My 27th Birthday
Back at the beginning of April I heard some of my neighbors having a birthday party and said something to the effect of "It must suck to have a birthday right now." I was referring, of course, to the pandemic going on and my delusion at the time that conditions would improve at some point. At least in Utah, things have only gotten exponentially worse since then and the isolation kills me a little more every week, but it turned out not to effect my own birthday much at all because I don't have enough friends to throw a huge party anyway. So with six other people and my sister's pet chicken that she brought for unclear reasons I got Panda Express and ate it outside. I soon got over the guilt of eating chicken in front of a chicken because she clearly didn't care, if her adorable snuggling in my armpit was any indication.
Then we went home and I blew out twenty-seven candles with a hairdryer to avoid getting spit particles on the cake, a hazard I learned about years ago from one of Beverly Cleary's "Ramona" books where some snobby girl was all grossed out about spit particles on Ramona's cake and convinced everyone not to eat it until they got over themselves and realized that ingesting minute traces of someone else's body fluids isn't a big deal. But times have changed. It also conveniently happened to ensure that I would get all the candles at once so my wish wouldn't be ruined. I can't help wanting to believe in that sort of thing. I'm a little stitious by nature. It just would take a lot of pressure off me if, for example, God guided my life through fortune cookies and timely internet memes rather than the vague feelings and impressions He usually prefers. Here's a picture of me even though I hate pictures of me.
Four of us remained for the highlight of the evening; a viewing of "The Lost World" (1925) because I was in the mood for something old. It's available free on YouTube because anyone who could possibly make a copyright claim is dead, and I recommend it both for campy charm as well as just being legitimately cool. I had confidence that everyone would like it but what I didn't count on was Katie and Steve reading the dialogue out loud and adding a lot of their own, which created an altogether different and admittedly superior experience.
Of course, I was cognizant throughout of my luck in being alive to celebrate in the first place. Prior to that day I was twenty-six and so was someone I've never met named Breonna Taylor. I don't know when her twenty-seventh birthday would have been, but I know she didn't or won't reach it because police officers at the wrong address looking for someone who had already been arrested broke into her apartment and murdered her in her sleep. After more than three months of national outrage, one of them was fired and none of them were arrested. Instead, Breonna's boyfriend was charged for shooting one of the officers whom he had no reason to believe were anything other than common robbers, but those charges have been dropped at least for now in a rare moment of sanity. A local law against no-knock warrants now bears her name but it would be nicer if she were still alive and the law just existed anyway.
To be frank, if you hear stories like this and your first response is to feel bad for police officers, you're a sociopath. And if you hear stories like this and continue posting crap like "The police will leave you alone if you don't do anything illegal", you're also a liar. And if you hear stories like this and just don't care and want to move on with your life without the nuisance of hearing about yet another black person murdered by police, you're every bit as much a part of the problem as actual out-and-out racists. But you can change. I know you can because a few years ago I was more like you than I care to admit. The first step is being honest enough to realize you're wrong.
The differences between me and Breonna Taylor, besides the obvious ones, are that she was making a positive contribution to society and I wasn't murdered by police officers. Why am I alive while she isn't? I feel like I should spend a few paragraphs waxing philosophical about that fact but it's really about all I can think of to say. I was lucky and she wasn't and in this world that's often all it comes down to. A future life with God is the only hope for a shred of meaningful justice but is hardly an excuse to be complacent about justice now.
God vs. Human Agency
Agency, in Latter-day Saint theology, is the innate ability of humans to act deliberately instead of being controlled by God like puppets. God tells us what to do but lets us choose whether to obey or not, and in so doing choose what goals and values to align ourselves with. He respects our ability to choose so much that He will never take it away even though its misuse is responsible for a good chunk of the suffering in the world. As I understand it, the only things that can truly compromise it are addictions and/or defects in the brain. Saints of some political stripes treat "agency" as synonymous and interchangeable with "liberty", and insist that what they perceive (sometimes with reason, sometimes not) as excessive or unjust laws are a violation of this sacred principle. Liberty is also important, but it's not the same thing, and no secular law can take away agency any more than God's commandments do. The choice of whether to follow the law or face the consequences of not following the law still remains. If agency and liberty are the same thing then anarchy is the only way to go.
