Give Peace A Chance, People!

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”?

Lennon and those simple beautiful words

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.

Oh, Billy, I think us Catholic girls started
“a bit too soon”…

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.

Glee. Ms. Salau. Victoria Sims, his other victim.
The two women met at protests, but Ms. Salau was reported missing before Ms. Sims.

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.

Uhh, Florida!

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.

Elijah McClain

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.

Maestro Jeff Hughes played his violin as the officers in riot gear appeared

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?

REST IN PEACE, YOU BEAUTIFUL SOUL

WHAT CENTURY IS THIS? (PART 3.02)

I MAY HAVE UNDERGONE 7 BRAIN SURGERIES AND STILL COGNITIVELY ALRIGHT FOR THE MOST PART, BUT I CANNOT COMPREHEND THE WORLD WE ARE LIVING IN RIGHT NOW


When I originally thought of this Post, I had a very basic outline in this lil ol’ brain of mine. Yet, as I began putting “paper to pen” shall we say, I never realized how many of my ideas tied-in together in such detail. So, what was intended to be a single Post became two and now three.

Part Three is so now even divided into subsections. As you see This is Part 3.02. So if you haven’t read Part 3.01, I’d suggest checking it out so you understand my overall premise. You can read it here: https://braincancerbabe.blog/2020/06/15/what-century-is-this-part-3-01/

If you have time and appreciate my writing, please read all the Posts under this series.


In Part 3.01, I discussed several issues:

  • as a white girl, I cannot speak for the Movement, but simple research shows that the “Black Lives Matter” Movement is obviously a “Black liberation movement” but it seeks justice and equality for all marginalized within our society. See the website for detailed information https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/
  • white privilege, with a focus on our judicial system
  • sexism, racism and inequality
  • why the Movement is so important and “Remember their Names”

Throughout this series of Posts, I’ve touched on the issue of police brutality and the “police state” I believe we’re now living under. So this Post will focus on: the militarization of our police forces in the States; more on the demonstrations; my experience with police; and recent actions by some officials to actually help de-militarize the police.

As this is a major issue today, and frankly a trend I’ve personally noticed over the years, I wanted a full subsection dedicated to the police. So, Part 3.04 will focus on the riots and looting , which are not a part of these demonstrations, yet people are pointing to this vandalism and blaming the Movement; and, how the right-wing has taken it upon themselves to carry firearms and purposely intimidate demonstrators, acting as their own civilian police force.


Our New “Police State”

This is what American city streets look like right now:

  • Photo Number 1 Swarms of police in riot gear in Minneapolis, surrounded by illuminated “beanbag rounds”, a method now used to disperse crowds, which consist of small, fabric beanbags filled with lead weights fired from 12-guage shotguns.
  • Photos Number 2 & 3 depict officers carrying “beanbag” shotguns. Obviously, Photo 3 is very disturbing as the people depicted have their hands up, yet the officers have “beanbag” shotguns aimed directly at them.
  • Photo Number 4 depicts the injuries just one demonstrator suffered from these “beanbag rounds”
  • Photo Number 5 may actually be the most disturbing to me, personally.
    • Martin Gugino, a 75-year-old “Black Lives Matter” demonstrator, was forcibly shoved by 2 Buffalo, NY officers on June 4, 2020. As he lay on the ground, bleeding officers simply continued stomping past him. Currently, he is recovering from a fractured skull and is unable to walk. He remains hospitalized. The entire video of the encounter can be viewed here. However, it is very disturbing (if you have a heart, anyway). https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/16/us/martin-gugino-protester-skull/index.html
  • Despite being designed to cause “minimum long-term trauma and no penetration”, a direct hit from a “beanbag” or rubber bullet gun can cause:
    • muscle spasms
    • a round to the chest may break the ribs and send the broken ribs into the heart
    • a shot to the head can break the nose, crush the larynx, or break the neck or skull
    • a shot in the abdominal area can cause internal bleeding
    • a shot in the eye can cause the eyeball to rupture
    • there is one known case in which a direct hit also resulted in death

On May 31, 2020, 20-year-old Justin Howell, a Texas State University college student, was shot in the head with a “beanbag” round by the Austin, TX police while he was filming a protest. Someone next to him threw something towards officers. While intending to hit that individual, police shot Justin “by mistake”. He suffered a skull fracture leading to a seizure and brain trauma. As if that were not horrific enough, there are videos showing the police firing at volunteer paramedics and protesters carrying Howell’s limp body to get him medical attention!

