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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

An Injustice

Category: Society
Posted: 06/16/17 22:12

by Dave Mindeman

I. Do. Not. Understand.

The police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted in the shooting death of Philando Castile. I was stunned.

This was not a murder trial. The charge was involuntary manslaughter. An appropriate and just charge for the circumstances. But even with that, the officer was acquitted.

I have no personal grudge with Yanez. I am sure he is a decent officer who made a very bad mistake in judgment. But in another trial, in another state, a 17 year old girl was convicted on the same basic charge because she texted her boyfriend on a phone with a suggestion to get back in a carbon monoxide filled pickup and die. He still had a choice. She only made a suggestion. Philando Castile had no choice. He was shot by an officer of the law.

Make sense of any of that.

There is an assumption of innocence on the part of a police officer. I get that. I still believe that is probably appropriate. But maybe we need to take a serious look at what that means. Officers of the law go through years of training. They train for exact situations that Yanez faced. They are trained not to over react. To take everything into account.

And oddly enough, that all holds when an officer is involved with a white individual. Something goes terribly wrong, something changes, when an officer confronts a black person. I cannot look at these situations in any kind of denial. It is a truth. It happens. All too often.

And we have got to examine this for what it is. An inherent racism in our justice system. I don't think that police officers always have racism in their background. Many of them resist the temptation to treat races differently. I believe that. But working the streets of the cities...in urban settings...changes many of them. And we need to look at why that is.

Is it a cultural problem? Is it an urban concentration of black population? Is it a basic mistrust between the police and the black community that has developed over time? Do we have a community policing problem?

Those questions are basic to understanding all of this. But that does not change the injustice of this verdict. Of police shootings of black men (an occurrence which is much too common in this country), there are many degrees of culpability. But in the case of Philando Castile, justice was not served. Philando was an absolute victim. He deserved better than this.

Actually, we all deserved better than this. It was just wrong.
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The Common Denominator Is Guns

Category: Guns
Posted: 06/14/17 17:39

by Dave Mindeman

A disgruntled political madman shoots up a Republican sports practice, injuring 4 people. Jeronimo Yanez kills Philando Castile because he "saw" a gun and feared for his life?. Tamir Rice, a 12 year old boy, is killed by police because they thought a toy gun in the hands of a 12 year old could be real. In the Bay Area today, a disgruntled worker opens fire at this workplace and kills 4 people. At Sandy Hook school, 20 children and 6 adults were murdered randomly by a mentally ill individual. Three people killed and 9 wounded at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic by a deranged zealot. Nine people killed in Charleston, SC by a white supremacist. In 2011, 6 people died and 12 were injured, including Rep. Gabby Giffords, shot by a mentally ill paranoid-schizophrenic.

That is a lot of people involved. And if you noticed properly, none of that list involved our war on terrorism. None of it came from the Radical Extremists our President likes to point to.

No, there is only one common denominator in those tragedies.

Guns.

Guns, most of them automatic weapons, in the hands of people who should not have them, caused this carnage. Yes, the people were definitely to blame. But we need to stop them. And we also need to stop the improper access of guns to people who kill.

Sure, people kill people. And if it wasn't guns it would be a knife, a rock, or a hammer. We cannot stop killers intent to kill. But why make it easier? Why should the sudden rage of a person be given an automatic weapon to wreak havoc on random, innocent people? Why should domestic abusers get access to a weapon that can kill quickly and efficiently? Why are background checks still not universal?

To be honest, I am not even sure if it is really physical guns that is the real problem. It is more the gun culture. The NRA keeps pushing for broader access to guns. Law abiding citizens should have access, but with the ever decreasing restrictions, the term law abiding itself becomes a loose definition. I mean people on the no fly list are guaranteed the right to purchase a gun. How crazy is that?

The common thread is guns...and the ever increasing access to guns and the incredible proliferation of guns. No other country on earth has such a love affair with weaponry. The gun culture is not satisfied with ease of access; the gun culture wants a gun on every street corner, in every church, every government building, ever bar and restaurant. Yes, we do have some restrictions in those places at the moment - but those restrictions are also only one Republican bill from termination.

Sure, we can talk about motivations. And the attack in DC has no justification. None. Politics in the US is not decided with bullets. It is what makes our democracy unique and why it works so well.

But this is another opportunity to examine the arsenals of guns in the private sector. Arsenals that cost us huge sums of money in law enforcement and security.

Let's talk about that as well.
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ACA: NY State AG Gives Us Facts In Answer To Trump

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 06/13/17 18:49

by Dave Mindeman

Donald Trump has a lousy understanding of public policy and how things work. The NY State Attorney General took down a Trump tweet on the ACA, masterfully....

Trump Tweet:

2 million more people just dropped out of ObamaCare. It is in a death spiral. Obstructionist Democrats gave up, have no answer = resist!

Answers from Eric Schneiderman...

1: This obscene distortion is part and parcel of @realDonaldTrump's deliberate campaign to undermine our health care. Here are the facts:

2: FACT: Since the #ACA's inception, the number of New Yorkers without health insurance has fallen from 10% to 5% in 2016--a historic low.

3: FACT: Trump is talking about people who signed up for policies but didn't pay for coverage. That's normal--the same # did this last year.

4: FACT: The #ACA is not in a death spiral. It continues to insure and protect millions, despite @POTUS's attempts to sabotage.

5: FACT: Where costs are rising, @POTUS bears responsibility. His threat to end critical subsidies could increase premiums by up to 21%.

6: I'm using every legal tool at my disposal to protect NYers. If @POTUS signs the House's #Trumpcare bill, I'll sue.


Yes, our President continues to get everything wrong.

Thank you Eric Schneiderman for your truth.
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