Facing Up To The Challenge?

As protests continue and the “President” (note quotation marks) continues to unravel, I am seeing some hopeful signs of a national awakening. I’ve previously noted that–in contrast to the 60s–there is enormous diversity in the crowds that have taken to the streets demanding justice, and fortunately, most of the media is highlighting that diversity.

Media (with the predictable exception of Fox) is also taking care to note that much of the chaos and looting is attributable to the efforts of white nationalist “race war” agitators and opportunistic hoodlums, not the protestors. They are also covering the backlash against Trump’s clumsy, militarized crackdown on peaceful protestors in order to clear the path for his ludicrous (and arguably sacrilegious) “photo op.”

Particularly gratifying are the signs of a welcome–if belated–pushback by the military.

A retired colleague of mine sent me a copy of the letter issued by Mark Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (a letter which Milley copied to what appears to be the entire military establishment). The letter began by reminding recipients that every member of the military takes an oath to protect the Constitution and the values embedded within it–values that include the belief that all people are born free and equal and entitled to “respect and dignity.” He also referenced respect for the First Amendment’s Free Speech and Assembly clauses.

Milley’s letter came at approximately the same time that General Mattis–finally!–spoke out:

“When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Mattis said in a statement published in The Atlantic.

“Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens —much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

As these military men pointedly noted, their allegiance is to the Constitution–and by implication, not to the wannabe dictator occupying the Oval Office.

As reassuring as these reactions have been, I’m pinning my hopes for meaningful change on signs that unprecedented numbers of white Americans are ready to confront the realities of America’s social structures–ready to genuinely consider the longstanding effects of systemic racism and the dramatically-different realities experienced by white and black Americans.

A former student of mine has a once-in-a-while blog; I was struck by his most recent post, just a few days ago. He began by saying that, as “a privileged white male, I have been struggling with what I can add to the critical dialog on race during these turbulent times.”

He went on to take issue with the statement  that there is “only one race, the human race.”

While a beautiful sentiment, and a biological fact, for a white person to say that “there is only one race” discounts—in most settings—the lived experience of black and brown folk and shuts down any authentic conversation on race.  As one of my favorite writers on the subject, Dr. Robin DiAngelo explains in her lecture Deconstructing White Privilege,

“To say that we are all the same denies we have fundamentally different experiences. While race at the biological level is not real, race as a social construct based on superficial features is very real with significant consequences in people’s lives. The insistence that “we are all one” does not allow us to engage in that social reality.”

The entire post is worth reading, especially for his observation– only now beginning to be widely understood–  that racism is not (just) a moral problem; it is “a system of unequal social, cultural, and institutional power.” As he writes, so long as racism is seen as an individual moral failing, the structures and institutions designed to maintain white supremacy will remain in place.

About those structures…

It’s absolutely true that, as many defenders of the status quo like to say, laws can’t change what is in people’s hearts. What that facile truism fails to recognize is that laws do change behaviors, and that, over time, changing behaviors changes hearts.

Consider the effects of Loving v. Virginia, the case that struck down laws against miscegenation. One big difference between now and the 60s has been the increase in interracial marriages. Those unions haven’t simply allowed people who love each other to wed; they’ve educated–and changed– extended families, co-workers and friendship circles. 

The fire this time isn’t a repeat of the 60s. This time, more minds are open. This time, we can do better.


  1. Nothing will work unless Trump’s base is first NEUTRALIZED. If not, they will ruin it for everyone else when they see that they can’t win, just like the Germans did in W.W. I as they marched back to Germany, burning and looting all the way home.

  2. As many governors and mayors have pointed out, Trump’s repeated Tweets and speeches are only extending the marches and protests. His words aren’t addressing the needed changes — he’s trying to quash the protests entirely. That response is vintage 1960s.

    The other significant difference is the videos taken on the ground by what I refer to as “citizen journalists.” They have captured the police acting like fascists punching, hitting, shoving, shooting, breaking into stores, etc., etc.

