(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SMITHSONIAN.COM)
When President James A. Garfield was shot in the back by an assassin on July 2, 1881, the news electrified the country. Garfield was entering the Washington, D.C. train station, headed for summer vacation, when the attack came. Charles Guiteau, the 40-year old assassin—a lawyer, former bill collector, salesman, preacher, divorcee and political hanger-on who’d failed at most things in his life—had stalked the president for weeks. On this morning, he waited inside the train station until President Garfield entered the room, walking in arm-in-arm with his friend, Secretary of State James G. Blaine. Guiteau stepped behind the president and fired two bullets. One grazed Garfield’s arm, and the other hit him square in the back, knocking him to the ground.
As police grabbed Guiteau and started dragging him away, Guiteau declared: “I am a Stalwart and [Vice President Chester Alan] Arthur is now president.”
Telegraph wires instantly flashed the news across the country. Newspapers flooded city streets with extra editions, copies carried by high-speed trains and horseback to every rural hamlet. For the 79 days between Guiteau’s shots and the president’s death, Americans waited breathlessly for medical bulletins from the White House. They followed every change in Garfield’s condition, praying against the worst. During this time, a team of self-serving doctors probed Garfield’s wounds with unwashed fingers and instruments, allowing the President to contract an infection that would ultimately kill him.
More than 100,000 people came to see Garfield’s body lying in state in the Capitol Building Rotunda, and another 150,000 attended his funeral in Cleveland, Ohio. The new president, Chester A. Arthur, declared days of national mourning.
Americans who experienced these events in 1881 had no trouble appreciating the tragedy of Garfield’s death and the importance of his life. Many considered him perhaps the most promising president of their era, despite his having served only four months in office before the shooting. That generation would be shocked to learn that today, in 2018, just 137 years later, Garfield and his story are largely forgotten. Even the spot where the shooting took place, the old Baltimore and Potomac train station, is long gone.
Garfield was the third youngest president when he took office, just 49 when elected in 1880. His five young children, four sons and a daughter, made the White House a happy, playful home, despite his wife Lucretia’s serious fever (probably typhoid) that spring. The morning of the shooting, Garfield himself, at 6 feet tall and 210 pounds, performed handstands for his young sons in their bedroom and tossed them in the air while playing and saying goodbye.
The last president born in a log cabin, Garfield was raised in poverty on the Ohio Western Reserve, worked his way through Williams College, and taught at and became president of Ohio’s Eclectic University (now Hiram College). A lifelong abolitionist, he enlisted in the Union Army, became a captain, and participated in the Civil War battles of Shiloh and Chickamauga.
Elected to Congress in 1863, Garfield played leading roles in almost every major issue of the day. He helped win passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution to guarantee equal rights for freed slaves.
Garfield never actually ran for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1880—he attended the party’s convention that year to support another candidate, fellow-Ohioan John Sherman (brother of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman). But after the convention stalemated for 35 ballots, delegates stampeded to an alternative all knew as a competent and intelligent candidate, Garfield himself.
When finally elected president, Garfield had little time to enjoy it. In office, he quickly became embroiled in a signature fight of the era, the struggle against political bosses who strangled the works of government through patronage and spoils. Ultimately, he forced the Senate to abandon its practice called Senatorial Courtesy and confirm a reform-minded Collector of the Port of New York over staunch opposition from New York’s own powerful Senator Roscoe Conkling, who in turn resigned over the conflict.
By winning this fight, James Garfield cleared the way for what he hoped would be a highly productive presidency focused on civil rights, education and economic growth. But this was not to be.
The fight over patronage was the spark that prompted Charles Guiteau, the “disappointed office seeker” as he was called, to decide that James Garfield must be “removed” from office. Guiteau was likely mentally ill, but his insanity was informed by the politics of the day. The shooting of Garfield resulted in adoption of the 1883 Pendleton Civil Service Act, which mandated that government jobs be awarded on merit rather than political affiliation, and was one of the most important political reforms of the late 19th Century.
