Facts and Black Voices Lead Me Right

Part 1: Just the Facts Please

Okay, to the surprise of probably no one, the bard is not Black. To the surprise of all the White boys telling me I have a tiny penis for siding with facts and the Black voices who have also sided with the facts: I actually have no penis. And I was born that way. 

So now that little secret is out in the open. I still plan to keep the logo, even if 2020 side armed me into breaking the illusion before four months have passed. Plus, I still don’t like the idea of any unnecessary information being out there to lead people to me due to my family and job, not until I know I can do it safely anyway. If you’ve seen any of the videos going up on Twitter, completely ignored by the news, you’ll understand why even in my relatively red state I’m not about to take any chances. 

For a bit more information, I also technically fall into that dreaded Millennial category: or at least I think I do, the qualifications keep changing depending on who is trying to get themselves out of the label. Therefore, despite being raised conservatively and finding myself leaning that way in many things, I still had that moment–like everyone in my generation has been programmed to–where I see the crowd, hear their cries and see their passion, and I stop. I think on all the movies of the good guys overcoming the bad regime and I wonder: am I in the wrong? Because I know what I call personal responsibility seems harsh. What I call accountability seems cruel. And the news is a constant inundation of terror and pain. 

That’s when I turn to facts. That’s when I listen to voices that have been silenced. And I can now say with confidence, that my beliefs passed that test. In this article, I’ll be covering the police conundrum and systemic racism issue that is linked to it. This blew up into a massive piece so I’ll be breaking it at least in half. This is the fact half and in a few days I’ll post the voices and news half. If I’m not hiding in a bunker burning through my extra padding as we fight for survival, that is. 

The Facts

Let’s get two final things straight as we dive into this discussion. First, I’m not doing this to give anyone an excuse to be terrible to anyone else. This is not about pointing fingers, it’s not about revenge or calls to action. It’s about finding the truth about where our real problems lie as a nation so we can stop fighting and find real ways to move forward.

Second: numbers are numbers. They are not racist, they cannot be appropriated, and two portions of data can’t be held up as accurate and a third called the “statistics of the oppressors.” I’m tired of hearing those pointless arguments. Face the facts and come up with real solutions. That’s the only way we’ll be able to put this to bed once and for all. 

So what are the facts? Is there systemic racism in America, especially in our police? Do parents need to worry every time their child leaves the house that they’ll fall to a police man’s bullet? Do Black parents need to fear this the most? 

The answer is a resounding no. No, the police are not running around slaughtering people in the streets. No, the police as a whole are not targeting anyone of a certain race. No, the average person “minding their business,” as someone claimed on Twitter, is not going to die just for the hell of it at police hands. And I have evidence, available to everyone if they would stop listening to the same media sources that think a brainless virus, that can’t even reproduce on its own let alone think politically, can magically take two weeks off from infecting people if their cause is “justified” only to reappear when the wrong-think group comes back to hold their own rallies and meetups. 

Let’s look at some data, starting with the least controversial we possibly can, and build our way to the real problems and the hard truths so next time we can decide what we can do to work towards a solution for everyone.

Biology and Death

Population

The United States is made up of many different peoples. From all different lands and histories our ancestors, or sometimes we ourselves, came crawling towards Lady Liberty with the hope of a better tomorrow. So it’s a real shame that in the year of Our Lord 2020 we still classify ourselves based on skin color. 

Because let’s face it, we don’t separate each other by heritage. We don’t care about Irish or Swedish. We don’t care about Kenyan or Ethiopian. We don’t care about Chile, Mexico, Spain, or Brazil. It’s Black, White, Asian, Native, Latino, and mixed/other. That says next to nothing about who we are. Elon Musk might be from North Africa but no one is going to let him into Black crowd. I’m pretty sure that’s why the term Black became the politically correct one over African American. Not all Africans are Black. 

There’s our Problem #1. We’ve let ourselves be divided this way in our politics, our schooling, our advertising, and our social lives. I’ll leave out medicine because, like biological gender, different peoples can have different health concerns based on their country of origin and skin color. 

Problematic as it is, that’s how all of our information is sorted so that’s what we’ll have to stick with. Using the 2010 census information we can see that roughly 64% of Americans are classified as White, around 12% are classified as Black, 16% are Latino, 0.7% and 0.15% are Native and Pacific Islanders, 5% are Asian of some kind, and around 2% are classified as biracial and other. These are the numbers I’m using, even though I’ve seen 13 and 14% be thrown around for the Black population. 

I will warn you, in a few places I have to get creative with number interpretation. The reason? The FBI and other crime units in the US consider Hispanic/Latino an ethnicity not a race. So while this census data has them as their own separate group, in much of the crime information Hispanics are split up and divided depending on their skin color. Hispanic data is included as a separate statistic in most, and I’ve done my best to represent it when possible, but there is usually a bit of a disconnect in the numbers because it’s overlapping data. 

Cause of Death

The next thing we need to ask is: are Black individuals more likely to die by homicide than other races. Looking at the CDC’s listing of common deaths I’ve found that, yes actually, they are. Black Americans are the most likely to die to homicide at 3% with Hispanics and Native populations coming in second at half that. White and Asian Americans both bring up the close though White’s higher overall population count brings their percentage number down the lowest. On the other hand, Blacks have the lowest suicide rate by a whole percentage point and if you know someone who is a Native American, please hug them and tell them it’s going to be okay because they leave the rest of us in the dust when it comes to rate of suicide. They also have almost twice the accidental deaths which looks a bit suspicious with that suicide rate.

If we’re being honest, I’d argue that suicide is a much bigger topic than police brutality or even murder. In not a single case does the number of police killings outnumber the number of suicides: it’s a big problem for everyone. So hug your white male friends too because that number is outrageous no matter the percentages. [Note: I split the ‘other’ category for murders between Natives and Asians because the FBI does not distinguish, neither does WaPo in their counts for deaths by police which is also split in half for this purpose. Also, as stated before, the Hispanic overlaps with the other counts due to how the FBI tracks race and ethnicity separately.]

Though, as we can see, the lowest suicide rates and the highest murders makes Blacks the only case where we see the homicide bar surpass the suicide bars. 

Since, we’re still focused on the riots and racism against blacks, we’ll throw the suicide chat to the side. Instead we’ll focus on how, in a few short paragraphs, we have answered one of the biggest talking points: Black Americans are more likely to be killed than any other race. So what next? 

Crime and the Police

Blood on the Hands

If we want to see if these murders are a matter of racism and police brutality, we need to look at who is causing them. This is where we start to get into the controversial territory. Because if you look at the facts then the ones most responsible for killing Black Americans are other Black Americans. Just like with Whites, Hispanics, and “Others,” you are more likely to be killed by someone who looks just like you than you are to be killed by anyone else. And it’s not close by any means. 

I think that is an important thing to note: you are more likely to be killed by any relative or friend over an argument than you are to be killed as a result of a hate crime. I don’t want to negate the hate crimes, because even with the vast majority of crimes being simple intimidation, Blacks do report the most hate crimes followed by Jews, Whites, then Gays. It is something we need to keep in mind. 

There is something else that needs addressing too. It’s another of the controversial things that is often shut down, which I think in part is due to how outlandishly blown out of proportion the graphs that I’ve seen wind up being. I’ve been guilty of spreading a few of these around myself, mostly because I didn’t pay close enough attention to the titles, so I have even more reason to set the record straight. 

Blacks kill more White people than Whites kill Black people. 

Not just in numbers, but in percentages of crime too. The number is almost double: 8% of Blacks are killed by Whites and 15.5% of Whites are killed by Blacks. So yeah, if you see a table going around that claims more than a 2x higher interracial murder rate, that’s some bull. If it’s violent crime in general… Well, we’ll get to that when we get to it. 

Why do these things matter? Because of what we’re fighting about. Black Lives Matter protesters are taking to the streets saying that it is dangerous for Blacks in our nation today and they point the finger at White people and the police as the reasons. Despite no guarantee that they are committed by white people and though the majority of the 2500 hate crimes experienced by Blacks would statistically be intimidation, simple assault, or vandalism, it is more than twice what is reported for whites. That is something that I want to see change and eradicated as much as possible. Though, I’ll go ahead and throw up Problem #2 which is, those 2500 people, even if they are all white, do not make the few hundred million other white folks in America also racist. Just like any assaults or murders by a black man don’t stain all black men. 

Problem #3 is not only that common lawlessness is what kills most people, but also that we aren’t allowed to talk about it. If a mother is afraid of her child walking out the door, it shouldn’t be because she thinks a police officer or a member of another race are going to kill them. Ideally, no mother will have any fear for her child’s life but it won’t go away as long as we ignore what the real problem is. 

And because we’re tackling the big issues here, Problem #4: though Blacks do record more interracial hate crimes than any other group, they are not immune from targeting people of other races in a more deadly fashion than the hate they receive. Calling this information racist, appropriation of facts, or the “statistics of oppressors” is not going to help anyone get over these deep wounds we have. 

Police: Help or Harm

So what about the police? Where do they fit into all of this? And why am I using the 2018 numbers instead of the 2019 numbers? It’s not to make things look better, I promise. I’ll acknowledge right now that 2019 was worse for police fatalities than 2018. But there are two reasons why I chose the year I did. First, at the time of writing this the in depth breakdown charts for 2019 crime had not yet been released meaning I had more accurate data overall from 2018. Second, like in two other cases, I caught a source editing itself after things began to heat up politically. 

Yes, after Tucker Carlson praised WaPo for their accurate record keeping on police shootings and used their data to explain the ten deaths of unarmed black individuals at the hand of police in 2019, they found 4 more deaths to add to the count. I admit they also found 6 more White deaths taking that number from 19 to 25 which keeps the general ratio, but I find it particularly hard to accept that between June 3 and June 13 they were able to discover, or reclassify,ten different victims who had no weapons at the time of their death. There does not seem to be any such adjustments to the 2018 data, perhaps due to the number of unarmed deaths being higher anyway. 

Let this be a lesson: Problem #5 the media will do anything it can to make the situation look worse than it is. There is nothing so terrible, heinous, or tragic that the media can’t twist it worse to fit their narrative. 

Now, back to what the police can and can’t be blamed for. If you look at the chart, you’ll see right away that unarmed or unknown police fatalities are a minority of the total number of fatal confrontations at the hands of police. For Whites, the 30 cases wind up being 6% of overall deadly encounters with police while Blacks wind up with 23 or 10%. There is a small difference of around 4% here. And even if you compare it to total homicide deaths, leaving you with 0.9% of White deaths and 0.7% of Black deaths, I think we should have a look at what is going on here. 

And no, I’m not going to say don’t run from or fight the police. Yet. No matter how much of an argument that may be, I think there is something else to look at first.

A group of scientists, eager to know the truth on the question of perceived racial disparities in police encounters, used a different metric to measure that I’m shocked has never been talked about before. In fact, they’ve been discussed so little that some try to argue their invalidity. Why? Because it turns the argument on its head. 

How can that be? After all, at 64% of the population Whites are fatally killed by the police 46% of the time while Blacks only represent 12.2% of the population and they were 23% of the deaths in 2018. Between that and the 4% difference in unarmed deaths, it’s a clear case, right? Not when you factor in violent crime and county demographics. 

“However, using population as a benchmark makes the strong assumption that White and Black civilians have equal exposure to situations that result in FOIS. If there are racial differences in exposure to these situations, calculations of racial disparity based on population benchmarks will be misleading. Researchers have attempted to avoid this issue by using race-specific violent crime as a benchmark, as the majority of FOIS involve armed civilians. When violent crime is used as a benchmark, anti-Black disparities in FOIS disappear or even reverse.”

David J. Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario

Disappear or even reverse. It’s a big statement, especially since our entire world is in the process of burning down using this as its excuse. We’ll save any speculations on whether or not that’s what’s really going on for later. For now, let’s see how they came up with those numbers.

We already broke down murders, but there are more violent crimes than that. There is rape, aggravated assault, and burglary to name a few. And as you can see, those numbers aren’t pretty. For 2018, while White people committed roughly 59% of violent crime, slightly smaller than their overall representation, Black people committed 37%. That’s three times the size of their share of the population.

If the percentages of overall crime aren’t enough, let’s use this second graph to break it down another way. If you divide population density by the number of violent crimes, it’s one crime per every 682 White people and one crime every 201 Black people. 

