Dispatches from the Heat Front 4: Apocalypse NOW

I tried to write about how extreme the weather has been in the PNW. I wrote at Wonkette & here on my blog. I tried to keep track of high temps, excessively high low temps, fires, and other important aspects of this heat wave. But I wasn’t willing to state that it was the most extreme heat wave event in the history of meteorology. I just don’t have the knowledge necessary to make such a judgement.

So don’t take it from me. Take it from climate scientists (source: Common Dreams):

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Say Her Name: Ma’Khia Bryant

The details are sketchy at this point and a number of important things, including how to spell her name and even her age are being reported differently in different places, but from the best information I have right now (which could easily change later):

A foster child, 15 years old, whose name was Ma’Khia Bryant, was being bullied and attacked by other foster kids, probably other girls. She called police for protection. At some point before police arrived (possibly even before she called them?) she acquired a knife to use in self-defense. When the police arrived there was some sort of altercation between Ma’Khia and at least one other girl. At this point she may or may not have been still holding the knife. It’s even possible that someone else had taken the knife from her, but I don’t consider that likely.

Police seeing a physical altercation with a knife involved shot to kill Ma’Khia, the girl who called desperate for protection. She is dead.

I don’t give a god damn if Ma’Khia had the knife in her hand and was swinging it: she was in state custody (unless this detail is also wrong, I fucking hate how different stories are saying different things, but none seemed to say that she **wasn’t** in state custody, it’s just that some stories don’t mention foster care at all), and the state owed her better. Even if there was an immediate necessity to protect the other child because Ma’Khia was swinging the knife, that only backs up responsibility from the cops to the foster system that shouldn’t have put her in that situation to begin with.

To make matters worse, the Mayor of Columbus, Ohio where Ma’Khia was killed called her a “young woman” who “lost her life”, probably between the couch cushions.

Ma’Khia was not a young woman. She was a child, a girl. It’s bad enough that the mayor would say such a thing, but it is much worse than that in that there is a long trend of Black children being treated as adults to maximize the blame that can be placed upon them while white young adults are called “children” or “teenagers” to minimize the blame that can be placed on them. Kyle Rittenhouse is a perfect example of the latter.

I’ll keep watching things, but FUCK THIS SHIT. I’m so sick and tired police violence. I’m so sick and tired of the government killing the people it has a duty to protect.

Minnesota: Number of days without a mass shooting … 0

Well, looks like a 67 year old man who lives not far off the route between UM-Morris and UM-Minneapolis (though closer to the latter) has decided to kill a few people because he was unsatisfied with his health care.

No one is dead yet, at least according to reports datelined 30 minutes ago, but he shot bullets into the bodies of a minimum of 5 people, more than one of whom (the number is as yet unclear) had to be evacuated from their location in a health care facility to a “level 1 trauma centers”. I have no idea what that means (my job here is to translate legal & feminist jargon, not the medical whodiddle), but it sounds kinda bad.

Meanwhile, in addition to attempting to deal with a “horrible looking scene” (quoted words spoken by the local sheriff), our evil mastermind decided to build a whole bunch of bombs and scatter them around. The Minneapolis’ police bomb squad had to be called in to deal with the terrorist’s devices. I expect that will take a while, both because the scene is fairly far from Minneapolis (36-41 miles, depending on the route) but also because there were “suspicious devices” (read: improvised explosive devices) at his hotel, as well. If he’s using a car, they’ll have to check that for bombs, too.

The name of the suspect is “Gregory Ulrich” and CNN is reporting that he has a long history of harassing the health care clinic that he shot up (though they use nicer language than “harassing”) and is “familiar” to law enforcement.

Can we have red flag laws everywhere, please? Or is trying to save lives too politicizing of tragedies even when Republicans are out of power?

While you’re thinking about that question, don’t distract yourself with questions of the shooter/bomber’s race and whether the face of US terrorism is at all racialized, because they’re not even reporting on the shooter’s race, so there, and you’re not allowed to guess! If his race was relevant, they would definitely have reported that he was Black.

 

 

 

 

A coup is underway: First thoughts

Thought 1:

I’m not saying that I like the use of tear gas, but after being tear gassed with no warning because someone 50 yards away from me threw a firecracker over a fence I literally am confused as to how the masses of people occupying the steps outside were not tear gassed before the could force their way in.

And then they used tear gas inside the rotunda because they wouldn’t use it on people who were charging the Capitol Building but not yet inside… but once the rubicon was crossed, why wasn’t gas used on the people outside the building? Why only inside?

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Cornelius Frederick Was Murdered. What will we do?

