing is done in the U.S. is a direct outgrowth from slave patrols, pitting lower class white men against Black people, who are to be considered more ignorant, more violent, bestial, and in need of control. 450 years, and very little has changed.

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Wilson Goode of Philadelphia, who both fits and breaks the pattern. Not a chest-thumping bully; a bland, competent Black technocrat who still presided over the most shockingly horrible race massacre: wiping out the MOVE community through aerial firebombing. It utterly disregarded human life and destroyed whole city blocks in the process.

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Today I’m once again struck by the level of crazy that we’re enduring. I want to cry out “*How* did we get here?” But of course I know the answer to that because I’ve been reading this newsletter.

For any of you who have been keeping journals of your thoughts since 2016, or since the pandemic began, permit me to urge you to pass those writings on to the next generation, and to urge them to pass on to the next and the next after that your precious documentation of what it was like to live through all this...so that future deniers can be confronted with on-the-ground truth about what happened and what didn’t.

Wow that was a long sentence.

And, as always, thank you Dr. Richardson for helping us see the long strands of our troubled history.

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JJ, regarding saving journals for the next generation to read, my first reaction was that would be assuming the next generation will be ready to learn lessons from history and they are able to read for information. That was kind of negative and smarmy, but I never imagined a compulsive egotistical liar would still be dumbing us down.

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I made video journals throughout the past five years. I am not sure I could stomach re-living them, just as I would not want to read a book or see a movie about this past administration and the horrors they inflicted upon our sensibilities. NOT being able to go out and freely protest due to the pandemic was like being forced to be a witness to more deaths-- of our fellow citizens here and around the world and the death of our democracy. It still has a pulse, but it feels very fragile thanks to the anti-democracy fanatics amongst us.

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Never assume that no lessons will be learned from valuable experiences. Make the evidence available, and some (hopefully enough) people will benefit.

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Amen JJ

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JJ, I am discerning which of my 30+ nieces and nephews is historically minded enough to get my journal which documents from November 4, 2019, intended to be an election chronicle to end Nov.4, 2020 but it turned into a Covid chronicle. I cannot seem to end it because it is not over yet!!!!! I began re-reading it the other day. My other thought is to bundle it up and send it to the Library of Congress which I hope is even now looking for first hand diaries of our " twin plagues"!

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On the COVID history, a semantic issue: Trump and his people took the COVID story VERY seriously - as a threat to the economic boom and therefore to his re-election chances. While I watched all this unfold on the TV news, I remember thinking, "He's seeing this entirely through a political lens and not as a public health crisis with American lives at stake". Like so much else, it was always all about him - and his desire to stay in power, whatever the cost. What's so very sad is that he nearly got reelected with his trash talk, and now he has taken tens of millions of people (mostly, though not entirely white men, and no, they are NOT all "working class") down the rabbit hole with him. Now these people are walking around unmasked and refusing vaccination. Dr. Walensky is right to be scared.

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He saw the threat posed by the covid epidemic through the only lens he has; impact upon self. Consideration for the other has never been part of his make-up.

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And now it appears that GOP Governors are intentionally allowing infection rates to go up again through lifting of mask mandates. I suspect it’s all part of a plan to try and make Biden look bad and hamper his ability to focus on other initiatives. The politicization of the virus continues...unbelievable.

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Sometimes we suspect bad faith on the part of people, without proof other than their public words and deeds. I'm a liberal clean clear through, but I am a wary liberal.

There really are threats out there. Some of them are natural events like tornados and rising sea levels. Some are foreign agents like former KGB colonels waging asymmetrical warfare. And some are domestic agents working to preserve power and wealth no matter the cost to others or to the body politic.

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Public words and deeds tell us a lot. “Ye shall know them by their deeds.” Character reveals itself through our behavior.

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I agree.

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I would agree with you but let’s wait to see what happens with those numbers especially with those kids that went on spring break. I sure wish contact tracing was more effective so that we could see exactly what group of people were getting sick or spreading this Covid. It would be so helpful in determining how much of mask wearing and distancing is working for whom. In the interim I continue to follow the guidelines.

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Your surmise is scary, but who knows? It may just be true. Of course it would be better if our journalists would dig up some supporting evidence for this perfidious plot.

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Too bad that the 50% of white male morons who won't get the vaccination don't catch it and die. That would really Make America Great Again.

