November 30th, 2014
I hate it when this happens. KAAL in Austin and Rochester, Minnesota, has presented a distorted half-truth using only a half-video clip of the car that rammed its way through the Minneapolis protesters last week, and it’s this distorted half-truth that has 5,236 comments and 17, 591 shares:
This is their entire report linked to that partial video that was edited and doesn’t show the driver at the stoplight, other cars going safely around, and the driver going around the car in front of him waiting at the intersection and he drives INTO the crowd (emphasis added):
(ABC 6 News) — We’re following breaking news out of a Minneapolis where a car drove through a group of protestors.
One person was hit before the group of protestors jumps on the car and begins vandalizing it. Police confirm one person was transported to the hospital with very minor injuries.
This protest was in response to last night’s grand jury ruling in Ferguson, MO.
Stay with ABC 6 News for the latest on this developing story tonight at 10
Very naughty — that is NOT reporting. That’s a grossly misleading spin. KAAL had access to the entire video just like the rest of us did, and maybe even before the rest of us did.
Meanwhile, there were over 5,200 comments to that misleading facebook post, and over 17,000 shares — sharing and commenting on an incomplete and misleading version of the video. Read those comments, filled with hate and rage.
From Alan Muller on today’s Mpls. yak-yak list, to consider when looking at some of the 5,235 comments on that KAAL post, comments like:
- “He needed a plow with knives”
- “I would have done the same…they were out to kill the driver for sure.”
- “Should get a snow plow and gas on it!!”
- “I would’ve drove straight over those idiots. White black pink don’t care, I’m not stopping for psychos in the street to get out from under me. Made their decision being out there.”
- “Good for him maybe more people should do this so these idiots will go get a job instead of standing in the street protesting free rights for hoodlums to act like gangbangers.”
What??? So back to Alan’s comment:
Every once in a while, on a list like this, a thread happens that seems that seems to speak about larger social or community problems. This one does to me. Is it OK to ram a car into a crowd of people? One could use answers to this as part of a test to diagnose sociopathic tendencies. Do you have a moral compass? Yeah, I mean "If you think the answer to this question is 'YES,' I would hope you don't ever get hired as a teacher or police officer, or reporter, or animal control person, or manager of people, or...."
For me, it’s the sort of thing where I long to see a societal intervention and treatment, this is embedded self-centered ignorance and hate with no regard for rights of others, or laws or basic human decency. How ugly can we humans get? That’s a question I do not want answered…
KAAL – though you have posted the full KSTP video, this other shorter one is so distorted that I think you should remove that post so that people won’t continue to be misinformed, and continue to pass on that misinformation.
November 29th, 2014
Benghazi is a problem, but not the way so many loudly believe. The House of Representatives released their report a week ago, and those ranting need to read this. As the report notes:
Despite the highly sensitive nature of these activities, the report has endeavored to make the facts and conclusions within this report widely and publicly available so that the American public can separate the actual facts from the swirl of rumors and unsupported allegations.
Is reading the report expecting too much? Perhaps it is too much, given that the House report won’t substantiate the frenzy. So much wasted time, effort and money. Oh well… they’ll take up some other unsupported allegations and run with that for a while…
And for those who don’t want to bother to read it, here’s the conclusions:
Investigative Report on the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012
November 26th, 2014
In Minneapolis, a guy drives into demonstrators, a couple jump up on the hood to keep from being run over, and one isn’t so lucky, he hits her, pushes her a ways down the street — a miracle that he didn’t run her over. Watch the video. Crowd pictured trying to lift the vehicle off her, get him to back up, somehow she’s pulled from underneath, and then he hammers down, almost running over a couple more people. What the hell is wrong with people?
That KSTP piece has been updated to note that the driver is now “suspect” and not “victim” as was stated in previous police report, and are looking for victims and witnesses:
The man drove away from the intersection. Police eventually caught up with him and questioned him. No charges have been filed and the man was not taken into custody. Police are now calling him a suspect in the case.