Garfield is one of just four presidents killed in office, and the sites of the other three attacks are rightly treated as a having major historic importance: Ford’s Theatre in Washington, Dealey Plaza in Dallas, and William McKinley’s assassination site in Buffalo, New York. Each has a maker and displays explaining the history and significant of the event. Garfield deserves the same treatment.
The site, however, presents some challenges. The old Baltimore and Potomac train station, located at 6th and B Streets NW, today’s Constitution Avenue, was long considered an eyesore even before the assassination. Built in the 1870s on landfill over the infested old Washington City Canal, its tracks extended south, splitting the National Mall, shooting soot into the air and causing pedestrian accidents. When Washington’s new Union Station opened nearby in 1907, city officials quickly closed the old depot and had it demolished.
Today, the spot where President Garfield was shot straddles Constitution Avenue between the National Gallery of Art and the Federal Trade Commission across the street, one of the busiest spots in the city. Thousands of locals and tourists alike pass by every day, having no idea of the shocking history that occurred here. On the Mall itself, walkways come within a few feet of the exact spot of the shooting with nothing to mark the spot.
It’s time for Garfield to have his marker too. It’s why I have joined the James Garfield National Historic Site’s initiative to memorialize the spot where an American president’s tenure was cut tragically short. History is too important to let it be forgotten.
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/garfield-assassination-altered-american-history-woefully-forgotten-today-180968319/#JLI2qFU0PP8xqblD.99
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(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)
(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — A federal judge ruled Thursday that a former South Carolina police officer committed second-degree murder when he shot an unarmed black motorist to death.
U.S. District Judge David Norton made that determination in the April 2015 shooting of Walter Scott by former North Charleston officer Michael Slager, who has been in jail since pleading guilty in May to violating Scott’s civil rights. The judge also said Slager, 36, obstructed justice when he made statements to state police after the shooting.
The ruling comes as part of federal sentencing proceedings for Slager, and Norton is tasked with deciding how much time he spends in prison.
This week, federal prosecutors and Slager’s lawyers have called witnesses to testify about technical aspects of the case. That includes the use of Slager’s stun gun, which the former officer says Walter Scott grabbed and turned on him, causing Slager, who is white, to fear for his life and shoot in self-defense, firing five times into his back as he ran away.
After Norton ruled Thursday, attorneys began calling friends and relatives of both men to tell the judge the effect Scott’s death and the officer’s arrest have had on their lives. What’s known as victim impact testimony is intended to help the judge determining the defendant’s sentence weigh the personal implications a crime has had.
A preview of that testimony came Wednesday, when Scott’s youngest son spoke to the court so he could return to his high school classes. Clutching a photograph of his father, Miles Scott said he has had trouble sleeping ever since his father’s death. He said he misses watching football games with his dad and can’t fathom not being able to watch with him the game they both loved.
“I miss my father every day,” Miles Scott said through tears. “I would like you to sentence the defendant to the strongest sentence the laws allows because he murdered my one and only father.”
Federal officials have recommended 10 to nearly 13 years in prison, but his attorneys argue Slager should face far less time.
Slager pulled Scott over for a broken brake light in April 2015, and Scott, 50, ran during the stop. After deploying his stun gun, Slager fired eight bullets at Scott as he ran away, hitting him five times in the back.
Slager faced murder charges in state court, but a jury in that case deadlocked last year and the state charges were dropped as part of his federal plea deal.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ASIAN NEWS LETTER ‘WAGING NONVIOLENCE’)
The Chinese government moved forward last week on a controversial high-speed railway development with Hong Kong, a move that would extend Chinese jurisdiction onto the city’s territory. The announcement came amid increasing efforts by Beijing to assert Chinese authority in Hong Kong, in conjunction with the suppression of its pro-democracy movement. These efforts reached a crucial moment the previous week when four pro-democracy lawmakers were removed from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council by a Hong Kong court, posing a setback to the city’s political opposition to Beijing.
The legislators — Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai, Edward Yiu and “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung — were disqualified for inserting small acts of resistance into their oaths of office, such as shouting slogans demanding universal suffrage or pausing for several seconds after reading each word. Leung held a yellow umbrella during the procedure to symbolize the student-led Umbrella Movement — a 79-day mobilization in 2014, during which tens of thousands took to the streets, marching and camping out in tents to demand full democracy.