Non-human animals don't have agency as I understand it. They can't make choices of moral significance because they don't comprehend good and evil. They also just like to make us look bad by doing everything God tells them to do. Recently, for the first time, I asked God to tell some animals to do something. A magpie couple moved into the neighbors' backyard right next to my windows and started making the same obnoxious noise over and over and over and over and over and over from sunrise to sundown. I think they were saying, "No, I love you more! No, I love you more! No, I love you more! No, I love you more! No, I love you more! No, I love you more!" After more than a week of trying and failing everything I could think of to get them to shut up for more than five minutes, I prayed and asked God to make them shut up for more than five minutes so I wouldn't have to kill them. They haven't bothered me since and I'm not even sure if they still live here. But that could be a fortuitious coincidence.
Anyway, it would seem perfectly obvious that God can't control people and he can't promise anything or make anything happen that's contingent on someone choosing to use their agency in a certain way, and I've heard friends and local church leaders say things to that effect. But after giving this premise some thought I've decided that it just isn't true.
Instances of God or one of His servants declaring the future (if you believe in that sort of thing, which of course you do because if you don't you've already closed this tab and browsed over to reddit) seem easy enough to explain by saying, okay, He's not making these future events happen, He's just observing and reporting them because He exists outside of time and sees everything at once. But this oversimplification fails to explain what most Latter-day Saints actually believe. Most believe that God is actively involved in directing the course of human history and individual lives, often to the point of responding to tragedy with the bogus cliche "Everything happens for a reason" as if God foreordains people to be drunk drivers. Many events in the scriptures, especially in the Old Testament, are understood as "types and shadows" of Christ's first and/or second comings, aka basically symbols and allegories of future events except that also actual events in their own right. Did God take away people's agency to make sure these events happened the right way, and if not, is each of these types and shadows nothing more than a fortuitious coincidence?
I was struck while reading this in the Book of Mormon recently as the prophet Abinadi warned King Noah, who wanted to kill him, that "what you do with me, after this, shall be as a type and a shadow of things which are to come." (Mosiah 13:10) Later, when King Noah had Abinadi burned to death, this prophecy became more specific: "Behold, even as ye have done unto me, so shall it come to pass that thy seed shall cause that many shall suffer the pains that I do suffer, even the pains of death by fire; and this because they believe in the salvation of the Lord their God.... Then ye shall suffer, as I suffer, the pains of death by fire. Thus God executeth vengeance upon those that destroy his people." (Mosiah 17:15, 18-19) And then a while later King Noah's people "were angry with the king, and caused that he should suffer, even unto death by fire." (Mosiah 19:20) Another fortuitious coincidence? Did God take away the people's agency to make sure they delivered poetic justice instead of just, say, beating him to death? The story would have been a lot less impactful if they just tied him up and left him for the jaguars.
Some prophecies are even more obviously conditional. Joseph Smith once told Illinois Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Douglas, "Judge, you will aspire to the presidency of the United States; and if ever you turn your hand against me or the Latter-day Saints, you will feel the weight of the hand of Almighty upon you; and you will live to see and know that I have testified the truth to you; for the conversation of this day will stick to you through life.” In other words, the prophesied outcome was conditional on Douglas' choices and entirely avoidable. But of course he did turn against the Latter-day Saints and lost the presidency to some nobody named Abraham Lincoln. Did God take away the agency of literally millions of white males who were allowed to vote? Maybe He just changed their ballots when nobody was looking. In either case, it's a shame poor Mr. Lincoln got dragged in as unwitting collateral damage in this divine prank. If he hadn't become the president, he would still be alive today.
