What he said
What he said
I am in my eighth decade. I have an undergraduate degree from the University of Maine and a graduate degree from the University of Alaska. I have taught elementary school, middle school and high school. I have been principal of four schools. Until two years ago when I watched the Watchmen television series, I had never heard of the Tulsa Massacre. At that time, I wasn’t sure whether it was historic or fiction…
It has always annoyed me that history is heavily edited by the nation or state where it occurred, in order to only show a positive image, while white washing any uncomfortable realities.
The United States is not ‘The shining city on the hill’ as President Regan proclaimed. All nations are self-serving with both laudable and despicable histories; but the positive aspects are the only ones that get recorded in our history books.
Along with attempted genocide of the Native population; the institution of slavery; being the most warlike nation on earth (in two-hundred-forty-five years the U.S. has only experienced sixteen years of peace); the confinement of Japanese American citizens in detention camps during the Second World War; the bombing of two Japanese cities with nuclear weapons killing almost a half-million civilians; racial violence in the integration of the South, the confinement of children and the confinement of parents seeking asylum into separate detention camps… is the history not taught in our schools.
The good, the bad, and the ugly are all a part of our history; and unless we truly teach history in its entirety, we are doomed to repeat the atrocities.
The governor of Oklahoma has signed a bill forbidding the history of the Tulsa massacre being taught in Oklahoma schools. He reasons it would make white students feel uncomfortable.
If schools won’t teach our history, parents should. Only by citizens understanding our history, can we continually move toward a more perfect Union.
I do not believe the sins of the parents fall to the children and the next generations. People are products of their time and their culture, and conform to those expectations.
I do not accept reverse racial profiling. I do not apologize for being white. I do not apologize that my great uncle was a member of the KKK. I do not laud that my great-great grandfather died in the battle of Shiloh fighting for the North. I am neither of those people. I have no racial animosity, though I know there are those who do - and that needs to change. I support Black Lives Matter; but I do not support civil anarchy and destruction of property by any side.
I see and understand the injustice suffered by the black population and support their cause. I feel that teaching accurate history can bring about more change than passing laws in a divided Congress and divided nation.
On the anniversary of Gorge Floyd’s death people are asking questions about the competence of police departments in their hiring and supervision of officers.
I spent two years in military police and I was a voluntary diver for the Clay County Sheriff Department in Florida.
It is my perception that the best and the brightest are not necessarily attracted to a career in policing. Policing, to a large extent, attracts people who are enamored with the authority of the badge and a gun – and in some cases, people insecure in their own identity.
Notice the lead-lined sap gloves the officer is wearing while confronting the public, his right hand grasping his firearm.
There is an intrinsic problem with authority that has never been addressed with police policy and training:
In 1973 the psychology department of Sanford University conducted and experiment concerning prison guards and prisoners. Random volunteers were taken from the University student body. To ensure randomness, the assignment of prisoner or guard were alternately picked: prisoner-guard-prisoner-guard… Prisoners were placed in confinement and guards were given free rein to control the prisoners. The experiment was scheduled to last two weeks, but had to be terminated after six days because of the aggression of the guards.
This same domineering authority syndrome identified in the Sanford study permeates police departments. Police, to a large extent, do not act to assist civilians, but to dominate them. They feel a power to intimidate, and they become aggressive when their authority is questioned. Being authorized to wield deadly force inflates the ego of many officers; and when multiple officers back-up a call there is a tendency for individual officers to become more aggressive.
The structure of police departments is at fault. Instead of armed authority, it should be public safety and assistance. It is an attitudinal change that is needed; a change from ‘policing’ to service.
I am not anti-police. I have worked and associated with many policemen and they are basically good people; but their attitude toward the public-in-general is uniformly negative, and they carry a feeling of empowerment and authority. Many do not have the temperament to be trusted with weapons of deadly force when dealing with volatile situations, and their demeanor escalates the problem rather than subduing it.
