Here’s a sure-fire way to know that you hate women: when an incident of intimate partner violence in which a man knocks a woman unconscious gains national attention and every question or comment you think to make has to do with her behavior, you really hate women. Like, despise.
There is no other explanation. There is no “I need all the facts.” There is no excuse. You hate women. Own it.
Now, you probably don’t believe you hate women. You probably honestly think you’re being an objective observer whose only interest is the truth. You are delusional.
We have this problem in our discourse around the most important challenges we face where we feel we have to be “fair to both sides.” But sometimes, one of those sides is subjugation and oppression. If you’re OK with legitimizing that side in the interest of “fairness,” you’re essentially saying you’re OK with oppression as a part of the human condition. That’s some hateful shit.
Some of the factual assertions in recent amicus briefs would not pass muster in a high school research paper. But that has not stopped the Supreme Court from relying on them. Recent opinions have cited “facts” from amicus briefs that were backed up by blog posts, emails or nothing at all.
Some amicus briefs are careful and valuable, of course, citing peer-reviewed studies and noting contrary evidence. Others cite more questionable materials.
Some “studies” presented in amicus briefs were paid for or conducted by the group that submitted the brief and published only on the Internet. Some studies seem to have been created for the purpose of influencing the Supreme Court.
Yet the justices are quite receptive to this dodgy data. Over the five terms from 2008 to 2013, the court’s opinions cited factual assertions from amicus briefs 124 times, Professor Larsen found.
The phenomenon is novel. “The U.S. Supreme Court is the only American judicial entity that depends so heavily on amicus briefs to educate itself on factual matters,” Professor Larsen wrote.
The trend is at odds with the ordinary role of appellate courts, which are not supposed to be in the business of determining facts. That is the job of the trial court, where evidence is submitted, sifted and subjected to the adversary process. Appellate courts traditionally take those facts, fixed in the trial court record, as a given. Their job is to identify and apply legal principles to those facts.
After 30 years of having an (informed) nagging distrust of police, White people and the institutions that are supposed to serve Black, taxpaying citizens, I am not surprised by the events of the past week. I am not surprised that Mike Brown is dead. I am not surprised that the police have released information intended to sully his name. I am not surprised that peaceful protests have been met with violence and intimidation.
(And if you are surprised by any of this, let #Ferguson be the ice bucket dumped atop your head to jolt you from your slumber.)
Yet, I didn’t go to Ferguson last weekend to break news or grab some sort of exclusive coverage or to make a name for myself as a journalist Of course, I wanted to make sure that EBONY had boots on the ground and firsthand coverage, but telling a meaningful story wasn’t at the forefront of my mind.
I went to bear witness. I needed to see it all for my own eyes.
It cut me to my core to see the heartbreak in the faces of older women handing out lovingly prepared peanut butter sandwiches because, ‘Y’all better eat something.’ There is a choking sadness in the sight of toddlers holding signs begging for the ability to grow up. Walking down the street where the manchild known as ‘Mike Mike’ took his last, terrified steps, and seeing the place where he lay bleeding for hours like roadkill burned as much as the teargas we ingested for the simple crime of giving a f-ck.
We allow this. In a modern democracy. For the same reason we don’t have background checks to stop murderers and terrorists from buying guns, or require people to report a lost or stolen gun, or stop people from buying a sniper rifle that can shoot someone from 10 football fields away.
We have allowed our culture to be manhandled by people who have purchased and repackaged our history. They don’t want you to know that as recently as the 1970s concealed carry in public was rare, and we took a similar stance on deadly weapons as many other similar countries. But then the NRA was taken over by a gun nut who had actually shot a kid dead in cold blood when he was younger. He brought with him the radicalized, right-wing mentality of a child, one that devalues human life and proclaims, as he did, that some dead people here, there, and everywhere is just “the price we pay for freedom.”