Initially, his injuries put him into a coma, and as of several weeks ago, he remained in critical condition. Doctors told his family the skull fracture resulted in brain damage.

Literally the day after Justin Howell’s shooting, on June 1, 2020, a 16-year-old, Brad Levi Ayala, also suffered a skull fracture after being shot in the head with a “beanbag” round by the Austin Police! He was simply standing alone on a hill after work in a deli.

He had to undergo a seven-hour surgery, which included a skin graft (something I know about all too well), but thankfully did not suffer permanent brain damage.


AUSTIN, TEXAS POLICE ARMED DURING PROTESTS, AS PEOPLE YELL, “DON’T SHOOT”

The stories of Martin Gugino, Justin Howell and Brad Levi Ayala are the stories nightmares are made of! They were totally innocent of any wrongdoing. Yet, they suffered devastating injuries by police “high on their own power”.

I know what it’s like to try and recover from a brain injury! I will never be the person I was before. I cannot do so many of the things I loved to do. No matter how hard I work to stay strong, my brain just does not communicate with the rest of my body like it did before brain cancer.

I fear Martin, Justin, Brad and likely many others will experience these same issues, all because they wanted to be involved in a movement for civil rights. It truly breaks my heart.


Police Brutality against protestors had gotten so bad, Seattle created a police-free district, known as “Chaz”, where people are gathering to demonstrate, listen to speakers and attend events without fear. In reaction to this, Trump referred to the protestors as “domestic terrorists” and threatened to “invade” the City. Seattle’s Mayor spoke out that such rhetoric was an attempt to divide and incite violence, that it would not only be unwelcome but also illegal.

The streets of Seattle BEFORE the “Autonomous Zone” was created

Yet, on June 7th a white man drove his car into a crowd of protesters in the area, then shot and wounded a black demonstrator who confronted him as he came to a stop. Then, in the early morning hours of June 20th, a 19-year-old man was killed and another person was in critical condition after a pre-dawn shooting in the area. No information on the shooter was available at the time I sit here writing this Post, hanging my head in shame.

Why can’t people in this country simply accept peace?

Welcome to “Chaz” – Seattle’s police-free “Autonomous Zone”

My Personal Experience In Our Not-So-New “Police State”

I briefly mentioned in Part 3.01 that I never liked “authority figures”. I have respect for city police, who do truly risk their lives and put themselves in danger to protect society as a whole. It’s like firefighters, who actually run into burning buildings to save lives, going against our human instinct to run away from those situations.

In the burbs, where I grew up though-honestly, the police were mostly jerks on a power trip just busting kids for underage drinking… not exactly life or death scenarios.

I was pre-law in undergrad. I took political science classes with guys who were planning on careers in law enforcement, and they weren’t doing so believing it was their “civic duty”. They were weasely guys (no surprise) on a power trip believing they’d become State Troopers. I’ve also heard the racist comments from Sheriff’s Officers in courthouses while interning for judges, and then as a practicing attorney. As if that weren’t vile enough, I know one fellow graduate from law school, who clerked for a criminal judge after graduating and relayed some of the racist rhetoric that judge would spew back in chambers, behind closed doors. I’m blatantly honest in this blog. Soooo… I’ll admit that I’ve never totally loved the police or any authority figure, for that matter, who believe they’re untouchable.


Thankfully, I have not had many interactions with police officers, but hey, I’ve gotten 2 tickets when I did drive. Both times the officers acted like Commando, pulling me over for the dumbest violations, though everyone probably says that, right? However, two personal incidents with the police still gnaw at me to this day.

Let me be clear: These are extremely minor in comparison to what is going on today. However, I think they demonstrate the mentality of many in law enforcement. Hence, the problems that arise when people with way too much power believe they can do anything they want without reprecussion.

This is NOT wartime. This is a photo of police at a demonstration in Los Angeles

One incident occurred when I had just started working at my first firm. These were the days when if you had a GPS system, you’d have to mount it onto your windshield or dashboard. No Google Maps or Waze yet. My car was parked on the street and I had come back very late from work. So, I forgot to take the GPS out of its mount and bring it inside. In the morning, I had a court appearance or conference on a case. Already nervous being new to the firm and having to argue a case, I went out to my car only to find my driver’s side window totally smashed, shattered glass all over the seat and my GPS stolen. What’s the normal reaction when that occurs? You call the police, right?

