Again, this Blog was never intended to address political issues. Rather, I created it to document my struggle through brain cancer. Yes, I always planned to include motivational pieces, essays on facing the “beast” that is cancer like struggling with fear and pain, and so forth.
I NEVER thought I’d be writing about a new civil rights movement, police brutality and death – not because of a physical disease, but because of the color of one’s skin.
I certainly NEVER thought I’d have to write about living through a worldwide pandemic that has now killed over 500,000 people and infected at least 10 million people! 🤯🤯🤯 Um, it ain’t a hoax people and it ain’t going away!
If you’ve been following my series on the disaster we’re all living through, “WHAT CENTURY IS THIS?” in each Section, I’ve touched on a lot of hot-button issues.
In conjunction with my series, I truly felt compelled to write about a few more recent incidents. Sadly, I think they’ll just keep happening, or past murders will continue to come into the limelight. I pray this violence ends soon and that better days are a ‘comin. I also pray that the families of loved ones who were murdered by the police find peace, and are compensated for these wrongful deaths.
I HAVE TO ASK, IN THE INFAMOUS WORDS OF JOHN LENNON, WHY CANT WE ALL
“JUST GIVE PEACE A CHANCE”?
A Little Bit About My Antiestablishment Attitude
Before I get into these most recent incidents, I’ll give you a lil background about my antiestablishment attitude and “inner hippie chick”.
I was raised Roman Catholic, Yes. I suffered through Catholic school literally my entire life! From grammar school, to high school then onto college and even law school-they were ALL Catholic. Yet, in high school I refused to be Confirmed because it is literally the sacrament where you are supposed to be confirming that you want to remain a devout Catholic. As a baby, you’re baptized but of course, it’s not your “choice”-it’s your parent’s choice. I mean, you’re a baby. All you do is cry, sleep, puke and poop. (Are you comforted that I’m not a mother? 😂)
By high school, I had already decided I did not believe in the institution of the Catholic Church. Thus, why would I get Confirmed? So I didn’t.
After that decision, my mother pretty much refused to speak to me until I graduated high school. Yet, my parents didn’t go to Church. To this day, I’m still scarred from my grammar school nuns. It probably also goes without saying, but I am truly sickened by the abuse both priests and nuns afflicted upon children (many nuns were abused by priests as well). The Church knew of this systemic abuse and did absolutely nothing except move these abusers to other parishes. Then, the abuse continued and they’d simply be placed into yet another parish.
Side note: If this history interests you, look into Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries, also known as Magdalene asylums. I warn you though. It’s beyond disturbing, as in you may not sleep afterwards. The “laundries” were run by the Catholic Church, but were also supported by the government and high-powered businesses all throughout Ireland. Specifically, the laundries in Galway and one run by Bon Secours nuns in Tuam have a horrid history. Again, be warned! The last “laundry” only closed in Dublin in the 1990s. These places were not only allowed to run, but were in fact supported by an institution that was considered ALL POWERFUL (i.e. the Church) controlled by the patriarchy that existed throughout the country. People knew of the atrocities committed within the laundries, but you could never speak ill of the Church, until very recently.
My high school was quite a prestigious, all-girls prep school run by nuns, although most teachers were thankfully NOT nuns. Nevertheless, we had to take umpteen religion classes, attend Church processions in our auditorium and be “good Catholic girls” who didn’t wear their skirts too short (P.S. 90% of us did anyway), sign “Honor Codes” that we would not drink and/or use drugs (P.S. 90% of us did anyway) and all the other hypocritical B.S. they made us do.
I absolutely believe in God, angels, spirituality, the power of prayer, and that God has a purpose for all of us. However, personally I am staunchly opposed to the Catholic institution and its power. Now that’s just me.
Overall, most religions’ basic principles are the same:
- Be kind to your fellow man, or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”
- We are all one, all children of “God” (however you define that even if it’s just “Spirit”). Thus, we are all equal
- Care for the poor, the sick, those in need, etc.