    They’ve even captured journalists being punched and seniors being shoved to the ground. In one video yesterday, an older man from Buffalo was pushed to the ground, and he hit his head on the pavement, causing bleeding, and the cops walked right over him. Good video editors were able to capture and zoom onto the cop’s name tag. Sadly, the Buffalo Police Department issued a statement saying the man “tripped and fell.” Hard to dispute video evidence.

    So, while the military may be rejecting Trump’s orders for violence against the protestors, many of the police across the country are accepting his orders to “rough them up.”

    One last note, where are all the 2nd amendment militia types, including the NRA? Aren’t they supposed to be defending citizens from government overreach? Isn’t that their justification for having access to high powered weapons and assault rifles?

    Their absence from the picture speaks volumes and just elevates their hypocrisy, which abounds with all members of the far right-wing nuts.

  3. I’m cautiously hopeful, but not yet optimistic, that some things are going to change that will leave us, and especially people of color, in a better place. But I’ve seen this movie before and it doesn’t end well. There is obviously a generational hand-off under way. Millennials are exerting their presence in this conversation like nothing before and the conflict between traditional vs “woke” liberals is real – just look at the internal fight among the staff at NY Times for publishing the “Send In The Troops” Op-Ed by Sen. Tom Cotton.

    There are so many moving parts that have to click together and they each have the force of 500+ years of white inertia pressing against structural change buttressed by many very conservative (reactionary) judges. I’ve heard a lot of people say Colin Keapernick was right after all, but I’m not hearing people say the same about Bernie Sanders. I’m worried that I still don’t really know what kind of President, much less candidate, Joe Biden might be…..he’s been sidelined by national trauma. Historically he’s an incrementalist and a big supporter of public employee unions – a very big part of the problem of holding police accountable for their actions.

    Nothing Trump and his toadies do shocks us any more and will never disappoint his cult-like followers who still number in the tens of millions of Americans. Our 3rd District House Rep. Banks is openly campaigning the RNC to move its convention to Indianapolis at the same time our Governor just cancelled the beloved Indiana State Fair.

    Up is down and down is up and it’s now been 401 years since the first slaves were brought to American shores. And Mothers of color still have to train their sons to be ready for the terrible things that could happen to him if he’s not cautious. I never had to think about that once growing up or as an adult and until just the last few year it never occurred to me that I was privileged because of it. I’m still in 100% for structural American political and legal reforms to bring endemic institutional American racism to an end, but I’ll pass on, and even condemn, anything remotely superficial and/or symbolic – they’re just the handiwork of reactionaries.

  4. Hopefully there is a sign of hope out there. But the demonizing of cops and physical attacks on them is as unhelpful in winning over much of white America as is the racist behavior of some white cops. Somehow we do have to move to an “all lives matter” position within which the particular conditions that afflict blacks finally get effectively dealt with. Otherwise we shall never cure the divisions and remove inequities. This was true when I worked with SCLC in Alabama in the 60s and it remains so today.
    By the way, I am puzzled by Sheila’s assertion that chaos and looting is attributable in part to white nationalist race war agitators. I am about as down on those folks as anyone else I know, but what proof have we that they are out there stirring up the recent post Flood chaos? The visuals of the protests do not seem to feature whites leading the looting or breaking disproportionately from the peaceful protestors. Plenty of bad stuff can and should be blamed on such folks. But where is the proof of this particular change?

  5. Marv; not unlike General Sherman’s 60-mile wide scorched earth march from Atlanta to the sea in our Civil War.

    Patrick; I am still despairing and losing hope as I watch what is happening daily…sometimes hourly…under this Trump dictatorship. As well as locally for years in the city of Indianapolis.