While the opposition in Hong Kong lost significant political power with this court decision — as it no longer has the ability to veto pro-Beijing legislation — China’s tightening of control in Hong Kong may actually signal renewed opportunity for resistance. Transforming such repression into action, however, will require unity among Hong Kong’s divided opposition, as well as a clear strategy moving forward. Despite their disagreement in terms of how to achieve democratic transition in Hong Kong, the various opposition groups nevertheless share many common aims and would benefit from dialogue.
The three main factions in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement — Progressive Liberals, Traditional Pan-Democrats, and the Pro-Independence or Localists — have been at odds since the Umbrella Movement rocked the city’s financial district three years ago. The movement was instigated by Beijing’s refusal to permit open nominations for the city’s Chief Executive and Legislative Council elections.
Cleavages between the three groups are not so deep as to preclude any cooperation and have more to do with how each faction envisions a theory for democratic change in Hong Kong. The traditional Pan-Democrats favor negotiation with Beijing and seek to gain influence by working through the system by gaining more power in the Legislative Council. This approach seems to hold less promise after the recent removal of the four legislators. The progressive liberals, on the other hand, favor street protests, direct action and social mobilization to pressure both the Hong Kong and Chinese governments for reform.
It is with the third and most radical faction, the Localists or pro-independence advocates, that a notable challenge arises for finding common ground. The Localists favor a more militant approach and have not publicly renounced violence in their aim for secession. This stands in opposition to what the other groups see as key to winning popular support and pressuring authorities for democratic change: maintaining nonviolent discipline. As such, the Localists have found themselves excluded from the leadership of the Umbrella Movement.
At the same time, however, the Localists’ position on China also leads to self-exclusion. In distancing themselves from Chinese affairs, the Localists refuse to take action on issues related to the promotion of democracy in China. They do not see it as Hong Kong’s concern. That is why the Localists did not join the July 16 vigil commemorating the life of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died as a political prisoner in Chinese custody. Liu’s death — and the expedited, government-controlled ceremony to scatter his ashes — brought thousands into the streets in Hong Kong, demanding justice and resistance to Chinese authority.
Despite these disagreements, the opposition movement is ideologically aligned on many key points, such as the need for free elections, local autonomy and greater political freedoms. Although the Localists have not openly renounced violence, there are indications that they could move in this direction. Should they do so, they will be engaged in dialogue rather than pushed to the sidelines.
China’s tightening grip on dissent, both in the inhumane detention of Xiaobo and the recent crackdown on the four Legislative Council members, has set the stage for a renewed wave of mobilization among the people of Hong Kong. The path forward will depend on coordination among the opposition. Leaders will need to incorporate potential allies, develop a shared vision based on points of agreement, and identify the institutions and actors propping up Chinese control in Hong Kong to more strategically shape a campaign for full democracy.
Three important points should be kept in mind as Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement looks ahead to the future. First, opposition groups must work to draw in as many potential allies as possible. Opponents of Beijing’s authority should not confuse the Chinese government with its citizens. Pejorative names and slurs for Chinese people — like the term “insects,” which some demonstrators have used — undermine the movement and fail to recognize that the Chinese are also victims of their government’s repression. Chinese citizens could be an important source of support in the movement against repressive Chinese rule. By incorporating the young, energetic students from the Umbrella Movement who are angered by the legislators’ dismissal, and the older people in Hong Kong who turned out to march in Xiaobo’s memory, the movement can unify different generations behind a common cause. Democracy must not be seen as only the ends, but also the means, for lasting societal change.
As the pro-democracy movement grows its base of actors, the second point that needs to be considered is the development of a shared vision. Factions in the opposition movement have been attacking each other because they hold different theories of change for Hong Kong. It is important to develop a vision that does not scare away traditional pan-democrats who want stability, while also accounting for the pro-independence faction, which wants to focus on Hong Kong’s internal affairs. Important examples show how dialogue regarding ideological differences can create a degree of consensus, such as the Tunisian dialogue platform that brought secular and religious groups into cooperation. There exists potential for Hong Kong’s opposition to find common ground on issues like urban development, independent judiciary, regulations on financial markets and improving Hong Kong’s position in East Asia. This kind of cooperation is hindered by the proportional representation system in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, which pits groups against each other to compete for votes. A coalition within the social movement would thus provide an opportunity to build unity.
