Saturday, April 17, 2021

The Blood Was Not White Or Black

In late February a local newscaster in Buffalo, NY led a report (video, below) with

Tonight 75-year-od Martin Gugino has now filed a civil lawsuit against the city, the mayor, and the two officers caught on video shoving him to the ground during a protest on the steps of city hall. Gugino's story and this video you see here made international headlines last June.

If only. If only the assault upon the old white man, who was acting in support of the black lives matter protests, had made headlines in the USA for more than one day we wouldn't have tweets similar to this:

Gugino is a white man who had no mental health issues. And the police nevertheless shoved him to the ground, and with "blood immediately leaking from his ear," he was ignored by several officers from Buffalo's Emergency Response Team walking past him.

 No one was killed and no one suffered permanent injury, as far as is known. However, in most situations police officers do not prioritize race in determining the level of force they should apply..The racial left refuses to acknowledge this and continues to suffer from a myopia which will have harmful political ramifications.


At Least He Wasn't A Racist

After the USA's latest expression of Second Amendment rights, in Indianapolis.Indiana, NBC News reports

A motive for the attack wasn't immediately clear, but a year ago, the shooter's mother said she feared he might be suicidal.

“In March 2020, the suspect’s mother contacted law enforcement to report he might try to" attempt "suicide by cop," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan, who runs the bureau's Indianapolis field office.

The phrase "suicide by cop" refers to a self-destructive person who intentionally draws the attention of police in hopes of a deadly confrontation.

"A shotgun was seized at his residence. Based on items observed in the suspect’s bedroom at that time, he was interviewed by the FBI in April 2020. No Racially Motivated Violent Extremism (RMVE) ideology was identified during the course of the assessment and no criminal violation was found," the statement said. "The shotgun was not returned to the suspect.”

Wait- what? Evidently, the agency dropped its investigation of 19-year-old Brandon Scott Hole because neither a criminal violation nor a "racially motivated violent extremism (RMVE)" was identified.

If the FBI doesn't proceed simply because no criminal violation was found, that would be easily understood, though it does raise additional questions. However..... no "Racially Motivated Violent Extremism?"

That appears to mean that law enforcement went on its way because Hole's violent tendency was not motivated by racial hostility. It was irrelevant that the individual may have harbored great hostility with sophisticated plans to shoot a whole lot of people- only that his motivation was not racial.

A closer look at FBI policy adds detail. At a hearing of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in June, 2019, chairperson Jaime Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, explained

But now the FBI has collapsed these prior 10 specific categories into four combined categories. It now uses, one, racially motivated violent extremism, which we have been told is an umbrella term that combines the prior subcategories for white and black racially motivated extremism; two, antigovernment/antiauthority extremism; three, animal rights/ environmental extremism; and, four, abortion extremism.

Thus the FBI addresses violent extremism, which it divides into four categories, one of which is racially motivated violent extremism.  Hole did not threaten to commit violence motivated by racial bias. If only he had invoked a derogatory term for blacks, Latinos, immigrants, Latinos, ethnic Asians, or any other racial, religious, or ethnic group, action which might have derailed Thursday's attack may have been taken.

Nonetheless, the agency ultimately ignored the lethal  danger posed by an individualbecause racism was not a motivation.  There is a serious chance that Hole would not have shot up the FedEx facility if the FBI had believed it was its responsibility to investigate a violent person who might not have been a bigot.

We don't know whether Brandon Scott Hole was animated by racial animus when he went on a shooting rampage at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis. But that apparently was not what motivated him thirteen months ago. So the FBI let him go. Now there are eight people dead.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

"Mask Up"

The long-range forecast has changed. Once for sunny with pleasant termperatures, it is now more dire.

On April 13, Tucker Carlson remarked "if the vaccine is effect, there is no reason for people who have received the vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact. So maybe it doesn't work and they're simply not telling you that."

The next morning on CNN, Fauci struck back, maintaining Carlson's skepticism is "counter to the safety and health of the American public" and rhetorically asking "why would we not tell people if it doesn’t work?”

If the reports of the exchange are accurate, Fauci did not directly address the contradiction Carlson suggested, and that night he contended" like most Americans, we’re grateful for vaccines (and) we're not against it (vaccination) on principle."