Now I would like to discuss a huge example that may not occur to most people: temples. I love looking at the little dots on the map of where temples are or will be, and I even love going inside one sometimes and had planned to do so every week this year before the bleeping you-know-what happened. Temple locations are sometimes decided by a combination of logistics and revelation, and sometimes just by revelation. In all cases the announcement of a location is basically an assertion that God wants this thing built and it's going to be built. And then it is. The temples in Far West and Independence, Missouri are the only special cases that remain as yet unbuilt nearly two centuries after their respective announcements and there's no real reason why they couldn't be built at any time. In the rare event of announced temples being canceled, they were either just relocated a bit (Harrison, New York to Manhattan, New York) or replaced with multiple temples in other locations and then re-announced years later anyway (Hartford, Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts and Harrison, I mean Manhattan, New York; Pago Pago, American Samoa to Apia, Samoa, Nuku'alofa, Tonga, and Papeete, Tahiti).
The planning stage a temple is in at the time of announcement varies, but typically it's before any necessary city, state, or national approvals have been secured. Sometimes, maybe most times, it's before local government leaders have even been notified that the Church would like to build a temple in that spot. And in countries with a decent respect for religious freedom that rarely poses much of a problem. Temples in Utah get approved virtually overnight and temples in the other states take just a bit longer. Temples in some parts of the world take quite a bit longer and sometimes face a few more obstacles - obstacles created, of course, by people exercising their agency that God can't take away. An illustrative example is the Accra Ghana Temple, the first in West Africa, which for some time was stuck in gridlock at every level of government due to a combination of apathy, bureaucratic incompetence, and prejudice from other Christian groups.
Over two years after its announcement, with virtually no progress in the interim, Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Africa West Area Presidency testified in General Conference that Satan "has been very active, trying to prevent the building of a temple in that part of the world.... It has been inspiring to see the Lord’s hand in bringing the forces together which will lead to an inevitable victory. There will be a temple in West Africa." Even with this confidence, he believed that the timing, at least, was conditional on human action or inaction. The previous year he had written in his journal, "I feel like we have done everything we can do temporally. I'm not absolutely sure the members have done everything they can do spiritually to prepare. If they had, I think we would have approval." A few months later he wrote, "I feel we got over the hump on the temple issue with the November 7 fast. We had a beautiful reaction to the request for fasting and prayer from our members.... I believe we will soon have enough of a critical mass of worthy members for the Lord to intervene."
Of the eventual approval, he later wrote, "I have reflected on this point in history many times. For thirty months I had felt like I was running into a brick wall. I would get up, clean up my wounds, and run again. I would run at the wall faster, slower, and from further back. I tried jumping over it and digging and crawling under it. The wall didn't fall. It didn't even budge. I just kept getting more bruised and bloodied. Then, when it was time, the Lord just gently blew it over. In hindsight, I believe the wall came down because so many African members got serious about living the gospel. If I had any impact on increasing the righteousness of the Saints, I would be elated." The biggest factor leading almost immediately to this change of fortune was the replacement of Jerry Rawlings with John Agyekum Kufuor as president of Ghana. So because God couldn't take away Jerry Rawlings' agency to bring about this conditional predetermined event, did He once again take away the agency of millions of voters to make sure a more amenable successor took over? And we blame Russia for meddling in elections.
But Russia, on that note, is another noteworthy example still in the process of unfolding. In 2018, during an era of intense government discrimination against every religion that isn't the Russian Orthodox Church and most especially against the small American ones, President Russell M. Nelson announced a temple for "a major city, yet to be determined, in Russia." While visiting the country over a year later, Elder Ronald A. Rasband "told the Russian members not to get discouraged that they don’t have a temple in Russia right now. The prophet has announced a future temple. Be assured, we are going to have a temple in Russia." Okay, we get it. So is God going to take away Putin's agency? And if He is, can He please have some fun with it before He gives it back? The world needs a morale boost right about now.
