Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

On all charges.

Were you watching?

In a Minneapolis, Minnesota courtroom, former cop Derek Chauvin was convicted of all charges relating to the murder of George Floyd.

Even better, his bail was revoked and he’ll be in custody for eight weeks until the sentencing hearing. Did anybody but me notice how his little eyes were darting back and forth above his mask? Such arrogance. It seemed as if he really thought he was going to be acquitted. NOPE.

Gotta say, this was very satisfying to watch.

Thousands of others have written with more eloquence than I’m capable of about this trial, so I’m only going to share my observations and my own opinions.

Justice did NOT prevail. Accountability prevailed. Justice would have George Floyd alive and breathing after he was arrested for ALLEGEDLY paying with a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. Chauvin got a trial, but George did not. Bad cops made sure he didn’t have a chance.

It’s simple. Police cannot be judge, jury, and executioners, but they were in this situation. All four of them. They are ALL guilty, in my opinion.

The only reason there was ANY accountability at all was because a teenager named Darnella Frazier had the brains and courage to use her phone to record the nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds it took for Derek Chauvin to murder George Floyd. She continued recording despite threats from the cops on the scene.

I hope we can all be as brave as she was–don’t walk away, don’t pretend police brutality isn’t happening. Take out your cell phone and memorialize the abuse. Darnella Frazier is an inspiration to BE better and DO better.

A friend shared this link with me: ACLU Mobile Justice...https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform/reforming-police/mobile-justice?fbclid=IwAR3Gbc9lQGZGBGu-lEpmrz6H4zOTLTaB4Aev59wzciakM0eGjAO_9e4pNGQ

What is even more frightening is a report I read somewhere (can’t remember to cite the article so I’ll paraphrase) about the recruiting of white supremacists and paramilitary types to our police forces and military. There has been investigation and speculation that white supremacists and militias have infiltrated police across the country.

Law enforcement failed to respond to far-right domestic terror threats and racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000. Police officers have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content.

Police links to militias and white supremacist groups have been uncovered in states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

If we have any doubt that there is systemic racism in this country, we need look no further than active police officers training the Oath Keepers for a possible Civil War.

I found one of the most moving statements about the trial and guilty verdict from my friend, Vice-President Al Gore. (https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/11/04/i-met-vice-president-al-gore-at-the-apple-store/)

Statement by Former Vice President Gore on the Chauvin Verdict

April 20, 2021  by Al Gore

Nearly a year after America rose up in horror and anger at the tragic murder of George Floyd and cried out in opposition to generations of systemic racism, a jury in Minneapolis delivered a long-awaited first step toward accountability. While we know that true justice would mean that George Floyd was with us today, living free of fear of racism and police violence, I’m glad that we can at least say that with this verdict, the arc of the moral universe bent ever so slightly further toward justice.

The American legal system should be a beacon of accountability around the globe, and I’m glad that with the eyes of the world upon us, it lived up to that promise in this case. But at the same time, I’m all too aware that this same accountability and justice has never come for countless Black, brown, and Indigenous women and men in America.

I hope that this moment is a turning point for the real action and reform desperately needed to ensure our country can live up to its most sacred promise: that all men and women are created equal. While we unequivocally declare the truth that Black Lives Matter, it is long past time for the meaningful changes needed to allow Black Americans an opportunity to thrive.

My thoughts tonight are with George Floyd’s family and friends as they continue to grieve his loss and work toward lasting change.

A vigil for George Floyd is planned for Sunday evening at a park in my little town. I probably won’t attend because I’m still wary of public gatherings. If I change my mind, I’ll post photos.

“Mama, Mama, I can’t breathe…”

“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! Oh my God! Mama! Mama! Mama!! Mama!!”

I’ve started and stopped several posts in the last few days; lighthearted words and pics about my garden, about the Angels, about a hawk feather I found and uncharacteristically and unselfishly gifted to a friend (I hoard stuff like that and RARELY am able to let them go) but I’ve been following the George Floyd trial, and it seems almost callous and lacking of any human empathy NOT to talk about what happened last May.

I am not a POC. I have never been arrested. I’ve had a couple of mild encounters with the police during my life– most of them were because I needed their help and protection, not because I had committed a crime of any sort.

I feel it’s my obligation as a human to place myself in the shoes of those who have been harrassed, targeted, even murdered because the color of their skin contributed to the way they were treated by law enforcement. In my opinion, it’s something we all need to do. I have so much respect for the heroic bystanders who stayed to document and memorialize what they saw, who tried to help, who called the police to report what they saw.

There are those people who say it’s too ugly or too painful to watch the video of George Floyd crying out while being slowly and deliberately (ALLEGEDLY) murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes–while his coworkers watched and did nothing to intervene and prevent his death. They watched him DIE. We watched him die. I don’t even care what he did…so he ALLEGEDLY paid for a purchase with counterfeit money? I don’t care whether or not he was under the influence of drugs. That’s not the point, that’s diverting attention away from the real crime.

To those people, I will look straight in your eyes and tell you it’s our duty to watch.

Don’t turn away. Don’t turn away in denial of truth.

It’s the same way a certain segment of society turns away when there’s factual evidence of animal torture and abuse, child abuse, or those who still refuse to acknowledge the evidence of German concentration camps.