Carlson then proceeded to question both the efficacy and safety of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Whether or not Carlson's skepticism is warranted, it is clear that Dr. Fauci is unclear on whether masks will be the norm once herd immunity against this virus strain is reached.

In late February CNN's Dana Bash (seen at 9:31 of the video below), drawing upon her education at the finest university in the USA, asked Dr. Fauci

You and the President have suggested that we'll approach normality by the end of the years. What does "normal" mean? Do you think that Americans will still be wearing masks for a while in 2022?

Fauci responded

You know, I think it is possible that will be the case. I really think it depends on what you mean by normality.... If normality means exactly the way things were before we had this happen to us, I mean, I can't predict that. obviously, I think we're going to have a significant degree of normality beyond, what, the terrible burden that all of us have been through over the last year that as we get into the fall and the winter, by the end of the year, I agree with the President completely that we will be approaching a degree of normality. It may or may not be precisely the way it was in November of 2019 but it will be much, much better than what we are doing right now.

Fauci is laying the groundwork for an America that will look and feel much different that it did in 2019 but hoping that it does not feel that way to Americans.

He was noncommittal. Although the Administration touts at every opportunity the increasing number of people receiving one of the vaccines, Fauci would not even hold out a likelihood that in 2022- nine months from now and roughly 22 months before the danger of the coronavirus fully surfaced- that masks would be unnecessary.  He did not say even that they'd be unnecessary unless a variant emerges as a significant peril.

Yet, he insists on predicting "a signifcant digree of normality" and a situation "much, much better than what we are doing right now." 

“If the vaccine is effective," Carlson insisted, "there is no reason for people who have received the vaccine to wear masks." But Fauci- and President Biden- are reasonably confident of the vaccine's effectiveness. However, they anticipate that wearing a mask will prove (necessarily, in their minds) to be either a semi-permanent or recurring practice.

If the risk of contracting a coronavirus declines even minimally, Fauci and the President will not deter "reopening" of the economy. It's good for the bottom line and will help keep Republicans off their backs.

Restaurants, even bars, will get the green light because commerce will be encouraged. Patrons officially will be requred to  keep their masks on except when eating or drinking, a condition few will comply with. Still, masks will be encouraged, perhaps even mandated, for offices, drugstores, supermarkets, home improvement stores, and the like.

Consequently, Dr. Fauci predicts a great deal of normalcy while he does not evince any concern for people wearing masks into the third year of a pandemic. Hence, there is the opaque phrase "may or may not be precisely the way it was in November of 2019." With support of the President, he is setting people up for accepting a lifestyle that will include masks while business and pleasure proceed apace.

If this p;ans out, ultimately there will be a backlash from individuals mad as hell and not willing to take it anymore. While Anthony Fauci's disposition is sunny (or at least pleasing) his hazy forecast is for clouds with a better than 50% chance of heavy rain.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Power In The Cause Of Prejudice

On April 12, I argued that Chief Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center, MN police department erred in concluding before investigation that the killing by Daunte Wright by a police officer was an "accidental discharge."  However, I noted also that Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot acted reprehensibly in recommending that the police officer, later identified as Kimberly Potter, be fired.

Left unsaid, though implied by criticism of one man for a premature observation and another for premature verdict and sentencing, was praise for the town's city manager He had responded to a question at the city's news conference on Monday by first stating

My name is Kurt Boganey, B-O-G-A-N-E-Y. And in response to the question about termination, all employees working for the city of Brooklyn Center are entitled to due process with respect to discipline. This employee will receive due process. And that’s really all that I can say today.

"Due process." What a novel concept! It shouldn't be controversial but is in many quarters today. Boganey remarked additionally

we are providing reports to the city council about officer discipline, about information on staffs of black and brown people, or people of color in the city of Brooklyn Center. We are developing some task forces to assess if any of our policies or if any of our practices lead to disproportionate inequitable results. our objective for doing that analysis is to eliminate any inequity that occurs as a result of our practices and our policies. That has been communicated to the chief and to the police officers or the city of Brooklyn Center.

