Ferguson – Inevitable aftermath

All I can do is sigh.  Ferguson was like Agent Smith said in The Matrix  – inevitable.  The Black community wants justice. The Grand Jury wasn’t instructed to deliver justice. They were instructed to follow the law.  These two things should be the same, but in this case they are not.

An encounter between Officer Wilson and Michael Brown went very wrong. Both were at fault. Only one person ended up dead. This is the reality.

Officer Wilson lacked understanding but is alive to hopefully learn to understand.  MIchael Brown didn’t understand that confrontations with the police can end up very badly.

Once the shooting happened and Michael Brown ended up dead, the rest of the this story became very predictable. We have seen it dozens of times in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. We have seen officers who felt threatened and did things that made a community gasp. There are marches and calls for calm, but to little or no avail. The anger explodes. Violence. Stupid violence. Arrests. More people hurt or even killed. Nothing has changed except that some innocent bystanders have been hospitalized and property has been destroyed.

Progress was made in the ’80s and ’90s because communities came together. Communities reached out to the police and the police came to those communities wanting to get some understanding. Broken Windows policing, which basically says that no crime is too small to arrest and prosecute, has changed everything. Now, small things like jaywalking, loitering, jumping a turnstile or riding a bike on the wrong sidewalk will get you arrested. This policing tactic is only employed in the poorest of neighborhoods. The clashes with community leaders have followed. All of the good will and credibility that was built over the course of the last couple decades has been thrown in the trash.

This brings us to the present. Ferguson. Everyone is trying to do the best they can. The governor has to show that he is in charge. So he calls out the National Guard. The grand jury follows their instructions instead of their hearts and acquits a man who shot an unarmed American whose only crime was walking in the street. The community feels betrayed by the folks who have been hired to protect them. They feel disrespected by a legal process that may have been designed to treat them differently than other Americans. This formula leads to violence – riots.  Inevitable.

Understanding and empathy are the only tools to fix this mess. Good luck finding these emotions in Ferguson today or tomorrow. This is going to be ugly for awhile, I’m sorry to say. This is all so sad.

Best Dance Tunes of 1986

I haven’t posting anything on the immigration issue cuz nothing has really changed. Yep, the president has done what he usually does – he has made a thoughtful, careful move that stirs the pot but really doesn’t fix anything. His move will help some economic refugees, but there are still around 35 million who are left out in the cold. I find the whole issue depressing, so I’m going to talk about music.

So Rhapsody has come out with the best dance tunes of 1986. There was some great music in 1986. This list of 50 tunes does contain some great tunes. It also contains some really, really forgettable tunes. I will post only my three favorites.

Artist: Prince
Tune: Kiss

Artist: Cameo
Tune: Word Up

Artist: Madonna
Tune: Open Your Heart

Bonus

Artist: Nu Shooz
Tune: I Can’t Wait

The original tune as it was mixed was a nice dancible tune. The club mix was absolutely awful. Below is the radio mix, the good version.

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Buffalo: In a World of Snow

When I was very young, we lived in Buffalo. I have very few memories of Buffalo since we moved away when I was six. I do remember my father opening the front door and the snow being up to his chest. I also remember cutting my finger with a straight razor blade, but that’s another story. :-)

Way too much snow!

It seems to me that over the next several days things are going to get worse and not better in Buffalo. The snowing looks like it has stopped. There is a warming trend. Some of that snow is going to melt. Where is all of that water going to go? More roofs are going to collapse. I don’t think that any roof is rated for seven feet of snow. Hopefully I’m wrong, but, man, did they get a ton of snow! Let’s hope the governor has sent the National Guard to help with snow removal. I’m sure that someone has a plan for where to move all of that snow.

From Buffalo News:

Roofs caved in under the unbearable weight of 5, 6 even 7 feet of snow.

Food was scarce, people were running out of medicine and thousands lost power, at least for a few hours.

And the death toll from back-to-back blasts of a historic lake-effect storm rose to 10.

Police begged drivers to abide by driving bans. The county executive scolded the National Football League about reports the league was encouraging the Bills to play at Ralph Wilson Stadium this Sunday as scheduled, but Thursday night, it was announced that the game with the New York Jets would be played Monday night in Detroit.

Through it all, thousands of people remained snowbound in their homes, many of them unable to even open their doors because of snow piled up. (more…)