Wait for All the Facts

It is terribly important to get all the facts out before taking an opinion on the Michael Brown shooting.

If the extemporaneous statements by a purported eyewitness heard on the following videotape are true, then Michael Brown had turned around and was in the process oi rushing the police officer when he was fatally shot.

[Language]

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e94_1408294281

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Let Justice Prevail

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Things we know and do not know about Ferguson, Missouri:

1.  We do know that a young man was shot and killed on a street in Ferguson.
2.  We do not know what led up to that shooting or the states of mind of both the police officer or the young man.
3.  We do know that there are people who have stepped forward to be interviewed by the press alleging that the police officer shot the young man while the young man had his hands up in the air.
4.  We do know that none of these “witnesses” have given their testimony under oath or to a law enforcement officer.
5. We do know that the overwhelming majority of the protesters in Ferguson are peaceful and want justice done.
6.  We do know that a small minority of the people on the street are taking advantage of the overwhelming majority to commit acts of terrorism and other crimes like property damage.
7.  We do know that the local police in Ferguson over reacted in the wake of the shooting by deploying a militarized response.
8.  We may know that the young man may have had a history of anger reactions (his parents have averred to this) and may have been involved in a robbery minutes before the encounter with the police officer.
9.   We do know that the local police in Ferguson needs serious empathy training.
10. We do know that the police chief in Ferguson has no sense of doing what is right with respect to investigations and public relations.
11.  We do know that Captain Ron Johnson of the State Police is doing a great job calming people down so that peaceful demonstrations can be had and their voices heard.
12.  We do know that all the facts have not come out about this tragic event.

AS ARMCHAIR JURISTS, WE NEED TO REMAIN CALM AND LET JUSTICE TAKE ITS COURSE. WE DO NOT NEED TO RANT ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN FERGUSON OR WHETHER THE POLICE OFFICER WAS OR WAS NOT JUSTIFIED IN SHOOTING MIKE BROWN.

We owe this to Michael Brown, his family, the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, and ….. to Darren Wilson.

Why Does Waterloo, Iowa, Need An Urban Assault Vehicle?

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In the wake of the attack on America on September 11, 2001, many initiatives were started to prevent this from happening again.  The most sweeping legislation was the consolidation of many Federal agencies into the Department of Homeland Security.  With it, billions of dollars were spent to “harden” our country’s civil defenses against a repeat of the horrors of that day.

As with any similar legislation, state and local politicians demanded that their communities be fully protected as metropolitan areas like New York City, Washington, D.C., and other major urban centers.  Pork barrel politics quickly turned into a dilutions of these urgently needed funds to fully protect areas that simply just weren’t targets by any stretch of the imagination.

Waterloo, Iowa, is located in the American heartland with a population of just under 69,000.  It received Homeland Security money and applied it to arming up against the eventual terrorist attack.  This article is not meant to single out Waterloo, but to focus on whether Homeland Security money is being well-spent and on the effects of that largess on small town police departments.

National focus on the police response in Ferguson, Missouri, is belatedly addressing the increasingly militaristic evolution of police department, large and small.  This is something that we must urgently address in our national conversation, before we are faced with a real life dystopia.

Do we want even ordinary investigation to become heavy handed urban assaults, even when the putative targets are innocent grandmothers and children?

The problem is that when a local police force obtains Homeland Security largess, it becomes necessary to demonstrate those dollars are being put to good use.  Unfortunately, not all communities are the targets of terrorists foreign or domestic so they will use these skills for situations that might have otherwise called for a more modest approach.

I posted last year about how SWAT teams were used to defuse a situation with a 107 year-old malcontent.  Read the post here.

UPDATE (10/26/12) – Add Another One; The Rape Doesn’t Get You Pregnant Or Rape Is Good Gang

The list is growing by the minute.  Rather than draft a new post each time, I will simply list all people (politicians or not; Republican, Democrat, or Other( who says that either rape does not result in pregnancy or that rape can be good:

Todd Akin (Republican candidate for Senate, Missouri): legitimate rape does not result in pregnancy.

Mike Huckabee (Former Republican governor of Arkansas and one time candidate for POTUS): Forcible rape has produced some exceptional people.

Steve King (Republican congressman, Iowa): Has never heard of instances of pregnancy resulting from incest or rape in statutory rape cases.

Bryan Fischer (Spokesman for the American Family Association): “real, genuine rape, a case of forcible rape,” would “make it impossible for her or difficult in that particular circumstance to conceive a child.”

Sharon Barnes (Republican District Committeewoman, Missouri): echoes Akin’s comments and adds that the few who do get pregnant are “blessed.”

Paul Ryan (Republican presumptive vice-presidential candidate): believes that life begins at conception and co-sponsored legislation that would allow hospitals to deny abortions even when it was necessary to save a woman’s life.

Gawker reports that Paul Ryan considers rape as just another form of conception.

More about Ryan’s remarks Here

Henry Aldridge (Republican State Representative, North Carolina) said that during rape “the juices don’t flow” so a woman cannot become pregnant.

Rick Santorum (Former Republican senator from Pennsylvania and former presidential candidate): rape babies are gifts from God.

Kay Bailey Hutchinson (Republican Senator from Texas): On her view of the GOP abortion plank that does not have any exemption for rape or incest, “I don’t think that anything that was said in the platform is against the focus on protecting life whenever possible,” she said. “And I think most people agree with that.”

Mitt Romney (Republican Presumptive Candidate for President): although he says that he would favor an exemption for rape and incest in any law prohibiting abortions, his actions as Governor of Massachusetts says otherwise.  Although he said while campaigning for that office that he would permit exceptions for rape victims, he vetoed a bill that would have allowed hospitals to offer the so-called “morning after” pill to rape survivors.  Thankfully, the Massachusetts legislature overrode his veto. Do not be fooled by empty campaign promises.  Remember the Etch-a-Sketch.

Tom Smith (Republican, Senate Candidate from Pennsylvania): Having a baby resulting from a rape is similar to having a child out of wedlock.

Rick Berg (Republican Candidate for Senate, North Dakota): Rape victims who get an abortion should go to jail for life.

Richard Mourdock (Republican Senatorial Candidate in Indiana): Pregnancies resulting from rape are intended by God

Joe Walsh (Republican Candidate for Congress in Illinois): There is no medical emergency that would necessitate an abortion

I will add to this list as more and more social conservatives go on the message that rape can”t make you pregnant or is good for you.  Check back often.

I Wonder If He Got Their Vote.

Rod Hoffman was making one more stop in his pursuit of a legislative seat in the State of Missouri, when he heard cries for help.  A distraught woman answered the door and cried if he knew CPR, because a two year old boy had fallen into a pool and was not responding to his father’s efforts at riving him.  Hoffman, a former school administrator, had sat through countless sessions of required CPR instruction leaped into action and took over the CPR until the boy responded.  See the article here.  Hope he got the parents’ vote.