Scouring the News for Signs of Intelligent Life
by Oly Mike
Oh, here we go: Chris Hedges has a good piece in Truth Dig about the NDAA - National Defense Authorization Act - and what a dangerous piece of legislation the NDAA truly is. Like the presidential authority to use drone weaponry to assassinate US citizens or our "enemies" anywhere in the world, this NDAA piece of legislation may look less scary to some in the hands of President Obama (I don't know why that is? He's pretty aggressive.) than it might look in the hands of a President Palin, but once presidential authority is asserted, it is seldom relinquished, so you have to look ahead at how the NDAA would work with President Santorum or the like. I don't like.
Indefinite military detention. Hmm...
On another front SCOTUS Inc. came out with another 5-4 decision that says if you are arrested for any offense, no matter how minor, the jail is entitled to strip search you for a close visual inspection. A big Thank You to the 4 who voted against, but you lost and so did we.
The plaintiff in the underlying case Florence v. County of Burlington was strip searched twice after he was arrested for failure to pay a fine. The fine had been paid, the arrest should not have occurred, but two strip searches later, Albert W. Florence (a black man) was released. He was a passenger in his BMW when his wife was pulled over for speeding and the records search produced the erroneous arrest warrant matter.
hmm... sometimes the authorities simply get it wrong, right? Those things happen. No harm, no foul, says Justice Anthony Kennedy. At least no harm that he can see.
I monitor a national police oversight listserv and caught this story regarding the Trayvon Martin - George Zimmerman shooting death that continues to build public outrage: The Elusiveness of Police Accountability.
There is something particularly scary about a cop wannabe packing a 9 mm weapon and patrolling a neighborhood. Judgment, training, - there are a lot of things missing in this community security package. But, the Atlantic Cities story tells the story of 18 yo Ramarley Graham, who was chased into his house by NY police and shot dead in the bathroom. He is reported to have been unarmed and in possession of a small quantity of marijuana. The point of the Atlantic Cities piece is that if Trayvon had been shot by a police officer instead of a cop wannabe, there would be a lot less news coverage of the event. That's probably true. There is something really disturbing about the fact that Zimmerman continued to follow Martin after dispatch advised to stop. With Ramarley Graham and Trayvon Martin we appear to have two deaths that just didn't need to happen.
We don't know if Ramarley was wearing a hoodie when he was shot. That seems to be scary attire. I am wearing my hoodie every day now.
Here are some facts that I think are inescapable:
Justice is elusive. Handguns are ubiquitous. Armed men who think they need to keep the peace are dangerous to young black men.
My solution? Reduce the number of weapons in the community. Gun control. Buy back programs. Interference in the realm of handgun commerce. A big government type solution to a big public problem.
Yep, a like a little big government from time to time, but I am not too crazy about the NDAA and Scotus Inc.