We need to Talk

To be honest, it’s a conversation I know nothing about… how could I? I am a white man. I don’t know what it’s like, nor will I ever. I’ve never feared Law Enforcement Officers… well, only when I knew I was in the wrong. But even then I never feared for my life. I was taught to follow the Law and respect those who enforce it. It’s their job to ‘Protect and Serve’ us… The People.

That’s not the same story for every American. 

… 

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https://slate.com/human-interest/2020/06/white-parents-the-talk-racism-police-brutality.html 

… 

Here in Kansas City, KS… I’m in the MINORITY.


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It’s not quite as stark as if I were living in The Bahamas, but it is quite obvious. And it becomes even more pronounced when I drive to one of the outlying suburbs, where there are no POC at the shopping centers… where there’s not a pawn shop on every other corner… where there are fresh veggies and sidewalks. 

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https://www.npr.org/2017/05/03/526655831/a-forgotten-history-of-how-the-u-s-government-segregated-america 

… 

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https://www.usinsourcing.com/kc-food-deserts-a-sign-of-economic-decline/ 

If you’ve ever lived in a part of town where the National Pizza Chains won’t deliver to your neighborhood… you’ve been the victim of racism. 

… 

About a month into the quarantine for COVID-19, our refrigerator stopped keeping things cold. It might have been something as simple as cleaning the coils or replacing an internal component, but I’ll never know. No service repair shop would send a technician into Wyandotte County. If I had lived somewhere else though, they were more than happy to help. But here… not so much. 

Instead of a $300 repair bill, we had to buy a brand new refrigerator… all because of a preconceived notion of the community in which I live. 

And where on the map was this ‘line’ drawn, between “Technicians are standing by” and “Sorry you’re outta luck”? I know from experience, the dividing line for a delivery area can end abruptly on ONE SIDE of the street, while the OTHER SIDE is deemed just too far away. 

Back in my day… we were told we should lock our doors when driving down a particular street or driving in a particular neighborhood. But turn a corner, and hook a left at the light… you’re suddenly in a neighborhood filled with fully restored 100 year old mansions. Literally, no less than THREE BLOCKS down the road. 

Who draws these lines? Who decides THIS neighborhood is ‘acceptable’ and THIS neighborhood is NOT… 

And what DATA are they basing those conclusions upon? 

… 

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https://www.axios.com/army-officer-lawsuit-police-afro-latino-virginia-f5aceedf-6efe-4a8f-b4ca-8d8b9c297ea1.html 

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There are no clear lines drawn within our communities. What effects ONE will effect us ALL… because we live SIDE-BY-SIDE. In our schools. In our grocery stores. At work and at home. If the numbers are SKEWED… if the DATA we’re basing our conclusions upon is WRONG… it effects our Laws, our priorities… our very perception of what is “right” and what is “wrong”.

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… 

 

Would it surprise anyone if we found a connecting thread that tied all these deadly encounters together? On the surface… sometimes these officers are white, sometimes they are black. There is no discrimination it seems, when it comes to the origin of the Use of Force… so what is it. 

 

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2017/02/14/a-day-with-killology-police-trainer-dave-grossman/ 

… 

 

Black men are taught from an early age to fear encounters with the police… as I would if I were the father of a black child. Therefore, they are fearful and paranoid when these encounters eventually happen.

It’s a natural, rational, completely understandable… and PREDICTABLE human response to a potentially life-threatening situation.


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Law Enforcement Officers are TRAINED to interpret those actions as a threat. ‘The subject is acting paranoid… they’re hiding something. They’re acting GUILTY.’ 

What FACTS would then flash through an officer’s head in that split-second decision making process… ALL SKEWED, by laws that are tainted with Racial Profiling and a Criminal Justice System that’s based on CASH. 

Did you know police can just take your stuff if they suspect it’s involved in a crime? They can! It’s a shady process called “civil asset forfeiture,” and it would make for a weird episode of Law and Order.

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“The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota said it had ‘deep concerns that police here appear to have used dangling air fresheners as an excuse for making a pretextual stop, something police do all too often to target Black people.’”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/daunte-wright-was-stopped-expired-plates-driving-while-black-may-n1263878  

… 

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https://www.aclu.org/report/driving-while-black-racial-profiling-our-nations-highways 

… 

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I’ve tried to teach my kids that they are privileged, and that it’s wrong… and it’s on us to do the work to make things right. We cannot simply STAND SILENT. Use your little white boy shield and SPEAK OUT… someone’s LIFE may depend on it! 

I know it’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a 15 year old boy… but right now? Until we take the necessary steps toward ensuring Law Enforcement Officers protect the rights of every citizen in every State, EQUALLY… that’s all we’ve GOT

That needs to change. 

JC 

STAND UP and SPEAK OUT

To anyone who has ever asked, “What is Systemic Racism?” Or anyone who has ever wondered what Systemic Racism would even LOOK like. Well…

This.  

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This is Systemic Racism. THIS is the injury that’s suffered when we turn a BLIND EYE. As a White Man, I am appalled that this is what Justice would look like to anyone entrusted with the HONOR of presiding over its administration.

Law Enforcement Officers DIED. 

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… yet this man poses no threat to his community? 

Of course! The law was written BY people who look like HIM, FOR people who look like him. That is why he felt he could engage in those activities in the first place… and LOW and BEHOLD! 

The “System” complies.

Due process. Innocent until proven guilty… and all that jazz. 



Yes, some might say that these are only a few cases highlighted by an amped-up media, hungry for divisive stories and starved of a conscious; but do not look away when these stories continue to happen. Not just human interest stories from years ago… but RIGHT NOW. Every day.

Most stories pass unnoticed, like a callus that forms in the palm of your hand while you’re carrying around a heavy load… eventually, that pain is just expected.


And it CONTINUES to this day… even with the LEFT in control of the balance of power. Just as it was when the RIGHT was in control, and when the balance of power shifted before THAT… because who would want to give up such a privilege? ‘To SPEAK OUT might jeopardize MY rights or MY liberties…’

That line of thinking is a FOOL’S ERRAND! 

The simple fact that a separate status even exists makes it possible for systemic bias to someday form against YOU… or people who look like you. Or come from the same PLACE as you… or worship the same god as you. 


Today it’s Mexico.
Yesterday, the Middle East.
Long before that, it was Ireland and Italy…

Who will it be TOMORROW.



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https://www.brookings.edu/research/new-census-data-shows-the-nation-is-diversifying-even-faster-than-predicted/ 

When we defend the rights of OTHERS, we defend those rights for OURSELVES. Equal Justice Under Law. If it is not for ONE of us, then it is not for ALL of us.

Because of Systemic Injustice, citizens who have engaged in an attempted overthrow of The United States Government WALK FREE…

What crime did Philando Castile commit? 

… 

“Had those been Black Lives Matter or Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.”

—Senator Ron Johnson(R), WI.

This is the agenda of the Senate GOP… and this is the agenda of the entire National Republican Party.

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https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/542796-arizona-house-republican-says-party-thinks-everybody-shouldnt-be-voting 

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https://blackvotersmatterfund.org/news/g-a-voter-restrictions-are-blatant-voter-suppression-elected-leaders-business-community-must-take-a-stand/ 

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STAND UP and SPEAK OUT! 

Make sure everybody knows exactly where you STAND. Coca-Cola, Home Depot, UPS… will you be supporting DEMOCRACY in the future, or will the American People have to take their business somewhere else? Now is not the time to be silent! 

To be SILENT is to be COMPLICIT. 

The problems we face as a Nation can be solved, but only if we STAND united… as Equals. The MAJORITY of this Nation supports Democracy.

… where do YOU stand? 

-JC 

We Know We Can Do It Better.

 

I’ve always wondered that myself. If we want to go back to the Moon, we have the BLUEPRINTS to do so! One or two manned missions… knock out a few scientific errands, tie up a few computational loose ends, snap a few selfies, then call it a day.

It almost seems like a wasted opportunity not to do some location scouting, while we work on a machine that can be used as a reliable workhorse for establishing a permanent human presence on the Moon.

 

“It’s the way in which the WORLD has moved on since the engineers first created those F1 engines.”

 

 

Screenshots from the YouTube video

 

Every piece of that machine was HAND CRAFTED, custom fit, built to order. A one-of-a-kind that could not be replicated TODAY… the skills and knowledge of the process, now LOST to the passage of TIME.

 

Still one of the most powerful rocket engines ever made. Still one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of human history. 400,000 people, years of planning and design, trial and error, countless hours manufacturing each part… the Saturn V stands as a testament to the ingenuity of the American People.

 

 

“… because engineers can do just about anything.”

 

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5,600 individual pieces, hand crafted, precision welded by skilled American Engineers.

Now, with the knowledge gained over half a century, aided by computer assisted design…

 

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… we can build it with only 40 pieces.

 

“It’s sometimes easier to redesign something from SCRATCH, than it is to try and remake the PAST.”

 

… 

 

 

 

 

At some point it becomes detrimental to hold on to the past simply out of nostalgia. Even the Space Shuttle, as amazing as it was, began to show its age by the end of its service.

Once the cracks have been found, turning a blind eye to potential danger is unacceptable… especially when we know we can do it BETTER.

 

-JC

 

Let Us Bear Witness (Updated June 9, 2020)

I show restraint in this moment, not to curry favor or present a certain persona. I’m not trying to pull a political dodge, or play both sides. I hesitate to cast speculation on guilt or innocence in these recent cases of police brutality, out of an assumed sense of DUTY.

I believe in our Rule of Law, and will NOT allow my personal opinion of a particular set of circumstances to effect the process…

 

Because Justice MUST be served.

 

No matter how disgusting the idea is, that an officer of the LAW could harbor such animosity toward the PEOPLE they’ve sworn an OATH to protect and serve…

 

 

No matter how disturbing the thought, that a man with a BADGE could go from servant of the PEOPLE, to counterinsurgent, at the flip of a switch…

 

 

UPDATE (June 9, 2020):

“In a statement, the police department said it released a series of videos — including surveillance at every entrance and exit at the public safety training center — because social media posts are still identifying Pederson as ‘Umbrella Man.’

‘This type of disinformation can jeopardize the officer’s reputation and safety and chip away at the trust this police department has worked so hard to build with its community,’ St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said in a statement.

Minneapolis police, the local agency responsible for investigating the incident, said information related to the incident and who ‘Umbrella Man’ might be is investigative and unavailable for release.”

http://www.twincities.com/2020/06/08/umbrella-man-st-paul-police-officer-george-floyd-minneapolis/

Video footage and eyewitnesses must not be ignored.

 

No matter how many times it’s seen, in countless cities in EVERY STATE

 

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“Georgia father, son charged in killing of Ahmaud Arbery.” Washington Post (05/08/2020)

 

No matter how many times this has happened over the course of the last 4 years in this city alone…

 

 

 

 

No matter how angry or frustrated I become, I will NOT allow my opinions to influence my decisions… because that is the person I one day hope to BE. That is what I want for myself. Because that’s how I would want to be treated… if that were me.

 

As it is with any case, everyone is afforded the right to a FAIR TRIAL. Everyone has their day in court. But that process cannot START without an arrest. JUSTICE comes, both for the victim and the accused, with an ARREST. Let the FACTS be known, and let the TRUTH speak for itself…

 

All we need to do is LISTEN.

 

Then we can start to HEAL.

 

-JC