Not every person is a criminal. The vast majority of both races are loving, peaceful, smart, and non-violent. It’s time to realize all the same, there is a reason police officers are found frequently in Black neighborhoods. And we have to start admitting that it’s not racism. 

Just like how White people made up 47% of fatal police encounters in 2018 versus 23% of Blacks, the #1 and #2 spots, respectively, the exact same trend is present among crimes committed. This supersedes the percentage of population because POLICE AREN’T POLICING POPULATIONS, THEY ARE POLICING CRIME. 

Simply put, Blacks make up much less of the population but, Problem #6, they act out violent crime proportionately more than any other race leading to increased encounters with the police.

“On the other hand, race-specific violent crime strongly predicted the race of a civilian fatally shot by police, explaining over 40% of the variance in civilian race. These results bolster claims to take into account violent crime rates when examining fatal police shootings.”

David J. Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario

Now for the other part of the study, county demographics. Because I know some of you will be chomping at the bit eager to shout out that “just because some black communities have more crime doesn’t mean they all do!” and that is correct. Luckily for us, those conducting this study also thought of that so they dove into county specifics. They looked into what crimes took place in a certain area and what sorts of people became fatally involved with the police. 

What they found is that the more White crime went up, the less likely it was that a Black or Hispanic person would be killed by police. Conversely, they noted that as Black or Hispanic crime went up, more people shot were Black or Hispanic respectively. Black and Hispanic crime rates did not have a major positive or negative effect on the other race. 

“Controlling for predictors at the civilian, officer, and county levels, a person fatally shot by police was 6.67 times less likely (OR = 0.15 [0.09, 0.27]) to be Black than White and 3.33 times less likely (OR = 0.30 [0.21, 0.47]) to be Hispanic than White. Thus, in the typical shooting, we did not find evidence of anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity.”

David J. Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario

Something that the article pointed out is that disparities and bias are not necessarily the same. A police officer could potentially have a personal negative bias while his actions fall within the realm of excusable disparity. But all of them? Or even most of them? 

“We did not find evidence for anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity in police use of force across all shootings, and, if anything, found anti-White disparities when controlling for race-specific crime. While racial disparity did vary by type of shooting, no one type of shooting showed significant anti-Black or -Hispanic disparity.”

David J. Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario

How could a systemically, set in its ways, racist to the core, even if on an internal level, police force possibly accidentally only shoot people who fell in line with racial crime so perfectly that it made White people look targeted by comparison? 

More Than Murder

Only two more bits for this section and we’ll be through part one.

As I mentioned before, there are two types of graphs floating around the internet right now. The first is specifically about interracial murder, the other is about interracial violent crime as a whole. 

We saw that when it comes to murders by the percentages, Blacks are roughly twice as likely to kill Whites. But what about everything else? Are the crazy graphs that show massive disparities between races correct? Well…

There are a few caveats as you can see from the extensive ledger. Specifically, there is an issue with some of the numbers surrounding Asian and Other crime. Either because they couldn’t find enough data on it occurring, or because the data varied so widely, it was hard to pin down an accurate finding. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Asians leave everyone else alone for the most part which is what has caused the issues. Now we know who gets the most disciplined population award. 

Taking in the information as a whole, the first thing of note is that White people get beat on. A lot. No other group comes close, not even by half. Like, I don’t know how these numbers can even be publicly available and we are going through the crap we are.

Not only do Whites get targeted more often, according to this White people are twice as likely to target an Asian or Hispanic person than a Black person and a Black person is one and a half times as likely to attack a White person than the other way around. That’s not good, mind you, but it takes all the wind out of the Whites bullying Blacks argument. And to give a visual to the numbers, here’s one more Microsoft chart.

Here we see again the visual reminder that the person most likely to wrong you is someone who looks just like you. Unless you’re Asian then you’re more likely to be wronged by a Black individual. And, if you look closely you’ll see that while percentage-wise Blacks are hurting more Blacks, when it comes down to numbers, they are hurting more Whites.  

Other things to note are Hispanics overall receive more violent victimization than Blacks; who victimize them at around the same rate, though overall lower numbers, as they do Whites. And we could all stand to learn a thing or two about not being assholes from the Asian communities in America. 

What does this all mean? For one, it means that the chart I’m referring to is accurate, though it leaves out Asians entirely and the intraracial crime bars. I feel that does us an overall disservice, because if there is one thing that we’ve seen and I think deserves to be front and center is the fact that we are hurting ourselves more than we are targeting anyone else. Whites do it, Blacks do it, Hispanics do it, and Asians just want to be left alone. Violence wise anyway. 

Problem #7 The injuries we are causing to our neighbors is a result of the pain and turmoil within ourselves, not because of a prejudice against that neighbor. 

Why So Trigger Happy?

One more thing for this section. Let’s tackle this last stupid straw man of an argument that I hear thrown around about police. “Why is he a police officer if he’s so afraid of dying?” This is normally said about an officer who kills a subject who is armed and didn’t shoot, a subject who appeared armed but wound up not being so, or a subject who was unarmed but did something else to cause a life or death situation to unfold. Let’s address each one of these. 

First: Subject is armed but does not fire first. News flash, you don’t have to wait for someone to kill you to be justified in defending yourself. That’s kind of the entire point of self defense; not dying. And yes, a police officer who is in the process of confronting a criminal who decides to make the encounter about life and death deserves to live more than the criminal who refused to listen to orders. Deescalation is not a magical thing. It’s one thing if you’re in a standoff and no one is directly pointing a live weapon at anyone else. That’s when you get the negotiators on the line and try to deescalate. When weapons are drawn and pointed, it’s time for orders and stern commands. And if you’re running and see someone aim at you, it’s time to fire before you lose your life and your weapon.

Which is real? Too late! You’re dead.

Second: Subject appears armed but winds up being unarmed. This is when a cell phone, toy weapon, or in the case of a popular book a hairbrush looks like a weapon in the heat of the moment and due to the escalated situation, the subject gets killed. Sometimes when this happens, it’s a matter of suicide by cop. Other times, it’s a matter of a mental break and darkness. Again, would you risk your life by waiting the extra seconds to see if it’s a handgun or an air soft gun? These cases are tragic, and luckily much less frequent than even unarmed deaths. 

Finally, we have the unarmed individuals who still pose a threat. Because that can be the case. They can choke an officer, try to wrestle their gun away, resist tazing and still continue to fight, they might have a history of armed standoffs and claim to have a gun during another standoff, or they could have a gun on hand that they just didn’t have time to reach because the officer stopped them. It’s funny how the only two people charged with murder or manslaughter in these unarmed cases are those whose subjects had guns at hand.

And let’s not pretend that it doesn’t go the other way too. In 2019, 48 police officers were killed on the job. Many were just pulling people over for speeding. Five were killed in unprovoked attacks just for being police officers, two more were ambushed. Three were killed by cars, one died trying to serve a court order. There is not a single part of their job that is safe. Because even when it’s not felonious, cops can be killed on the job. Sixteen were killed by being run over during a car accident. Have you ever seen a police officer rescue someone in the water? Well last year two officers drowned. One was even killed by a rogue tire incident. In total 89 officers died last year. 

Doesn’t look like much? Well, that’s because they are the unlucky few. They weren’t the only ones who were on the target block. In 2018, [again, no data for 2019 yet] 58,886 officers were assaulted. That’s roughly ten percent. One in ten officers will be attacked at some point during the year. We also learned that 3 out of 100 officers would be seriously hurt from these assaults or 1 in 33. 

The majority of these assaults happen during disturbance calls i.e. domestic violence or bar fights. The second most likely time to be assaulted is when you’re arresting someone and his buddy decides he’s not happy with the situation. The third is when you’re transporting a prisoner. So if the cuffs are a bit tight, maybe think about what happened the last time someone pulled a Houdini on the officer. 

Any one of these incidents could have turned from an injury to a death. And for all the times they were assaulted in 2018, less than 2% of that number died at the hands of police. That doesn’t include all the traffic stops and domestic calls and rescues that didn’t result in any fighting or injury. Because that is how most encounters go: you just fess up, or remain calm and lawyer up later, and take the ticket. At worst things will devolve into a screaming fit but hurt feelings don’t hold a light to stitches or a body bag. But across America, every day, roughly 161 police officers get assaulted. And roughly once every four days, a police officer dies. And every day they put on their badge and kiss their families goodbye, they know it could be their turn on the block. 

So instead of asking “Why are they police officers if they’re afraid they’ll die?” a better question is “Why are we persecuting those who know today could be their last and choose to head out anyway?” 

And no, walking away because their fellow officer was convicted of first degree murder and is now facing the death penalty for doing everything by the book does not mean they’re bad cops or cowards, it means they don’t want to have fewer rights than the average citizen while doing more to protect them. 

Summary

We came into this with the story that Black people in America faced monumental discrimination, particularly from White people and the police. For this study, we took a look specifically at crime and the police to see if those who say they feel nervous being pulled over or are afraid to see their children walk out the door were correct to feel that way or if it was all a fabrication. After looking at the different facts, we were able to draw some conclusions about what really ails these communities.

Problem 1: We allow our society to divide us based on skin color, not on anything personal or substantial. This difference wedges a gap early on and has nothing to do with heritage as no “race” has a single nationality or tradition that it stems from. 

Problem 2: We are too quick to make numbers personal. No matter how many or few acts are done by someone of a certain appearance, holding the collective responsible is only going to make life worse for everyone. 

Problem 3: While it is correctly said that Blacks are the most likely to die violently, we are told time and again that we are not allowed to talk about how 90% of those deaths are caused by other Blacks. This not only inflames ill will among the accused but prevents the real problem from being addressed, meaning the issue will never get better. 

Problem 4: Black people kill more White people by number and by percentage than White people kill Black people. Ignoring this or calling it racist to point out only makes you look hypocritical. 

Problem 5: The media lies about everything for sensation and political advancement. Always go to direct sources and get the whole picture. 

Problem 6: Police come into contact with Black people more often than their population size would suggest because Black people commit more violent crimes than their population size would suggest. 

Problem 7: Possibly the biggest one, each race is hurt more by other members of that race than by someone outside of it. We do not have a problem with race relations, we have a problem with lack of morals. 

In part two we’ll be putting these observations into practice and see if they hold up by taking a few stories apart. And also we’ll see how people of color are reacting to these same situations on the other side of the spectrum. Until then, don’t use the truth to cause more hurt feelings. And remember: work to be healthy and be happy with the rest.

The Mind of Chaz

Well, I’m frustrated. We have cities being taken over by hostile mobs who are destroying our history without stopping to think about what they’re doing and burning our homes and businesses and the governors and mayors are threatening the president if he steps in to help. As of June 12, 2020 it’s possible that biker gangs are about to take control of the situation themselves so we’ll have to see how it goes. 

The moronic knob heads at the center of all this, who I will for the remainder of this post refer to as a college dropout named Chaz (capital hill autonomous zone), have also released a series of demands. While a few of them are understandable, and don’t need a revolt to be heard, others are absolutely unfounded and absurd. This is going to take a while, since they have 30 demands as compared to the 25 of the Nazi party, so I’m not going to give a big preamble lets get into this cow patty pile. {Also just so you know, this article contains grown-up words. The bard is amgry.}

LAW ENFORCEMENT

First are the demands regarding the police and law and order. Some of this stuff will require its own page to go into depth on, but I’m going to stick with an overall summary for now. 

The Seattle Police Department and attached court system are beyond reform. We do not request reform, we demand abolition. We demand that the Seattle Council and the Mayor defund and abolish the Seattle Police Department and the attached Criminal Justice Apparatus. This means 100% of funding, including existing pensions for Seattle Police. At an equal level of priority we also demand that the city disallow the operations of ICE in the city of Seattle.

Let’s start with some numbers shall we? In 2016, in Seattle, WA, there were 2.5k aggravated assault cases, 8k burglaries, 27k thefts, 20 murders, and 250 rapes. Overall they had 4,294 violent crimes and 38,433 property crimes. (pic) Who exactly are you expecting to take care of these things without the police? Not only is Seattle above the state average for crime, it’s far higher than the national rate in all things but murder and arson. (pic) What happens after your little plan is enacted? 