Now, I was living in an area just outside of Manhattan in New Jersey. So, it was not the burbs. It was an urban area, yet not a dangerous one. It was also about 7:00 or 8:00 am – not a bustling time for crime. The police refused to come and told me if I needed a report (which I did for insurance purposes) I’d have to drive to the station. Thankfully, a group of kind construction workers saw my car and me ugly-crying because I didn’t have a clue how I’d drive a car covered in shattered glass. They cleaned off the seat as best they could and one even gave me his gloves to wear! Kindness, it goes a long way. Such a novel idea!

Once I got to the police station, I was berated by the desk officer blaming me for leaving the GPS visible. He actually said, “What did you think would happen leaving the GPS out?” Hmmm, I wonder how he would feel if someone smashed his window and stole his property? He even tried pushing me to NOT to file a report (i.e. he didn’t want to bother his @ss writing the report).

As an aside: A couple I knew in law school lived in this town. Most of us did, or in the surrounding areas. Their apartment was broken into while they slept! They got the same treatment. A broken window and a stolen GPS is one thing. Having your home violated AND your property stolen is a whole ‘nother thing. Yet, the police could have cared less!


The next incident occurred in the same town. As I’m writing this, I wonder why I didn’t just move away, but hindsight is 20/20. Anyway, I saw a girl outside a store with what was clearly a “bait dog” used for dog fighting. I’m a severe animal lover and my dog is a rescue. This poor thing was emaciated and covered in both old and fresh wounds. Yet, it was only about 5-6 months old. I didn’t handle myself, admittedly, in the most gracious manner. I approached her and asked her where she had gotten the dog from (maybe she had rescued it, for all I knew). She just ignored me and turned away. So, in my mind that convinced me – this was no rescue dog! The scene escalated, as her mother came out of the store screaming and cursing at me. She hurled insults at me. I’ll say, I was not so pleasant in return. I called the police, hoping they’d see this dog obviously in distress, and take it. Nope!

Now, it turned out the girl was apparently deaf. I do not feel proud of myself or defend myself for yelling at a deaf teenager/young adult. However, she did not sign or indicate she was deaf. So, I frankly had no idea. The mother-I have no regrets for my actions. Now to the point: a Suburban SUV and a squad car pull up. Slow day, I guess?

At least 5, maybe 6 police officers get out. Who do they surround? Me. The “Head Honcho” steps up about 2-3 feet from me, armed crossed, legs sprayed out in his “tough guy” stance with his minions behind while the mother continues screaming and cursing at me. At least he quieted her down. He begins to interrogate me why I would yell at a deaf person (Oh yeah, the mother had called the police on me too). My reply, “Well obviously I didn’t know she was deaf!” So, in his tough guy voice, he begins to berate me that I “attacked a deaf person”. I’m disabled myself! I would NEVER intentionally do that. As I’m attempting to explain why I was questioning the girl I stated to the officer, “That is clearly a bait dog” the mother began her rant again. She even admitted, the police had just taken the dog away from her because it was “in a fight” so she just got it back!!! Despite the fact she was basically admitting to what I accused her of, did “tough guy” listen to her admission? Nope!

He continued standing there basically in my face, I suppose trying to intimidate me. Well, I may be tiny, but I don’t intimidate very easily. His minions kept looking down at the dog and I could see in some of their faces, they knew I was right. Finally, “tough guy” turns his attention to the dog, it wags its tail at him and he literally says, “It looks happy enough. I don’t see any basis to take the dog from its owner.” I literally threw up my hands, because I could actually do that then, and said, “Well, you’re the authority. It’s your decision. That’s a bait dog and it’s on YOU for not taking it.”

I walked away just shaking my head in disgust. Part of that was because a swarm of police officers, driving expensive, shiny new vehicles came to the scene of a minor, ridiculous incident, and THEN acted as if they had just seized a major amount of drugs from a wanted dealer or something. The show of force was utterly needless, and only meant to intimidate the “suspect” i.e. Me.


Commuting in and out of NYC, I always noticed what I felt was an excessive show of force in Port Authority, Penn Station, Grand Central, and just along the streets of Manhattan. Do we REALLY need National Guard and cops with giant machine guns every few hundred feet? If they don’t intimidate me, are they really going to intimidate someone who wants to do major harm?