Say his name. Watch the video. Be upset. Be traumatized but don’t be silent. DO SOMETHING. Take your own videos. Don’t ignore it. We have an obligation to make things right. For George Floyd. For Breonna Taylor. FOR ALL OF THEM.

Watch The Blinding of Isaac Woodard on PBS.

I DARE you to keep your eyes and ears open and NOT do something to protect our fellow humans.

What if it were your son or daughter? Hmmm? How would you feel?

I wonder what the answer is. Peeling back the layers of racism, I wonder where all the hatred came from and why it’s persisted and become so pervasive. When will it all end? How many more people will die like George Floyd?

Crimes against humanity

Tear gas, rubber bullets, martial law, curfews, civil unrest, racism, police brutality–exactly HOW many planets are in retrograde now?? ‘cos something’s going on and it’s beyond the plot of any science fiction story. We’re living in a neverending episode of the Twilight Zone.

Add to that list, Ebola, earthquakes, a possible supervolcano in Yellowstone, the pandemic, record unemployment, food lines…WTF.

What I find to be quite troublesome is the way #blacklivesmatter and the ensuing outrage about yet another senseless murder is the number of people in my little SoCal beach town that are right wing racists who hide behind their so-called “christian” facade. It’s absolutely DISGUSTING and there’s always just the tiniest little hint of anti-Semitism in their rants and comments. That orange puppet really brought out true colors in people, didnt he? The mask has slipped. It’s ugly and depressing, and I’ve lived here for 35 years.

This is a fun little graphic:

Image may contain: text that says 'Food for thought: The last time Saturn was in Aquarius was during the Rodney King Riots. The last time Pluto was in Capricorn was during the American Revolution. Neptune was in Pisces when Rome fell. We have all 3 right now.'

I haven’t yet attended a march or a gathering, but I probably will. We need to do something, stand up, show up,  become part of what’s happening and not allow hatred to continue.

We are not the enemy.

 

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor
A couple old songs that are way too relevant.

 

It’s not protest. It’s rebellion.

IMG_9325This is what it is: “the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention.”

In 1773 it took a bunch of angry white boys (many of them dressed as Native Americans) destroying shipments of goods and burning down a city to begin the process toward ending tyranny and oppression. It was called The Boston Tea Party and was the precursor to a certain revolution and the beginning of a new country. Somehow “we” forgot that and decided tyranny and oppression were okay for some people – we “forgot” it for 200+ years, in fact.

A phoenix can’t rise without ashes.

I know what it means to protest in order to express an objection to what someone has said or done.

I do a lot of protesting. I protested against the use of animals in labs. I protest to honor the animals that die so people can wear their fur. I protest against factory farms. I protest in favor of being a vegan.

I protest against puppy mills, animal abuse, the killing of wolves and coyotes–I protested to save my lagoon against being raped and pillaged by a rich developer–I protest for my right to choose what to do with my own body–yeah, I know what it means to protest.

I speak up –and out– A LOT.

But I’m really sick of white people thinking that the lives people of color are less valuable. At this point, if I was any other color than what I am, I would be BEYOND angry.

Angry for the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. And before that, let’s not forget Trayvon Martin, etc, etc. etc.

THIS is a rebellion.

It’s an old story that needs a new ending.

I lived in Detroit during the riots in the late sixties. I remember my mom and dad talking about the National Guard and how disgusted they were that conversations and circumstances had so egregiously broken down that there was no way to convey change OTHER than riot and rebellion. Chitchat hadn’t worked. Racism is pervasive. All Trump did was bring it out in the open. It’s always been there. Ugly and malevolent, a symptom of a deeper malady in our society.

(That’s when we moved to Cali, which caused me to lose interest in becoming a doctor and much more focused on my tan and beautiful surfer boys, but that’s another story.)

I have a friend who graduated from high school in Louisiana in the nineties and she told me her prom was SEGREGATED. I could not believe this type of behavior still exists. It’s a different world down there, down south. According to her, not much has changed since the days of slavery and lynchings. That’s why she left, she said.

My mom lived down south too. She hated it. As the daughter of a rabbi (my grandfather), she experienced her own share of racism and anti-Semitism, and was vilified not only for having black friends, but for standing up for and with them when they were refused service. She told me she actually saw signage that said “For Whites Only”. Her stories of that disgusting inequality stuck with me; maybe why I’m such a rebel.

I also used to live in La Mesa, where the crowds were hit with rubber bullets and pepper spray. I thought about joining the rebellion, but didn’t. That doesn’t mean I won’t the next time.

We have an obligation to join the rebellions and stop police and the government from targeting and killing people of color. We have an obligation to show up and speak up, and when possible, record the atrocities. 

Justice.

Like Michelle Obama said, “…it’s up to all of us–Black, white, everyone—no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out.”

Here’s the whole statement from Michelle Obama:

“Like so many of you, I’m pained by these recent tragedies. And I’m exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop. Right now it’s George, Breonna, and Ahmaud. Before that it was Eric, Sandra, and Michael. It just goes on, and on, and on. Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it. It’s up to all of us—Black, white, everyone—no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different from our own. It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets. I pray we all have the strength for that journey, just as I pray for the souls and the families of those who were taken from us.”

Targeting people just because of the color of their skin is immoral. Sometimes there’s no other way to effect moral change than with a NONpeaceful response when no one seems to listen to the words.

Power to the people.