    Not to take away from the long overdue movement by Americans to stop the killing of black Americans by armed white police but; I could cite abuse situations my white and biracial family and I have faced expecting help from our local police. We were met with disdain, disbelief, ridicule and at times actual physical abuses as they used their “authority” to ignore our situations or they have arrested the victims. This points to a deeper problem within many, if not all, public safety departments. The abuses and killing of our blacks and Hispanics are the outward, pubic proof of repeated and escalating police abuse of power. Is it the training to deal with the public, especially minorities, in this manner or the lack of training or is it the individuals who are accepted on these police forces? The problems are much deeper than the obvious killings we are now witnessing thanks to camera phones and security cameras on businesses; which appear to disappear from the media in most cases and victims are forgotten. We do not see unarmed white men and women abused and killed by police; this would certainly be considered “important news” to be made public so it obviously is NOT happening.

    Will George Floyd’s public murder by FOUR white police officers be the final straw that takes this problem from public view into the depths of the governing factors which produce or allow it to continue? Will we, as a nation continue “Facing Up To The Challenge”?

  6. Bravo, General Milley! Wait, wasn’t that you we saw standing next to the dear leader as he walked across the park to desecrate St. John’s? Did you take your oath before or after you walked?

    45 found his Roy Cohn in Bill Barr. Did he find his Jack Ripper in General Milley? If not, he’ll keep trying until he finds someone who is similar.

  7. JoAnn,

    “Marv; not unlike General Sherman’s 60-mile wide scorched earth march from Atlanta to the sea in our Civil War.”

    The point I was trying to make had more to do with what the LOSING SIDE is capable of doing, although Sherman’s march is a good example of what has happened here in the U.S.

  8. It occurs to me that Donald Trump is actually doing us a big favor:
    By his stubborn ignorance, puerile misbehavior, his mean vindictiveness,
    his inability to be politic or even polite, his proud illiteracy, his stumbling
    sing-song reading of teleprompters, his lack of humor, his coiffure,
    his orange make-up, his inhumanity, his insensitivity, his cartoon corpulence,
    his prevaricating AND HIS TWEETING he is making it easy for some of us,
    millions of us, to have decided in June how we are going to vote in November
    if he is then still in office. VOTE anyone EXCEPT TRUMP! Don’t give this
    decision to the Electoral College AGAIN! Don’t let a handful of die-hard
    republicans do us dirty again! VOTE!

  9. “He went on to take issue with the statement that there is “only one race, the human race.”

    Actually and biologically this statement is incorrect on both levels. With humans, there is only one SPECIES. A species is basically defined as a population able to reproduce viable offspring. With humans, we se MULTIPLE “races”, or variations on the them of the members within that successful breeding population. Nobody blinks at the number of “races” of corn, but there is rarely a complex organism that is racially pure. Why? Because if a species lives and reproduces long enough, there will be variations from one generation to the next. It’s call recombinant genetics, so each generation is slightly different from the previous generation.

    If a certain group of genetic packages are called a “race”, it is purely arbitrary because we are either unable or not willing to define the precise genetic details of that segment of the breeding population. For example… A very dark-skinned female from interior Africa can have husbands that range in skin color from the blackest of black skin to the whitest, blondest tones. Her children will look like a color chart for human pigmentation.

    Concluding. There are MULTIPLE races, but only one species of humans.

  10. Greetings Vernon. Very enlightening. I never thought of it that way and I guess that many other persons have never thought of it that way. Thank you!

  11. Okay, I’ll give this a go!

    There actually is only one human race! If one were to believe the Scriptures creation event, or, evolutionary development. Every human on this planet has come from a single source! So, theocracy and science agree on that particular ideal.

    So, Ethnicities are not Races of people! But, you have ethnicities willing to visualize themselves superior to their racial brothers and sisters. Slavery has been around for ever, since the beginning of man’s recorded history! But why does Mankind wish to enslave his brethren?

    Financial advantage is one, societal and civil control is another, and the desire of the human heart to be superior over his fellow man!