Because, if I’m honest, I’d prefer the police to what seems to be the Chaz solution. Rapper Raz Simone recently decided he and his crew would make excellent guards for the little wannabe nation so he started patrolling the streets and seeking out anything not allowed by their people, or more accurately not allowed by him. (1) Called a warlord by some, Raz and his goons don’t hesitate to beat men for supposed crimes. A man caught tagging on his turf was beaten on livestream. His glasses were broken and his phone taken as protection money. (2)

Anyone who has learned of the Stanford Prison Experiment isn’t at all surprised by this. But what I am shocked by is the fact that people on Reddit and Twitter actually think his skin color compared to that of his victim gives him an allowance to enact this violence. He continues to raise weapons and funds for his cause, alarming some. {I am some.} Also in ultimate irony, walls and fences surround the border of their region. (2)

So, to clarify. Within two days the “independent nation” who calls for the dissolution of the police has put up signs for a night watch (pic) and been taken over by a hip-hop warlord. I wish they would look me in the eye and make their case about ending the police. Two days and you already replaced the police [who we’ll go on to see you expressly think beat and steal from people] with untrained armed men who actually film themselves unapologetically beating and stealing from people. 

Now let’s tackle the ICE bit because it always comes down to the ICE bit. While some sources I found seemed to dance around the issue before deciding they didn’t know if illegal immigrants were more likely than the average population to commit crimes, others weren’t as delicate. (3

Using statistics from the Arizona Department of Corrections, John Lott calculated that illegal immigrants aged 18-35 were 250% more likely to commit crimes than citizens. He also found they had a higher rate of committing violent crimes like murder and sexual assault. The article also raises the valid point that we don’t even know if all crimes committed have been reported as illegal victims wouldn’t go to the police in most cases. Therefore they would suffer crimes enacted on them in silence. All of this excludes things such as fake social security numbers, drivers licenses, and green cards; or taking public benefits. (4)

Immigration reform is one thing, and perhaps something you could argue needs to happen, but there are too many people harmed by the presence of illegal immigrants and harmed in a serious and irreversible manner. It’s a deep and complex subject and I’ll need to dedicate an entire article to it at a later date. {And here’s where we start a little drinking game if you’re legal: take a shot every time I say I need to expand on a topic and maybe we can get through this nightmare.}

In the transitionary (sic) period between now and the dismantlement of the Seattle Police Department, we demand that the use of armed force be banned entirely. No guns, no batons, no riot shields, no chemical weapons, especially against those exercising their First Amendment right as Americans to protest.

Hey, I’m just gonna post a few pics really quick. One’s a picture of the first amendment, and the other is what a high schooler might have seen in their textbook if they were paying attention in class and not fawning over Marx. 

Yeah. Peacefully. Funny how that word is right there. And I don’t know why I have to explain this to you but bricks, fireworks, and arson aren’t peaceful. 

As for the police being unarmed? Uh, no. Let’s look at some numbers again. So far this year 103 police officers have died. Now 47 of those are related to covid-19 and one died in an aircraft, but all the rest died during or due to their service. Whether from cancer from digging through the 9/11 wreckage or the 23 gunfire deaths, it’s not an easy job. (5

Not only is being a police officer inherently dangerous, there is little evidence to support, and plenty to negate, the idea that there are massive disparities between races when it comes to death by police. As pointed out in a recent study using the 2015 police shooting data, 26% of civilians killed by police in the US were black. This sounds bad when you compare that to the 12% of the population who are black, but there is another statistic to consider. (6)

Black people have much higher exposure to the police. The reason? Not racism, but the fact that  among the black community, violent crime is more prevalent. When this metric is added, and the demographics of a county are taken into account [these demographics tend to show that Black civilians are more likely to be killed by Black cops], the disparities that once seemed anti-Black prove themselves to be more anti-White.(6)

And what was one of their conclusions on the best way to reduce police shootings in the Black and Hispanic communities? Reduce the variable you have control over; lower violent crime among Black people. (6

Not what you wanted to hear, is it Chaz? Imagine that, we live in a world where people face consequences for their actions. And just to step back and remove the police from the equation and give a face to that statement, look at this chart about the percentage split of offenders to victims. 90% of Black murders were carried out by Black individuals as opposed to 8% by Whites. At 14% Black people are almost twice as likely to kill a White person than the other way around. Using the 2008 data from the chart, that would mean 2956 Black men were killed by other Black men while 250 were killed by White men. And 2795 White men were killed by other White men as opposed to 463 by Black men. (pic+math)

After being screamed at about listening to the scientists for covid-19 it gets a bit frustrating being turned around and told data is oppression when it shows Blacks aren’t as oppressed by the police/Whites as the media says, and yes I was told this almost verbatim, by a white man no less. On top of having most of America’s big cities destroyed and our stores looted and our heritage pulled down I’m just sick of playing nice right now.

We demand an end to the school-to-prison pipeline and the abolition of youth jails. Get kids out of prison, get cops out of schools. We also demand that the new youth prison being built in Seattle currently be repurposed.

I might have mentioned this before but for those of you who don’t know, my current day {or night since I work thirds} job is at a residential facility for teens who get in trouble with the law. It’s one of the reasons I try to stay a bit anonymous, I don’t want any harm coming back to them from some internet wack job. We all know the type. We are often used as a step down from the DOC to help teens get adjusted and ready to go home.

I cannot express enough how difficult of a job this is. Not only are there volatile teens who need drastic changes to medication and more counseling than we can give them even with multiple groups and weekly private sessions, but to deal with these kids who throw chairs at each other and staff at occasion, we make around $12 hr. Day shift works on a 2/2/3/2 schedule for sixteen hour days {which is why I came to thirds}and nights work 6/2 weeks paid on a bi-weekly schedule to get us some overtime. 

And between those hours and some of the kids who come through, it’s an emotionally draining position. We are always understaffed, even with the campus providing good health insurance and the ability to apply for on-campus housing, meaning people can wind up working 5+ days in a row, 16 hour shifts. And when you have students who have grown up thinking that following the rules is something you only do if you were raised with a silver spoon in your mouth or who lash out from years of sexual abuse, you can hit a wall. We’re humans. Mistakes happen. 

I can’t speak to every juvenile placement, but I can offer some good, fact based hope. After a ludicrous peak in the mid-nineties, the juvenile arrest rate has been falling. In 2018 the numbers were down to less than 2.5k per 100K persons aged 10-17. That’s down from around 8K in 1996: a 74% decline. (7) And this trend remains across all sorts of crimes. 

Now since this all started because of cries of racism let me say that the same trend seems to carry over with youths as with adults. More Black youth are getting arrested than White youth overall. It’s not quite double the amount, and American Indian rates are nearly identical to White and Asian is far lower. Oddly, there is no separate statistic for Hispanic individuals since that is considered an ethnicity, not a race. The charts say they could be counted as any race. (7)

I also wanted to look at certain crimes since, as noted above, more violent crime leads to more involvement with the police. Topping at over 50 in the mid-nineties, Black youth murder arrests have dramatically fallen resting around 10 for the past 10 years or so. This is still higher than the arrest rate for White youths for murder which settles with the other demographics around the 0-5 threshold (7)

And drug abuse arrests? The White and Black margin on this is much closer, especially since 2015. And overall, they seem to be in decline across the board after a nineties/early 2000s spike. All ethnicity groups are at less than 500 arrests per 100k persons aged 10-17. (7)

So while the topic of juvenile prisons might need an expanded overview {shot 2} I think it’s safe to say we’ve been making good and lasting progress on this front in the US. Compared to the mid nineties, we’ve reduced black youth drug arrests alone by ⅔! (7) That’s astonishing and should be celebrated. There does seem to be some stalling since 2014/2015, and it may be good to look into how we can best help curb those numbers more, but Jackie Kennedy and D.A.R.E. egg commercials can’t do it alone. At some point the environment children are raised in needs to be addressed. 

We demand that not the City government, nor the State government, but that the Federal government launch a full-scale investigation into past and current cases of police brutality in Seattle and Washington, as well as the re-opening of all closed cases reported to the Office of Police Accountability. In particular, we demand that cases particular to Seattle and Washington be reopened where no justice has been served, namely the cases of Iosia Faletogo, Damarius Butts, Isaiah Obet, Tommy Le, Shaun Fuhr, and Charleena Lyles.

Okay, this one is a bit more in depth and requires a piece by piece examination. As a longtime watcher of true crime, I know there can be a feedback loop in local law enforcement that doesn’t do anyone of any color favors and I could agree we need a way to break that cycle. We do have our court system that allows us to keep going higher and higher in the pursuit of justice but that can be prohibitively expensive. An oversight committee of sorts, completely divorced from the normal justice mill, could have its benefits. But let’s look at each of these cases and see if calls for reexamination have any merit. 

Iosia Faletogo ran from the police when backup arrived at a traffic stop on New Year’s Eve. After the chase ended, Faletogo was tackled to the ground and six officers, all with their cameras on, wrestled with him. The footage shows a gun near Faletogo, though there is debate as to whether it was on the ground or being held in his hand by the muzzle. One officer warned him that he would be shot if he didn’t stop resisting while another called for a taser repeatedly. In the end, a gun was used by Officer Keller, who had previously been one of seven officers to open fire on a man in December of 2017 allegedly armed with a gun. (8

I’ll admit. I’m not immune to the bias of running from the police = guilty. I will also admit there is a part of me that thinks six men should have been able to end the situation without firing a shot, or at least tried the taser first. However, the city’s OPA found that Keller had no other safe option but to shoot because Faletogo’s handgun was within his immediate reach while he struggled. The OPA continued that Seattle police are not trained to use anything less than lethal force once a gun becomes involved for their own safety. I find myself asking if a man who was willing to start a high speed chase and then run and fight would have eventually pulled the trigger if given the chance. (9)

Damarius Butts is a less complicated case, even taking his age into account. He shot at three police officers over donuts and beer. One officer only survived thanks to her bullet-proof vest. I’m sorry but if you rob a gas station for beer and donuts then wall yourself up in a building and instigate a shootout with the cops, you don’t have much of a defense to cry foul if you get hurt or, unfortunately, die. Police don’t have to stand around and let themselves be killed just like any other citizen and you brought the gun into this. (10

Next they mentioned Isaiah Obet from 2017. Isaiah broke into two homes armed with a knife before getting into a chase with police on foot. The shots that killed him came while Isaiah was trying to force his way into an occupied vehicle at an intersection to make an escape. (11)

Now in 2020 the case is being reopened and what initially seemed easy enough has become a bit more muddled. The same newspaper as reported this case before now says a K-9 unit was involved and had Obet by the arm when the first shot to the suspect’s chest took place. A lawsuit also claims that after this shot, and after Obet was on the ground and no longer resisting as the dog held him, Nelson stood over him and fired another shot into the head. The lawsuit also claims that Nelson has 65 excessive force complaints filed against him and has committed three of the five deaths on a police force of 115. All three were double shots with the final shot being to the head and one other was a Pacific Islander like the named victem, according to them. (12

However, while this is what the lawyers claim the police have been quick to shoot it down. 911 calls from the home invasions that brought police out, which the lawsuits instead frame as reports of a mentally disturbed individual while skipping over the armed break ins and attempt to carjack a woman and small child, and toxicology reports flagging high levels of amphetamines and methamphetamines both call into question the claims laid out in the suit. Officers also dispute that the K-9 attack stopped Obet from attempting to stab his way into a car window, nor did it cause him to obey repeated commands to drop the knife. They also insisted that it was incorrect that the first shot, which hit his chest near his shoulder, had incapacitated Obet who was struggling to get back up and still within reach of his knife. They also denied the claim of Nelson having excessive force complaints. (12) All I can say to this is someone is lying and with the way the lawyers just skirted around the real reason police were called, and even more maliciously fabricated a new spin on it, I am much more inclined to believe the police. 