Birx can try all she wants, she's never going to bleach that stain out of her reputation of toadying to Presidunce Dumbass. She knew last fall what she said last night, and she was willing to stay silent and stay employed and let him nearly win, rather than resign and tell people the truth. Like Tim Miller said - she's a complete and total failure. Everything she did in her life before is nothing compared to her abject failure and lack of courage last year.

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Someone said she also admitted being afraid of trump. Not that that excuses her, but look how so many educated (though seemingly brainless) people follow and mimic him. I don’t get his sway, his appeal. I hope, in her shoes, I would have spoken the truth, like Vindman, and taken my walking papers gladly. I just don’t know for sure. She doesn’t rise to the level of evil in my mind as tRump, McConnell, Miller, Jr, Eric, Ivanka, Cruz, Barr, KellyAnne Conway, his last press Secretary, what was her name? Beautiful Harvard grad with absolutely zero integrity. Good riddance to all of them. Birx did miss opportunities to be courageous, though.

We are anxious here in the Twin Cities about the trial. 🙏🏼⚖️

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Nobody knows how they'll act and score when the Who Are You Really? test arrives - people who think they would pass with flying colors (I am sure Birx is one of them) turn out to be abject failures, and people everyone is convinced can do nothing else but flunk turn out to come through with a score of 100 without breaking a sweat and wonder why everyone is making a big deal of it. Most evil in this world isn't done by evil people, it's done by people who do nothing about the evil, which thus promotes it. What's the saying? "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to remain silent."

The Prezidunce's last and most horrid press suckretary was Kayleigh McEnemy - now a Faux Snooze paid contributor. Proof that "Harvard grad" has nothing to do with Actual Intelligence.

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How many "Brixs" stood by when the Nazis fired the ovens?

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Thank you, TCinLA. Your catch phrases are so enjoyable. I agree with you. It’s impossible to know what your made of until you’re in the crucible. ❤️🤍💙

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I generally like what you say, but I wish you would give up the derogatory language. It reminds me of Rush.

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What is half-way between respectful and derogatory? Perhaps silence.

The terms "Prezidunce" and "suckretary" , coined(?) by TCin LA are more derisive than derogatory. Humor and ridicule are useful political tools when your adversaries are as thin-skinned as Trump and a number of his associates in sedition and insurrection. Rightness beats niceness in this case, I believe. Nice one, TC.

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Thank you for saying that, Sally. The miracle of HCR's newsletters is that its readers have remained relatively civil.

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Thanks, Sally, I have the same reaction. I just move past these posts laden with adolescent name calling. The imbalance undermines the authority of the speaker.

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Forever Young? Somewhere in the 1960s decorum got erased from my personality. I could blame it on drug use, but nah, I think it is just my rebellious spit-ball personality.

(BTW, I worked in a office where I had to write proper missives, with underlying well-worded insults that did not appear as such, but they paid me to do that)

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I think it's because TC, like many members here, do not want to literally name the former president.

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Then just say, the former president...

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I called Chauvin a "Pig." Been using that term since the '70s. It ain't derogatory if it's true.

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I think it's because TC, like many members here, do not want to literally name the former president.

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I love TC’s wit. McEnemy indeed!

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I agree, Sally. Name calling is a slippery unhelpful slope.

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Yes and yes.

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And 🙌

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And yes!

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TC, there are days when your vivid language is perfect for the occasion. This is one of them.

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As I watched Dr. Birx last evening, it struck me that her experiences may be parallel to an “abuse victim”. Expanding the thought, mental torture may be the reason so many formerly upstanding and reasonable people were crushed in the Trump administration. Outside looking in, it is easy to think: Why did he or she stay in the relationship? Why didn’t they just stand up and leave?

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But the difference is that she could have walked away. She already had a distinguished career. Why tarnish it with lies and toadying?

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Maybe because she thought she could keep things from going off the rails even more? She always looked so uncomfortable to me standing on the podium.

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Just like Bill Barr!

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Nah, I think Bill Barr is corrupt to the core and only hid it until the Asswipe Occupying the White House, gave him a venue and permission to let his evil out.

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It looked to me like she was trying to protect the public, and getting fired or leaving would have left the radioligist in charge, making sure the virus circulated far and wide.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-nw-trump-scott-atlas-coronavirus-20200816-kp5mmxr2ibfqppquppxtb3kko4-story.html

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MaryPat I am not sure how the record would look if both Fauci and Birx had full throatedly resigned giving testimony to the lies and the lying liars behind them. 45 never gave an inch in his fight against the virus. Certainly resignations by the Doctors could not have 😔 hurt.