Finally, it is important for pro-democracy groups to better understand their opponent. Successful resistance efforts always target a variety of pillars, or institutions, upholding a regime. The strength of Hong Kong’s financial markets and its importance as a regional economic hub serve as leverage against Chinese authority. Civil society in Hong Kong can work to create shadow economic monitoring mechanisms that prevent corruption in Chinese investment. By focusing on areas where China is weakest, the pro-democracy opposition can team up with civil societies in foreign countries, exerting pressure on their governments to withdraw support for Chinese intervention in Hong Kong’s domestic affairs.
By uniting together around common issues and playing to Hong Kong’s strengths, the Umbrella Movement can enter a new phase of mobilization. Rather than seeing Beijing’s crackdown as a setback to the pro-democracy movement, it could instead be seen as a sign that China is growing increasingly worried about pro-democracy sentiment in Hong Kong. The recent events may be an opportunity for the movement to regroup, refocus and renew its struggle for democracy in the months and years to come.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘JUDICIAL WATCH)
|It’s Naive To Think Illegal Aliens Aren’t Voting
For many years we have fought to restore integrity to elections in the United States, fighting both the Obama Justice Department and its leftist allies, such as the well-funded ACLU. You can sample our efforts here. Finally the issue of election integrity has new national prominence thanks to President Donald Trump’s call for an investigation into illegal voting.I wrote about this for The Daily Caller:
Leftists and their media outlets have been all too eager to dismiss President Donald Trump’s charge that as many as 5 million illegal aliens voted in the 2016 presidential election, enough to easily swing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
Many of these pundits, backed by an army of so-called “fact-checkers,” would have you believe that the number of illegals who are registering to vote and voting is insignificant. Oh, there may be the occasional, misguided “undocumented worker” who inadvertently wanders into the election booth, they seem to suggest. But, surely, not enough to make any difference.
Anyone who thinks that needs to think again.
There are a total of 43 million non citizens currently living within U.S. borders. Of these, approximately 12 million are illegal aliens. Not only are there well-documented reasons to believe that many of them may be violating election integrity, the fact is many on the left are more than happy to see them do so. A Rasmussen Reports poll last year found that 53 percent of the Democratic Party supports allowing illegal aliens to vote.
Part of the problem is that election laws in the United States are a complicated hodgepodge of federal, state, and local rules, regulations, and red tape. Generally speaking, it is illegal for any non citizens to cast a vote in any election, and those who do are at least theoretically subject to criminal penalties if they are caught.
But many states do not have a voter ID requirement. Worse yet, many states do not even have a requirement to certify citizenship, other than saying out loud that you are a citizen. All too many of the systems that are in place to prevent unlawful voting are either nonexistent or are so weak that they are useless. We are naïve to think that the millions of people who are present in the United States illegally are all resisting the temptation to cast unlawful votes, especially when so much is at stake – including their being able to continue illegally residing within our borders.
As I point out in my book, Clean House, in 2014 a disturbing study by political scientists at Old Dominion found that 6.4 percent of foreign nationals residing in the United States voted in the 2008 presidential election. If the key Old Dominion study results on the 2008 election were applied to 2016 — 1.41 million aliens may have voted illegally, with probably 1.13 million voting for Democrats.
Add to that the 2012 Pew Research Center study noting that “approximately 2.75 million people have active registrations in more than one state.” On top of that, the study revealed, more than “1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as active voters.” Combine those figures with the number of aliens the Old Dominion study cites, and the Trump allegations may not be so far out of line.
A full-scale, non-partisan federal voter fraud investigation is long overdue. I’m not aware of any systematic federal investigation of voter fraud – ever. Initially, such an investigation would be a simple matter of analyzing voter registration databases against federal databases of aliens and deceased individuals. Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity team, headed up by Robert Popper, former Deputy Chief of the Voting Section in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, would be more than happy to help.