In the old days of the previous decade, that was commonly called "pro-active" until people realized how awful that term was. Nonetheless (or "further"), it seems to be a rather progressive approach to policing: gather information; address possible inequity; communicate with the police department and city officials.

Boganey also replied to one question "I can't make that judgement" and to another, "I can't speculate." Given that many facts were not yet determined and the officer had not yet been interviewed, those remarks were not only fair but prudent.

Of course, that meant he had to go.  Open minds make some politicians uncomfortable and can inhibit the formation and spread of bias. Monday evening we learned that Brookly Center

now has a new city manager and — at least temporarily — a new de facto leader of the police department after a city council vote that granted the mayor “command authority” over the agency.

The overhaul is likely to give Mayor Mike Elliott the power to fire the police chief and police officers, one legal expert told The Washington Post.

“At such a tough time, this will streamline things and establish a chain of command and leadership,” Elliott wrote after the motion passed by a 3-to-2 vote. Elliott, who by law serves on the council, and two other members voted in the affirmative.

The police chief "resigned" the following day. Brooklyn Center did have a chain of command and leadership, the latter unfortunately seized by a narrow-minded mayor. It now is turning over a dangerous amount of power to one official, who was discomfited by the professional leadership offered by its city manager, who valued facts over bias.  Given today's climate, that may not be surprising.  And that's the problem.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

No, It's Not "No"

Twitter is where stupidity goes to thrive and proliferate. The same is true for much of social media but I'm on Twitter, so following the most recent shooting (fatal in this case) of a black man by police, there is this:


Mr. Tache's self-description is "My family is LGBTQ, Black, Latinx, white, immigrant, indigenous." Thus, even though his son is black, Tache himself may not be. Nonetheless, I'll assume, as he probably wishes readers do, that he is black. This eliminates that one obvious question but leaves several others, asked in no particular order, including:


  • What neighborhood does this individual live in?  Sate, dangerous, or not clearly either? Is it close-knit, one in which residents regularly communicate with each other?
  • Is the neighborhood well-patrolled or ignored by police?
  • What is the individual's standing in the neighborhood? (He might be well-respected, secretly despised, a newcomer thus slightly more at-risk, or none of the above.)
  • How old and big is the fellow? (Age and size might affect his degree of vulnerability.)
  • What kind of dog will he be walking? (If I were intent on assaulting an individual and see him walking a Doberman Pinscher, well, I'll take a pass.)
  • What time of day (or night) would he be walking the dog? Similarly, what is the weather like and will the street be deserted, filled with other respectable individuals, or filled with disreputable individuals? 

If Mr. Tache is concerned only with the possibility of attack by police, then: congratulations! He lives in a safe neighborhood. If this is his only concern about walking the dog, then he should- won't, but should- be interested in recognizing the response to protests in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota which

began Sunday, the day 20-year-old Daunte Wright was killed in what the police chief described as an accidental shooting following a traffic stop. The officer who shot Wright, identified by authorities as Kim Potter, has been with the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. She has been placed on administrative leave.

Police fired tear gas and stun guns to disperse Monday night's demonstrators who were defying a curfew, while protesters threw "bottles, fireworks, bricks and other projectiles at public safety officials," according to a tweet from Operation Safety Net. The operation is a joint effort of local agencies to ensure public safety during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer facing charges in the death of George Floyd, being held around 10 miles away.

Defying a curfew, the demonstrators were subject to arrest. Some reportedly threw bottles, fireworks, bricks and other projectiles at law enforcement personnel. They were calling for the head- figuratively, I think- of a police officer, who is the colleague, and in a few cases the friend, of those same law enforcement personnel.

Although a few in the crowd may have been attacked in some way by police, we know of none for now. And as far we know, the number of protestors, many of them black, who were injured or even hurt by police, appears to be a number less than 1. Mr. Tache has his answer.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Mayor Issues His Verdict

Stacey Elizabeth Plaskett served as one of the managers at the second impeachment trial in the USA Senate of Donald J. Trump. A member of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives, Plaskett represents the US Virgin Islands and is a delegate, thus officially "Delegate Plaskett" rather than "Representative Plaskett." Still, she is right:


Star System

On March 9 we learned from the Miami (South Florida) Sun Sentinel that then-Miami Heat big man Meyers Leonard, not a household name, had

issued an apology Tuesday evening about the slur, saying he was unaware of “how offensive it is to the Jewish community.”