- Unless you believe in some extreme, fundamental principle and claim it’s “religion”, we all know that we should not murder or harm our fellow man
So, when it comes to religion, I simply say I’m “spiritual. I also have an “inner hippie chick” side. I look back at movies and documentaries from the 60’s and still can’t grasp why hippies were so deeply frowned upon/hated. I listen to tons of classic rock music. I just returned from 2 weeks in Saugerties, NY where the actual Woodstock Festival took place. Although, I love the town of Woodstock as well. My idols include Stevie Nicks and Gloria Steinem, who I actually met at an event! (Swoon)
The true hippie stood for peace, love, and equality. They were involved in the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, and stood alongside the original Black Panthers. They protested against the Vietnam War. We know the atrocities committed during that War and those long haired, “groovy” kids were right! We should have never been involved in that War.
Crazy Side Note: My FIL is one of the best men I’ve ever known. He came over to the States from Ireland in the 60’s. His aunt, who put him up, forced him to register his name and address at the post office. Why? I have no idea. That man wasn’t even an American citizen, but got drafted and went to Vietnam!! Personally, I would have been on the next plane back to Ireland. Hell, I would have tried to swim back!! No. Instead he fought for a country that was not even his own, won a Purple Heart amongst many other medals of honor.
So, the hippies of the 60’s stood against the “establishment”, which doesn’t seem to have changed much since then!
Recent, Disturbing Incidents of Continued Violence
So basically looking back on the late 1960s and into the 70’s, people of color alongside white people protested in the streets over MANY OF THE SAME ISSUES AS THEY ARE TODAY!
After decades upon decades of protests, marches, sit-ins, Walk-outs, speeches, efforts to increase minority and women’s rights, efforts to increase the number of minorities and women in government, and on and on… people who stand-up for equality and peace are continuously degraded and out-right terrorized!
I simply cannot address all of the violence that’s been reported recently. I’d never leave my computer. However, I did want to highlight a few.
The Louisville Incident
Protesters, who have demanded the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death be charged, had created what looked like their own tent city in Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville.
Overall, things were peaceful in the area until around 9:00 pm Saturday, June 27th.
A fellow “protester” Steven Nelson Lopez is currently in police custody [at the time I’m writing this] because at around 9 that night, he began shooting a firearm into the large crowd at the park. Apparently, bystanders returned fire in self-defense.
Tyler Charles Gerth, (27) was shot and killed. He was a University of Kentucky graduate, and a “budding photographer”. He was also known and active in the protest movement. What a devastating loss to this Movement.
Lopez was shot in the leg during the incident, and has been charged with murder. He had been camping at Jefferson Square for some time, but reports indicate he’d been asked to leave earlier in the day by other protesters for his “disruptive behavior”. He was also arrested twice in the last two weeks.
So, what had been a peaceful place for protesters turned into mayhem that night.
Murder of Oluwatoyin Salau
Oluwatoyin Salau was a 19-year-old Black Lives Matter activist. She disappeared in June. She sent a series of Tweets describing a sexual assault. A desperate search for her began. Sadly, she was found dead in Tallahassee, FL. Uhh, Florida!
Aaron Glee Jr., apparently confessed and was charged with her murder and kidnapping, as well as another woman.
Police admit Ms. Salau contacted them to report the assault she described in her Tweets, but they do not believe there was a connection between the assault and her killing.
Right now, our lives matter, black lives matter. We are doing this for our brothers and our sisters who got shot but we are doing this for every black person. I am profiled whether I like it or not.Oluwatoyin Salau
Organizers in Tallahassee spoke about “how powerful her words were, how motivated she was to be more involved in the movement and share that activism with those around her.” What another devastating loss to this Movement.
Murder of Elijah McClain and Violence At a Peaceful Vigil In His Honor
On June 27th, hundreds gathered in Aurora, Colorado, to protest the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man who was murdered by Aurora police back in 2019. To understand why his death is coming to light now, we must understand who this young man was to so many.
Mr. McClain was a massage therapist who loved animals. He taught himself to play the guitar and the violin. That is NO easy task! He would actually spend lunch breaks at shelters playing the violin for stray cats and dogs because he believed it helped soothe them. He liked to dance. He was a vegetarian. He was a son and a brother.