It’s the same thing at airports. TSA – ya ain’t stoppin’ a terrorist by making everyone take off their shoes, so lose the attitude!


The town where I was raised when we came here from Ireland is an upperclass suburb of NYC. You can even see the skyline from the highway, as the elevation is high enough and it’s only a 30-40 minute drive into Manhattan. Yet, literally nothing happens in our town except maybe kids drinking in the woods and smoking some weed. However, the cops drive around in massive SUVs. They even got some kind of giant armored car years ago. It sits at the volunteer fire station, where we joke that all the “townies” who never left just sit around and drink beers.

I mean, do you REALLY need that many police driving around in Suburbans and brand new Explorers, doing nothing except maybe pulling someone over for going 35 mph down Main Street, which is 25 mph? I’m just glad my tax dollars aren’t paying for that nonsense. Yet, my parents’ tax dollars sure are, as they still live there.


In writing this Post, I became curious about the police budget in my small, extremely safe, upperclass hometown. The 2020 budget for the entire town is around $25 million. The budget for the police-$5.45 million! Wha what?

The police are allocated about 1/5th of the entire town’s budget, who mostly just sit in their cars and stroll into Dunkin Donuts on the regular! I’m not joking. Two friends back in high school worked there and HAD to give every cop who came in everything for free-it was a LOT of free coffee and donuts! More importantly, the budget is likely so high because their AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY is $122,000! At the very least, the minimum requirement to join the police in my hometown is a 4-year college degree, or active military service for 2 years plus a 2-year degree. So, at least they have some education under their belts.

Yet, there are a whole lot of attorneys out there who don’t earn that even after 10 years of practice. Yet, we had to complete 4 years of college, take the LSAT to enter an accredited law school, then complete 3 years of school to acquire our J.D. degree and THEN pass the bar exam just to practice law. You know what I earned when I left law school? $35,000 because I clerked for a judge and salaries are capped!

There Are Very Honorable, Good Police Out There

Listen, I’m definitely focusing on the negative here. There are many honorable men and women, who “wear blue”. There are many, who have even kneeled in support with the protestors.

However, thousands of people are risking their own safety to ironically protest the actions of the VERY people whose duty it is protect us! It’s not “just a few bad apples.” It’s orchards and orchards of bad apples, and no apple carries a gun and shoots oranges dead because they have a different skin type! Let’s just call it what it is …

There is a systematic problem within our police force today.

It’s not a new phenomenon.

So, is police brutality just getting more attention now? Do we know about more because anyone can pull out their phone, and video anything these days? Or, have marginalized people just had enough and simply will not tolerate this anymore?

Let me address just a few prior examples to demonstrate that police have been brutalizing people and/or using their power in sick, sick ways.

Daniel Holtzclaw-Oklahoma City Police Officer convicted and sentenced sentenced to 263 years in prison for preying on black women he encountered while patrolling poor neighborhoods of the City in 2013 and 2014

Daniel Holtzclaw, the lowest of the low, was an Oklahoma City officer who purposely preyed on black women in the City. He used his position as an officer to run background checks and find information that could be used to coerce victims into sex while on patrol in 2013 and 2014. He specifically targeted black women in poor areas knowing they had outstanding warrants and/or past criminal charges. Holtzclaw was found guilty in 2015 of 18 charges, including rape, forcing women to perform oral sex on him, and sexual battery involving eight women, although there were more women he did this to. He was sentenced to 263 years in prison. Yet, there’s an entire Facebook page dedicated to having him released!


Remember the “cannibal cop”? I don’t know if it reached national news but an NYPD officer, Gilberto Valle III (I appreciate that he used Roman numerals in his name, like some kind of royal prince) was arrested after his wife discovered he was spending time in Internet chat rooms describing detailed plans to abduct, torture, rape and cannibalize women. Valle claimed it was all “mere fantasy”!

The problem with his case – he never actually “committed the crimes”. He was arrested on conspiracy to kidnap and for accessing the federal National Crime Information Center database without authorization. He was convicted by a jury in March 2013. However, the judge overturned the conspiracy to kidnap charge. I’m unclear why the charge was permitted to be considered by the jury, if the judge just went and overturned it. However, there’s enough to discuss without me going “down that wormhole” of research. He served 21 months in jail, and was fired by the NYPD.

