Hillary Clinton said it best when she asked, “What do we do next?” My problem and it shouldn’t only be mine, stems from the fact that it’s Hillary Clinton asking the question; a virtual outsider and not one who knows the movements of the black communities as #BLM protesters do, or should.
It illustrates a sticking point about the whole agenda of the demonstration; this reckoning of whether or not #BlackLivesMatter should be concerned with the frequency of inner city violence, black-on-black crime, and whether or not such violence has anything to do with police shootings of unarmed African Americans. The absurdity not only comes in thinking that the two are in no way connected but also in the idea that you can ignore what’s happening. Continue reading
Does it surprise anyone that around the anniversary of Mike Brown’s death, we get an interview with ex-Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson; his first since the controversial shooting of the unarmed young man. I read it and came away with mixed feelings.
It bears witness to the complexity of things when you try to pigeonhole human behavior into neat and nice brackets, highlighted by racial, cultural or age differences. Things are truly not always black and white; there exists a whole lot of gray out there. Continue reading
Historical shackles still felt today
In April of 1965 during a speech he was giving in Louisiana, President Lincoln outlined a portion of his plans for Reconstruction; to give certain blacks-freedmen and those who’d served honorably in the war-the right to vote. Three days later, he was assassinated. Quite possibly, America’s recovery died on that same day.
Succeeding Lincoln, President Andrew Johnson determined that southern states’ should retain their Confederate right to police themselves in the civil war’s aftermath. In shades of current times, he felt they alone should make the call about federally-mandated issues such as voting. The result of his leniency, and the southern states’ audacity, was the amendment of Lincoln’s original plans. The most notorious of these changes was the creation of the Black Codes.
An oft-used phrase heard during this past decade-plus of warfare is that America has to “win the hearts and minds” of the civilian populations that it erroneously harms during active conflict and occupation.
Under the Foreign Claims Act, such civilians have recourse for compensation for damages caused by U.S. troops. However, the law doesn’t cover what occurs during active combat. This is where solatia comes to bear.
America began awarding condolence payments early in the Iraq war. Such expenditures only began in Afghanistan in 2005 from cash funded by Congress. Before that, such solatia payments generally came out of a unit’s operating budget.
Currently in Afghanistan, condolence payments can be up to $5,000 for a death or injury or $5,000 for property damage. In certain cases they can be much higher and in fiscal year 2012, the U.S. made 219 payments, totaling $891,000 (ProPublica).
But as another civilian grand jury refuses to indict another police officer for the death of another unarmed black man, I wonder just how hard our government is trying to win the hearts and minds of African-Americans involved in situations such as those in Ferguson or New York. Continue reading
Today is Sunday November 23rd, 2014. It’s the beginning of the week, a new week and all last week we were waiting for the grand jury decision on whether or not Officer Darren Wilson would be indicted for the shooting death of Michael Brown. Last night, the evening news reported that we were waiting for the decision.
Maybe it’s me but I think that after Tuesday or Wednesday, it would have been suitable, appropriate even, to start using the past participle, been in their descriptions. After all, we’ve been waiting for the decision now for more than a full week. What bright spot jumped the gun in the first place?
It’s no big deal really, we do want them to get it right; so prolonged deliberation is a good thing, isn’t it? On the other hand, it’s been said that when it takes this long to make a decision, somebody’s going to get screwed. Continue reading