Some of his friends and teachers said, “Elijah was a shining star.” He was a person, “who would actually make humanity better.” Another friend said, “He was just welcoming and loving and kindness.”
He was 5 feet 6 inches and weighed 140 pounds at the time of his death.
Can you think of a more peaceful soul?
To understand why people are demanding justice, you unfortunately must understand how he was killed.
Elijah McClain’s Murder
All of these murders are vicious, unwarranted and the police who committed them should be held accountable! Elijah’s murder seems like a pure punch to the gut as I read more and more about it. So, as I’m writing this, I am shedding ugly, ugly tears, asking “Why, God? Why?”
Back to the point… Mr. McClain was walking home from a convenience store on August 24, 2019. Someone called 911, saying he “looked sketchy”, wearing a ski mask and waving his arms around. He was anemic so he would get cold easily. Hence, why he wore a ski mask in August.
When police arrived, they immediately tried to handcuff him. However, there was a struggle. Elijah stated that he did not need to stop walking home, when ordered by one officer. One officer responded that he had a right to stop Mr. McClain for looking suspicious, and grabbed him by the arms. Another officer approached and Mr. McClain said, “I am an introvert, please respect the boundaries that I am speaking. Leave me alone.” He was told to “stop resisting” when he put his arms up to his chest and to “stop tensing up.” The body cam footage shows Mr. McClain pleading with the officers to let go of him, and trying to get out of their grip. The officers thew him to the ground and used a carotid hold, which restricts blood to the brain to render someone unconscious.
I don’t think it’s any surprise ALL THREE OFFICERS’ BODY CAMS “FELL OFF” during this part of the encounter!
While detained and on the ground, Elijah vomited several times. He actually apologized, saying, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to do that, I can’t breathe correctly.” Mr. McClain had chronic asthma.
At one point, an officer said, he would use his dog on him if he did not “stop messing around.”
After approximately 15 minutes, EMTs arrived and injected him with ketamine, a powerful sedative.
My father is a veterinarian and ketamine is used to sedate animals! You have to be very careful with animals and injecting the drug based upon the weight and any medical condition that animal may have.
I was not even AWARE EMTs used ketamine on people! In the body camera footage, one officer said that fellow officers had “put him out” with a carotid hold twice, “at least once successfully,” meaning Mr. McClain had already lost consciousness! So why the need to sedate him?
Mr. McClain went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital, passing away several days later.
An autopsy report by the Adams County coroner said that the cause of death was “undetermined,” and that it could have been a result of natural causes, a homicide related to the carotid hold, or an accident…. The 3 officers remain on the force and no charges were brought against them. I’ll just allow my rage to sit here with this utter B.S.
More Atrocious Police Violence At a Peaceful Vigil In Elijah’s Honor
Now, back to the fantastic year of 2020… On June 27th, thousands marched to honor Elijah and to demand justice in his name.
There were speeches outside the Aurora Municipal Building and protesters then held a vigil for Elijah with a violin performance, as he had been an avid, talented violinist. The protest was organized by students from Denver Public Schools and Aurora Public Schools. Lynnsie Holloway, a 17-year-old Black student from Denver East High School, said that she and the other students joined together because they were “upset by the lack of attention McClain’s death has received.”
Many also gathered outside the Aurora Police Department. However, that was a different group than those at the vigil.
So, at this beautiful, peaceful vigil organized by students, filled with music… the “Storm Troopers” arrived!
While the music was still playing, storms of police marching shoulder-to-shoulder in full riot gear surrounded the crowd. They began pepper-spraying people and using batons to push the crowds trying to flee. Police also attempted to make arrests. They claimed they were trying to get the crowd to move off the grass into a parking lot, utilizing bull-horns and firing warning shots into the air.
At the very least, the “carotid hold” the chokehold used on Elijah, has now been banned in Aurora, but only in the past few weeks. Prosecutors will also reexamine the case to see if charges should be brought against the 3 officers involved.
SO AGAIN, I HAVE TO ASK, WHY CANT WE JUST GIVE PEACE A F—-ING CHANCE?