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We will never know.

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Both Dr Fauci and Dr Birx were dedicated Government Scientists whose worth was not lessened by the administration.

Both served admirably as Scientists and as Government Employees and had faith in doing good while remaining in service and knowing how to stay relevant in the midst of ignorance.

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You are absolutely right. In my Catholic upbringing, that lesson was the Story of the Good Samaritan. “Good” people, “upright citizens” walk right past someone in need, but the Samaritan (a member of a group that split from Judaism and from then was looked down upon) stops to help. Thanks, TC.

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I stand with TCinLA

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"Prezidunce" sure fits though.

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I am saddened by the tide of depreciating the role of Dr Birx in the Trump administration.

She was first a Scientist who understood the incredible challenges of Government bodies dealing with Contagious Disease. Then Dr Birx was an experienced Government Scientist who realized that her presence in the ridiculous group of "Advisers to Ignorance,' remained a rational and knowledgeable voice.

It was on the basis of her knowledge and realization of the futility of education willful ignorance that she turned her attention away from the White House and focused on the various State Programs who were open to advice.

Dr. Birx doubtless stayed and made her decisions on the basis that her absence from Government would harm the Public Health and Interest.

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I thought that Dr. Birx had caved in and supporting the White House with regard to its inaction towards the Coronavirus. Then I read a lengthy article in The New Yorker about her. It stated that she grew inpatient with being ignored a d closed out of her role as an advisor to the White House, so she and a colleague went on a road trip, visiting governors and state level public health officials to convince them of the need to wear masks, to avoid large gathering, to maintain social distancing, and of the need for adequate PPE for health care workers. The article changed my mind regarding Dr. Birx. (Unfortunately, I don’t have reference to the article.)

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/11/02/deborah-birx-covid-trump/

From November 02, 2020 WaPo:

"In recent weeks, Birx has crisscrossed the country, traveling to dozens of virus hot spots, where she has urged state and local officials to mandate masks, close bars and restaurants and encourage distancing."

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Here's the link to the The New Yorker article: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/01/04/the-plague-year

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Just to be clear, I am neither defending nor vilifying Dr Birx! I was just providing the info about her travels. First I knew about that.

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Too little, too late.

The choices of Dr Birx and Dr Fauci during the pandemic in 2020 were not precisely the same. Fauci managed to serve the public better and more often than Birks. Perhaps there is a measure of sexism in current attitudes toward Dr Birx, but she earned criticism by being a less effective public servant than Dr Fauci. He was not there, but she was when Trumpsky talked the most sheer, duplicitous, deadly nonsense about bleach and sunlight. Staying silent then was a betrayal of the public trust.

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It is beyond all of that, though, that she sat silent when asked if we could inject bleach. Within days of that (before or after) I saw her on national TV saying with a straight face that 45 listened carefully and considered science and facts in all his decisions. Do no harm.

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Trumpsky never listens, he just pauses between tirades.

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When he crosses his arms and nods, I imagine he is listening to the echo between his ears.

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I hope she kept her mouth shut about what she knew because she thought she could do more good that way, but it certainly appears in retrospect that she made a tragically wrong choice. Calling out Trump as the liar he was - and is - might well have saved more lives. I wonder if Dr. Fauci made the same wrong choice, too.

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I agree. She feared for The Public, not herself.

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Was Birx in fear of not making her rent payment if she resigned?

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Really. She betrayed the public trust. No honor, integrity there. Complicit.

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She could have always sold a Hermès scarf 🧣 or two.

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I am anxious for you Jeanne as well for our country. If only the jurors would believe their eyes. Chauvin needs to be hung not the jury.

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How can any person deny he was callously murdered right before our eyes.

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Because what they see is "justifiable use of force". What they see is resistance, uncooperativeness, and someone who had illegal drugs in their system. Nothing more. (information gathered from reading scores of LEO posts on this incident. When I commented to one rather vitriolic tirade "methinks the gentleman doth protest too much" I was unfriended and blocked.)

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That’s why I shun Facebook.

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This is why we all need to be listening to alternate ways of looking at the world. It's easy to see how "the other side" is all wrong, and "we" are always right. (I'm not agreeing with the police here, quite the opposite. I also suspect there are times when more information would improve my own ability to be right.)

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What they saw was most importantly a black man!