We should set the record straight. Supporters of the status-quo of policing seem to feel that criticizing the police is tantamount blasphemy. They always remind us of how dangerous the job is. I have heard the comment, “when a cop leaves his house in the morning his wife doesn’t know if he will come back safely.” There is a misconception about the danger of policing.
A study of the most dangerous jobs in America, places police twenty-second:
JOB RELATED DEATHS CORRELATED FROM 2018:
2. Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
3. Derrick operators in oil and gas and mining
5. Garbage collectors
6. Iron workers
7. Delivery drivers
9. Fire fighters
10. Power linemen
11. Agriculture workers
12. Crossing guards
13. Crane operators
14. Construction helpers
15. Landscape supervisors
16. Highway maintenance workers
17. Cement masons
18. Small engine mechanics
19. Supervisors of mechanics
20. Heavy vehicle maintenance
21. Ground maintenance workers
22. Police officers
23. Maintenance workers
24. Construction workers
25. Mining machine operators
There are numerous restrictions and requirements in the Policing Bill now in Congress aimed at holding police officers and police departments more accountable; but this bill will not bring about a culture change in police departments.
The answer seems simple to me:
THE OL’BUZZARD’S POLICE REFORM RECOMMENDATION
ONE: Increase the educational qualification for police applicants. It should require beyond a high-school education, and an intense psychological evaluation.
TWO: Do not defund the police – de-arm the police. Police on duty and off duty should be unarmed. Weapons can be kept locked but available in the patrol cars, and permission from the watch commander needed to access a firearm. Ninety-nine-plus percent of police interaction with the community doesn’t require carrying a firearm. Unarmed officers would deal less aggressively with civilians, and in the heat of a confrontation the first instinct would not be to shoot to kill.
THREE AND FINALLY: Any officer killing another human being in the line of duty, regardless of the circumstances, should be removed from public policing and be placed in a support position of equal pay, but never authorized to carry a firearm again.
I support police, and the job they do; but there are psychological pressures and tendencies associated with the job that need to be addressed in selection, training and supervision of officers.
The culture of policing should be reformed – but this will never happen in today’s social and political climate.
There are still people running around with MAGA hats and Trump flags. This post is not for them, because they have become cult members and are past reasoning.
Let us put some of our past history in perspective. Osama bin Laden organized an attack on the United States of America in 2001. Two aircraft struck the Twin Towers causing massive civilian loss of life, but the aircrafts sent to strike the heart of our government, the Pentagon and the White House, failed to make their target.
In 2021, twenty years later, Donald J Trump organized an attack on the heart of our government. He succeeded where Osama bin Laden failed. Trump’s cult of fanatics assaulted the Capitol of the United States while Congress and Senate were in session. They violently attacked, and overran the Capitol police, destroying property – including defecating and urinating in the Capitol rotunda. They ran through the halls of Congress breaking into offices. A noose was hung from scaffolding and the mob was chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence’. They were searching to capture the Speaker of the House. They were armed with collapsible weapons, stun guns, bear spray and zip tie handcuffs. It is unclear what outcome they were seeking: the violent overthrow of our Constitutional government and the installation of their Glorious Leader… President for life?
Trump lost the election. He lost the popular vote by almost eight million. Every Governor and Secretary of State in all the contested states certified the election counts as fair, accurate and unassailable. There were numerous recounts, each affirming the results of President Biden’s win. Sixty-four judges, many Republican judges that were appointed by Trump, threw out Trump’s lawsuits as having no merit. Trump’s total argument was that thousands showed up at his rallies so he couldn’t have lost the election; and even now he continues the Big Lie.
The major threat to United States of America is no longer foreign terrorist, but radicalized American terrorist motivated by the ex-President of the United States – Donald J. Trump.
Yesterday I read the BLOGFODDRE post Remembering the Farm: Water, Wells and Dugouts. He wrote of the difficulty of obtaining water on his family’s farm in Saskatchewan, Canada.
