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Speak Right On

A book is usually a one-sided affair: only the author reveals her thoughts and feelings. The airing of readers’ reactions typically is left to book groups. But not now, not here.

With this blog I want to hear what you have to say. Though I will use Speak Right On as a springboard and reference point for my blog entries, you don’t need to read my book to join the conversation.

Just speak right on, from the heart.

“He who does his best for his own time, lives for all times.”

African proverb

frontcover web

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stereoscope |ˈsterēəˌskōp|   noun

a device by which two photographs of the same object taken at slightly different angles are viewed together, creating an impression of depth and solidity.

My husband, Andrew, did a series of juxtaposed images like the one at right. Instead of a stereoscopic pair of separate images depicting left- and right-eye views of the same scene, he placed similar but different images side by side. This one shows the ruins of an ancient cave dwelling at Bandelier, in New Mexico (left), and the ruins of an inner-city building in Brooklyn, NY (right).

We don't see the same thing that other people see, even when we're looking at the same thing. We all know this, but it's not a bad idea to remind yourself every now and then. That's one take-away of these conversations I'm having online. 

This week's conversation followed an NPR story about the Black Lives Matter presence at the US Conference of Mayors, held last Wednesday in Washington, DC (hosted by Robert Siegel, with a byline from Cheryl Corly).  City leaders were set to discuss policing and safe communities, one of BLM's primary areas of protest. 

I think that it would irresponsible for me not to show up here and say that this is some fantasy world that they live while the thousands and millions of people in their cities are experiencing something totally different.

April Goggins, representing Black Lives Matter

Here are the comments following the story:

Charles Tudor

The best way to avoid getting shot by a cop is to obey their orders. The police represent society. If there is misconduct on the part of a cop, it can be brought to the attention of the people that oversee and investigate the cops, but to get that done, you have to remain alive.

Mary Neighbour to Charles Tudor
Yes, the police do represent society. In many towns and cities the police are the only--or at least the most frequent--representatives of government that residents see and interact with. How horrifying, then, when residents see their unarmed neighbors shot and killed in such great numbers. The statistics speak incredibly loud: see In 2014, Canada law enforcement killed 78 people; in England, from 2010 to 2014, police killed 4 people; in Germany, no one was killed by law enforcement in 2013 or 2014; and in China, with a population 4.5x greater than ours, police killed 12 people in 2014. And us/US? In 2014 police killed over 900; in 2015, police killed over 1,000. Our society has something seriously wrong.

Charles Tudor to Mary Neighbour
Being "unarmed" is drummed loudly, but the fact remains that people who cooperate with the police do not get shot, usually. Seeing cops as adversarial is part of local culture.

Ng to Mary Neighbour
Correct! We have many more violent criminals.

Mary Neighbour to Ng
And we have even more people dying from cancer. What's one problem got to do with the other? You speak about violent criminals as if that eclipses the problem of police using excessive and deadly force--it doesn't. They are two discrete issues.

teslavroom to Charles Tudor
Listen to the lady dude.
Try telling that to the family of AKAI GURLY
I mean are you even following this stuff or do you get your news from the precinct press releases.

Charles Tudor to teslavroom
I read major news sources. The NY Times had a major article showing over a dozen such events.

GrandmaCool43 to Charles Tudor
Reply to Charles Tudor: Remember that the older woman who was shot by police (in Chicago) was shot the moment she opened her door, before a word was spoken by either party. She had no opportunity to obey their orders. The small boy who was playing with a toy gun was the same. He was not ordered to put down the gun. He was just shot to death before he could kill a cop with his toy gun. If you read the stories about police shootings of civilians in Chicago, you will see that many of them read this way. One officer was freed because they said that he did not have enough time to verify whether or not the person was armed. In that case, the person did not have enough time to hear, much less obey the cops orders. Doesn't this bother you ? Do you really think that so many of these stories can be made up? The anguish in the daughter's voice when she spoke of her mother's being shot the minute she opened the door was heart wrenching and sure didn't sound like a political comment to me. Her crime was living next door to a possible suspect.

Marshall Ney to GrandmaCool43
This may have something to do with the issue (source Department of Justice):
Blacks were disproportionately represented as both homicide
victims and off enders. Th e victimization rate for blacks (27.8
per 100,000) was 6 times higher than the rate for whites (4.5 per
100,000). Th e off ending rate for blacks (34.4 per 100,000) was almost
8 times higher than the rate for whites (4.5 per 100,000) (table 1).

InheritTheWindow to GrandmaCool43
Don't forget the dude at the gas station who, when asked by police to get his license, reached back into his car for it and was shot because "we thought he was going for a weapon."

Charles Tudor to GrandmaCool43
Maybe we should start including a required course in middle school that shows people how to behave when cops arrive so that they don't get shot.

InheritTheWindow to Charles Tudor
The lengths you will go to blame victims is astonishing.

Charles Tudor to InheritTheWindow
What's astonishing is the level of endorsement of the concept of indelible Victimhood and Persecution as the cause of all these incidents. People are losing their lives because of their exploitation by people who are pretending to be their Rescuers. When people begin to behave correctly when police are involved then these tragic incidents will no longer occur.

Ng to GrandmaCool43
"Small Boy", hardly! Please! He was 5'-7" and weighted as much as a grown man. It was still a tragedy of the highest order, but that does not make it a crime.

Mary Neighbour to Ng
It is interesting to read "tragedy" and "crime" juxtaposed in your last sentence. "Tragedy" makes these victims' deaths sound like a natural disaster befell them; "crime" implies human action and responsibility. Who is responsible for the deaths of Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, and so many others? To start with, the rookie (or otherwise) cops who fired the lethal bullets, closely followed by their police departments and trainers, and then you don't have to travel too to far identify mayors and governors. But don't stop there--this is a fatal (literally) flaw in our society; we each have a civic responsibility to try to address and correct the situation: speak out, vote, protest.

A new review of Speak Right On
My learning curve begins . . . and continues

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Monday, 21 June 2021