“Someone was just shooting on the beach,” she said, between gulps of air, to the person on the line.
Unable to imagine whom she would be calling at that moment, I asked her, somewhat indignantly, if she couldn’t have waited until we got to safety before calling her mom.
“No,” she said. “I am talking to the police.”
My friends and I locked eyes in stunned silence. Between the four adults, we hold six degrees. Three of us are journalists. And not one of us had thought to call the police. We had not even considered it.
We also are all black. And without realizing it, in that moment, each of us had made a set of calculations, an instantaneous weighing of the pros and cons.
As far as we could tell, no one had been hurt. The shooter was long gone, and we had seen the back of him for only a second or two. On the other hand, calling the police posed considerable risks. It carried the very real possibility of inviting disrespect, even physical harm. We had seen witnesses treated like suspects, and knew how quickly black people calling the police for help could wind up cuffed in the back of a squad car. Some of us knew of black professionals who’d had guns drawn on them for no reason.
This was before Michael Brown. Before police killed John Crawford III for carrying a BB gun in a Wal-Mart or shot down 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a Cleveland park. Before Akai Gurley was killed by an officer while walking in a dark staircase and before Eric Garner was choked to death upon suspicion of selling “loosies.” Without yet knowing those names, we all could go down a list of unarmed black people killed by law enforcement.
We feared what could happen if police came rushing into a group of people who, by virtue of our skin color, might be mistaken for suspects.
For those of you reading this who may not be black, or perhaps Latino, this is my chance to tell you that a substantial portion of your fellow citizens in the United States of America have little expectation of being treated fairly by the law or receiving justice. It’s possible this will come as a surprise to you. But to a very real extent, you have grown up in a different country than I have.
This is great news, I hope that Google continues to vette out the crazy because the internet is becoming more buried in garbage to the point of becoming unusable, which is a horrible thing to say about my other brain.
Sometimes, it’s the little things.
I got an email the other day from someone who works with Google, telling me some cool news: They’ve updated their search results about health conditions. They now provide information that’s curated and vetted by doctors, including the Mayo Clinic!
That’s fantastic. So, for example, when you Google “measles,” the first couple of results are (as usual) news items, then links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mayo Clinic, and Wikipedia. I’ll note that when I dug down a few pages in the results list, there still wasn’t a single anti-vax site to be seen. Nice.
By David Horsey
The itinerary of a civil rights tour is essentially a long list of crime scenes.
The crime scenes are everywhere, from the trees where blacks were lynched and the avenues where enslaved people were marched from riverboats to auction blocks, to the countless dots on the map of the South where brave dissenters and utter innocents were beaten or killed with fists, boots, baseball bats or guns. Very, very few of the criminals who perpetrated these crimes were ever brought to justice because local and state governments and the courts were on their side.
On Monday, our busload of 52 civil rights pilgrims arrived in Birmingham, Ala., a city once known as “Bombingham.” In the 1950s and ’60s, it was the place where the hardest lines of segregation were drawn and violence was commonplace. It was the city where fire hoses were trained on black boys and girls and attack dogs were loosed on peaceful demonstrators. And it was where, on one Sabbath morning in 1963, a terrorist’s bomb placed at the 16th Street Baptist Church killed four black girls who were straightening their dresses and checking their hair in preparation for Sunday school.
Earlier in Montgomery, the Alabama capital, we had met Georgette Norman, a dynamic, eloquent black woman who recently retired as director of the city’s Rosa Parks Museum. When she talked about how things used to be, she was blunt.
“I grew up in a world of state-sponsored terrorism,” Norman said to us after we dined on Southern food at Martha’s Place Buffet. In her opinion, the country has not really come to terms with the pervasiveness of that terrorism nor with the chronic social and economic after-effects that are still with us. After Sept. 11, Americans are all too cognizant of the terror that has come from outside our borders, says Norman, but “we have yet to claim the terror within.”
Bernard Lafayette, who faced that terror very directly, talked to us at the museum housed in the former Montgomery Greyhound bus station, the site where a white mob viciously attacked nonviolent Freedom Riders in 1961. Lafayette was one of those riders. He recalled the searing moment when members of the mob turned on him and broke three of his ribs while white women across the street, holding babies in their arms, shrieked their encouragement.