Next we have the tragic case of Tommy Le. The night before the 20 year old was to attend his alternative high school graduation, police were called to a neighborhood due to his erratic behavior. Several people had phoned in that a man with a sharp object, maybe a knife, was threatening people and pounding and stabbing at doors while screaming that he was the Creator. Police initially used tasers which did not dissuade Le before they used a gun. The part that gets everyone the most upset is that the midnight encounter prevented officers from seeing until too late that the knife was, in fact, an ink pen. Mental brakes rarely give warning unfortunately, especially considering Le is said to have no prior history of mental illness. But given the situation, what had been reported by callers, and their attempt to use non-lethal force to no effect beforehand, I personally think the police did all they could. (13

This next case proves that they weren’t paying attention to anything but skin color when it came to these demands. Shaun Fuhr is caught on camera refusing to stop for police after fleeing with his one year old daughter from the scene where he beat his girlfriend, the child’s mother. The man was reported by the girlfriend to be armed and to have already fired a shot at her. The most concerning thing in this case, as the article points out, is how quarantine has increased the number of domestic violence calls by 25% by increasing the time abusers and victims have to be in close proximity. Please, for yourself and your children, use the numbers in this article if you need help getting out of such a situation. And DON’T continue the trend of making abusive, lawless fucks martyrs just because they had a different skin color than the police who had to stop their reign of terror. The way the officers are described from the videos of caring for the girl should be enough evidence to prove it was his actions and not any bias that led to this incident.(14)

Finally, the last case mentioned and the second I think merits another look. Charleena Lyles had a history of mental illness and a fear of the police as she thought they might use her mental illness to remove her children, especially her special needs toddler. This didn’t prevent her from calling them when she was robbed. However she did meet the police at the door with knives in hand which led to the shots being fired. The audio released has her report an Xbox stolen before repeated frantic demands from the officers to get back. Lyles refers to them as motherfuckers before the officers radio that they need backup for a woman with two knives. In quick succession, the officers find they have no taser and the shots are fired. (15

My main concern in this case is that despite the audio claiming they had no taser, the department claims they did have non-lethal options. And with her prior record of police violence that caused them to send two officers in the first place, they should have been more prepared for things to go south. Also, considering these are two grown men and Lyles was a pregnant woman, I feel there may be something to say about them being able to stop her non-lethally even without a baton or taser. And it is upsetting that her unborn child was also killed in the incident. (15)

And there you go. Each one of their cases put out one by one. Two who the police had every right to confront in the way they did, two tragic cases where mental illness and misunderstanding played a big part, and two where the facts are a bit muddied but don’t necessarily point to fault on the part of the officers but could probably do with a fresh set of eyes. Especially if there is any ground to the claim that the Faletogo case was not handed off to an outside investigation team like law requires. (8)

Overall, I think these six cases make the opposite argument than what Chaz wanted. Five of the six cases can almost uniformly be called tragic but situationally justifiable. The one case isn’t even necessarily wrong depending on where the gun was in relation to his hand at the time the shooting took place. I think we’re in a rut where, like the lawyers in the Obet case, we’re seeing details being added, subtracted, or skimmed over to create the story we want to be enraged over. (12

We demand reparations for victims of police brutality, in a form to be determined.

It always comes back to money, doesn’t it? Here’s the thing, in order to get money you have to prove the officer is guilty. Even if they walk on a murder case, a civil suit for wrongful death can be filed and with less required evidence for conviction, it’s easier to convict for and will get you some money. (16) As for if you think you were actually assaulted, you don’t just get to go to the Police Station and demand they hand over a check. Nor should we change it so you can. Tax payers would be out the butt with money from people abusing the system. Assault or battery will have to be tried either as a felony or misdemeanor which can carry a range of prison sentences and a fine of $500-10k. (17) There are options available and there are many lawyers who won’t charge you a fee until after they’ve won your case, though be careful to read all the fine print before you sign.

We demand that the City of Seattle make the names of officers involved in police brutality a matter of public record. Anonymity should not even be a privilege in public service.

I don’t even need a source for this one because it’s just putting two and two together. Police officers wear their names on their chest every time they go out, unless they are undercover. Police sometimes go undercover, which would be interfered with if their faces were plastered all over the internet. Also the internet, especially the whiny Chaz portion, has a habit of doxxing people and terrorizing them with death threats. Police officers have enough to deal with while getting shot at on the streets as people shout death threats at them for doing their job. They don’t need the added fear that their partners and children are going to get caught up in Chaz and the crazies mailing bombs and anthrax to their house or calling in the SWAT.

If you want to make a community complaint subreddit to keep track of complaints, though I think if you had a real complaint you could file it with the police force or take other legal action, then make a website or subreddit. Use a YouTuber’s code to get a deal on SquareSpace or something. It’s not that hard, don’t make the government hold your hand on this. 

We demand a retrial of all People in Color currently serving a prison sentence for violent crime, by a jury of their peers in their community.

This one is just unapologetically racist. Unless you can prove the KKK or Proud Boys were in the jury box, there is nothing saying that a White juror is going to act differently than a Black one. If you feel someone was unjustly convicted, and court cases are public, you have recourse through appeals and things like the Innocence Project. But a blanket statement that unless a jury is 100% Black they can’t be impartial during a Black man’s trial is just racist plain and simple. 

We demand decriminalization of the acts of protest, and amnesty for protestors generally, but specifically those involved in what has been termed “The George Floyd Rebellion” against the terrorist cell that previously occupied this area known as the Seattle Police Department. This includes the immediate release of all protestors currently being held in prison after the arrests made at 11th and Pine on Sunday night and early Saturday morning June 7th and 8th, and any other protesters arrested in the past two weeks of the uprising, the name Evan Hreha in particular comes to mind who filmed Seattle police macing a young girl and is now in jail.

No. 

… 

Oh, I’m sorry, were you expecting something more in depth? Okay, how about this. Evan Hreha was already released from jail. Also he was arrested for discharging a laser, a felony, and not for filming the poor girl getting dragged into adult’s bad decisions. (18

The fact that you know what you’re doing is criminal just adds a big ol’ premeditation sticker onto your sheet and I hope you get your due for it. For every business owner, Black and otherwise, who had suffered at your hands, for every family, Black and otherwise, who lost their homes, for every life, Black and otherwise, lost during this piss fit of a disaster I hope the guilty spend a long time in prison. Not just sitting either, I hope they put you to work earning off the debt you owe to society for your actions. There’s your longer sentiment. 

We demand that the City of Seattle and the State Government release any prisoner currently serving time for a marijuana-related offense and expunge the related conviction.

Hey guys, take note it only took nine demands before Chaz and I agreed on something. With pot legal in Washington State, unless they have some major weapons charge or assault/gang conviction or were an adult who sold to minors I don’t see the reason this hasn’t been done yet. Didn’t need to start a dystopia in downtown Seattle to get this point across. Literally if you each mailed your governor/mayor a paper letter every day with the same request he/she’d probably get the message pretty quick to do something about it. Or if you brought a group lawsuit. Or voted in someone who ran on that platform. Or stood outside the courthouse without taking over it. You know like a civilized person and not like the same type of colonist you claim to be disgusted by as you actively refuse to move to European nations despite claiming all of America should belong to Native populations. Moving on. 

We demand the City of Seattle and State Government release any prisoner currently serving time just for resisting arrest if there are no other related charges, and that those convictions should also be expunged.

I looked at Washington State’s law for resisting arrest here: (19). And I can say, there might be use in amending it to have greater clarity. Often times resisting arrest is what they use to get dangerous people off the streets while they wait for more serious charges to go into effect, and I think a case by case retrial to see if you were just startled and asking questions or kicking officers in the head is more productive than just wiping the law out all together. So 50/50 with Chaz on this one. 

We demand that prisoners currently serving time be given the full and unrestricted right to vote, and for Washington State to pass legislation specifically breaking from Federal law that prevents felons from being able to vote.

Again with the no to the no to the no no no. Murderers, rapists, and pedophiles etc have given up their right to vote when they committed their atrocities. You don’t get to terrorize children’s butts then vote for politicians who might make it legal for you to further terrorize children’s butts. Not happening. And no, I’m not joking or exaggerating, pedophiles have started calling themselves “MAPS” or “transage” and are trying to make themselves part of the LGBT+ movement. Most LGBT+ people don’t want them there, and there is push back, but I’ve seen too many 10 year old boys in drag and kids laying on the laps of men in dresses and men flashing children in the library to be at all comfortable thinking that this is a thing that’s going to end without a fight. {shot 3 we’re going to hit this later} You look at this picture and tell me with a straight face that this isn’t grooming. [It is blurred between those legs btw.]

We demand an end to prosecutorial immunity for police officers in the time between now and the dissolution of the SPD and extant justice system.

Okay so this one had me stumped. I think it’s another instance of Chaz not doing their homework. Prosecutorial immunity is, as the name suggests, for prosecutors. Prosecutors and Police are different entities. (20)

Due to Section 1983 of the Civil Rights act of 1871 you can sue a police officer and his department for excessive force. You can also use your Fourth Amendment rights if you feel you’ve been unlawfully searched. Discrimination, false arrest, and harassment are also things you can put against them. As always this requires going to court which means you had better have evidence, witnesses and a lawyer and act through said lawyer and with evidence gathering tools if you at all think they might try to cheat you out of justice. (21

But I do think that prosecutorial immunity should go. If you can prove in court that a prosecutor withheld evidence that might change your verdict, they deserve to be tried for the resulting miscarriage of justice. And prosecutorial immunity isn’t a law that was voted on. It was a decision made by the Supreme court. (22) Since the Marbury vs Madison case in 1803 the supreme court decided that instead of just being a court they could decide if a law was unconstitutional or not. It’s how we were forced to legalize abortion, and how, through the Dred Scott decision, we started the civil war. If you think 7 people deciding whether things are constitutional or not over the people’s will which completely flips the power balance of the system, then yea, it’s an entirely separate argument that we should get back to later. (23) {Shot 4 people}

We demand the abolition of imprisonment, generally speaking, but especially the abolition of both youth prisons and privately-owned, for-profit prisons.

Okay let’s get this out of the way first {shot 5}. Now let’s take this in two halves. 

Where the heck do you think murderers and rapists should go if there are no prisons? And we’ve already covered that children under the age of 18 do those things and I’m not cruel enough to want them in with the adults. 

The part I want to look at in depth later is the for-profit part. I’ve heard horror stories about feeding a quota into prisons to keep the money rolling in from the government and terrors of long hours and low wages. If true, there could be an argument there that would have us looking into jails, judges, and the overall budgets. But yeah, we still need them. 

We demand in replacement of the current criminal justice system the creation of restorative/transformative accountability programs as a replacement for imprisonment.

Hey guys, what the fuck does this mean? No really. Because with King Raz of Chaz beating people for graffiti and a man getting surrounded by people with a baseball bat over an accusation, I’m not sure I like the Chaz accountability system. This is such a non-suggestion that I’m really swinging at the dark trying to figure out how to address it. 

The only thing I can think of is them claiming they can hold their neighbors accountable for their actions and no, really you can’t. With anti-snitch culture and the proliferation of gangs I think it’s pretty damn safe to say you can’t hold people accountable. And unless you want Bubba and his shotgun making the Amaud case look like a typical Tuesday or you subscribe to the shoot first ask questions later approach to pedos, rapists, and murderers, you really REALLY don’t want the general populace taking over the job of the police. 

Overall, if you know a drug dealer and you haven’t turned them in: you can’t hold people accountable. 

If you know a murderer and helped him to cover up or lied to keep her safe or kept silent for them: you can’t hold people accountable. 

If you let a gang run around in your neighborhood and introduce your children to a life of crime before their 18th birthday: you can’t be trusted to hold people accountable and need to reevaluate who is really hurting your community. 

Clean up your neighborhood using the resources on hand. Then see where your communities end up. 

We demand autonomy be given to the people to create localized anti-crime systems.

Nice try Raz, but we all know who you are and what you did. You need to be locked up for battery and theft. Also can we just point out how ironic it is they want their little brownshirt units to have the protections that they think the police have and should lose? Good stuff.

We demand that the Seattle Police Department, between now and the time of its abolition in the near future, empty its “lost and found” and return property owned by denizens of the city.

Sixteen. And we’re still in the anti-law section. And wouldn’t you know it, another one that doesn’t make any freaking sense. Unless you lost your crack or child porn hard drive, all you have to do is waltz into the station with proof of ownership within 60 days of it being turned in. Ta freaking da you have your shit back. They’re even required to make weekly postings about the items so you know it’s there. If they’re withholding things that you can prove you own, there’s already laws you can use to prosecute them. They aren’t stealing. You just have to get your butt to the station. It’s not the cops’ fault you have seventeen warrants and don’t want to go or mommy won’t drive you to pick up your hemp bracelet. (24)

We demand justice for those who have been sexually harassed or abused by the Seattle Police Department or prison guards in the state of Washington.