Even more recently, days after President Nelson announced an even less likely location, the Shanghai Municipal Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau said "the news that the American Mormon Church announced that it is building a temple came only from the American side" and called it "wishful thinking, not based in reality". Great stuff. I think God should annihilate the Chinese government and replace it with one that cares about basic human rights, but nobody asked me. So insert rhetorical question about Him taking away agency here.
If you pray to reach a destination in safety, are you asking God to take away the agency of other drivers (and maybe even yourself)? If you pray to get a job or get into college, are you asking God to take away the agency of the hiring or admissions people? If you pray for food to nourish and strengthen your body, are you asking God to take away the agency of anyone who might have let it be contaminated with E. coli? Okay, maybe these are silly examples but I'm just pointing out that none of our wants and needs exist in a vacuum. I do agree with the wisdom of focusing on yourself and asking for the divine aid to do what you can to shape events on your own, as opposed to asking God to do it for you. This life is about personal development, after all. I'm certainly not in the habit of asking God to make anyone else do something, although one time a few years ago I forgot my place and prayed that a certain coworker would give me a ride home, and then she did, and that was when I found out she had a boyfriend on a mission but we're still very good friends and I'm grateful for her impact on my life. But that could be a fortuitious coincidence.
I think God influences the world and everyone in it in ways far more varied and subtle than we give Him credit for or indeed can even imagine. I think, frankly, that He's kind of underhanded about it sometimes. I think sometimes He's like "Well, I didn't actually take away that person's agency, I just placed thoughts in their head that they couldn't tell apart from their own thoughts, which caused them to do what I wanted them to do while thinking it was their own idea, which is completely different." Who am I to argue with results? I'm assured periodically that God has a plan for my life and that I'm on the path He wants me to be on even though I never actually bothered asking for His input on decisions like where to go to school, what to study, where to live, or what brand of toothpaste to use. I certainly can't begin to explain how that happened, which is why I restrict myself to rhetorical questions, but I think it's pretty analogous to the lack of contradiction between "created in the image of God" and "evolved via random mutations and natural selection". Which is a copout since I don't understand how that works either, but anybody who accepts one paradigm should be able to accept the other.
And that's why I think saying "God can't do that because agency" is inaccurate. Tune in next week for "God vs. The Butterfly Effect". (Just kidding. I'm not that smart.)
Racism in the United States and police abuse of power in the United States are both really hot topics right now. They are separate topics, though they very much overlap. And I'm not sure right now how to handle that overlap. I'm not sure how to teach police officers not to be racist when this is something they should be able to figure out on their own by 2020. So today I'm going to focus on more generalized solutions to everything that's wrong with the police. I didn't think up most of this stuff on my own but it's the stuff that in my judgment I believe would work and absolutely should be implemented yesterday. I'm sure some of the other proposed solutions would also be effective but I don't feel qualified to comment on them. Let me be clear that while the law enforcement and criminal justice systems in this country are a festering cancer for which I have very little respect, I do not condone harassing, threatening or attacking random police officers, most of whom are probably decent guys and gals. If someone had shot Derek Chauvin, that would have been nice, but it's a bit late for that. So anyway:
Give police officers more and better training
A popular performance piece about George Floyd's murder points out that police officers in the United States undergoes fewer training hours than freaking barbers. Maybe that explains why barbers have killed fewer people. (Sweeney Todd notwithstanding.) They, the officers I mean, are also required to know surprisingly little about the actual laws they're supposed to be enforcing or about de-escalating tense situations without violence or threats of violence. I recognize that violence is sometimes necessary and justified, but thanks to the support of mindless right-wingers in this country who for decades have insisted that violence by a police officer is by definition always necessary and justified, it's become their default tactic far too often.
