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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Holding Police Officers Accountable

Category: Guns
Posted: 03/31/18 18:50

by Dave Mindeman

In Sacramento, a black man was shot 8 times by police while unarmed in his grandmother's back yard. He died. With a family. Father of 2.

And, as it is inevitably the case in these things, the officers claimed he had a gun. He did not. He had a cellphone.

Two officers shot 20 rounds (10 apiece) killing this young man. 20 rounds. 20 fricking rounds.

His name is Stephon Clark and he will soon be buried in Sacramento. Did he really have to die?

Another black man in Baton Rouge, Alton Sterling, was shot multiple times while lying on the ground with an officer on top of him. They may have found a gun in his pocket - but it was not in his hand. Why shoot him? And why multiple times?

Conservatives denigrate the Black Lives Matter protests as overreactions. They are just making trouble. But these incidents are disturbing on so many levels. It is hard to understand how a trained police officer can do these things.

It is blatantly obvious that African Americans are treated differently than whites in police encounters. When an officer confronts a black man, he/she is immediately on a hair trigger. The actions are nervous. The voice tense.

Clearly, something is wrong here and the BLM protests are justified. We need to figure this out. Too many are dying. Too many of these encounters end in fatalities.

Truly, lethal force actions need to be reevaluated. Do the police need multiple shots? Do they need to aim for vital organs?

Cops obviously need to assess situations quickly, but do they need to draw their weapons immediately? I wonder if there has ever been a study about how quickly weapons are drawn when confronting a black suspect vs. a white suspect?

In Britain, cops, for the most part, do not carry weapons. Which is great - but could never work here because we just have too many guns in the general public. And people, knowing this, buy more guns for their own protection. And cops, also knowing this, have to be on high alert at all times. Guns beget guns. And on it goes.

African Americans should not have to fear for their safety when they have a police encounter. The slogan is To Protect and To Serve. The African American community is not being protected or served. They live in fear.

There must be a reckoning here. This is happening much too often and the police must be held accountable. Yes, cops will fear for their lives. But citizens should also not be shot just for being in the wrong place. Police best practices need a serious evaluation and change.

Accountability means that police officers must be accountable for their mistakes or their rush to judgment. The standard defense in officer involved shootings is fearing for their lives - which has also become too broad a standard.

When a weapon is fired - we need a better explanation as to why.
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Volunteers As Young As 21 "Protecting" Osseo Schools

Category: Guns
Posted: 02/23/18 21:54

by Dave Mindeman

A lot of people are fed up with school shootings and want something done. Well, the Osseo School District School Board Chair, Robert Gerhart, has a plan.

Gerhart proposed that volunteers 21 and older who have a permit to carry a weapon be allowed to patrol the district's buildings. The volunteers would provide their own firearms. They would have to pass a background check and complete a firearms safety course and show proficiency on a shooting range with a certified instructor.

Wow. Here is an action guy. Volunteers patrolling the schools...with weapons and as young as 21.

What could possibly go wrong with that?

Well, pretty much everything. The people who are going to volunteer for this without pay, are going to be just about every trigger happy Rambo in the general vicinity. With delusions of blowing the bad guys away it is only a matter of time before someone makes a mistake and draws their weapon for just about any mundane reason imaginable.

Students need protection, but students also do some stupid things. And seeing guys (and I am betting heavily that this will be a guy thing) walking around with weapons (kind of concealed) is a ripe scenario for trouble.

This kind of job is going to be a boring one. There is a small chance that any school is targeted, but if it is, you need people who are experienced...are ready....and can stay calm in the worst situation.

A 21 year old with a gun in a security situation is just begging for an opportunity to be a "hero" and when actually confronted in a real scenario will more than likely fail.

If you want to protect a school, limit entrance to one door and establish a metal detector there with trained professionals.

And good luck getting the funding, because when it comes to ponying up for REAL protection, those in power are the real cowards.
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And The Children Shall Lead

Category: Guns
Posted: 02/19/18 23:36

by Roxanne Mindeman

Lefties like me who've been in the gun safety battle for ...forever... have spent more than our share of time feeling defeated and exhausted. But the kids at Parkland are giving me hope. They're taking on a monumental battle that has confounded many of us for decades. Their voice, empowered by unspeakable loss, is uniquely poised to challenge hearts and opinions across the political spectrum. I say, "Let them lead!"

As they do, the rest of us need to attend every demonstration, join every march, sign every petition, go to every school safety meeting, support every anti-bullying program, fight for mental health parity in all health insurance, and confront every spineless, rudderless politician who trades our children's safety for NRA campaign contributions. And when we're exhausted, and in fear that the NRA will just win again - and they might - we need to remind ourselves that every kid at Parkland and Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech and a dozen other schools, was somebody's baby. It's only by happenstance of geography and the Grace of God that it's never been your child's school or mine. So far.

The kids at Parkland, and all of the rest of us in this battle, face a long hard road. But a critical mass is building. The long time unreachable are stopping to think. The exhausted are getting a second wind. The tone-deaf are getting nervous. There's hope in the air. We all need to do our part to keep it alive.
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