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so sorry Ally. Evidence of the closed and protective culture. There is some notion that there was a motive of revenge given the prior interactions between Chauvin and Mr. Floyd. I know your service was honorable and simmered in integrity. Unfortunately, that may not be the norm in Chauvin's territory.

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Due process and the fullest legal punishment for Chauvin. But no death penalty for any crime, for anyone, anywhere, any time.

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Got it.. frankly our history of faulty due process is abysmal with I wonder how many people having been executed unfairly and so many spending decades of their lives in prison only to be exonerated lately because DNA science.

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Our home state of MA is not immune to misuse of DNA evidence. For those living elsewhere, read about the crimes of Annie Dookhan. The cost to the state ultimately may exceed $1 billion. The cost in shattered lives? Incalculable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Dookhan

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Yes I remember this case.

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34,000 cases...YIKES

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I have always felt that life in prison (forever) would be a worse punishment than being executed. Truly if Chauvin and Floyd had a relationship. It makes George Floyd’s murder all the more regrettable.

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Yes I’ve also felt that prison life would be worse than a quick death. Chauvin deserves a special place in hell after prison.

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I know you were being clever with your words, but I don't think we should be advocating capital punishment here. It's a bad look.

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??? Not how I read it. What did I miss?

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"Chauvin needs to be hung."

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Yes I can imagine being anxious if I were in the vicinity 🙏

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I don't understand why she thinks doing these interviews where she admits she was, intimidated, weak and knew she wasn't telling the truth and that people would die. If she is trying to salvage her reputation, I think it is backfiring. She is an experienced medical doctor who understood exactly what was happening, yet she choose to say only what Trump wanted her to. I think she should lose her medical lisence. Do no harm- she failed.

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Total agreement!

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Let’s not forget that she’s a doctor and the doctor has the Hippocratic oath to live by. She’s not just a civilian who couldn’t speak up. She where is the badge. She should defend it. I have no regard for her. Never did.

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Her last name was McInane.

(spelling?)

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For justice, and for those of you who live in the Twin Cities in particular, I hope that the jury believes the evidence that convinced the rest of the world the day Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. I cannot imagine the anger that will explode if he gets off.

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Lanita I totally agree

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Mac the Ninny - she's on Faux Snooze now.

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That's very good - I like it a lot!

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Not many (if any) educated or qualified people worked in the trump “administration”.

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His children may well be terrified of him while they simultaneously adulate him. Emotional abuse can do that.

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Yes, it is amazing that Birx can still use the title Dr. It should be forfeited.

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Yes. she failed to keep her oath as a doctor: "First, do no harm..."

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I just found an article about her new interview and this is what it said about her reaction to tRump’s suggestion we inject bleach into our bodies to fight Covid:

On Monday, Birx tried to explain her near-silence, arguing that her long experience of military service and training had kicked in.

“You can see how extraordinarily uncomfortable I was,” she added. “Those who have served in the military know there are discussions you have in private with your commanding officers and there are discussions you have in public.”

I didn’t know she was in the military. Some of those folks around the oligarch-wannabe were walking a tight rope every day.

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What about Dr Redfield?

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He, more than anyone.

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A spineless saboteur

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Worse.

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Early in the pandemic Dr Redfield BELIEVED his Chinese counterpart claim that the virus was not Airborne transmissible and that it was Not spreading asymptotically. This is an abject failure of the CDC director.

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You omit one thing. Dr. Birx was not allowed to speak out by her superiors. They suppressed her at every turn, which is why she took it upon herself to travel to states to warn them about the severity of the crisis.

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I think we will witness the gene 🧬 pool self correcting, given what we know as of today with increasing more virulent evolutions of the virus 🦠 in circulation, too choose not to get the vaccine 💉 for political reasons is the height of stupidity, and will fall into the oh well category, they can’t say they weren’t warned.

As to Birx, she should have called him out for being a lunatic the day he suggested injecting bleach as a cure, and perhaps suggested giving him some on the spot, think 🤔 of the cure that would have brought to this country, I’m sure they would have had some available in the cleaning supplies for the WH toilets, surely that would have been a better use of it, of that I am very clear.

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Thanks Dick, I generally agree. But the reality, and tragedy, of irresponsibility during a pandemic or epidemic, is that those people become responsible for harmful consequences affecting people who make proper decisions. Just like wearing a mask, vaccination is about more than one person at a time. The nature of infectious disease means that no decisions exist in a vacuum.

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