Of course we’ll keep you updated on our efforts and those of the Trump administration.
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on November 10, 2016 at 6:30 PM, updated November 10, 2016 at 10:32 PM
Police declared the demonstration a “riot” more than three hours after its 5 p.m. start, citing “extensive criminal and dangerous behavior.” The bureau said it warned the crowd about the designation, then tweeted that rioting is a class C felony.
The crowd – at least on par with the 2,000 that gathered the night before — started at Pioneer Courthouse Square in the early evening before taking off on a route that included a stop at the Portland waterfront and trip over the Hawthorne Bridge into Southeast Portland.
It eventually moved into Northeast Portland, where at least 19 cars at Toyota of Portland were vandalized, according to a sales manager.
Protesters then made their way west across the Broadway Bridge and into the Pearl District, where business windows along Northwest Lovejoy Street and elsewhere were smashed.
About 9:45 p.m., police in riot gear confronted the crowd and shut down the North Park Blocks area. They warned that some protesters were preparing “gas and flares” and that participants should leave for their own safety.
Police said protesters should return to Pioneer Courthouse Square to continue peaceful protest, and those remaining would be arrested.
It was unclear if any arrests had been made by 10 p.m. Most protesters were moving in the direction of Pioneer square; a few remained in the park blocks area.
Protesters stayed off freeways as of 8 p.m. — a departure from the previous two nights’ anti-Trump efforts. Authorities briefly closed freeways as a precaution, TriMet trains and buses were affected, and traffic was disrupted where protesters passed.
Tensions flared at times between protesters and motorists, with police tweeting they received reports of “vandalism and aggressive behavior” in the protest crowd. Altercations included a motorist’s windshield being cracked while she tried to navigate through protesters, saying she needed to tend to an emergency.
Some observers reported that a woman apparently was injured after some demonstrators said she was throwing liquid Tide at protesters. A bottle of Tide lay on the ground nearby as demonstrators called for protest medics to tend to the woman, who stayed on the ground for a few minutes.
Trump tweeted mid-Thursday night about the protests that have erupted across the country, calling them “unfair” and prompted by the media.
A new activist group galvanized by Trump’s election promoted the protest, which was one of multiple demonstrations Thursday in Portland. Dubbed Portland’s Resistance and composed of students and youth from protests that took over freeways Wednesday morning and night, spokesman Gregory McKelvey said the organization will use anti-Trump efforts to prop up local movements.
Protest chants included the rallying call of “Not my president,” in reference to the newly elected Trump. Some protesters carried signs, among them: “Oppression thrives off isolation. Stand united.” “We reject the fascist agenda.” “You’re fired!”
Halim Byron said he decided to join in the latest protest partly because he believes Trump flouts convention — then flaunts it.
“He does what he wants to, and he’s made that a cornerstone of his campaign,” said Byron, a 60-year-old Portland resident.
Kaden Burdick, a 20-year-old Portland resident, said he sees the election of Trump as a rise of white supremacy and wants to fight against racism, xenophobia and homophobia that Trump’s comments appear to have unleashed.
As the larger Waterfront rally gathered, a smaller, faith-based group remained back in the small, tiered space in Pioneer Courthouse Square’s northwest corner. Leaders from Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and First Nations faiths spoke to the crowd that lingered long after the larger Trump protest embarked onto downtown Portland’s streets.
The leaders put together the event to coincide with the march, said Rev. Michael Ellick, senior minister of First Congregational United Church of Christ.
Follow along below for updates.
Ellick, who served as emcee for a parade of speakers, said before the event in a news release: “For just about anybody who isn’t white, for anybody who isn’t in the top 1 percent and — you know — for all women everywhere — there is a lot of fear right now. So it’s more important than ever for the spiritual and moral adults on this planet to show up, speak clearly and get organized.”
The audience lingered at least an hour after the larger group departed, mostly listening to speakers and occasionally breaking into song, such as the spiritual, “We Shall Overcome.”
They were dwarfed by a 75-foot Douglas fir that had been set up just hours earlier in preparation for the city’s annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony on the day after Thanksgiving.
