If you haven’t been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve been missing out on a lot. There are a ton of hot topics being slung about the wires, and people up in arms across the United States concerning them. From Broadway actors, dancers, producers and choreographers protesting in Times Square, to groups of people closing down highways in California. Let’s just say if you aren’t paying attention then you are part of the problem.
Ok, maybe that’s a little unfair. Maybe you’ve been busy. I mean we did just have Thanksgiving and the US Holiday of Black Friday, that’s more than enough holiday cheer to keep the average American citizen from paying attention to social issues…, right? If that’s the case, I’d like you to read below. I’ve listed a few of the major ones you just might want to run through your favorite news service and brush up on. In no particular order, here they are:
1. New York, NY – Eric Garner – All over the news from print to radio to television is the case of 43-year-old Staten Island resident Eric Garner. Garner was detained by at least four police officers (see this YouTube Video) for what seems to be selling loose cigarettes, which is a no-no in the state of New York. Garner, as shown in the video was adamant that he had not done this, and was being harassed by the police. You can see in the video there has been some editing and the police voices are somewhat indistinct, so it is difficult to get the full story. The largest part of this piece is that four police officers took Garner down, one utilizing a choke-hold maneuver (outlawed by the city of New York) which led to the man’s death. If you’re not brushing up on this, go, now… to the Googles!
2. Ferguson, Missouri – The shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent Grand Jury decision this past week to not indict Police Officer Darren Wilson, has been a major spark to the protesting around the country this week. If you haven’t read up on the case, please at least get an idea of what happened before you make any of your own judgments. CNN does a fairly capable job of summing up the details and the timeline in this article: What happened when Michael Brown met Officer Darren Wilson. Plug in some of the major tags: Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, Ferguson, Shooting and Grand Jury and you will get a fairly good idea of what happened.
3. Cleveland, Ohio – AKA Little Toy Gun – The gist of this sad case? Poor communication and itchy trigger fingers. An individual called 911 to report that someone was waving a gun around a recreational center. They told 911 that it is possible the gun was 1. Fake and that 2. the individual may be a minor. The 911 operator failed to provide this information to the police, Officers Loehmann and Garmback, who arrived on the scene and surveillance footage shows them firing shots into the 12 year old boy 2 seconds after their car comes to a halt. Check out the ABC story here for more information: ABC Story.
4. Washington Post UN article – UN Experts raise concerns… I am adding this article in because I really want to tie all three of these incidents together. They do, of course, have a common element. Actually several… Horrible Communication, Disregard for proper Police procedures and… GUNS. Do you remember a little story from two years ago about a place called Sandy Hook? If you don’t, you might want to type that one into your favorite search engine. Every time a major crisis or event happens within the United States that involves guns the idea to strip Second Amendment rights is brought forward. While I do not think the UN will work to outright take Americans’ weapons by force, I think there is a driving culture in this country set on removing them from the equation.
While I am not here to say the above issues should not be protested and should not be debated because if we do they’ll take our guns away. What I am saying is don’t give up your right to protect yourself, just because you want to feel safer with other people, like the police, disarmed. Just because something is banned, illegal or verboten does not mean people won’t use it. If you give up your weapons so that you can feel safe, that doesn’t not mean a criminal will give up his. No, he’ll keep his so he can rob you.
Benjamin Franklin is so often quoted as having said “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ”Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.” It’s what I am trying to say now. Don’t give up your rights and freedoms, just so that you can feel safe and believe that others will do the same.
Or to quote another figure: