Saturday, October 24, 2015

OPINION: The Police Problem

Police corruption goes back a long way. It has existed as long as police have. 
In recent years a lot more attention has been brought to the misdeeds of law enforcement thanks to the prevalence of digital video. Is it worse now than it's ever been? Probably not. But in the past the people who cried foul would often be dismissed due to their relationship to the victim, their testimony ignored because they were part of "the criminal element." Well it's harder to argue with video evidence than it is to discount the tale of a mother, brother or friend of someone the system has deemed "undesirable." Due to population increase, the occurrence of these incidents will be greater by numbers alone, while percentages may or may not rise. To be fair, I have done zero research for this opinion piece. 
Are more blacks being killed than in the past? Again, sheer numbers due to population may say yes, but I think that this has been going on all along, and it is the response to it that is changing. It wasn't so long ago that blacks were considered by many to be essentially subhuman. With the struggle for rights gradually winning over the time-honored tradition of racism and hatred, the outrage over crimes against blacks rather than just crimes by blacks is growing. And rightfully so. There is no place in our civilized nation for racism and unfounded hatred. If anything, the racists need to go. Keep America diverse.
Thanks to video evidence and the increase in law enforcement body cameras the actions of officers have been under much closer scrutiny. With the inarguable and inexcusable offenses of police against undeserving citizens on display via social media, the tide will turn. The good officers will not have to suffer in silence at the command of their superiors while this kind of injustice continues unobserved. They can speak out and, without necessarily revealing evidence that will get them into trouble as "whistle-blowers" among their fellow officers, can stand up for the oppressed and abused on citizen-supplied evidence. 
In time, police departments will take a proactive approach to hiring new officers, and they should be able to phase out the power-tripping bullies who seem so dominant in the field today. Kids can aspire to be a "good cop" and help enforce the law on both sides of the blue line, and parents can take pride in their children who endeavor to make the country a better, safer place to be. We shouldn't have to live in fear of our own public servants.
Making the "war on drugs" a thing of the past will also help get cop/citizen relations under control. When police don't have to fear that every person who may have or sell drugs is armed and ready to kill them, they can maybe relax their trigger finger a little. By decriminalizing drugs we sweepingly decriminalize millions of citizens. If cops aren't being shot at all the time, then the people applying for the jobs will be a more diverse group, rather than just trigger-happy lunatics willing to put themselves in the line of fire on the chance that they'll get to shoot someone.
One important element of this transition is that citizens (and "good cops") continue to expose the deplorable behavior of the "bad cops" and continue to wage legal battles against those who ignore and excuse the actions of police acting outside of their prescribed duties and mutilating the rights of citizens.
That being said, it is a good idea, in the meantime, to not provoke police, unnecessarily flaunting your rights in their faces, unless you want to be a martyr for the cause, as the process of weeding out the losers and uniformed criminals has not really pushed its way through the entire country yet, so you may still get yourself beaten or shot, even if it's not lawful. Screaming "I have rights!" or "You can't do this!" doesn't get your heart beating again once they've stopped it, so don't be dumb.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

OPINION: Democratic Debate 2015

CNN is sort of backpedaling about declaring Hillary as the winner of Tuesday's debate. All the reports were that she won, and now their coverage seems to imply that there was no clear winner, and that Bernie definitely made an impression.

While it's great that he grabbed so much attention with the email remark, I think I can say that we are all sick of hearing that Bernie is sick of hearing about Hillary's emails. Definitely a classy move, but he has so many more important things to be heard.

I don't see his saying he's from "a rural state" as a cop-out on gun control as some have intimated, I think it's simply admitting a certain amount of ignorance on the viewpoints of those heavily affected by gun violence. It sounded to me like he's open to discuss it and take the advice of people who know more about it, who see guns and their ownership differently than someone for whom guns were a part of growing up, a part of one's routine.

I just wish I had a better understanding of The Bern's socialism. How can we take from the rich without driving them all out of the U.S.? Who will fund our science then? Big corporations which are allowed to flourish under our capitalist society do put a lot back into the country. We can't afford to have them all move to someplace where they can avoid the heavy taxes, because you know they'll do it. For example, I'm not a big fan of Disney as a company, but they bring a hell of a lot of money into Anaheim.

O'Malley made a pretty good showing. I'd never heard of him and now I remember him.

Poor Chafee was like a muppet on Who's Line Is It Anyway? "I've had no scandals!" was so comedically delivered the entire viewing party blew up with laughter.

Anderson Cooper was great. "So you'll say whatever it takes to get elected?" Killing it.

I would have liked to hear a little more of their ideas on immigration, and Cooper could have asked the other three the Marijuana question.

So I don't know. Pretty sure I'm voting Dem. I'm very keen on clean energy. But still worried about what Socialism will do to our financial dynamic.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Glen and I

This is not about me, about my need to be right or my pride or desire to show off or put people down or prove anything. It's also not about run-on sentences, so let's move on. The part that is me is the desire to respect our language and to understand it and to use it in a way that is both useful and graceful.

People have probably told you that, when speaking properly, you say "...and I" rather than "...and me." While that is sometimes correct, it does not apply to every time you want to add yourself as a participant in a sentence.

As bad as "and me" sounds to the people who told you, "it's 'and I'!", that's how bad an incorrect "and I" sounds to the discerning ear. In fact, it's a little worse, because it sounds like the person is trying to speak properly and, in doing so, is drawing attention to the impropriety of it. I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at the people who tell you "it's 'and I!'" without giving you the full story.

If you say, "Glen and I went to the Viper Room," that is correct. "Glen and me" would not be.

However, if you say "There were all kinds of people at the Viper Room, including Glen and me" then saying "...and I" would be incorrect.

The difference is that you say "and I" when it's before the verb of the sentence. In the first example above, the verb "went" comes after the names, so it's "Glen and I."

You would correctly use "and me" if it comes after the verb of the sentence. In the second example, "were" acts as the verb, and the names come after it, so among the people "were...Glen and me."

The easiest way I've learned to remember the difference is that, if you remove the other name(s) from the sentence, and it's just you, would you say "I" or "me"? "I went to the Viper Room" sounds normal. "Me went to the Viper Room" sounds like Jar Jar Binks. In the singular example above "were" becomes "was" and it "was just me."

The key may be in determining what the verb of the sentence is. In the example "This is a photo of Glen and me" the verb is "is." That doesn't sound like much of an action word, but it's the only thing happening. It's sometimes called a linking verb. There is no other action in the sentence. Even if you add a verb after the names, such as "This is a photo of Glen and me posing for the camera" saying "and me" is still correct because "posing" is not THE verb of the sentence. Even with a 'real' verb such as "posing," "is" remains the verb of the sentence because "is" describes the photo, not the action in the photo. "Glen and I were posing" works, because the subject of the sentence is Glen and you, and posing is what you were doing. But if "photo" is the subject of the sentence, then "is" is the verb. Therefore, "This photo is of Glen and I" is incorrect, as it is a rare and likely archaic instance when you would end a sentence with "I".

It is I who thanks you for reading.