Yeah? Okay? That’s illegal and prosecutable. The only alarming thing I found is that 35 states say people can consent while in police custody. That needs a redo but other than that I can confirm that it is illegal to rape people. (25

We demand that between now and the abolition of the SPD that each and every SPD officer turn on their body cameras, and that the body camera video of all Seattle police should be a matter of easily accessible public record.

Yeah, body cameras should be on all cops nationwide. And there maybe should be a federal or otherwise separate database where the information is stored so it can’t disappear accidentally. But sometimes having it public can interfere in an investigation by revealing crime scene information. Criminologists and those who otherwise participate in homicide investigations would have to figure out how that could work. You might have to go through a court system to get the footage released if it pertains to you with limitations on spread. Just remember, you got COPS shut down so if you see less transparency from officers, you have only yourself to blame. 

We demand that the funding previously used for Seattle Police be redirected into: A) Socialized Health and Medicine for the City of Seattle. B) Free public housing, because housing is a right, not a privilege. C) Public education, to decrease the average class size in city schools and increase teacher salary. D) Naturalization services for immigrants to the United States living here undocumented. (We demand they be called “undocumented” because no person is illegal.) E) General community development. Parks, etc.

*cracks knuckles* Hoo boy of course the last one is a doozy. I’ve been ignoring how you think that all your demands are going to be met up to this point but now we have to address part of it: what you think is a better use for society than the police. Let’s do this. 

Socialized Medicine

{Shot 6} I don’t know how much I can add to this topic that wasn’t already said before. But since it’s fresh in our minds and the protests/ communal love ins going on at Chaz [and totally not any riots you guys don’t say riots] are likely going to expedite a second wave, let’s take a peek at how we did overall with COVID-19 versus socialist countries.

And wouldn’t you know it? Per capita we have a lower death rate than multiple European countries with socialized medicine. Even Switzerland. The UK has a rate almost double our own and it’s praised for its socialized care. We even beat Denmark, Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands for total cases across the population. But that might change once we look at how well COVID respects the people’s right to protest 1000 deaths a year. (26)

Even Snopes, while qualifying that they weren’t ordered to stop treating the elderly, admits that Italy got to a point where they had to make decisions about the ultimate longevity of coronavirus patients to decide who deserved the ventilator. (27) And in Canada not only are people forced to pay roughly 1,200 per year in taxes per person for their ‘free’ care, all outside insurance is forbidden, there is no competition to keep hospitals up to date with the latest technologies, and prescription drug coverage is only free if you’re over 65. (28) So not only would the police budget not cover this, it especially wouldn’t cover this and the rest of your demands.

Free Public Housing

{Shot I think we’re on 7} Homelessness is a complexticated problem. And as you’ll see in a later part, what Chaz thinks will help hasn’t really proven itself to work where it’s been tried.

We have about 96,913 chronically homeless people in the United States. Though the overall total fluctuates around the 550k point. 37K of those are Veterans who can’t earn enough due to injuries or PTSD. While Transitional housing might be a big help despite being on the decline, Permanent supportive housing, which would require more interaction with people and more money to run, is the only option for some people. (29)

In fact in places where housing first programs have been tried, homelessness has increased. Why? Because if you just pick people up off the streets and throw them into a home, you’re not dealing with how they became homeless. Many people become homeless due to drug use. In one instance a man had a 30 day notice to move out of a housing project due to 9 violations including drugs, vandalism, theft, and unauthorized guests. (30) Homelessness is not the open and shut case they think it is. Sometimes, you’re only giving them a dry place to overdose before you bring in the next struggling victim. And again, getting rid of the police does not do anything to help their plight. 

Public Education

{shots shots shots 8} The entire education system needs to reform, especially now that it’s been proven how much of a dangerous propaganda machine it is. But I’m really wondering how much money you think goes into law enforcement for you to think there’s enough to completely reorganize society on Officer Joe’s salary. Honestly, I kind of would like to see a system with more classes dedicated to morals, thinking, and the ability to graduate high school with both a diploma and, if interested, trade school qualifications or even certificates. But that’s something I’ll go more into later. 

Naturalization Services for the “Undocumented” 

You’re right that a person can’t be illegal. But waltzing into someone else’s house sure is. This isn’t the Legend of Zelda where you can go in, break pots, steal rupees, and sleep next to the farmer’s wife then just go about like nothing has happened. Why are we the only nation made to feel bad for having immigration standards? Canada has them. The UK has them. Why are we the bad guys for wanting people to tell us when they come to visit? {aaaaaand Shot 9} 

Community Development

Parks are great. Art is great. But locals can do plenty with this and if your city is struggling trying to fix the 47 other things you have a problem with why don’t you take down the wall and roll up your sleeves, Chaz? Is the Clean the Parks challenge not getting you Insta likes anymore? Not enough retweets? Do it to make a better community like in every cartoon we watched growing up. Don’t wait for the government to tax you for it. Plant some grass and flowers and kick a ball. 

Final Thoughts

And just in case you thought I was exaggerating earlier when I said that cops don’t make enough to cover their honey do list: 

In Washington DC, where they spend the highest tax amount on police, they spend around $911 per individual. How symbolic. Also short of the $1200 needed to cover even what Canada provides medicare wise. (31

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s tackle the smaller sections. 

ECONOMIC DEMANDS

We demand the de-gentrification of Seattle, starting with rent control.

So I’ve always wondered what this meant so I looked it up. Gentrification is a fancy word for making neighborhoods less shitty. And the problem people have with their neighborhoods being less shitty? The housing prices go up. (32) Of course, I think there might be something to be said about making all homes un-shitty to make it less of a surprise. That might help. And overall, if people don’t buy houses, the prices will be forced down no matter what. Gentrification alone is not the only issue at play. 

Now let’s talk rent control. If you look at the picture here you’ll see what kinds of rent control and how intense the rent control is. California has statewide rent control and caps as well as city specific laws. DC has rent control, New Jersey has rent control, New York has rent control. (pic) Now look at the other picture that shows the highest rent in America. California, New York, and New Jersey are all in the top ten for cost of rent. And while it can be seen that not having rent control doesn’t guarantee a low rent, it clearly doesn’t help.(pic) It doesn’t help homelessness either as it turns out, with California and New York both having more than triple the homeless populations of the next closest state. (29) So again, the rent is too damn high but let’s think about a way to fix it that hasn’t already failed miserably. 

We demand the restoration of city funding for arts and culture to re-establish the once-rich local cultural identity of Seattle.

Here we go with this again. Now, you’d think they scrapped the budget entirely but no, the Washington State Arts Commission spent roughly 5 million dollars between 2017-2019 and are proposing a budget of 6 million for 2019-2021, a 20% increase. (33) Six MILLION. If you can’t make that stretch tell them to stop buying tape and bananas and start budgeting. Because guess what, if homelessness and rent are such a problem, they’re kind of more pressing than a metal bean or another mural or whatever it is you think you want. Petition to let street artists make approved designs in certain places. Be creative. You don’t need a crap ton of money. 

We demand free college for the people of the state of Washington, due to the overwhelming effect that education has on economic success, and the correlated overwhelming impact of poverty on people of color, as a form of reparations for the treatment of Black people in this state and country.

I saw this in one of my socialized medicine articles but when do we stop when it comes to rights? Because we’re over here whining about free college when we’re throwing half of our food away while people are starving so I think we have some more pressing things to worry about. Also everything else you have on this list. 

College isn’t a right. You don’t need it to survive. And guess what? College is only as good as the major you choose and the effort you put in. Check out this article for a list of people who made it big without college. It isn’t impossible or unheard of. So, you know what the real solution is? 

Skilled trades. That and crushing monopolies {shot 10} but we’re going to tackle that later. 

While not the choice for everyone, to the 53% who don’t have any real personal goals for college, trade school is a cheaper and more practical option. (34)

If you don’t need a bachelor or master to work in your field, you shouldn’t get one. The over inundation of degrees on the market drives their value down as seen by the people who advertise starting jobs as needing a bachelors and 30 years of experience. They’re spoiled. Now you have to have a masters, or a doctorate or whatever. It’s ridiculous. Not to mention expensive. State college for four years is 82% higher in cost than a community college associate. And the payoff? After 10 years a worker with a one year trade or vocational certificate only made $1,347 less than a person with a bachelor’s degree. And at a fraction of the debt. (34)

And some of the fastest growing fields don’t need a degree. Home health aides don’t make as much as nurses but they are a good place to start. Wind turbine technician jobs are almost doubling. Pet caretaker jobs for all those people who don’t want their dogs pooing all over the place while they work are on the rise. And if you don’t do well in a classroom environment? Trade schools are hands on which eliminates most if not all of that. (34

So yeah. Change your outlook and stop going to school for stupid degrees and demanding free shit. 

And if you look at Bernie Sander’s idea of free tuition, he suggests taking a percentage of stock market sales as a tax. (35) What everyone from Sanders to the Occupy Wall Street movement doesn’t seem to understand is that more than 50% of US households are involved in the stock market. (36) It’s where your retirement fund grows, where your bonuses come from if you work somewhere like Walmart or GM who give their employees stock as part of their work arrangement. [Or at least they used to, don’t quote me on that and I have too many sources already.] So you’re not stealing from the rich with these programs. You’re, like we keep saying, taking money from the dwindling and often screwed over middle class.  

We demand that between now and the abolition of the SPD that Seattle Police be prohibited from performing “homeless sweeps” that displace and disturb our homeless neighbors, and on equal footing we demand an end to all evictions. 

We live in a free country where people can own property and lease to tenants. And unless a national emergency is happening, they deserve due payment to cover repairs and taxes and everything else having to do with rent. If you don’t pay, you don’t have the right to someone else’s property. Another thing, why do you hold these demonstrations in town hall whining about Sandra charging you too much rent when celebrities live in mansions larger than the average city block? You know that’s why they’re pandering to you, right Chaz? They will say whatever you want as long as you refuse to realize that they and the politicians are part of the 1%. 

Also we addressed already the whole mental illness/drug abuse thing with homelessness. There is no overnight solution and unlike what Marx taught you, bankrupting other people doesn’t get you more things it just means you’re squatting in ramshackle buildings with no amenities waiting for your dictator to croak or a war or plague to jump start your economy with death. 

{And shot 11 for addressing homelessness and jobs and rent but not the terrible musical where everyone dies of AIDS from doing coke instead of their HIV meds.} 

We demand a decentralized election process to give the citizens of Seattle a greater ability to select candidates for public office such that we are not forced to choose at the poll between equally undesirable options. There are multiple systems and policies in place which make it impractical at best for working-class people to run for public office, all of which must go, starting with any fees associated with applying to run for public office.

Okay, we do need reforms with our voting. We need to purge the rolls, require ID, and no, that’s not racist. Depending on where you live it costs $5-30 and usually lasts for 7 or 8 years. (Just google it, different states have different costs.)  And you should even need the number for absentee ballots. I would say it’s the 21st century and we should have something online by now but after seeing the Obama administration fuck up the health care website, I think we’d better skip it for now. Also Chaz, I heard you’re demanding IDs for people to be allowed into their homes. Not much excuse now is there?

We also need to kiss the sorry two party system goodbye and take the money out of elections. The way I see it, local and federal news slots, debates, and a website should be all that’s allowed. No bottles of hot sauce, no Kente cloths, no groping random children on the streets. If you want to do meetups, they have to be things you don’t pay for like “I’m going to this pool/ice cream place/park come say hi” but not charge millions of dollars and sell merch and all that. I don’t know really how best to do it but yes, something needs to be done. Hey we agreed on one for this section kinda. I bet you won’t like the ID part of my statement, though. 

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

I was actually shocked socialized medicine didn’t make a return here. I wonder if they got as tired of writing as I am and just said, “fuck it we said it once already.” I don’t know but the demands are getting even flimsier so I’ll try to maintain my standards as much as possible. 

We demand the hospitals and care facilities of Seattle employ black doctors and nurses specifically to help care for black patients.

Okay. So we all agree that there needs to be more encouragement for people of color to go into medical fields and other STEM areas, same as women. Cool? Cool. And if we stop overflowing the system, costs of college should come down and scholarships and grants will be more readily available for the doctors and computer scientists as opposed to the women studies major. All good? Yeah. 