Yet, he went on to work as a “security manager” for a friend’s construction company. Oh, and then he published a book, “A Gathering of Evil”, which detailed “his fascination with killing and eating women through the lens of a group of sadists who kidnap two young New Yorkers.” https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ex-nypd-cannibal-releases-extremely-violent-horror-article-1.3745322

I hope I am NEVER ANYWHERE NEAR any construction site where that company works!


NONE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW IS REMOTELY ACCEPTABLE


Can We Fix Something So Utterly Broken?

In a country where there are literally more guns than people (Firearms per 100,000 residents: 1.) UnitedStates 120,413 2.) Yemen 53,144 3.) Canada 35,650 4.) Pakistan 21,422 5.) Germany 19,604);

In a country where people of color are STILL fighting to be seen simply as human beings and not obstacles for police target practice;

In a country where we claim to support “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and laud overselves as “The Land of the Free” yet, in reality that’s just for the 1%ers;

In a country where police time and time again kill innocent people and we say, “Oh, they were just doing their job.”;

In a country where the police are no longer police – they are truly their own mini-military forces;

In a country where children are being pepper-sprayed and need milk poured over their faces to relieve the pain;

In a country where an elderly man with a cane is shoved to the ground by police and a woman out buying groceries ends up looking like this;

In a country where police swarm in and members of the media even have to lay down on the ground for fear of being assaulted: https://twitter.com/jonnykip21/status/1267630906442948608?s=20

In a country where protestors sit peacefully, yet are assaulted and tear gased by police (Yes, they were in the road but there was mass confusion whether police blocked off the road): https://twitter.com/jonnykip21/status/1266797622662176770?s=20

In a country where the National Guard and police roll down residential streets shooting paint canisters at people on their own porches: https://twitter.com/tkerssen/status/1266921821653385225?s=20

Can we truly end, or by God, at least reduce police brutality?

Police Reform Bills

After all the pain and suffering, the deaths, the beatings, and the protests, some states and city councils are indeed passing police reform bills.

NY Governor Cuomo signing a package of police reform bills

The District of Columbia’s City Council passed a series of reforms, which prohibit the use of chemical agents, riot gear and stun guns against people exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

A protestor in Washington D.C.

Yet, not all attempts at police reform have been successful. While The Minneapolis City Council announced plans to disband its police department and instead, invest in community-based public safety programs, the Minnesota legislature failed to pass a state-wide police reform bill.

So, while reform is being passed in some places, attempts at reform are failing in others. Yet, protests continue and in turn, more stories of police brutality are coming to light.

Derrick Ollie Scott (42), an Oklahoma City man, died at the hands of police during his arrest in 2019. Before the murder of George Floyd, police refused to release bodycam footage of the incident. However, due to protests and the Floyd case, the Oklahoma City Police Dept. finally released the footage. It is disturbing, at best. Now, Scott was running from police and a gun was found in his pocket. However, he did not aim the gun or brandish it towards the police. In fact, watching the video, it appears to me he was running for his life, which ultimately he rightfully should have been given what transpired.

Once he began to run, Scott was tackled and thrown to the ground by a male officer. Immediately, Scott began gasping, stating, “I can’t breathe”. Another officer so kindly replied, “I don’t care”. Scott repeatedly said “I can’t breathe”, “Okay” and “Please” while one officer straddled him and handcuffed him. A female officer dug her knee into his shoulder, and threatened to tase him. Then the officers rolled him onto his side while pushing his head onto the ground. Medical personnel arrived at the scene, put him on a stretcher and fully strapped him down. At this point, Scott was crying out while being told, “Don’t resist. You’re fine.” He died while in custody shortly afterward.

Scott’s family saw the video. His mother stated, “[t]hey treated him…So inhuman. Like he was an animal.”

The three officers involved were absolved of any wrongdoing.


George Floyd did not deserve to die. His life was taken in such a brutal way. However, his name will live on in infamy. We will remember him. We will honor his name, as well as so many other people of color who died at the hands of police, believing they had the RIGHT to take those lives.

My heart breaks

No child should EVER have to hold a sign like this. Please know, whoever you are, lil man – YOU MATTER!

I PRAY YOU GROW UP IN A KINDER, GENTLER WORLD. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US TO ENSURE THAT HAPPENS.