On the video, Leonard can be heard saying, “F------ cowards, don’t f------ snipe at me you f------ k--- b----.”

The anti-Semitic slur was uttered in the middle of the two profanities amid video-game play of Call of Duty, a war-simulation online game.

Leonard issued a statement on Instagram several hours after his comments came to light.

“I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday,” the statement issued opened. “While I didn’t know what the word meant at the time, my ignorance about its history and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely not an excuse and I was just wrong.

"I was just wrong" are the words of a genuine apology. Despite- or perhaps because- of that, as Bill Maher explained (at 37:10 of a video no longer available) Friday on Real Time

I mean, before the day was out- banned.  fined by the NBA and trded. I mean- and then they're making him- of course, the groveling apology and then he's meeting with rabbis, Holocaust survivors. Do we have to drag the Holocaust into this- really, Passover? He goes on, has to go on Zoom in front of college kids so they can yell at him. Does everything have to be a summary excutionin America? What happened to just accepting the apology?

Why merely accept the apology when getting the offender to grovel is so much more satisfying? A moment later, Maher would add  "But the reason it's important to talk about it- the reason it's important- would they have done it if it was the star of the team?" Guest Heather McGhee apparently thought the team would have, for she responded  "probably more, right, I would have heard about it if he was the star of the team, right?" Maher responded to the response with

But there could be a big name NBA player, somebody, anybody who didn't understand this term or used it in a fit of anger and regretted it. Would they have suspended him? I don't think so.

We have a pretty good idea if they would have because a somewhat similar incident occurred in December 2018 when we learned

After talking with Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, the NBA will take no action in the aftermath of his social media post of a song lyric that referenced "Jewish money," a league source told ESPN on Monday.

The league office accepted his explanation that he made a mistake, a source said.

James had been quoting the song "ASMR" by the performer 21 Savage on Saturday, typing the lyrics "We been getting that Jewish money. Everything is Kosher" onto a public Instagram account with 45.9 million followers.

After the Lakers' 107-99 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night, James told ESPN's Dave McMenamin, "Apologies, for sure, if I offended anyone. That's not why I chose to share that lyric. I always [post lyrics]. That's what I do. I ride in my car, I listen to great music, and that was the byproduct of it. So, I actually thought it was a compliment, and obviously it wasn't through the lens of a lot of people. My apologies. It definitely was not the intent, obviously, to hurt anybody."

LeBron James, as anyone on planet Earth (and possibly elsewhere) knows, was (and arguably still is) both the face of the National Basketball Association and its best player. On anyone's list, James is one of the ten greatest non-centers in league history and one of the five greatest on most lists.

And what did James do in response to being asked about his demonstration of anti-Semitism? He issued an apology so lame, so transparently insincere, that it was an insult to lame, insincere apologies. He might well have said "Yea, sure, O.K., if for some reason someone was offended but, hey, that's me. Take it or leave it."

The NBA, obviously, took it.  LeBron James was not fined, has since won a championship with the Lakers, is due to be paid over $39 million this season, over $41 million next season, and over $44 million the following season. Not bad for an anti-Semite.

I might be the last person to deny that James' behavior was tolerated in part because he rejected the option of an apology in favor of the classic "I apologize although I did nothing wrong." However, it would be violating the law of parsimony to argue that the primary reason he was not penalized, with the incident forgiven and forgotten, was because he refused to admit error.

In all likelihood, the  National Basketball Association chose to give LeBron James a pass largely because he is LeBron James.  In a league in which player is valued over team and superstar celebrated over mediocrity, James, and is, someone the league will appease at every turn. Thus, when Bill Maher remarked if "a big name NBA player" had done this, "Would they have suspended him? I don't think so," he nailed it.


The Blood Was Not White Or Black

In late February a local newscaster in Buffalo, NY led a report ( video , below) with Tonight 75-year-od Martin Gugino has now filed a ci...