Screen police applicants better
Some people absolutely should not be cops, and some people who absolutely should not be cops are becoming cops anyway. We'll never be able to catch all the "bad apples" at the beginning, but surely we can do better. Most people don't become power-hungry fascists overnight.
Make police officers carry liability insurance
Most doctors are required to carry malpractice insurance to protect them from the brunt of massive lawsuits when something bad unexpectedly happens to one of their patients. Cops are already largely protected from lawsuits by qualified immunity, but if this method were used instead, their rates would skyrocket after they murder someone and they couldn't just get hired by the next police department that doesn't care about their record. "Don't hire police officers who have murdered someone" is too big a no-brainer to put on this list, yet not big enough to actually hold true in reality.
End special police protections
Everyone knows that police officers are held above the law through means both de facto and de jure. I'm sure it hurts their feelings to hold one of their friends and colleages to the same standard as normal people, and I'm sure it looks great on paper to give them some leeway for potentially controversial split-second decisions, but they've abused this privilege much too often and for far too long. Reform may already be gaining traction, as this week a federal appeals court cited George Floyd in a case against five cops who shot another black man twenty-two times in 2013. Police unions seem to exist for the sole purpose of protecting members from consequences for their actions, so they should probably be abolished if they can't come up with a really darn good reason not to be.
Make police officers wear body cameras at all times
George Floyd's murderers would still be free men if the murder hadn't been caught on a passerby's cell phone and a nearby restaurant's security camera and uploaded to the internet. Even knowing this, they still had the audacity to lie and claim George Floyd was resisting - which, again, if four cops can't restrain one man already in handcuffs without one of them kneeling on his neck while the other three do nothing, that's almost more embarrassing than being murderers. I see no reason whatsoever why every police officer in the country isn't required to use a body camera so they can't lie their way out of trouble. Literally the only thing I can think of is that it might make them hesitate more to use deadly force even when it is justified. Well, so what? They should be a lot more reluctant to take lives than they currently are. They should be afraid of the possibility of killing someone who shouldn't be killed. If they can't handle that, they shouldn't be cops.
End ticket quotas nationwide
Perhaps a small issue compared to the overall corruption and brutality, but nonetheless, it's pretty messed up that some police departments require officers to issue a certain number of tickets regardless of what people are actually doing, so they get to waste their time harassing and fining people to generate tax revenue instead of solving real crimes. Don't get me wrong, traffic laws should be enforced, especially in Utah, but it's a matter of priorities. Maybe if cops spent less time prowling for people to give tickets to, they could respond faster to actual crimes. Some parts of the US have already abolished ticket quotas but the whole country needs to follow suit.
End no-knock search warrants nationwide
These warrants allow police to just barge into somebody's property, instead of announcing their presence before they barge into somebody's property. As you know, one such instance recently ended with police officers murdering 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in her sleep after her boyfriend exercised his Second Amendment right to defend his home from intruders. They were at the wrong address looking for someone who had already been arrested, but whatever. If they had handled their idiotic mistake a little differently nobody would have died. They do claim that they did announce themselves before barging in, but the neighbors disagree, and that would kind of defeat the purpose of having a no-knock warrant in the first place, and police officers have a pretty consistent track record of lying their butts off every time they screw up. So I'm not buying it.
End civil forfeiture nationwide
If you have in your possession an amount of cash that the police think is suspiciously large, they can just take it from you and never give it back. They don't have to charge you with a crime. They can literally just take it from you and never give it back. Of course, there are very good legal constitutional reasons why the police have this power, and they understand the burden to use it responsibly and never abuse it, and I'm the Queen of Sheba.
Decriminalize all drugs
Portugal implemented this policy nearly twenty years ago and it's objectively been a phenomenal success in reducing both drug abuse and law enforcement expenses. The people who warned that it would be a disaster have admitted that they were wrong. Literally nobody claims it isn't working - so in other words, it's the opposite of the U.S. war on drugs. Law enforcement in this country wastes an obscene amount of time and money trying to punish people for having addictions, in the process creating far more crime than it stops and diverting resources away from much worse problems like sex trafficking and child pornography. And the war on drugs disproportionately ruins black men's lives just like Richard Nixon intended, so while this is admittedly be a band-aid solution, ending it would resolve that racial injustice as well.
