10 Cops Wounded and 3 Dead at BLM Dallas, TX Protest Sniper Attack

Two snipers have shot 10 cops, 3 of whom have died, at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, TX. I’m doing my best to keep up with updates, but I have work early and have to go to bed, although I am utterly terrified right now.

It was only a matter of time before people snapped, and we’ve been well passed the breaking point for a long time.

That is not to excuse what has happened. Even if the two snipers turn out to be white, right-wing militants, this will be blamed on Black Lives Matter. This has shifted the narrative in a horrible way.

This is not good. If you are a person of color, especially if you are black, for the love of everything please please please stay safe. Please stay safe. This is not good.

Also, please use this thread to curate updates to the story. Through comments at the TWiBNation and TBGWT Facebook groups (who are reporting through Twitter), it’s become obvious that the story the media is reporting is not accurate to what eyewitnesses are reporting. So please post all updates here.

Thank you.

And again… please… stay safe.

(Oh… and note that I’m turning off first-time moderation for the sake of this post. It will be off until I put up my next post, unless that post is also time-sensitive. Be aware that any posts that are racist, that blame BLM, that blame black people, that critique this move [unless it’s framed within a critique of the police who started this], etc, will be deleted and the commenter banned. But also be aware that I need to go to bed [it’s 12:48am for me and I have work in the morning], so I won’t be back to this post for a while).

Oh You Poor Baby!

So I saw this over on the TWiBNation Facebook group. This is a photo and facebook post from cop Ted Lane. While he did post it back on May 18… just…

Warning… this will piss you off to no end… so go ahead and pull out your microscopic violins… if you can find them…

White cop showing off a bite on his arm.

White cop showing off a bite on his arm.

So I seriously hesitated posting this picture. I am not looking for sympathy. I finally decided to post it so people can understand what police officers have to deal with. I was bit in the arm by an 18 year old female who is an admitted IV drug user. So not only do I have to worry about infection from a human bite, but all the possible diseases she could have.

I’m tired of hearing all the negative things people say about cops. So the next time an officer is not overly nice or doesn’t act like your issue is the worst thing in the world, just think about the stuff we deal with.

I know my friends on Facebook support me and my profession, other wise I probably would have deleted you. But my friends, please pass this along to your friends the next time you hear someone say or post negative things about cops. We are all just people doing our job and hope to go home to our families at the end of the shift.

My response?

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#BlackLivesMatter #SayTheirNames #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile #DiamondReynolds #DelrawnSmall #DylanNoble

Stop Killing Black People

Stop Killing Black People

I don’t know what to say anymore. All I can do is say their names. (All links go to their Twitter hashtags. Watch out for videos.)

Alton Sterling

Philando Castile

Also, the women who risked her life to record the murder of Philando Castile, Diamond Reynolds, is, while in police custody, missing. She and their child are in danger. Please work to get her out.

#WhereIsLavishReynolds

ETA: see the title. I’m adding two more names.

Delrawn Small

Dylan Noble

FtB Ethics Committee Statement on Richard Carrier

The FtB Ethics Committee has released a statement about the departure of Richard Carrier:

Freethought Blogs unequivocally condemns any behavior that threatens the safety of atheist community members, including particularly marginalized groups. Freethought Blogs also recognizes the role of sexual harassment as one of numerous barriers for women that limits access to and participation within atheist conferences and spaces.

When the recent allegations against Richard Carrier were made public, Freethought Blogs initiated a process to investigate these claims and formalize its policy concerning the conduct of its members. The FtB Ethics Committee received several reports of Carrier’s behavior and was in the process of reviewing them when Carrier chose to leave the network. A thorough review of the allegations against Carrier cannot be completed by Freethought Blogs without his cooperation.

As part of our commitment to equitable access to freethinking spaces for all, Freethought Blogs members who violate our commitment to social justice by creating or maintaining barriers to participation will be removed from the network as a matter of policy. All reports submitted to us in furtherance of this policy will be kept in the strictest of confidence, unless the accusation was made publicly or in the event we have express permission to reproduce the complaint.

-The FtB Ethics Committee

I simply want to add that the ethics committee was started before this all happened, and the thing with Carrier became a distraction from the main purpose. Things move slowly, but there will be a process for submitting complaints and a formalized policy on them. I am not on the committee, but I support their work and will sign off on and publicize what they release as time goes on.

Raising the Skeptic Signal! Another Video Compilation.

Looks like this might just be a series… RtSS. Maybe we should have a hashtag? #SkepticSignal or something? Ooh! What do you artists out there think a Skeptic Signal would look like?

This time, it isn’t ghosts or demons, but time travel.

(Note: as with the last RtSS post, this is an embedded YouTube video that is a bit hard to transcribe. If you feel you can, go for it!)

So for my part, here’s what I think:

01. Unknown Demonstration

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if such a protest takes place. There’s only 195 days until January 1, 2017, so these protesters better get on it. Of course, we could then simply explain away the protest by saying it was planned when the video and pictures were first conceived, so the protest actually happening really wouldn’t be proof of Pictures from the Future, anyways…

02. Boxing Fan

I’m inclined to agree with the 1995 Casio Camera (or really, any camera from 1995) explanation.