    Look at how important it was for the Jews in biblical times to have a visual King! If they followed the Mosaic law, things would have went well for them, because they had the Levites who were a priestly class, and they made sure the laws were interpreted as they were written originally. But the idea of having a king was demanded by the Israelites!

    This also allowed false worship and the people’s, the Israelites, could demand concessions from an earthly king, a physical human King, to allow them to worship other gods and be involved in other methods of false worship and spiritism. Mostly originating from Babylon. Therefore, they could claim their nefarious activities were the result of a king, and the king should be held responsible and not the subjects!

    So, the desire to be led by a powerful leader, one that can trample, stomp on the necks of their neighbors, is deeply ingrained in ethnicities that seem to feel they are somehow chosen to be elite! The light-colored ethnicities, feared their darker skinned melatonin enhanced brethren, to the point where they try to use religion as a bludgeon.

    The claim that the dark melatonin enhanced people had the curse of Ham(Ham’s son Canaan), was one that allowed slavery in biblical times all the way up until now. But, unfortunately, and I mean unfortunately for the light-colored ethnicities, Canaan, the one son that was cursed, was not the progenitor of the darker melatonin enhanced ethnicities, it was Canaan’s a brothers, Kush, and Put who were the progenitors of the darker skinned ethnicities and located themselves in the north African regions. Canaan was the progenitor of the Canaanites and other ethnicities, they were not Black or melatonin enhanced!

    The Philistines were more than likely related to Ham’s brother Japheth, because they had a Mediterranean and southern European/Western Asia minor origin, the same area that Japheth had settled.

    The Canaanites, the progenitor of the Canaanites, Ham’s son Canaan, gave birth to the Semetic people’s, and ethnically they were related to Syrians, Phoenicians, Hittites, and Israelites! Not Black!

    The Canaanites were to be considered a slave race, due to the curse on Canaan for seeing his grandfather naked and performing some heinous act.

    So, it’s obvious how through religion, and the purposeful disinformation and manipulation of Scripture, the Caucasian ethnicity maintained that the “Black Race” was cursed through Ham’s son, Canaan which is Definitely Not The Case! But that allowed them to use religion as a bludgeon and ease the conscience of those who might have been uncomfortable with slavery, claiming to do God’s work and going by biblical edict!

  12. Marv; the Confederacy were the losers in the Civil War but today, some of Trump’s staunchest support is from our southern states whose elected officials have removed some of our civil and voting rights. Also he is an avowed White Nationalist, formerly titled White Supremacist formerly KKK foundation, so the southern-minded “losers”who are in Trump’s administration and supporters are quasi-legally “looting and burning” and in charge of this nation. And they will continue until and unless the Constitution is once again enacted by our government.

    “What is old is become new again.” We have seen all of this before; but in other nations. We can hope, pray…and VOTE…hoping that the adage “What goes around comes around” does come around and we return to a saner, safer homeland.

  13. John,

    Actually, the “source” of a species, especially a single “modern” species arises from a variety of experiments. The genus “Homo”, to which we belong, is the product of several “failed” experiments that the fossil record shows in ever-increasing detail. There have been many, perhaps dozens of species of “Homo” for the last million and a half years, or so. In fact, the latest known example of a genetic brother would be the neanderthals. It has been shown that each of us contain some amount of neanderthal DNA, making us genetic relatives. Moreover, we modern humans share 98% of the DNA of chimpanzees, so tracing that pathway we’re shown that our original ancestors were the great apes.

    Creation of a species is an elegant thing. Those who tried to explain it without a stitch of current technology or population genetics knowledge had to create a .. well, creationist scenario. Now, modern biology continues to show, at the molecular level, how elegant that creation is….its still going on.

    Cheers. Stay safe. A non-living thing is trying to kill us all.