This is racist. 

I’m not kidding. I looked into it and according to Harvard Business Review the reason we need more black doctors for black patients is because black patients won’t listen to white doctors who suggest they get tested for diabetes or anything more invasive than a blood pressure cuff. Now white people have a bit of a problem with this too. For both they agreed that doctors of all colors were just as qualified but there is this idea that only a same race doctor will understand your issue which breaks down the lines of communication. (37) This lack of trust and communication is where you start to have problems.

And some doctors have terrible skills. They don’t talk or ask questions and clearly got into the field to make money or because daddy wouldn’t pay for massage therapy and essential oil school {yes this is personal don’t ask}. This is less about race and more about shitty doctors at least 9/10 times I’m willing to bet. But yes, we do need more people of color pursuing STEM careers as a whole though if we don’t address this refusal to trust a trained medical professional based on skin color we’re going to still have problems. And Dr. Ben Carson went from welfare to Neurosurgeon so don’t make excuses. 

We demand the people of Seattle seek out and proudly support Black-owned businesses. Your money is our power and sustainability. 

This one is another of the dumb ones. If you want people to come; make a good product, have an inviting atmosphere, and make sure people can see you. Remember to pick a good location and just advertise yourself as a place for all. If you are doing something people want, they will come unless they know you’re using it as a weird power trip. Then you’re just going to get the sex weirdos and nobody wants that. 

We demand that the city create an entirely separate system staffed by mental health experts to respond to 911 calls pertaining to mental health crises, and insist that all involved in such a program be put through thorough, rigorous training in conflict de-escalation. 

Hey Chaz, remember that time President Trump said we should improve our mental health system to decrease school shootings and because he didn’t say it was the gun’s fault and yoink everyone’s Second Amendment rights everyone booed this idea and within two years everyone had their self-diagnosed mental illnesses in their Tumblr profiles and we had 37 new genders? Because I do and let me tell you, I’m tired of that political crap and want to play that clip 24/7 just to rub it in how much your Trump Derangement Syndrome has derailed progress over the last three and a half years. 

So yes, we do need more mental health care. And if the suicide hotlines aren’t enough, maybe looking into your extra 911 idea could have some merit. But like 911 operators and the suicide hotline, you’d be dealing with people who at most have a certificate and at least have the boring training videos that you hope they didn’t skip through.

But there’s a bigger issue with this. People having psychotic breaks don’t normally call 911 on themselves. They’re too busy having hallucinations, anxiety, processing issues, disordered speech, and paranoia to get on the phone. (38) The best way to keep a loved one out of the police’s way is to get them help before they start fighting the marshmallow man at the local playground dressed like Captain Underpants. And to get them medicine. It’s also important to make sure they take any prescribed meds which means helping them to understand that they are sick, keeping them off drugs and alcohol, finding a doctor they trust, and adjusting for negative side effects. (39

People need help and usually not from the government. {Shot 12 cause mental illness is a thing}

EDUCATION

Okay three more of these. Let’s do it. 

We demand that the history of Black and Native Americans be given a significantly greater focus in the Washington State education curriculum.

We already said that we need to give the whole education train and overhaul. Giving more attention to the American history of Blacks and Natives should be a part of that. I didn’t know until now the role Native Americans played in drafting the papers that tied the original colonies into the Union. And until Trump had an unfortunate scheduling overlap, I’d never heard of Juneteenth as more than a passing word with no context or meaning.

Not to mention all the different facts about slavery in the nation that makes it much more than just a black and white {no pun intended} issue such as Native American slave owners, free Black slave owners, and the universal tale of slave trade from the beginning to now. (40) I purposefully used an article that calls out the bogus claims while trying to negate the correct ones because I think it’s important to teach these facts from a young age to prevent both lies and the kind of bias you’re seeing crop up. 

We demand that thorough anti-bias training become a legal requirement for all jobs in the education system, as well as in the medical profession and in mass media.

I think this is about much more than any race bias. As noted with the black doctors part above, sometimes the perception of misunderstanding breaks down the lines of communication before it can even take place. A self fulfilling prophecy sort of deal. 

However, a Princeton study supposedly did link a bias in blacks getting worse and more punishment than their white peers in counties where people were more blatantly racist. Interestingly the “implicit racism” many seem to fear and look down on was shown to have a much smaller effect and similarly found next to no sexuality bias. (41) This leads me to believe that the teachers who are acting in a racist manner should be easy to spot and if you really are old-school racist, you just shouldn’t be teaching kids. No sensitivity training required just get out of the profession. 

I also looked at statistics overall affecting blacks and other minorities in schooling and found a helpful list that provided a look at what might be considered the real problem. {Aside from shot 13 fatherlessness and disruptive home lives which is a raceless problem.} It mentions that black students simply didn’t have access to things like advanced mathematics, qualified teachers, finances, school counselors, advanced reading programs. It also doesn’t help that many teachers, especially those of a different race with blacks being underrepresented as teachers, have low expectations for black students which lead to under-representation in AP classes even when available. (42

So to everyone who is clamoring for more lenient scoring for black students, sit your butt down, this is why we call you the modern racists you are NOT helping. 

But then, what will help? Luckily, what I consider to be the first and biggest step in the right direction is something that Trump has been campaigning for for years now and is finally getting the kind of traction it deserves. School choice. 

In an effort to help children stuck in failing public schools, President Trump has been pushing his Education Freedom Scholarships which gives states the ability to create tax programs to give underprivileged students access to private schools. Not only will this help pull many out of the bad schools they are in, but if they want to keep their funding, the bad public schools will be face to face with the need to make serious changes. (43) From personal experience I know my city’s school made some big improvements when the state passed school choice which meant a child could get a voucher to go to any school in the county. That first mass exodus really changed the landscape and increased attendance in a private school in the area.

We demand the City of Seattle and State of Washington remove any and all monuments dedicated to historical figures of the Confederacy, whose treasonous attempts to build an America with slavery as a permanent fixture were an affront to the human race.

I dare you to look up what Marx and his practices actually did in his life. Go ahead. Do it. Or Lenin.

Also does anyone find it funny how everyone whines about all the lost history from Europeans destroying Aztec monuments and the like when they actively practiced human sacrifice but now we need to overwrite our own history? 

But perhaps they have a point. Many of the statues didn’t get erected until after reconstruction while the South was attempting to undo all of the progress made during the integration period right after the Civil War. They were a sign of “we lost but we’re not going anywhere.” And I can see how that’s a problem. (44) I would want statues of Hitler to be at least moved into a “don’t do what this man did” museum and think statues of Baphomet and other demons should be melted down and salted. 

But leave Christopher Columbus alone. He isn’t responsible for what came later, he might not have been a nice guy but he did revolutionize the world, and the statues were made to commemorate Italians in America not the bad stuff he did. And the Presidents. Many were slave owners and that is terrible for us today. Back then it was the norm though, and they worked hard to create the nation we now have that eventually freed the slaves. Without the deep commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all men, without that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL not just by them but ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR, there would not be the legacy that we have of working towards that truly free society. They may not have been perfect or known where things would end up, but they started us down a path towards true freedom and equality unlike any other society present today.

IN CONCLUSION

Shut up Chaz.

Not even your good points make up for the horror you’ve put everyone through these past few days. Grow up and take responsibility like the rest of us. Oh, and just so you know, there are many people with black skin who think you’re full of shit and calling them all tokens or Uncle Toms is doing you no favors in the eyes of those who see you for the racist, pandering, whining, communist brats you are.

For everyone else: work to get healthy and be happy with the rest.

Take care and keep the light of hope for a truly free and equal society blind to everything but deed alive.

Saintly Scr3w Ups

Ya know, some days I hate social media. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we are bombarded by an unending tide of information from the inane food snaps to the serious reports of crimes or disasters to every single time President Donald J Trump sneezes that will for days after be either the source of his racist dictator ways or a sign of his glory depending on if you agree with him or not. Because heaven forbid a person be somewhere in the middle. 

I’m joking with that last sentence but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the average Twitter feed or Facebook group. For a society that has spent the last 50 some odd years screaming that there are no moral absolutes you wouldn’t know that’s the common opinion based on how people act. But that isn’t my focus today. 

Today I’m going to be looking at the St. John’s church debacle. Why? Because I’m in the middle of a Twitter discussion on the topic and the more I look up resources, the more I find that I don’t have the space in 260 characters to say what I need. That’s one of the problems with our instant media. 

As Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s communications director, said in an interview, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on.” (5) That’s the other reason this topic needs to be addressed: when all you have are shouted half truths from what it looks like on camera or one person’s side of the story, you wind up spreading what becomes a lie. Sometimes, it’s an accident. Other times, it’s flat out malicious. For example, while digging for my sources, the first one to come up for the explanation of the church fire was a short one from Fox News. When I looked for information about the photograph incident however, Fox News, the first title that didn’t make it seem like Trump walked out and personally shot the protesters, didn’t appear until page four. 

That’s the way instant communication helps turn those lies into gospel in the minds of everyone and, depending on how you feel about the topic at hand, no amount of facts are going to be enough to fully dethrone that narrative. 

So what happened? Let’s start on Sunday.

The Fire

Let’s set some terms up. Protests are calm, peaceful demonstrations of upset, hurt, and anger justifiably felt. Protesters are civil, strong, and honorable individuals who are taking part in protests to make themselves heard. Riots are chaotic, though sometimes organized, shows of emotion and brute force without regard to who or what is damaged or destroyed in the process. Rioters are thuggish cowards who carry out riots on the homes, businesses, and landmarks around them far too often from behind the meat and moral shield of protesters. Got it? Good. Let’s start.

Sunday evening [5/31] protesting for changes to law enforcement in the wake of the death of George Floyd turned to riots outside of the White House and St. John’s Episcopal church was caught in the crossfire. Luckily for everyone the fire department was able to plow through to put out the blaze in the newly-renovated nursery of the church’s basement before the whole building was consumed. Rev. Fischer, the rector of the church, expressed both how surreal the news felt and how he separated rioters who carried out the attack from the protesters. (1) 

“And I’m very mindful that those people who did this — it may have been one person, I don’t know who it was — I think it is really important to say that person does not represent the majority of the people that are out there peacefully protesting with an important message.”

Rev. Fischer, Source 1
Thugs come in all shapes and sizes and aren’t protesters.

President Trump has made similar calls during his speeches and tweets. (pic) Too many don’t, as far as I’m concerned. Though I will admit, the longer this week drags the more the line seems to blur as the rioters make their stand earlier in the day. 

There are many questions that spring to mind at this event. The biggest is why here of all places? Truth be told, it’s most likely solely down to location. St. John’s is right across the street from the White House’s front lawn and there were guards standing there, so that wasn’t going to work out too well. But let’s say the responsible rioters, who had an appearance matching long-time left-wing communist anarchy group and terrorist organization Antifa, actually were taking the time to choose their target well. What would the reason be then? (2) 

Built in 1816, St. John’s has been called the church of presidents, with every president in the lineup since James Madison attending at least one service there regardless of denomination. That might make it a particularly appealing target for destruction, even if President Lincoln was one of those who prayed in its 200 year old halls. After all, the Lincoln memorial, built for the unjustly slain president who freed the slaves, didn’t get spared by this group supposedly spurred on by the unjust death of a man of color. Neither did the World War II memorial, also known as the memorial to the first anti-fascists according to people on Twitter defending Antifa from the bane of the President {they are wrong for many reasons but we’ll cover that in a separate article}. They also tore up Lafayette Square outside of the church with graffiti. (2)

As they tainted historical landmarks earned by the blood and paid for by the tax dollars of countless US citizens it was only a matter of time before they clashed with authorities. This led to more than 50 secret service members taking injury before they were able to disperse the crowd and end the violent night. (2) America was reeling. And somehow it could only get worse.

Pics or it Didn’t Happen

You’ve likely heard this side of the story, but I know some haven’t. In keeping with the spirit of getting the whole story and demonstrating the social media effect mentioned above, I’m starting here. 