For those who thought the residential schools nightmare was over, I present you Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo. Don’t read any further without preparing yourself for the horror you know is coming.

16-year-old Cornelius Fredericks [sic – actually “Frederick”] died on May 1 after suffering a heart attack on April 29.

Why did his heart stop on April 29th? I will never GEORGE FLOYD guess, will I?

[S]taff sat on his chest as he lost consciousness. …Employees waited 12 minutes to call 911, even though Fredericks was limp and unresponsive.” …[V]ideo from Lakeside Academy shows a staff member placing his/her weight directly on Fredericks’ chest for nearly ten minutes as the victim lost consciousness.

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How fucked is the USA? A COVID-19 DeathSplainer.

SARS-CoV2 infections were originally doubling once every 2.5 days, according to the CDC and the WHO. Over the last 4 days, deaths in different countries have had different doubling rates, but US deaths doubled very close to once in that 4 days.

This is a result of the fact that the places with the highest numbers of deaths also have done the most to slow transmission via shelter-in-place orders and other measures. So even if infections and deaths are doubling much faster in counties and states that haven’t yet been hit hard, the total number of deaths they add from a single doubling might yet be small compared to deaths in, say, New York City, which had over 500 on Friday. (By the way, New York City’s measures haven’t yet been effective at slowing the doubling: their deaths doubled in a mere 3 days.) We are not likely headed for a slowdown of the doubling rate because there are so many places where the virus is just beginning its infectious burn, and while each individual county might be small, there are many counties with many, many people in Texas and Florida and Georgia and other red states.

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A little too on the nose: It doesn’t start with École Polytechnique

I’ve written in Pharyngula comments before about something called the Pseudocommando shooter type. These are the folks who get big rifles with rapid fire capability and carry multiple weapons and huge number of rounds of ammunition to a target location and then shoot as many people as they can. The psychological research on the type shows that serious mental illness is uncommon in such shooters, though they do show an above average rate of mild to moderate depression and a couple of other of the most common mental illnesses. Some of the research that initially characterized the type found even these mental illnesses affected only about 40% of such shooters.

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The Incivility Spreads

As you probably know, the staff of Maryland-based Capital Gazette were victims of a shooting attack, not to say mass murder or even terrorism (we much prefer “targeted attack”). CNN’s Anderson Cooper had two of the surviving victims on his show 360, both Gazette journalists, one named Selene San Felice the other Phil Davis. Both made important statements, but in response to the myriad thoughts and prayers sent in the direction of her and her surviving colleagues, the man and the woman who had just witnessed someone killed before their eyes had some pretty uncivil things to say:

Selene San Felice: I’ve heard that President Trump sends his prayers. … We need more than prayers. I appreciate the prayers. I was praying the entire time I was under that desk. I want your prayers but I want something else.

Phil Davis: … I was praying when he started reloading that shotgun that there weren’t going to be more bodies. And you know what? If we’re going to have a position in society where all we can offer each other is prayer then where are we?

San Felice: This is going to be a story for how many days? Less than a week? People will forget about us after a week unless, y’known, we keep tweeting. I don’t really care about tweeting right now. … I don’t know what I want right now, right? but I’m gunna need more than a couple days of news coverage and some thoughts and prayers. Because it’s…. Our whole lives have been shattered. And so, thanks for your prayers but I couldn’t give a f*ck about them if there’s nothing else.

While Fox News and conservatives generally are going to give San Felice and Davis a lecture about how their incivility caused their colleagues murders in yet another proof of the dictum pre hoc ergo propter hoc, lets give San Felice and Davis something different than blame, something better than lectures, something more than just thoughts and prayers.

If you’re a US citizen living anywhere or anyone living legally in the US, call your House Rep and your Senators and express yourself on what you think are appropriate government (and especially legislative) responses to mass murder.

 

 

Stealing Children Is Who We Are

I don’t know Laura Parrott Perry, but I’m loving Perry already.

 

Not sure a country that has a history of selling babies away from their parents in slavery, sending native children to "boarding schools," & separating families in Japanese internment camps gets to clutch its pearls and cry, "this is not who we are." It's who we've always been.

 

True fax.

 

ETA: There’s a good blavity post up about this, and there are probably a great many more. The blavity post itself includes copies of others’ work. I hadn’t seen any “Handmaid’s Tale” references in the critique of Trump’s Steal-The-Children policy, but apparently there have been some. In response, Reagan Gomez tweeted:

Kinda weird that folks keep bringing up the Handmaidens Tale and not like…the real history of this country forcibly separating children (/Native/First Nations/African) from their parents for centuries.

If you send me links in the comments to any more good takes about the US history of separating children from their parents, I’ll add them to the OP.