  14. Vernon, LOL, thanks!

    We’ll have to sit down and talk one day. I do like your style. But the point I was trying to make, that humankind or modern humankind had to have a start, there had to have been a point where Apes or neanderthals or whatever didn’t just start having modern human babies. There had to have been an initial area where modern humanity started, an evolutionary Adam and Eve so to speak. Then branched out from that location. So, if you believe that scenario or if one were to believe the Adam and Eve creation scenario, we all started somewhere, modern humanity had a beginning, from a single source!

    So basically we are all brother and sister regardless of the particular belief in our beginnings.

  15. I sailed on several ships during WW II, from first the South Pacific and thence to North Africa, South America, Europe, and I never experienced having any shipmates who were anything but white. Thus Sheila’s correct reference to white inability to understand racism due to faiure of experience was my personal if anecdotal experience. Black people in general have also been deprived of the “white” experience, so it appears all of us (gnerally speaking) have been deprived, with intolerably skewed results borne by black people both social and economic.

    I also noticed that there were both black and white millennials in the streets protesting systemic racism, and I think that is a hopeful sign that those who come after us are going to do a better job by far in ridding us of this baseless social construct than my generation did. Good for them!

    Finally, and as to historical references in this blog today to defeated German troops and their postwar destruction on the way home and Sherman’s March to the Sea, I once read that young Christian men (inaptly dubbed crusaders) called by the pope(s) to go to the Holy Land to free it from the Saracens raped more Christian women on the way there than they did Saracen women upon their arrival, so it appears “crusaders,” especially when en masse, are morally indistinguishable from those the pope(s) have branded as unbelievers and that animal instincts often win out over beliefs in a risen redeemer.

  16. The question of one race or many is interesting. One way to consider it is that all of the evidence points to the origin of our species in The Great Rift Valley in Africa. We were exclusively there for many, many thousands of years. I don’t know what evidence remains of our skin color but I assume it was black or brown.

    Climate change brought about by natural factors made food scarce so as hunter gatherers we had no choice but to search new lands for better conditions and the Great Human Migration began. After about 150,000 years of walking we ran out of new places.

    This was all neglected when I spit in a tube with the promise of identifying my ancestry. It turned out that they stopped looking in the middle of our story after my ancestors had wandered into Europe. So race rather than being something baked in is a temporary adaptation to weather caused during our history.

    Speaking of primitive people our President has learned of his total incompetence in doing the job that he sought for financial and social advantage. That’s not the first time that that has happened in history but now he can’t let go of enough cookies to get his hand out of the cookie jar so has to act like he’s in control despite having no idea how to made worse by his total inability to ask anyone else for help. He is in fact out of control.

    We can’t yet know of what alternative to him will emerge over the next few months and while it matters for the future who that is doesn’t matter for the present because we have to decide for Trump that him being out of control is not something that we can afford. It’s necessary to bail out of the training effort undertaken a couple of years ago and abandon him and that plan as a failure.

    It’s time to act like the single species that we in fact are.

  17. @Alan:
    There is actually quite a bit of evidence that young male White Nationalists have been at the forefront of the looting and arson and inciting violence in many cities. Just yesterday, 3 White Nationalists were arrested in Las Vegas by the Trump-Barr (so-called) Justice Department after they bought gasoline and made Molotov cocktails and were on the way to the protests going on.

    Particularly in the 1st few days of the most intense and violent confrontations and looting, there is also plenty of video evidence of masked and disguised young white males at the forefront of attacking buildings and inciting the crowds to attack the police in several different cities. Is that the whole story? No, but it’s a big part of the story. Were some of these young White males with the Antfi movement? Probably, but no one at this point knows for certain. What seems clear is that the peaceful protests were hijacked and turned into rioting, arson, and looting by a very small number of extremists taking advantage of the circumstances, and equally by the violent and brutal responses of the police. And we all know that once law an order breaks down and chaos ensues, there will always be those who take advantage of it by looting.