Monday evening, well after the fires had gone out but less than thirty minutes before the curfew was set to start, Pastor Gerbasi, an Episcopal priest, was working at a relief station outside the boarded up church. She and a group of priests and laypeople had snacks, water, and hand sanitizer to help the protesters through the long late spring day. Then the chaos started. Without warning the mass of protesters moved in a wall of screaming and alarm towards them, bringing the stinging scent of pepper and the explosion of flash grenades which swept her and the others up into the sea of movement away from church steps, leaving the rest of their things behind. (3) 

It’s a terrible scene and I can only imagine the horror and pain they experience while under attack. It was so bad that it wasn’t until she got to her car did Gerbasi take notice of what seemed to be the cause of all this. Trump was now where she had been just before, taking pictures of himself holding the Bible in front of the assaulted landmark. And she was pissed. (3) 

For many, that is where the story ends. Good people packing up from a good day of protesting suddenly rained on by flashes and smoke and capsaicin only for the President to walk out with his agents and up to the building to take vanity shots. (3) I would be pissed too. And so many were, and are, because that’s all the information they have. That’s what’s in the tweets and posts on their dash. It’s what most of the media says, it’s what most of the celebrities are saying. 

There are some exceptions to the rule. The Hill, who interviewed Gerbasi, despite being strongly on her side in her scolding of the president, admitted that Trump aides explained that the decision to expand the perimeter back away from the church had come much earlier Monday and had nothing to do with Trump’s decision to appear there.(3) AG Barr had made the call and had gone out to check on the area to see how it had gone once he learned of the decision. (5) 

We all know it hadn’t been done yet, we wouldn’t be talking about it if it had and whoever dropped the ball on that should be reprimanded by a demotion or something for leading to this situation. And no, I don’t just mean because of the confusion it caused that gave people with half the facts another thing to “muh Drumpf bad” about. No, it’s because the rioting had followed the pattern of starting in the evening as darkness fell so things would have undoubtedly gone better earlier. It would have at least spared Gerbasi and her companions, because we’re not done yet. 

Just past 6:30 pm, around when Barr was arriving on scene, the rioters made their move. From the shield of protesters they began to throw bricks, frozen bottles of water, and caustic liquids at the police. Not just the water from the aid table, not rocks or sticks; ice, bricks, and something in the bleach or acid family. Not exactly your standard fare for a peaceful day of coming together as a community. They had also begun to climb on the husks of destroyed buildings north of Lafayette Park. (5) 

In the wake of arson and 50 injured companions and faced with active assault, there was no other option. There are recorded calls of violence starting against the police, and in the aftermath they found the glass bottles, baseball bats, and metal poles left behind. The rioters hadn’t just come back for round two, they were out for blood. (5) 

So who is to blame for this? Trump who had nothing to do with it? AG Barr for not ensuring his orders had been carried out earlier? Whoever he told to push back the line who didn’t get it done? Or maybe, here’s a thought, while AG Barr and his team could have made the event happen away from the church and possibly after the lawful crowd had gone home, the people to blame are the rioters! You know, the bastards that think they can solve their problems through violence and destruction but only once they have a nice meat and sympathy shield held up over them. 

I’m going to give another, more controversial take too. But first: semantics. Many news articles, including the one by The Hill, stated that tear gas was released on the crowd.(3) Even some who know the protests grew violent think something like that is excessive and have complained so the US Park Police released a statement. They did not use tear gas. What they did use was a combination of smoke canisters and pepper balls. (5) Together they wound up giving the impression that tear gas was used. 

What’s the difference? Tear gas is a powder mix of chemicals launched from canisters or grenades that irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory system. (6) Pepper balls, on the other hand, are paintball-like rounds that burst out capsaicin on contact. (7) While it seems to be a minimal difference, I’d say in my unprofessional opinion, that the balls sound more direct and less likely to cause the deep and lasting effects than a cloud of chemicals would. 

Now for my controversial take before I give a brief overview of the technically coincidental photo shoot. There is only one person who put the protesters in harm’s way that day. And it was the protesters. 

That may sound like victim blaming, and in every other situation I’d say you were right. But on that day, though the rioters are to blame for their own actions of starting a brawl with the police, the only ones who can be blamed for the protesters being swept up into the aftermath is themselves. Why? Personal responsibility. 

Roughly 24 hours before, in that same spot, a lawless anarchist group of rioters had turned the ground they stood on into a flaming, destructive, chaotic scene. (2) Worse, they did it while pretending to promote the same cause as the protesters, decorating themselves in the trappings of comradery and righteousness. And the protesters came back the next day. 

Protests are a valid way to have your voice heard, they are a Constitutional right. If they are peaceful. But what are the odds that the day after the riots ended, the ones who are so misguided that they think they’re on your side, so they can use your public sympathy to buy them time, are not going to return to finish what they started? Sunday wasn’t even the first night of riots. At what point does it go from a tragic surprise to expected? At what point do you say I’m mad about this, and I will fight for change, but until the rioters have been brought under control I’m going to stay home, protect myself and my loved ones, and give the police and soldiers space to do their job? 

Speaking of: Why is everyone so angry at Trump for saying he’ll stop the riots? In what world are riots and destruction the same as a protest? Yet Trump’s calls for law and order, telling mayors and governors to stop the burning in their streets before he does, and everyone screams like he’s telling the Navy Seals to reenact the slaughter of innocents that both Moses and Jesus narrowly escaped. And I don’t get why. (4)

I’m going to link a Chicago Tribune article that lists twelve times in the past where the National Guard was called in by the president. Several times it was to prevent governors from using the guard to prevent integration in schools. Most of the time it was used for what it would be used for today which is to stop a riot caused by the reaction of the public to a tragic death. So Trump’s use would not only be not a crime or a prevention of human rights but also widely precedented. (8)

The Aftermath

Upsettingly, due to partisan politics and the speed of the internet, the real story will never be accepted by some. No even time travel or pictures of the scene will be enough to convince them. And it’s sad and terrifying. To think that there are people in America who are so wrapped up in their ideals that they have no room left to even listen to an argument that might make them second guess their decision is something that I’ve been struggling with since I left for college the first time and it only seems to get worse as time goes on. 

As for the dreaded photos, I personally think Trump sucks at taking stills. He doesn’t know how to stand. The only good pictures are the ones where he’s walking. They need to get a more invested photographer who can set up scenes that look like stills but have him moving so he looks more natural. But I get the reason behind them. 

This was the President’s 204-year-old church. This was an attack on our capital, on our heritage, on our safety and freedoms. For many, it was just one more sign that forces are at work to rob us of our religious liberties. Plus the hashtag Bunker Baby was spreading on Twitter. For many of his opponents, nothing he’ll do will ever be right. But for those who are on the fence, those who support him, seeing those pictures was seeing an emblem of America. Not because of Trump but because of the office of the President, standing amid damages, unafraid with God at his side. (4) 

Unless you’re one of those weird fanboys comparing it to 9/11 or WWII. Y’all need to calm your jets we ain’t there yet. Same goes for the people whining about how pointless it is. The protester thing was separate and guess what most people are still theists in this country whether you like it or not. (4) 

And for those of you who want to know what he’s doing for real, what his feelings are about the police situation, he’s working on it. I’ve said it before, but for a bunch of screamers complaining he’s trying to be Hitler 2 the god-emperor of hatred and evil and bad you sure as hell get mad when he doesn’t do dictator things like make sweeping reforms to the justice system without congress or the state or backs off of using the Insurrection Act to stop the riots. You can’t have it both ways. He can’t be the fascist military king and a useless layabout. You think you can but that’s why the rest of us on his side or in the middle think you’re bonkers. 

Specifically, after the dust settles–since he’s putting the safety of the people from arson, looting, and murder first–he has his eyes on brainstorming ways to get improvements in the police departments. Though it should start at the state level. His aide also stated the White House is building out their funding programs for black colleges, school vouchers, and lowering prison sentences while looking into tools to ensure law enforcement doesn’t use excessive force. (4) You know real solutions other than police bad and should die.

Yes, there are problems. Emerging amid the crying victims are images of police in riot gear being a bit too happy to plow into someone. Even if they were not complying, and even if the ambulance was called, there isn’t a need to bowl over single men or casually mace someone who hasn’t actually moved to hurt you. Most of it’s camera shots and half-videos but some of it needs to stop. I understand the frustration, being low on sleep and having stand down orders while literally everyone is yelling at you and burning down your city for a crime where all four perpetrators have been arrested and charged and you had nothing to do with it but they still literally are screaming you need to die to your face and… you know what? I’m going to leave it here for you to decide if they should get any sympathy for losing their tempers. 

That’s all for this one. If nothing else, I hope you have the facts now. Maybe a new perspective. Until next time, work to be healthy, be happy with the rest, and stay safe.

Sources

  1. https://www.foxnews.com/media/st-johns-rector-fire-impromptu-trump-visit
  2. https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/paula-bolyard/2020/06/01/breaking-rioters-burn-historic-st-johns-church-in-d-c-deface-monuments-across-the-city-n474820
  3. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/500628-priest-among-those-police-cleared-from-st-johns-patio-for-trump-visit
  4. https://www.npr.org/2020/06/03/868779265/trump-defends-symbolism-of-photo-op-at-st-johns-church
  5. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/park-police-defends-actions-clearing-protesters-near-white-house-says-no-tear-gas-was-used
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/tear-gas-effects
  7. https://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-pepper-balls.htm
  8. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-national-guard-deployments-timeline-htmlstory.html

Who Knew What When? Part 4

America the Divided

So, fun little fact to start us off with. One of my sources has been edited. Well, another one if you count the WHO’s little erasures within their Mythbusters page. Yeah, the New York Times article, which I had added to simply give a launching point for some of the topics, was edited most recently on May 12th. (2)

Now you may be thinking, “Shadow Bard, it’s an ongoing event and the article is a timeline. It makes sense that they would add to it!” And to that I say, you’re right. If that was all that had happened, I’d count my blessings since this whole thing spirals away from me by the hour. But no, this change pushed me over the edge in deciding how much of America’s crap I would dive into with this global look at what the WHO and others knew during this entire mess. They took something out.

Specifically, they removed the part where it explains that US President Donald Trump asked congress for a loan of $1.25 billion to secure PPE for hospitals and begin work on a vaccine on February 24th. Now, that is the sum of new money. Overall the bill would allow for $2.5 billion while pulling half out of other programs to direct the funds towards the biggest emergency the nation is facing right now. (3) For an emergency fund to get started, it sounds pretty substantial to me, but hey what do I know?

Not much according to the Politico article I found and all the lovely politicians quoted therein. And yes, I know that both the NYT and Politico are heavily biased. Every news source is, even someone like me who goes around and includes things taken from opponents’ perspectives and talks about them. That’s life. If you’re not in a coma, you’re not a neutral entity. The only difference is how you treat the opposition and I’ll get to that at a later date.

The point the article, written on the day of the request, hammers home is how horribly inadequate this action was. Trump didn’t do this soon enough, he didn’t ask for enough, trying to be moderately budget minded by getting half the funds from other programs is terrible and insulting and how dare he. It’s pretty straight forward. (3) You know, because we were falling behind with our 35 patients and no deaths reported by the WHO (1:35) or the 53 patients according to Politico (3). {I think that might be a typo you guys, let’s just stick with that for today.}

No matter the number of cases, the fact remains that Congress was unimpressed by the numbers and the seriousness which the president was showing. Then, because stigma was the greatest issue of this whole ordeal (1:35), or perhaps because primary members of the congress were out telling people to travel to their local China town to prove they weren’t racist instead of taking it easy on the unnecessary trips (4), {NOTE: It’s more an issue that she was telling people to go out during an event that she apparently thought would ravage the country, not where she told people to go.} it took congress until March 5th to come up with and pass an $8.3 billion bill in its place. (5)

This, of course, begs a very serious question… IF CONGRESS COULD PROPOSE AND PASS ITS OWN BUDGET WHY DIDN’T THEY? I mean the word of the moment is that Trump does everything terribly. Why didn’t they make a move prior to this if they were really concerned for the American people?

GOV 101

Buckle in kiddos, ’cause we’re taking a field trip back in time to government class/American history/ whatever other class where you were taught about the constitution that half of Americans seem to have slept through. For any non-Americans coming across this, I guess you can imagine going back to my government class for aesthetics.

The United States federal government is divided into three branches. The Executive run by the President, the Legislative run by Congress (both the House of Representatives and the Senate together), and the Judicial run by the Supreme court. (6) With me so far? Good. Guess which one is in charge of making and passing laws?