On the good news side, the STrib has also updated its article, and notes that the MPD announced it is now referring to the driver as the “suspect” and not the “victim” and has referred the matter to the County Attorney (important because the County Attorney handles the larger, heavier offenses). Not only that, but about the perp, Jeffrey Patrick Rice:
Rice’s driving history in Minnesota includes three drunken-driving convictions, with the most recent coming in 2003. He’s also been convicted of driving with an open liquor bottle, and driving after his license was canceled and also in violation of restrictions placed on his license. The most recent of these convictions came in early 2008.
From the state’s site (click it for a larger version):
And from the Police Department:
In another incident, later yesterday, a van rams through two groups of demonstrators and the second time, right in front of the cops who go after him, and at the end of this, he’s taken out of the van, into the cop car.
What the hell is wrong with people?
November 26th, 2014
IT’S BUY NOTHING DAY!
DON’T GO SHOPPING TOMORROW OR FRIDAY!
One of the things I love about Alan Muller is his arrest record, he walks the walk. That’s Alan and now Rep. John Kowalko objecting when the public was not allowed to speak at a Delaware legislative energy committee meeting on proposed legislation:
And on to trial:
A jury trial for three of the seven people arrested at Christiana Mall on Black Friday, aka Buy Nothing Day, in November 2005 is scheduled in the Court of Common Pleas on Monday, February 12, 2007, in Courtroom 5A.Sisters Anna and Rachel White and Alan Muller decided to challenge the charge of ‘criminal trespassing’ instead of paying a fine. They are represented by Wilmington attorney Michael Modica.At the time of the arrest, Anna and Rachel White were wearing Santa hats and t-shirts that said “NOTHING – What You’ve Been Looking For!” and “Ask me about NOTHING” and carrying bags labeled “FREE SAMPLES – NOTHING.” Alan Muller was dressed like Santa Claus.
And they were convicted:
Anna White and Muller, who is also executive director of Green Delaware, were each fined $75 and banned from the mall for a year by Chief Judge Alex J. Smalls. Rachel White was fined $25 and barred from the mall for six months.
Anna White said she was disappointed by the verdict and is considering her appeal options, saying the case raises questions about freedom of speech and the limits that can be set on people in quasi-public places such as a mall.
The White sisters were arrested Nov. 25, 2005, by Delaware State Police. The women, who were wearing red Santa hats and white T-shirts with the phrase “Nothing — what you are looking for,” had refused to leave when ordered to do so by non-uniformed mall officials. Muller was with them, wearing a Santa suit.
All three testified that mall officials refused to provide identification, give their names or explain why they had to leave. Frank Kaleta, director of mall security, testified that he did not give his name or identification, but said he did clearly identify himself as mall management.
The three never shouted slogans or accosted shoppers, but only walked, answering questions from shoppers when asked, according to testimony. They said they planned to leave if asked by authorities. Kaleta testified that the three were involved in “political action” and that violated the mall’s ban on solicitation or demonstrations.
The lone alternate juror, Dan Weigman, who did not participate in deliberations, agreed. He said mall security did not properly identify themselves and police never asked the group to leave, so he would have voted to acquit.
November 25th, 2014
One of the functions of a prosecutor is to prioritize, to make a case that there is reasonable cause. McCulloch didn’t do that. He chose to present a mess with no attempt to persuade. That’s what prosecutors are supposed to do, and he didn’t do that. He emptied several bales of hay and told the jury to go sort through it. Relevance and focus is absolutely what you need to create a case. He didn’t try to create a case.
If you don’t understand why people are really pissed off, take a look in the mirror and at society and confront white privilege, privilege of race and privilege of class — think honestly and deeply. Then do something about it in your world — within your family, at work, at church, in your community, take steps toward justice and equality. If you do understand and are working toward change, keep at it with perseverance and patience. The struggle won’t be over soon.