Video by Maxwell Radi/The Oregonian/OregonLive
TriMet earlier had warned again that MAX lines and most buses would likely experience significant delays because of the protests — in Pioneer Square, as well as elsewhere around the city, including Mt. Tabor Park and Holladay Park. Some stations and stops may close for safety reasons, the agency said.
TriMet tweeted an appeal for protesters to not block public transit. The agency said it respects the right to peacefully demonstrate, but “if you’re out there making your voice heard, please don’t disrupt transit service. … Similarly, we ask that you don’t vandalize our equipment.”
While the smashing was going on across the river, a group of about 50 people sat on steps or stood waiting to take a microphone along the downtown waterfront as a scattering of votive candles flickered on the ground. They talked about losing a loved one to HIV, supporting Hillary Clinton and even laughed at ways to best challenge Trump.
Two people sat side by side with a sign that said “We shall overcome.” A woman with children listened intently.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)
Protests continued for a second day on Thursday as thousands of people took to the streets in opposition to President-elect Donald Trump, voicing concern that his administration could do damage to hard-won progress on civil liberties.
Security was tight at two of the real estate mogul’s signature high-rise properties in Washington, D.C., and New York City, which became rallying points Wednesday night, in the wake of his surprise defeat of Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Protesters approached the site chanting slogans such as “Love trumps hate,” a phrase used by Clinton throughout her campaign.
About 100 mostly young protesters gathered at the White House, where Trump had just concluded his first meeting with outgoing President Barack Obama, and marched to the foot of his newly erected Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, Reuters reports. In New York City, where 15 protesters were arrested Wednesday night, CNN reported that about 5,000 protesters were joined by Lady Gaga at Trump Tower.
Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to address his critics in his first public comments on the unrest, tweeting: “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!”
On Wednesday, tens of thousands took to the streets in more than a dozen major cities to rally against the President-elect, many chanting “Not my President” and denouncing what they say is racist and misogynistic rhetoric used by his campaign. Protests swelled in Seattle; Pittsburgh; Austin; Dallas; Philadelphia; Portland; Providence, R.I.; Atlanta; St. Paul, Minn., as well as several other cities around the nation and the in other countries.
Trump’s critics worry that remarks he has made about Muslims, women and minority groups could provoke intolerance. His campaign has drawn support from the Ku Klux Klan and other white-supremacist groups, though he has publicly denied any links to them. His campaign turned down an endorsement from a KKK newspaper earlier this month, stating that Trump “denounces hate in any form.”
In his acceptance speech on Wednesday, Trump vowed to be a President for all Americans, striking a more conciliatory tone than he had in the past. His surprising ascension to power exposed sensitive divisions among the U.S.’s diverse communities and a gulf between the media and the public.
“This generation deserves better than Donald Trump,” Lily Morton, a 17-year-old student at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C., told Reuters. “The queer people, colored people, women, girls, everyone that is going to be affected by this, we need to protest to help them.”
Wednesday’s demonstrations were largely peaceful, though violence was reported in Oakland, Calif., where some demonstrators reportedly smashed store windows, started fires and clashed with police in riot gear. NBC said that Molotov cocktails were thrown at some 40 fires started. Three police officers were injured and 30 people arrested.
In Los Angeles, hundreds marched to U.S. Route 101 in an attempt to block the freeway.
Trump stunned Americans at home and abroad on Tuesday when he beat opponent Clinton following what has been considered the most polarized and fraught U.S. election in living memory. Clinton was widely expected to clinch the victory and become the first female President in U.S. history.
Throughout the campaign period, Trump came under fierce criticism for his zero-tolerance stance on immigration and remarks he has made about both women and minorities.
