If you read this, do not click like and move along. Do not comment and move along. Your help is needed. Right now. Today. If you read no further than the next four lines and then you go to my advocacy page and start clicking phone numbers and making calls, then great! But don’t read this post and not make the calls. This is life and death. So, please... PLEASE... here’s your homework for today (and remember, DC is three hours ahead of we Californians, so try to make these calls early, at least before 2pm PT):
1. Call your Senators and oppose Operation Legend
2. Call your Senators again - make it a separate call for logging purposes - (and the Republican Congressional Leadership) and demand they extend the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance packages - particularly the additional $600/week
3. Call the Louisville lines and demand the men who killed Breonna Taylor are fired and charged.
(And for bonus points) 4: help the protestors in Portland
Now, lemme see if I can take this ugly bag of snakes and lay em out straight for you… (Dan Aykroyd, Evolution, 2001)
I’ve already explicated ad nauseam the myriad reasons the PUA is necessary, so I’m not going to waste space on it today. Scroll down to my post from yesterday (July 22) if you need it, though.
As for Operation Legend and Breonna Taylor… This is weedy, so bear with me (please also now imagine that there's a bear with me).
Trump has now sent federal troops into Portland with the stated purpose of “protecting federal property.” That’s the “why” as to why they were sent. What they have done in practice, however, is abduct American citizens who were peacefully protesting, arrest them without probable cause, shoot them in the head with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets, and terrorize them, all while using unmarked cars and wearing unmarked military-style uniforms.
As of now, Trump has also sent federal troops to Kansas City, and is deploying them to Chicago and Albuquerque, under the banner of Operation Legend, with the stated purpose of working to “restore public safety, protect our nation’s children, and bring violent perpetrators to justice.”
That’s the talking line: restore public safety.
Operation Legend – this Trump-declared “surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime” – is named for LeGend Taliferro, a four-year-old Kansas City boy who was shot and killed by a stray bullet while sleeping in his home.
In the press briefing, Trump was quoted as saying, "No mother should ever have to cradle her dead child in her arms simply because politicians refuse to do what is necessary to secure their neighborhood and to secure their city. Every American – no matter their income, their race, or their ZIP code – should be able to walk their city streets free from violence and free from fear." (July 22, 2020)
Okay, now while on the surface that seems like a noble and righteous thing to say, context is EVERYTHING.
He said this while:
1. the US coronavirus death toll surpasses 145,000,
2. he only FIRST stated that masks “have an impact” on Tuesday (July 21, 2020),
3. he’s mandated that hospitals stop informing the CDC of their cases and, instead, send that information directly to a private firm contracted by the White House,
4. and while the men who shot and killed Breonna Taylor in the middle of the night in her home (March 13, 2020) still walk free, two of them still with their jobs as gun-carrying police officers.
Y’all, look… at this point, it is both willfully naïve and actively short-sighted to ignore the parallels here.
LeGend Taliferro is killed by a stray bullet in his home Kansas City, Trump sends federal troops into Portland, Kansas City, Chicago, and Albuquerque…
Breonna Taylor is killed by at least eight bullets fired by three plainclothes police officers after they broke into her home in Louisville, and… nothing.
Meanwhile, Trump declares that every American “should be able to walk their city streets free from violence and free from fear”?
Homie, I can’t take my trash to the curb without encountering at least three motherf***ers walking by without masks on, and all it takes is for one of them to be covid-positive and to sneeze for me to catch it, spread it to my girlfriend and roommates, for them to spread it to their partners, who’d spread it to their roommates, who’d spread it to… YOU SEE WHAT I’M SAYING.
That’s FEAR, a**hole.
And it is not being created by accident. As recently as July 19th, Trump said of the coronavirus, “It is what it is.”
“IT IS WHAT IT IS”??? 145,000 people dead and “it is what it is.”
And as for the “communities plagued by violent crime”? Let’s do some math:
From 2013 (TWENTY THIRTEEN) through the most recent data available for 2020, the total number of homicides in Chicago, Kansas City, and Albuquerque COMBINED equal 5,699. That’s a SEVEN YEAR total. In 2020 by itself, that number is 499.
Meanwhile, also in 2020 alone, Covid-19 has killed 145,000 Americans.
(And just for the sake of full comparative context, the most recent data I could find for total homicides in the US was from 2017: 19,510. But mind you, that was for a 12-month nationwide span, and data for 2020 January-July is difficult to come by yet.)
So, to sum that data up into something digestible:
499 deaths: “surge of federal law enforcement.”
145,000 deaths: “it is what it is.”
LeGend Taliferro killed by a stray bullet: “we will be there with full force.”
Breonna Taylor killed by police officers: “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
None of this is to discount the pain and suffering of LeGend’s family, or any of the families or friends of those who have been killed by homicide in this country. Obviously. Every single one of those deaths is a tragedy.
However comma: as I just said, EVERY one of those deaths is a tragedy. EVERY. So when the administration USES *some* deaths as an excuse to send an incursion of armed forces into US cities while dismissing *other* deaths like that of Breonna Taylor, excusing her murderers, and ignoring the severity of the pandemic that has now quantifiably ravaged our country worse than anywhere else on the planet, no one can afford to sit idly by and hope someone else will do the work.
EVERYONE. NEEDS. TO MAKE. SOME DAMN. CALLS.
Do not take this “surge of federal law enforcement” into our cities lying down.
Do not lose steam in the fight to bring Breonna Taylor’s killers to justice.
Do not relax in the fight against Covid-19.
There’s a lot happening. And that’s not an accident or a mistake. Keeping us all off-balance and disoriented is a tactic and it’s working. It exhausts the left, it causes the centrists to tap out completely, and it energizes the conservative (particularly rural) right by playing into their confirmation biases. This is Psych 101 and Business 103. (Hell, it’s a play straight out of The 48 Laws of Power and The Art of War.)
Take a breath.
Now let it out.
One more in…
Okay. Now: go back to this page, use the links, and call your senators and the Republican Congressional leaders.
I know it’s daunting and can feel scary. But let me assure you from personal experience, the people on the other end of the line are human beings just like you. They put their quarantine pajama pants on just like you and I do. Be polite, be courteous, but be firm.
1. Operation Legend is a violation of states’ rights, and our American civil rights.
2. Extend the PUA; without that $600/week, people will go homeless.
3. Fire and charge the men who killed Breonna Taylor.
4. (Bonus: help the protestors in Portland; lots of links here)
Go get em.