At the state Capitol, our tour guide, Aroine Irby, a retired Air Force colonel, went off script as he showed us around the portico where Jefferson Davis was inaugurated president of the Confederate States of America. As a young man half a century ago, Irby said, he had joined the march from Selma to Montgomery and was walking beside a woman and her four children at the moment she was gunned down by a shooter hiding somewhere in the thicket.
David Horsey is a political cartoonist for the LA Times.
Put aside the fact that Christie has shown himself to be an arrogant bully. Put aside the fact that this lawsuit was being fought through four governors. Put aside the fact that the actual people being represented in this case are the citizens of New Jersey. Or if you are Governor Chris Christie, put everything aside and just give your handlers all they could ever hope for. Some politicians just don’t care to hide the fact they are owned.
3 cents on the dollar. That’s your representation in New Jersey as of 2015. And he wants to be POTUS and represent YOU. And he’s not even the worst they have to offer.Your GOP. Hard at work keeping the future bright..
The Proposed Transoceanic Canal Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans Is Giving Environmentalists Fits
A private company, the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company (HKND), is building a 172-mile, $50 billion transoceanic canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This is in collaboration between the private Hong Kong Company and the Nicaraguan government, which granted the concession last June.
The preparation for the project has begun with the construction of roads intended to be used for the conveyance of heavy equipment and construction supplies. It will be known as the Nicaragua Interoceanic canal which will be longer, wider and deeper than the 51-mile Panama Canal. It’s going to be one of the greatest structures in the planet without a doubt.
The report quoted that according to Rice University environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez, a co-corresponding author of a paper titled “Scientists Raise Alarms About Fast Tracking of Transoceanic Canal Through Nicaragua,” said that the project’s “biggest environmental challenge is to build and operate the canal without catastrophic impacts to this sensitive ecosystem”.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday took up the Affordable Care Act in one of the most anticipated arguments of the term, and it seemed closely divided over the fate of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
The court’s four liberal members voiced strong support for the administration’s position. But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who cast the decisive vote to save the law in 2012, said almost nothing on Wednesday, and did not indicate his position.
In a pleasant surprise for the administration, however, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who was in dissent in 2012, made several comments indicating that his vote was in play.
“Perhaps you will prevail in the plain words of the statute,” he told a lawyer for the challengers. But, he continued, “there’s a serious constitutional problem if we adopt your argument.”
Details emerging from the theft of nearly $5 million in gold bars on an interstate highway indicate the heist was carefully planned and raise questions about who was involved other than the three armed robbers.
The robbers pulled up almost immediately after the drivers made an unscheduled stop on a dark stretch of highway in North Carolina, according to a warrant. When the crew got out of the truck, they left their firearms behind in violation of their employer’s security rules, the sheriff said. And while the workers told authorities they had to pull over because strong gasoline fumes were making at least one of them sick, a mechanic found no problems with the truck.
The circumstances led one detective to write that the heist on Sunday “could be an inside job,” though the sheriff declined to commit to that theory during a news conference Wednesday. One thing was clear, though: The heist was targeted and planned, down to the orange traffic cones the robbers put out while they unloaded 275 pounds of gold worth $4.8 million.
Ferguson Police Official Fired Over Racist Emails, 2 Others on Leave
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said Wednesday that one police official had been fired and two others were on administrative leave over racist emails that were cited in the Justice Department’s scathing new report on the city’s police department.
The emails, one of which compared President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee, were released by the Justice Department in a report that found patterns of racism by law enforcement officials in the St. Louis suburb. It was one of two reports that followed the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson.
Concern mounted Wednesday over the fate of civilians in Tikrit where Iraqi forces were trying to trap Islamic State group militants on the third day of a huge offensive to retake the city.
Around 30,000 security forces and allied fighters launched Monday the biggest anti-IS ground operation yet in Iraq, closing in on Tikrit from at least three directions.
A senior commander said operations were focused on cutting supply lines of weapons and reinforcements to the militants, who seized the city since June.
The next step will be to “surround the towns completely, suffocate them and then pounce on them,” Lieutenant General Abdel Amir al-Zaidi told AFP