A Black Lives Matter march

8 July 2016

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A Facebook buddy of mine (that I also know in person) found a graphic that said "Did you fools notice how the shooting in Dallas took attention away from the two black men the police just killed?" Both my buddy and I saw the three sets of very recent killings as highly related. First, in Baton Rouge, LA, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, was pinned to the groud and then shot at point-blank range (5 July). The very next day, in Minnesota, Philando Castile, a 34-year-old black man, was pulled over and then shot dead (His four-year old daughter was in the back seat). The very next day after that, Micah Johnson, a black man who had been discharged from the Army in 2014, killed five Dallas, TX, police officers and wounded nine others.

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Food tables set up at the pre-march rally.

What was Johnson's motivation? We'll never know because he was killed by a drone on tracks. that is, the drone drove up to where Johnson was and then delivered a bomb, which killed Johnson. But I think it's reasonable to presume that the two previous police killings of two unarmed black men, occurring one right after the other, was a serious motivating factor in provoking Johnson to launch his killing spree.

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I'm pleased to say that we had a heavily white crowd for the march. The numbers were probably around 50-50 white and black. Blacks did all the speaking as the whites were all there just to show support. At one point during the march, I had an elderly black lady thank me for being part of the march as she felt we were protection for the blacks who were there. She was concerned that if the march had been an all-black affair, the police may not have been as nice as they were.

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For the secomd police shooting victim, Philando Castile, to have a legally-permitted gun is his car, did that help or hurt? Actually, that appears to have been the primary reason Castile was shot. The police saw the gun and apparently jumped to the conclusion that they were in mortal danger. Yes, he had a wife and child in the car with him, but "OMG! A gun!" apparently made them go blind with panic. Also, Mark Hughes, a black man for whom it was completely legal to carry a gun at the Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, only escaped tragedy by quickly turning himself in as soon as a friend tipped him off that he had been identified as a possible suspect in the rampage that was going on.

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From Daily Kos:

That was the lie NRA president Wayne LaPierre foisted upon the nation just one week after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in December 2012 that left 26 people dead. "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said, reiterating one of the NRA's favorite myths.
How did that theory work out in practice, when Micah Johnson began killing police officers? Not well.
In fact, if Dallas proved anything it's that the presence of good guys with guns neither deterred the gunman from acting nor neutralized him before he could shoot more people once police realized they were being attacked.

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I have a number of anti-war buddies who feel there's no real difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. I agree that's true for many specific issues, but the issue of guns being freely available to all without regulation or restriction is most definitely not one of them.

It's been nearly three weeks since the Democrats had their dramatic sit in on the floor of the House of Representatives. It was a success in that it helped draw the nation's attention to the gun epidemic that is raging unabated and untreated in this country.
But the sit-in didn't get the House to pass meaningful gun legislation. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan put forth an NRA-approved bill that Democrats feel is a complete waste of time, so Ryan is contemplating how to punish the Democrats for that sit-in of theirs.

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One of the many times the march stopped so that people could make speeches and "Occupy" a spot for awhile. Being a slow walker, I greatly appreciated their doing this.

President Obama maintains his optimism that we're not returning to the bad old days.

The president spoke sympathetically of police officers in gun-filled communities who have "very little margin of error" when deciding how to engage with people on the street who may well be armed, whether they mean harm or not. "Police have a really difficult time in communities where they know guns are everywhere," he said.
"If you care about the safety of our police officers, then you can't set aside the gun issue and pretend it's irrelevant."