By no stretch of the imagination am I a person who is anti cop, to me that is a stupid view for anyone to have. I know very well that there are many very dirty cops in all the countries of the world, I know this simply because until we have android officers in those uniforms, they are all just humans and as humans we make bad choices sometimes. But I am a person who only cares about the truth in these issues. I have personally know several very dirty cops during my life and I have known several officers who are/were damn fine people. America has a history of political and law enforcement personnel who were/are far more criminal in their actions than those they are supposed to be arresting. It is part of being human to be tempted each day, tempted to do what is honest and decent or to be deceptive filled violent trash. Some cops fail in that duty daily just as some of the rest of us are tempted in our own ways and fail. Cops MUST be held to a higher standard of doing what is morally correct. For way to long D.A’s across the country have seen videos of police officers shooting unarmed people who are running away in the back and said these were justifiable executions. Until all department heads are cleared out who they themselves are the venom of the Departments with leaderships and laws and policies that force the good officers to stay quiet or lose their jobs or worse.
Now to my actual point of the above title which is the recent shooting death of a 41-year-old San Antonio man by two county deputies. In my early/mid twenties there was a space of about six years where I dabbled in the security/police field (military, Illinois State, Oil companies, bank security, nuclear power plant) so I was involved with many departments and learned many things. These things I learned is why I chose to not make this field a career. You learn many good things and many bad things about humor/lack of, maturity and morals which were a huge problem way back then with so many. Until the policing agencies honestly insist on good moral people being promoted instead of being blackballed how in the hell do they honestly think the people are ever going to be able to trust them? Police must police themselves and these crooked to the core D.A.’s must be themselves put into the prison cells for their willful crimes against the populace. Until these cesspools of evil are crushed from within the American people can never feel safe when they in their daily lives encounter any cop, D.A., or judge because we know that “if” they are dirty they can really screw up the rest of your life, or end it, and that in many cases they are allowed from within to cover up.
Now back to Mr Gilbert Flores in San Antonio Texas, the man who in my belief was murdered by these two deputies. There is a second video taken of this crime as it was being committed that was turned into station KSAT on Monday. Bexar county Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said today at a press conference that “we believe he (Mr Flores) had something in his hand, we believe it was a knife”.—She doesn’t know if a knife was recovered at the scene! My question is, just why in the hell don’t you know? Sheriff it is part of your job training/responsibly to know such a thing as this. Her office has this second video but refuses to release it to the public until after it has been investigated by other police agencies (F.B.I.,Texas Rangers, State Police). To the Sheriffs credit she did say that “there is no doubt that what was shown in that video is of grave concern to all of us, but we also want to get this right”. I just pray that she is honest, maybe we shall soon see the second video ourselves.
From CNN: The second video will be examined by the Texas Department of Safety crime lab (State Police) which will “try to enlarge and slow down the sequence so that investigators can get a better idea of exactly what he had in his hand,” the Sheriff said. Meanwhile the FBI has opened a federal civil rights investigation into the incident “to determine whether a civil rights violation took place as a result of a deputy willfully engaging in the use of excessive or unjustified force,” the agencies San Antonio office representative said today (9-02-2015).
Now, last paragraph I promise. My gripe to all of law enforcement and especially to Sheriff Pamerleau is a very simple one, why did the officers think it was okay to fire two kill shots on a man who was standing still with both hands/arms in the “I give up position” and these officers were close enough to have spit on the man, they could see very plainly what he had or did not have in his left hand. These two officers decided it was okay to shoot a person who was at that time posing no actual threat to either of them. I’m sorry but I know damn well from personal training and 60 years of life that if a person is holding a blade with it pointing toward the sky and you and your partner both have your weapons drawn and pointed at the person that there was NO REASON to have fired any kill shots even if he refused to put the knife down. The only reason I can come up with that a cop would have been justified in a kill shot was if the left hand had a bomb or bomb trigger in it. Not even if the man had a gun in his hand with it pointed toward the sky should he have been kill shot! Why could they not have simply (and I do mean simply being they were only about ten feet from him with a totally clear view of him) put a round in his left shoulder, arm, or hand? Even if this knife is a real fact Sheriff, your two men just committed murder, there is no excuse for those kill shots at that range. It is a very sad thing for everyone involved in this incident but the American people’s mood is one where we are damn tired of crooked policing agencies and crooked politicians. (Why do you think an ego maniac like Donald Trump gets so much attention, hint he is not a politician) If you are in one of these professions please clean your own houses up very soon or the people of this country are going to remove you, unfortunately very often the wheat gets thrown out with the briers.
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