His post brought to mind my memories of water in the small delta town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi during the 1950’s. I was always told that Rolling Fork got its water from an artesian well – I know absolutely nothing of the source. I do remember when I took a bath, the water in the tub was piss yellow. There was a swimming pool in town and the pool water looked like tea. The deep end of the pool was eight feet and the water was so dark you could not see the bottom at that depth. We drank that water and never thought anything about it.
Of course, the world population in 1950 is estimated at 2.5 billion, now we are approaching a world population of eight billion. Water consumption, water waste and water pollution are exponentially greater than the mid twentieth century.
If anyone had considered selling a bottle of water back then, they would have been laughed at. Water was free: it came from the sky, and rivers and lakes were full of it, you could dig a well and hit water.
That was then, this is now. Water is now a critical commodity. Cities have been built in the deserts, people water their lawns, mega-farms irrigate crops; costal marshes have been decimated, rivers are running low, lakes are drying up. Humans have squandered water sources thinking the supply unlimited.
California is now in the process of converting sewer water into drinking water. There are many areas in the United States where water conservation is a pressing issue, and repurposing sewerage may become an accepted solution.
Climate change will acerbate this problem, and it is quite feasible that in the not-too-distant future wars could be fought over water sources.
The news, and the government, throw around the numbers billion and trillion as if they are talking about the cost of a new car: a two-trillion-dollar tax cut, a three trillion-dollar infrastructure plan, a two trillion-dollar covid relief package.
Compared to this, the world population of seven-billion doesn’t sound like so much. And a million is chump chance to many people; the Jaguar C-X75 automobile cost $1.1 million.
Let’s put this in perspective:
If you took a stick and banged it on your kitchen table once-per-second, twenty-four hours a day non-stop; it would take you twelve days to bang out a million.
Banging out a billion would take you thirty-two years, and to bang out the population of the earth (seven-billion) would take two-hundred and twenty-four years.)
It would take thirty-two thousand years (32,000) to bang out one trillion, and that very likely exceeds way past the sell-by date our earth.
Maine is a huge state with most of its population along the coast, supported by the tourist industry. However, rural Maine stayed tied to a rustic life-style throughout most of the 20th century, with logging and farming being the main sources of employment. In the 1980 my wife and I lived in a house with no plumbing or electricity. We read by lamp light, listened to Maine Public Radio on a battery radio, and carried our water from a nearby stream. Our lifestyle was not unusual.
Because of deep ties to the past, Maine has a rich supernatural history of ghost, goblins and vampires; and since two-thirds of the state is unpopulated there are also many tales of strange animal sightings. Over the last twenty years there have been accounts of an animal that attacks and kill small pets, including dogs. Those wishing to add drama to the accounts are claiming the animal is the Chupacabra: the mythical monster of Mexico.
PBS is available for download on smart TV’s and include the series Monstrum, hosted Dr Emily Zarka. If you like the macabre this series is worth watching, and Public Broadcasting is always worth supporting.
After all, this is the home of Stephen King
Along with other oddities of growing old, insomnia seems to be common. I don’t have any trouble falling asleep, but I wake about four each morning with the monkeys run through my mind dragging random thoughts that seem to keep me awake.
We view ourselves today as fait accompli, the final, perfect product in the tree of evolution.
There is some justification for that thinking, since evolutionary differences have resulted from adaptive changes among isolated groups to specific environments: Aboriginal in Australia differ from pigmies in Africa and differ from Nordic populations in northern Europe…
Today, with the ease of world travel people are less isolated resulting in more cross-cultural societies.
It seems likely to me that the next evolution of humankind will not happen in isolated societies, but as the result of the ease of global travel, we will experience assimilation – moving toward a homogeneous race.
Cultural accommodation has more effect on our actions than logic and biological adaptation, so it will take the dying off of most generations living today to asphyxiate the idea of racial purity.
In our egocentricity, we view time over the period of our lifespan, but time is a continuum. As important as we think we are, humankind will evolve over time, just as we always have – unless we bring about our own destruction.