Why would they be shooting the match vertically? I take pictures vertically with my phone all the time. I think everyone does it, and everyone has likely been doing it since cameras became portable.

03. Faster Than the Wind

I think it’s either fake or simply a trick of perception.

04. Chaplin Time Traveler

Captain Disillusion debunked this, along with another one that appears in the video, here.

Basically, she’s likely just scratching the side of her head.

05. (Is The? Misty? Visiting?) Angel

Looks like a fake to me. Maybe a viral video meant to advertise for The Flash or something?

06. Russian Cyclist

Despite the claims of the narrator in the video, this can easily be explained by camera positioning.

I do think that the lack of a reaction from the two people in the video is the giveaway. I feel like those two people, as well as the camera person, would be way more shocked that a bicyclist just randomly appeared out of nowhere than they were.

07. Phantom Car

This is another one Captain Disillusion talked about, but he dedicated a separate (and earlier) video to it.

In short… again, camera angle. Plus, the car in front of the camera only reacted as anyone would when another driver just barrels in front of them.

08. The Man Who Met Himself

Maybe he and his dad got the same tattoo, and decided to play a prank on the internet?

09. The Mysterious Woman

Yet another video Captain Disillusion discussed in the video I linked to under the Chaplin Time Traveler. He says it looks very much like a woman holding her glasses case nervously to her face, most likely because of the documentary camera pointed straight at her. I tend to agree.

Notice how the people surrounding the woman tend to not at all react to her supposed cell phone?

Also, Captain Disillusion makes a great point in that video…

Cell phones require towers to work. If this woman and the woman from the Charlie Chaplin movie really did have futuristic cell phones in these time periods, they would be nothing more than glorified paper weights. They certainly wouldn’t be able to take or make calls with the phones.

10. The Time-Traveling Thief

Even the narrator of the video says this is probably fake (note the obvious sfx used when the thief walks through the door).

But what do you think? Agree with me? Disagree?

Let me know!

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On a separate but related note (I mentioned this in the comments of my last RtSS post) I would love to make a video that plays with this stuff, but I lack the skills needed behind the camera and with video editing software. It’d be cool to make a video that “believably” incorporates demons/ghosts, extraterrestrials, time travel, and teleportation into it, then upload it anonymously to YouTube to see the reactions.

If you live in New York, and think this would be a cool thing to do in your spare time, hit me up! I’ll make a secret Facebook group where we can all discuss the details privately. I’d like to get more than myself and one other person involved, if possible. Sadly, monetary compensation isn’t possible (I live on a Teavana salary), but I think participating in an experiment and watching how it takes off would be fun enough to be worth doing in our free time, if you’re interested.

We could let it cook for an amount of time (a year or more) before outing ourselves publicly.

And honestly, I’m not worried about posting this here, because we already know that people have done this before and the thing still goes viral as a paranormal phenomenon (crop circles, Loch Ness monster, etc)…

Why (We) Believe Victims Don’t Lie (with Special Guest Iris Vander Pluym)

(Please note: the amazing, snarktastically awesome Iris Vander Pluym [read her blog here!] contributed to this little blog post of mine. Her part will be in the color of royal purple [because that is the color of royalty and, apparently, sarcasm, so…].)

Also content warning for discussion of rape culture and victim-blaming. Same content warnings, as well as trigger warnings for direct discussion of rape, apply to all links here, as well.)

Very recently, I put up a post declaring my support for Amber Heard. You can read the post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and you should. One of the things I said was this:

I am on record as saying that I will always believe and stand with the victim until evidence comes out that they’re lying, because them actually lying is so incredibly rare that there’s no reason to entertain it; in our culture of victim-blaming, I do not believe that most people would think lying like this would be worth it.

In response I got a… fascinating comment, permanently languishing in moderation:

What make you think lying is rare among human beings in such situations as this?

Why didn’t you link to the police report?

Let’s start with that last one… Iris?

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On Baseball Bats, Heads, and Free Speech

(Content note: rape culture)

So, if you haven’t heard (though I can’t see how you haven’t), a very horrid preacher was shouting “you deserve to be raped” at a bunch of high school students. A 19-year-old woman walked up behind him and whacked him upside the head with an aluminum baseball bat.

This has raised an interesting conversation, as many (myself included) have utterly no sympathy for him, and have, in fact, made fun of him over it. In fact, I commented, and then posted on my Facebook, the following:

To be completely fair, I think we need to ask some important questions…

What was he doing there, at that time of day, just being all provocative, and not even with a chaperone? Things happen when you go out like that. I mean really… he shouldn’t have expected any less.

And what was he wearing, anyways? Did he have on a provocative shirt, showing off too much?

And before you say it, no I’m definitely *not* victim blaming. All I’m saying is that there are ways he could have minimized his risk, and really… shouldn’t he be held responsible at least for his own actions?

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