Yeah, I’m an attorney, sworn to uphold the Constitution. What a concept! I spend my time helping regular people exercise their freedom of speech, association, and protecting their property in their efforts to participate in a legal and administrative system that’s stacked against them, daring them to stand up for themselves. The legal training I have, and the rudimentary experience and knowledge of criminal law and police procedure has me tied up in knots, sick at the Grand Jury decision… but I’d not expected Wilson to be charged. Everything leading up to the start of Grand Jury deliberations pointed up to last night’s release of their decision. But this is not about the law, it is not about justice, it is not about police procedure, it is not about appropriate or legal use of deadly force.
If we presume the facts are as stated by McCulloch, and note what facts were not stated…
McCulloch said that Wilson knew about the reported theft at the store, and yet in the transcripts it’s said that he repeatedly stated he did not know, he was not responding to that call. McCulloch said he had called for assistance, but the transcripts say he did not until after the shooting. In his statements, he said he got out of the car and chased Brown. In what world is it police procedure for an officer to, without backup, get out of his car and run after and shoot at someone who is running away after an altercation and where two shots were already fired from inside a police car? How far away was Wilson when Brown stopped and turned around? Reports and transcripts say about 20 feet… a couple of car lengths. Why didn’t Wilson carry a taser? How far away was Wilson when he fired the final shot? How many shots should be fired at an unarmed man? When shooting an unarmed man, what’s your target? When his immediate supervisor questioned him after the incident, why wasn’t that recorded, why were there no notes taken? When is use of deadly force acceptable? Justified?
Here are the GRAND JURY TESTIMONY & DOCUMENTS.
A chart from PBS (Click for LINK), click image for larger version:
A transcript that jumps out – other officers and Darren Wilson’s testimony.
The federal investigation is ongoing about civil rights violations, and there’s the civil suit, but neither will do much, if anything, to alter the systemic mindset in Ferguson, or in this country (look no further than the police killings in Minneapolis).
Will this provide an opportunity for whites to examine the meaning and impact of white privilege and racism? Will we look at class stratification in our society? Is this a teaching moment? Hardly. It’s necessary, but I’m not holding my breath. From what I’ve observed, so far it’s “circle the wagons” in the onslaught of virulent protests. What will it take to reach an understanding of why people are so pissed off and do something about it, do something different? We have made some progress in the last 50 years, what I’ve seen in my lifetime, but there is so much further to go. I so distinctly remember that day in 4th grade when saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school on a cold winter morning, red stretch pants and a multi-colored red based shirt, when I realized that we don’t have “liberty and justice for all.” Now it’s ~50 years later. We’re not even close. Change of the magnitude necessary is never easy, particularly where so many people believe that equality means less for those with privilege. Change of the magnitude necessary is never easy, particularly where spewing racial hatred has become recreational sport.
I feel very fortunate to have been a near-suburban white teenager who transferred into the Magnet program at Minneapolis Central H.S., when the public school system was trying to avoid a segregation lawsuit. This was a time where part of my education was exposure to race and racism first hand. After high school, I lived in Prestigious East Phillips for 20 years. It was impossible to ignore the impact of race-skewed education funding, racism and death threats in Harry Davis’s Mayoral campaign, the gutting of Minneapolis neighborhoods with a freeway, housing segregation and covenants, and awareness of white privilege. That awareness shifts my perspective, but it doesn’t wash me clean, nope, we all carry those biases. We are all racists, and we each need to look at that. Over the last 50 years, the balance has shifted some, but white privilege remains.
People tend to be innately afraid of “other,” which often manifests in anger and hate. How do we deal with this other than systemic changes from birth — little kids playing together, going to school together — so it’s “us” and not “other.” How do we move away from parental and societal lessons of racism when it’s so deeply instilled? When it’s everywhere we look? When it fills the airwaves and internet?
This is not the world as I want it to be…