Stop giving the police surplus military weapons
Back in the nineties, someone had the brilliant idea (that was sarcasm) of giving extra bayonets and hand grenades to police departments. In a sane country, an excess of bayonets and hand grenades might have raised some questions about budgets and priorities, but that's not the American way! So instead we decided to outfit cops like they're literally at war with the people they're supposed to serve and protect, further stroking the egos of the "bad apples" who now get to play with even more cool toys, and making all cops thus outfitted look like somebody a normal person would want to stay the hell away from. And, as their behavior has demonstrated, for good reason. Tear gas? What's up with that? Not okay in actual war zones, but okay to use on peaceful protesters?
Stop making police deal with mental health cases they aren't qualified for
In January, as I previously discussed at length, I was privileged to learn firsthand that the Logan Police Department knows less about mental health than a dog. They gave me the worst day of my life, but I was lucky. Some people out there have worse mental illnesses and/or disabilities than mine, and they constitute almost half of the people killed by police because neurotypicals have for some reason defaulted to using police to take care of everything they don't want to deal with, including problems much better suited to therapists or social workers whose skill set encompasses more than bullying. Not that the social worker I had to talk to afterward did a stellar job either, but at least she tried to make me less suicidal instead of more.
Make police undergo stress and anger management tests at least once a year
The stress of police work and the constant exposure to the ugliness in the world can really take a toll on one's psyche and desensitize one to basic human decency. If they can't handle that, they shouldn't be cops. Police departments should check in periodiodically to weed out the "bad apples" who slip through the initial screening process, and the "good apples" that are starting to rot. Frequent psychological checkups could even prevent them from rotting in the first place. I realize that the crappiness of this job has skyrocketed in the last couple weeks, and I legitimately feel bad for the good cops dealing with pressure and stigma they don't deserve, but it has to happen. That pressure is the only thing that can force the necessary changes to the godawful system they belong to.
You've probably seen the Martin Luther King quote going around that about sums up how I feel right now: "But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity."
He was not, obviously, speaking in favor of violent rebellions. He was just saying that they're basically inevitable when a group of people is screwed over and ignored for too long. And that's why, though I don't support violence or destruction of property either, I believe this nation thoroughly deserves it. Not that most affected individuals deserve it by any means, but the country as an institution does a hundred percent. I only woke up to these problems in the last few years, but I'm in my twenties and not in any decision-making capacity on any scale whatsoever. Millions of older, wiser and more authoritative people have had ample opportunity to listen and change things but they haven't. Of course black people and their allies are incandescent with rage. Of course they're going to start breaking things when their peaceful protests and pleas have consistently been mocked by white conservatives and accomplished nothing. If this nation had at some point made the radical decision to hold police officers accountable for their actions, and maybe even screen out testosterone-fueled fascists from being hired in the first place, riots wouldn't be happening right now. But it didn't and they are and it deserves it.
I apologize to the world, better late than never, for my past ignorance about race relations in the United States. I drastically underestimated the problem, miscalculated the necessary measures to correct it, and failed to adequately listen to people with different skin colors about their experiences that have differed from mine. My heart has always been in the right place and I've never deliberately said or done anything racially insensitive, but like everyone I've grown up with certain cultural and political blinders that I've had to learn to shake off over the years. Like in school, I was never explicitly taught "Racism is over", but from my early years onward I was taught about slavery and the civil rights movement and the narrative seemed to be, "White people used to mistreat black people but now things have changed and we know better", and there was no discussion of the lingering effects of those things and since the equality of white and black people was a no-brainer to me, I never guessed that there were any. And when I did start hearing about them, it all seemed like a political ploy to harass and delegitimize everyone who didn't support Obama, which I didn't, so of course I would resist.