    I was also struck by the observations of a man named Ryan Culwell, who took part in one of the protests that turned violent in Nashville and live-streamed parts of it on Instragram. (If it matters, Culwell is a White man with a wife and 4 daughters and is a striving Country singer-songwriter). Culwell observed there were a very small number of people, mostly young White males but also some Black males, who were at the forefront of inciting the crowd to violence. He stated his belief that if those maybe 15 to 20 males had been removed from the crowd of hundreds or more, there would likely have been no violence. He also noted that the tactics the police used generally had the opposite effect of calming and dispersing the crowds and played right into the hands of those few who were inciting the crowd to violence. And a 25 year old White male, who was caught on video setting fire to the courthouse, was subsequently arrested.

    Here’s a link to the story in RS: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-country/nashville-protest-riot-george-floyd-1008450/

  18. I was listening to the BBC on NPR this morning (yes I must be a liberal), and the reporter made an interesting observation: There is one good thing about Trump’s actions. He so polarizing that people are being forced to take sides.

    Case in point is this interview of the Colts head coach over his changing attitudes on racial inequality.


    Maybe despite Trump’s overt intentions, the country will come out on better side of this.

  19. Todd, I saw the video of the elderly man being knocked by the police and hitting his head. Blood can be seen on the pavement. The police left him laying there like he was trash. The default position of of the police was he fell down. Now I understand some of them are on unpaid leave.

    Biologically now we have one human species. It is the political, cultural, social, economic and religious institutions that bind us but also divide us. All American citizens are born entitled to Civil Rights. Once you are born the great sort begins. If you are born into a wealthy family or middle class family or a poor family, the Civil Rights are all the same. The opportunity paths are much different.

    The baby born into a wealthy gated community will have a different opportunity path than the baby born into poverty. Socialism would make certain that the baby born into poverty would have health care as right and the opportunity for “free” tuition for higher education – college or trade schools.

  20. One of the differences among us is the size of the problem we can imagine collaboration as able to solve. The spectrum ranges from none to unlimited.

  21. OK – contrarian, or partial contrarian day – where to begin

    Comparisons to the ‘60s – it may have been one decade, but not so in terms of race relations. The early ‘60s had the civil rights movement, with white participation in marching and in death. The TV images of police dogs set on children galvanized the nation. This led to the gains of the ‘60s. Also remember that SNCC told all of the White people that they were no longer wanted.

    The late ‘60s were about rage (and wilding). There were no “peaceful” protests or marches, just riots based on anger, hatred, and letting loose. Innocent shopkeepers had their stores, their lives destroyed. I lived through the Detroit riots. I saw the aftermath. It led to Nixon and pretty much an end to progress on the racial justice front.

    Today is different. The protest marches predominate. The rioters are a minor part and while it enrages me that some Black leaders seem to condone rioting and looting as “justifiable outrage”, the majority of the protesters do not. They even have intervened.

    [I remember the scene in Fiddler on the Roof where after the military broke up the wedding celebration, the outraged citizens burned down Anatevka – oh wait, never happened]

    Yes, the mix of people this time is even “more reflective of the populace”. This is what gives me hope.

    On “race”, good points, Vernon. It gets even messier when we start using DNA. “Modern” Homo sapiens sapiens seem to have some mixture of Neanderthal and Denovisan DNA mixed in due to interbreeding, and according to a new article in Science (haven’t read beyond the title yet) maybe interbreeding with an even older, pre-modern species.

    Race, on the other hand, is sociological and/or political. I have never heard or read about a “race” of corn. “Strains” of agricultural species tend to come about by ecological or human separation. Left alone, there is just a lot of variation, as Vernon points out. I recall that there were two races (black and mixed) in New Orleans before laws were changed. Race is mostly a political construct. [I also remember a Black man in Detroit in the early ‘60s saying he was “Caribbean”, which at the time, was a “higher status” classification.]