“My father had taught me to be nice first, because you can always be mean later, but once you’ve been mean to someone, they won’t believe the nice anymore. So be nice, be nice, until it’s time to stop being nice, then destroy them.”—Laurell K. Hamilton, A Stroke of Midnight (via rabbitinthemoon)
“In general, I think we need to move away from the premise that being a good person is a fixed immutable characteristic and shift towards seeing being good as a practice. And it is a practice that we carry out by engaging with our imperfections. We need to shift towards thinking that being a good person is like being a clean person. Being a clean person is something you maintain and work on every day.We don’t assume ‘I am a clean person therefore I don’t need to brush my teeth.’ When someone suggests to us that we have something stuck in our teeth we don’t say to them ‘What do you mean I have something stuck in my teeth—but I’m a clean person?!’”—
Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. I only just heard the sad, sad news of Robin Williams’s death. My wife sent me a message to tell me he had died, and, when I asked her what he died from, she told me something that nobody in the news seems to be talking about.
When people die from cancer, their cause of death can be various horrible things – seizure, stroke, pneumonia – and when someone dies after battling cancer, and people ask “How did they die?”, you never hear anyone say “pulmonary embolism”, the answer is always “cancer”. A Pulmonary Embolism can be the final cause of death with some cancers, but when a friend of mine died from cancer, he died from cancer. That was it. And when I asked my wife what Robin Williams died from, she, very wisely, replied “Depression”.
The word “suicide” gives many people the impression that “it was his own decision,” or “he chose to die, whereas most people with cancer fight to live.” And, because Depression is still such a misunderstood condition, you can hardly blame people for not really understanding. Just a quick search on Twitter will show how many people have little sympathy for those who commit suicide…
But, just as a Pulmonary Embolism is a fatal symptom of cancer, suicide is a fatal symptom of Depression. Depression is an illness, not a choice of lifestyle. You can’t just “cheer up” with depression, just as you can’t choose not to have cancer. When someone commits suicide as a result of Depression, they die from Depression – an illness that kills millions each year. It is hard to know exactly how many people actually die from Depression each year because the figures and statistics only seem to show how many people die from “suicide” each year (and you don’t necessarily have to suffer Depression to commit suicide, it’s usually just implied). But considering that one person commits suicide every 14 minutes in the US alone, we clearly need to do more to battle this illness, and the stigmas that continue to surround it. Perhaps Depression might lose some its “it was his own fault” stigma, if we start focussing on the illness, rather than the symptom. Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. He died from Depression*. It wasn’t his choice to suffer that.
Don’t be distracted by slanderous stories of light fingers.
Whether true or not, it doesn’t justify shooting kids in the street.
Note who says it does however, remember exactly who simply doesn’t believe in following our system of justice, and who argues for death as righteous punishment for walking in the street or taking candy. Those people have a hatred against humanity, against due process, and against this country.
The people in charge of a large American community are systematically shredding the United States Constitution tonight. It is nothing less than a police coup.
The Bill of Rights guarantees that all citizens have the right to assemble peacefully. And yet residents of Ferguson who gathered to protest under the bright August sun were met with a mid-sized Army of militarized cops, ordered off the public right-of-way, and ordered to go home, under the glare of a rifle mounted on a tripod. In a move that even George Orwell would not have believed, cops with loudspeakers insisted to the crowd, “You have the right to peacefully assemble - from 25 feet away.”
The Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech — but over these successive nights citizens who’ve tried to speak out of have had tear gas fired at them (in at least one case at a private citizen on his own lawn), then rubber bullets, as well as wooden pellets fired from guns.
The Bill of Rights protects the right of a free press — but apparently not in Ferguson, Mo., not tonight. Reporters from the Huffington Post and the Washington Post were arrested by cops inside a McDonald’s (!) as they were trying to file their reports; the Post’s Wesley Lowery, an African-American, was slammed into a soda fountain. They were eventually released (one small step for mankind) and when Lowery was asked, is he was more scared of the protesters or the cops, he answered: “Easy answer, i’m a black man – the police.” Other reporters, including two who happened to be black, said they were denied access to a news conference. Trymaine Lee, the former Daily News intern who went on to become a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, said on Twitter: “I’ve been told to disperse and go to my residence…”
America’s political traditions insist that the public has a right to know what its government is doing. This, too, has been ripped into a thousand pieces in Ferguson, Mo. The name of the officer who shot Mike Brown has been shielded from the public, and so have most basic facts of what occurred last weekend. A report from the medical examiner was censored to keep the public from even knowing how many times Brown was shot. What is Ferguson covering up?
When you hear about the depressed comedian, think also of the lonely writer; the frightened soldier; the tortured genius. The people so afraid of what is inside them they do everything in their power to keep us from experiencing it. The people who do their best to “be the change they want to see in the world.”