This should not even need saying, but obviously, it does. So, for the record:
To oppose police brutality is not to oppose police.
They have not stopped.
That's one of the most heartening things about the demonstrations against police brutality that began with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August and renewed with a grand jury's decision last week not to indict a New York police officer who choked Eric Garner to death.
I once asked that of a law professor. The Eighth Amendment prohibits "cruel and unusual" punishment, but I figured there had to be some technical definition I, as a layperson, was missing. I mean, from where I sit, it's pretty "cruel and unusual" to execute someone, but to judge from the 1,392 executions of the past 38 years, that isn't the case.
What follows is for the benefit of one William James O'Reilly Jr. -- "Bill" to his fans.
OK, fine. Let's talk about "black on black" crime.
In September, I received an email that should have left me feeling vindicated.
It was in response to the nonfatal shooting of Levar Jones, an unarmed African-American man, by Sean Groubert, a white South Carolina state trooper. Groubert would later claim he shot Jones because Jones came at him in a menacing way. But this lie was unmasked by Groubert's own dashcam video, which shows Jones complying with the trooper's orders until Groubert inexplicably panics and starts shooting.
Wow. Just ... wow.
So what's next?
What, in the name of God?
It is a question that demands asking, that haunts this most recent atrocity.
Last week, I spent a day at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where some students and I talked about protest. Des Moines is six hours up the road from Ferguson, Missouri, the St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, was shot to death by a police officer in August, prompting weeks of often violent clashes between protesters, rioters and heavily militarized police.
Dear Republican Party:
Impeach President Obama.
The first time he said it was 10 years ago.
Back then, it seemed a brisk wind in a stuffy room, a reclamation of defining verities somehow lost in the smoke and haze of political expedience. He said it again last week and the effect was starkly different -- somehow forlorn, like birthday cake after the party, or a Christmas tree set out on the curb on Jan. 2.
They say they are going to rape Shoshana Roberts.
She's the star of a hidden camera video that has gone viral. Posted by Hollaback!, a group that campaigns against the street harassment of women -- "catcalling" -- it shows Roberts taking a silent stroll through New York City. Over the course of 10 hours, she records over a hundred instances of unwanted attention from unknown men.
You can't handle the truth.
There is a temptation to take that line from Jack Nicholson -- snarled at Tom Cruise in "A Few Good Men" -- as the moral of the story, the lesson to be learned from a new study on trustworthiness and the news media.
It was the summer of 1969 the first time I came here, two months shy of my 12th birthday.
Last week, a federal judge told us what we already knew.
Namely, that police in Ferguson, Missouri, violated the rights of protesters demonstrating against the shooting death of Michael Brown.