    Which brings me back to your former student’s blog, Sheila. He misunderstands the statement. “There is only one race” is not an answer, but rather it is a premise. It is a call to recognize that we are one race/species, and to act on that. It is the second part that is missing, not a problem with the premise. It is like all of the hand wringing about gun violence without the follow up of meaningful reform of gun laws.

    We did recognize this in the ‘60s. We talked about “institutional racism”. Now we want “structural” change. It is the same.

    So here is the real problem, and I don’t have the answer. We have had centuries of racial injustice. We can’t fix it overnight. There is no switch to flip and even changing the laws and structures will only lead to change over decades. [Sorry, neither will The Revolution.] If I am on the short end of the stick, I don’t want to be told to wait, but there is no quick fix.

    I can sit back and look at how Black America went from slavery to freedom, from Jim Crow to the Voting Rights, and even to Loving v. Virginia, but that took a long time and we are far from racial equality.

    Justice isn’t equal. I remember being hassled by a San Diego female cop, who was obviously trying to impress her partner about how “macho” she was. It was so obvious, I thought it was funny. Afterward, I reflected on how many Latinos and Blacks in San Diego faced this and worse daily, not having the reassurance that even dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, they were a post-doctoral fellow at one of the top research institutes in the world, had a visiting Canadian scientist in the car as a witness, and would have had a ton of lawyers on them if they had crossed any lines.

    I will point out that other minorities have more easily been admitted to “white” society, but often at the expense to disavowing their past (name change anyone). I do not and have never considered myself to be “white”. I grew up attending perhaps the only integrated schools in Detroit. In the ‘60s, a Black college student told me that I was lucky because I could “pass” (I look white). That didn’t stop someone from entering a synagogue in Pittsburgh to kill the Jews.

    Change is slow. We can’t help it. I always remember the words of Rabbi Tarfon, “It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you at liberty to neglect it.” I will be patient and do my part (as I have my whole life), but can we ask that of Black America? Will they accept it?

  22. @Dan Chris Ballard is the GM not the head coach of the Colts. Frank Reich, the head coach, spoke out as well.

    In an interview on NPR (me, too) a few days ago, Wes Moore, the author of a book about the killing of Freddie Gray gave a devastating biography of Mr. Gray’s life up to age 2. He was a twin, born prematurely, addicted to heroin. When he left the hospital he was placed in foster care in the projects with extremely high levels of lead exposure. By the end of his second year of life, he had so many burdens to bear, all of which were beyond his control and irreversible neurological damage that he might have died a thousand times for any number of reasons before he was taken on a “rough” ride in the back of a police car that resulted in a broken neck and death a week later.

    The truth is that Mr. Gray was not unique in his life experience or its violent end at the hands of police. None of the six police officers were found guilty of a crime in his death. He was not unique then nor is the repeated, well documented deaths of so many other black and brown folk unique. Do I have faith in our current criminal justice system? No a bit. It is rigged now and has been for hundreds of years. It is broken. Fixing it would require a complete overhaul of our policing system. That ain’t happenin’. Not now and not any time soon.

    Those who scoff at the protests or simply ignore them, do so at their peril. Do not be surprised when martial law is declared and military units are deployed against peaceful protestors who have the Constitutional right to assembly, free speech and redress from their government.
    Maybe the fact that the “government” is not some disembodied entity but US, by vote and funding, is what has been lost in the chaos.

  23. Hey Marv, excellent point!

    The Germans were responsible in part for the first world war, and it was a war between countries that enveloped the entirety of the planet in one form or fashion or another. The American civil war was much different in scope and in cause. Part of the country wanted to secede the Union, and that insurrection was put down by force!

    War is a dirty business, whether it be regional or world, whether it be civil or revolutionary, it’s all bad!

    Unfortunately, almost every single war has been driven by a religious element! the civil unrest in our society today is driven by a religious element that is been hijacked to meet an end by the perpetrators of racial and social unrest and Injustice.