I'm grateful to my handful of black friends for being patient with me as I've evolved into less of an idiot, which really was just a process of time, growth and having things adequately explained to me. For example, I didn't used to believe in white privilege. I felt personally attacked when people told me I'm "privileged" even though I've been marginalized in ways large and small my entire life because of my autism. But I accepted the reality of white privilege as soon as I had a college professor who explained what it actually is and what it isn't. Right now, despite posting about this on Facebook multiple times a day, I'm actually really sick of hearing about it. My life would be a little more pleasant if I could go back to not constantly hearing about racism and police brutality. Because it doesn't affect me virtually at all. That's white privilege. The privilege of being annoyed by someone else's oppression. I think it's actually the most stark and succinct evidence of white privilege I could give right now.
Most white people are in the same situation, so each of us has a choice between trying to ignore what's going on or wading right into it and speaking up for what's right. Anecdotally, it appears to me that for the first time most of us are making the right choice. Of course I've still seen some idiots. I unfriended my own cousin on Facebook for sharing a meme of a Jeep plowing into stick figures, with the words "All Live Splatter: Nobody Cares About Your Protests". Okay, first of all, claiming that "nobody cares" about something that millions of people demonstrably care about very much just makes you look pathetic, and second, what the crap? She's always been a few fries short of a Happy Meal and I was mostly ignoring her coronavirus conspiracy theory posts, but this was too much. I was also dumbstruck by this gem I saw by chance on a Deseret News article the other day.
I just have a few things to say to that.
1. Whether George Floyd was a "saint" or not is entirely irrelevant to whether the police had any right to murder him while he was safely in custody. Also, a recent study found evidence that drug addicts are still people.
2. Derek Chauvin already had eighteen complaints against him, which is almost one for every year he's been a cop. And for reasons known only to God, he was still a cop. Why exactly would he be concerned about compromising it now?
3. George Floyd was unarmed, in handcuffs, on his stomach. Derek Chauvin had three other cops with him. By no possible stretch of the imagination did he need to "protect himself" or anyone else from anything, you illiterate cretin.
4. It's sad his wife left him? Wrong. It's sad his wife just realized she was married to a murderer. You're praying for the wrong person and it says a lot about you.
5. "I also know Blacks are causing more and more problems in this country. If we have a civil war we're locked and loaded at home." I can't - I don't - I just - what? Did you fall into a coma in 1963 and just wake up without realizing it?
But like I said, most people are in clear agreement that Derek Chauvin is scum and what he did was unequivocally wrong. I really believe and hope that George Floyd's death is the tipping point that will bring about difficult, painful but oh so necessary and long overdue change. Today I participated in only my second protest ever (I wore a mask and was pleased that everyone else except a few conservatives who showed up to argue did too), and the atmosphere and the honks and waves and raised fists from hundreds of cars driving past just reinforced that feeling. Very, very few people flipped us off or yelled at us and only one middle-aged white guy showed up to let us know that he isn't racist but he doesn't support Black Lives Matter because it's violent. I don't feel up to going into a ton of detail like I did last time, but maybe I will next week or whenever. If I happen to see any pictures of myself I'll pass them along even though I hate pictures of myself.
No American deserves the luxury of ignoring what's going on right now. The rest of the world isn't ignoring it. They've seen the George Floyd video too. When my friend in Kenya mentioned it, I felt profoundly embarrassed for my country. I wished I could distance myself from it. But as long as I'm here I have a responsibility to change it from the inside. I'm not promising anything great or earth-shaking but I'll try to be a useful contributor to this movement and not let the few people within my sphere of influence pretend it isn't a thing. Undoubtedly I still have a ways to go and will say more ignorant things in the future despite my best intentions, so I'm sorry in advance for that too. Please be patient with me.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.