    It won’t ever change because mankind cannot change! Is there hope? I have faith that there is a disembarkation point for this madness, but it will have nothing to do with mankind coming up with a solution, because mankind has not ever come up with a solution from the beginning of recorded history! Man has always slaughtered his fellow man, and called evil down upon his brother.

    There is a huge rally here today, they are marching for miles, the leaders of this March, my wife and I have known since we were children. One of them, we call his mother mom. We love her to death, and she is flummoxed by her son.

    But this is an object lesson and why these things do not work, there is no unity even amongst the Marchers, there are so many factions, there is no cohesion! The only cohesion is the opportunity to yell and make a spectacle.

    And, after this March, everyone will go their separate ways, everybody will cloister with those that have the exact same ideas “like minds”, there will be no coming together, and therefore, no resolution!

  24. John,

    You’ve fallen into the creationists’ trap of missing the point about how reproduction genetics work. It takes TIME and many generations to produce a new species. Often, the original breeding stock is separated into one or more smaller breeding stocks and they evolve separately over very many years and generations. There is growing evidence that modern, Homo sapiens did in fact interbreed with neanderthals. Their offspring would have continued to breed with both H.sapiens as well as with H. troglodytes. Breeding back into a failing gene pool eventually causes that species to die off. As more H. sapiens bred with more H. sapiens, the H. troglodytes genes became less and less visible.

    I hope you took notes. There will be a quiz tomorrow.

  25. john,

    “And, after this March, everyone will go their separate ways, everybody will cloister with those that have the exact same ideas “like minds”, there will be no coming together, and therefore, no resolution!”

    Exactly. It can’t be resolved at the partisan politics level. The only positive move, at this late date, is to fall back on WARNING INTELLIGENCE and attempt to put some limitation on the inevitable dire consequences we are ALL heading toward.

  26. One thing I forgot to add

    Patrick – the best description of Police unions I’ve ever heard – from someone on TV
    Public Service unions are like the UAW
    Police unions are like the NRA
    There is no comparison and they shouldn’t be confused.

  27. Gerald
    Wonderful comment, sorry I missed it the first time around. I was rushing, a lot of stuff going on here today. I apologize, I would have loved to engage on it.

  28. Vernon,
    I do appreciate your effort, I have my own ideas! I actually was pretty good in biology, and my wife was pretty good in the molecular field.

    But, my passion was always working with my hands and so my schooling always gravitated towards that.

    Here’s the thing, meiosis, the splitting of an organism to procreate, that’s the easiest form of procreation! And, the two sexes form of procreation is the most complex. Because not only do you have the sperm, and egg, you have the gestation., You have the merging of RNA and DNA through molecular recombination.

    If, we all came from some primordial soup, single-celled organisms that pro-created by meiosis, then what changed? I’ve always had difficulty with the complexity of DNA, not to mention its partner RNA. Also, the proteins and amino acids that makeup and are used by these genetic chains to form the dogma of life!

    70000 genes in the human genome. Each cell in our organism can contain thousands of proteins, each protein with a specific function! The combinations of amino acids that can make up proteins, are off of the charts probability wise concerning happening by accident!

    And then, to continue evolving, and, as mentioned above, changing the method of reproduction, the probabilities are more numerous than the stars in the discoverable universe.

    Not only the proteins that make up the human genome, but to the genome of every living plant and animal on this planet. Proteins act differently in different life-forms, some proteins are only existent in special functions in certain life forms.

    Anyway, I find it hard to believe that there was no intellectual hand, no Superior source that produced life on this planet.

    And, if we all are descended from the great apes, then why are there still great apes? And because they’re still are great apes, why aren’t they still evolving into other forms? As you said, The more advanced humanoid will interbreed with the lesser humanoid thereby allowing the lesser to eventually die off.

    So many questions, so little time!

    So Vernon, study up, because there will be a test, LOL!

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