If you said anything besides Legislative, you’re why we’re having this little discussion. Congress makes the laws while the president approves and enforces them. The president can veto a law, but if the Congress can get 2/3rds of its members to agree that the law is good for the country, they can overrule that veto. (6) Since the eventual spending bill was passed 96-1, it’s safe to say they had that requirement in the bag (4).

A bill doesn’t need the president’s approval or involvement to be written up or proposed and there is even a clause stating that he can’t ignore it for more than 10 days without if automatically going into effect as long as Congress isn’t recessed. (7) So what, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, the HELL has everyone been whining about this whole time?

Surprisingly, the President of the United States isn’t a bloody king. Who would have guessed that the nation created by a group of men who felt betrayed and abandoned by a king and decided to do things their own way didn’t have one of those same kings in their uppermost position? The President is allowed to sign or veto laws, lead the army in a war, negotiate treaties (that Congress still has to approve afterwards) and appoint members to different stations. He can even issue an executive order to “direct executive officers or clarify and further existing laws” and pardon offenses. But you know what he can’t do? PASS A BUDGET! (8)

Another duty of the President is to keep Congress posted on things happening inside the nation. This is normally achieved through the annual State of the Union address(8) and, wouldn’t you know it, but the virus was mentioned there. Maybe if Pelosi had listened instead of pre-tearing her copy, she and others might have heard him and known to start thinking about this then. (9)

Too Much is Never Enough

I’m not going to call out average citizens, I think I made that clear in my article about a shooting last week, but I’ve seen people complain that Trump didn’t really address the coronavirus in the State of the Union. And granted, it was only a paragraph made in passing among other accomplishments and it’s not very informative. (9) Here’s the thing though; by February 4th, {when the speech took place} the United States had a whopping 11 cases. (1:15)

By that point we had established a COVID Incident Management Structure on January 7, placed entry screening at our airports despite the WHO saying they wouldn’t do much, engaged our emergency response and raised our travel alert,(1:3) and Trump had given a big middle finger to the WHO by deciding to close off travel to foreign nationals who had been to Wuhan on the 31st. (2) {Yeah, that’s still on the page and it’s the site I quoted in my last article addressing this. I think their little note about the total cases and deaths, ignoring that they were 99% China based, is new.}

The US only had 5 cases that day (1:10), and the President’s decision received a salvo of criticism. Joe Biden {or, let’s be real, whoever they pay to write coherent sentences on his behalf} called the move xenophobic, hysterical, and fear mongering. Bernie Sanders had a similar take. Many seemed to. Until all the European countries followed suite. (10)

Then, it was no longer racist to close the borders. No, that was now reserved for calling COVID-19 the Wuhan or Chinese virus, which had been perfectly acceptable up to that point. Not only that, but closing the boarders only to foreign nationals who had visited China in the last two weeks wasn’t good enough. Everyone who had cried foul at what he did do suddenly changed their tune to say it wasn’t enough. He wasn’t doing anything! He was Nero, fiddling while Rome burned. (10)

Hey Nancy, maybe you should have thought of that before you encouraged unnecessary travel. (4) Or any time from December 31, 2019 onward when you could have done what any congress member can do and propose a budget to start working towards an action plan for the virus. Which is YOUR job, not the president’s.(6)

Critique or Scorn

So, do I think everything Trump has done through this ordeal has been spot on? No, I don’t. Like through the rest of his presidency, there are times when I wish he would reign in his rhetoric. Or found better ways to convey ideas. Sometimes I feel it would be better if he had to wait 24 hrs to tweet or talk about something. But that’s small fries compared to most of the complaints I hear. Let’s take a look at a few more of the issues that people have pointed to during this event and see if they are worth getting worked up over.

Hypocrisy is a word heard all too often, and it has been thrown at the US President more times than I care to count. Specific to the corona epic, Trump has been called a hypocrite due to some of his early Tweets from the beginning of what we now know to be a pandemic. Specifically the pictured one from late January that I’ve included. I can’t say how many times I’ve seen it dropped as a sign of Trump’s incompetence, poor handling of the tragedy, hypocrisy and more. How can Trump now put so much blame on China when he initially praised them?

Well, if we completely ignore the fact that situations evolve over time and that no one was really worrying about questioning the WHO’s assertions until the numbers stopped adding up, there is still a very good reason why Trump would initially take the high road in dealing with China. It involves him displaying a trait that many of his opponents don’t often credit him with: discretion.

Around the time of the tweet, the US and China had just signed a new trade agreement. It was brought up in the State of the Union only about a week after the above tweet went out. In that speech he says “a few days ago” meaning that when the tweet went out, the ink would have barely dried. (9) Which seems more reckless? Praising someone who had just made a deal with you who we now know may not have been truthful, or scolding the very powerful man who had just made a deal with you who at most was just starting to seem suspicious?

Because, remember, or learn for the first time depending on where you get your news from, the ABC report claiming that Trump knew about the virus back in November and December 2019 have been completely discredited. Colonel (Dr.) R. Shane Day who is the Director of the National Center for Medical Intelligence in the Defense Intelligence Agency went so far as to release a statement, which he admits he rarely does, because he thought there was something just that harmful about this lie. (11)

And I still see people saying “mid December” in multiple contexts. The most concerning of which are news articles and celebrity twitters. An article by the New Yorker was going around, courtesy of a tweet from actor George Takei, claiming that a teen had launched a coronavirus website as early as December 29, 2020. (12) Here’s the problem with that… The WHO claims they didn’t even know about the virus until December 31 (1:1).

Now, say all you want about the President and his resources, but how exactly is the average seventeen year old with an above average set of coding skills supposed to make a tracking website before the information goes public? Ignoring that, as I mentioned in my first piece, the WHO didn’t start tweeting or posting articles until around January 10th and they didn’t start posting their situation reports until January 21st. Where is he supposed to get his information? The imaginary government contacts they say were informing the president?

This all wouldn’t be so bad if people didn’t believe it. Heck, I would even say it’s good to see stories like this if people would do their research and could start to see who is lying. But they don’t. Too many buy these lies wholesale and that is why the lies keep coming. If I hadn’t written down notes and double checked, I wouldn’t have known about the NYT article changing. (2) And anyone who caught the original story but not the follow up still believes that Donald Trump called the virus a hoax. Which has been debunked; he was talking about the Democrats blaming him being the hoax and even the Post admits that. (10)

This doesn’t even cover the hydroxychloroquine mess that I’ll talk about when we reach March. Overall, it has been a tiring and frustrating journey, this pandemic. The fighting, the arguing, all the lying. I wish we could all be a little more like California Governor Newsom, willing to put aside bias and pass issues to acknowledge when good things happen. (10)

Next time we’ll pick back up with the timeline. Until then, try to be healthy and be happy with the rest.

Sources

  1. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-timeline.html
  3. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/24/trump-coronavirus-budget-request-117275
  4. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/pelosi-says-she-encouraged-public-gatherings-in-chinatown-to-end-the-discrimination-against-asian-americans
  5. https://www.malaymail.com/news/world/2020/03/06/us-congress-approves-sends-to-trump-us8.3b-to-fight-covid-19/1843843
  6. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/separation_of_powers_0
  7. https://www.usa.gov/how-laws-are-made
  8. https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/the-executive-branch/
  9. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/state-of-the-union-2020-read-president-trumps-complete-prepared-remarks
  10. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/dems-media-change-tune-trump-attacks-coronavirus-china-travel-ban
  11. https://www.dailywire.com/news/abc-publishes-damaging-report-on-trump-coronavirus-response-military-official-shreds-it
  12. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/03/30/the-high-schooler-who-became-a-covid-19-watchdog

The Questions We Shouldn’t Need to Ask

Ahmaud Arbery and Unnecessary Division

Ahmaud Arbery (25) was shot and killed by Travis McMichael (34) who was with his father Gregory McMichael (64) on February 23, 2020. The perpetrators have been arrested and charged with murder for following Arbery, who they claim to have thought was a burglar, down the road and instigating a confrontation with him resulting in his death. As seen on video of the incident, he was not in the act of stealing anything, he was jogging down the road when the men pulled up to him in their truck and accosted him, leading to a situation which ended with him being shot three times by a shotgun.(1)

So that’s that, right? There is no crime happening, the two suspects drive up on him, start a fight, and shoot him three times. Open and shut case of two men overstepping the line and we can arrest them and move on. Easy case, easy guilty.

That’s how it should be, but unfortunately instead of something we can all agree on this has become a mired mess of race politics, media debates, and circular reasoning to defend the indefensible. Why is that? Why are we treating this like its on par with self defense or a police officer acting in the line of duty? Why is there anyone, but especially enough to make a fuss about it on social media, who feels the need to champion on behalf of murderers?

I can’t even begin to guess. They come up with excuses like open carry, self defense, and citizen’s arrest and prop them up like pillars for their arguments. But those pillars are built on sand and I plan to bring them down one by one. I can’t promise everyone will listen, and we will have to wait until the pair are put on trial to see how it all plays out, but for those who are questioning and for those who need a comprehensive resource to look into what has happened and how to argue with facts I will show how the defense of these men is not the hill anyone should be willing to die on.

The All Important Timeline and Cast

So how did this all go down? As details are released, the story starts to write itself. Unfortunately getting all the detail in one place has been a major pain in the ass. But I think I’ve managed.

On May 10th, a new tape was revealed from the February case. This second recording was security camera footage taken moments before the tragic incident. It shows an individual, confirmed by the Arbery family’s lawyer to be Ahmaud, walking down the street and approaching a house under construction. The house was protected by security cameras which caught him entering the property through the door-less frame, looking around, and leaving without any sign of stealing or committing any other act aside from trespassing on a construction site, at most a misdemeanor.(2)

I have seen many speculating that he was casing the location, looking for tools or copper to steal, and more. I won’t be addressing those because they are baseless fluff that are only there to make people feel better about their viewpoint. There is no evidence he was planning something like that in this case and there is evidence he left the property empty handed. With no trial possible, he will have to be considered innocent unless something more substantial than a record and assumptions comes to light as far as I and this report are concerned. And with everything else we’re going to learn about this case, it’s safe to say if that evidence existed, we would have it by now.

After he left empty handed, a man across the street saw him exit the property and resume jogging. This man called the police on a non-emergency line to report the incident. (3)

Non-Emergency Dispatcher: Okay, what is he doing?

Caller: He’s running down the street.

NED: Okay, that’s fine. I’ll get them out there. I just need to know what he was doing wrong.

Caller: (Suspect) … has been caught on the camera a bunch before at night… It’s kind of an ongoing thing out here.

Dialogue from Source 3 Formatting by me

Who made this call? Most of the sources don’t say, and it is redacted in the audio. This caused me endless frustration because it’s kind of important. Especially since the video of Ahmaud looking around the property became the crux of many people’s arguments as to why the McMichaels were justified in instigating this whole mess. They’re wrong, but sometimes to thoroughly defeat someone’s argument, you have to give them the benefit of the doubt then destroy their argument anyway.

So I kept looking for which player we could thank for this, and I think I figured out the answer, and it came from an unlikely source.

Alan Tucker, a defense attorney who has worked with the McMichaels in this case, told First Coast News that the man who recorded the video that brought a renewed attention to this case is the “one who saw Arbery coming out of the house and said ‘that’s him.'” (4) Who is that man? William “Roddy” Bryan (5).

*This is where I have to make it clear that this is only my opinion on the matter.*

Tucker claims he doesn’t know if Bryan made the call to the police(4). However, the person who is calling does not sound like the person who made the 911 call during the altercation, who was Gregory McMichael, a former police detective. Also, whoever called is 100% in on the narrative that Arbery is a thief. (3) That, and the language used by Tucker in the article makes Bryan sound like the caller; the one who made the tape was the one who spotted Arbery leave the house and that’s who called the non-emergency number. (4)

According to the police report, Gregory also spotted Ahmaud running or “hauling ass” down the road and, due to thinking he was responsible for a string of robberies in the area, told his son to grab a gun and get in the truck. (6)

The reason he thought he needed guns? He had seen the victim reach into his pants ‘the other night’ (officer’s quotes) and this made him think he had a gun. (6) Absolutely flawless reasoning to be sure. Guess he’s never had to rearrange the family jewels.

Then they drove after him. Again, because they thought he had committed a string of robberies in the area… and not because they saw him come out of the house. They don’t even mention the house in the police report. (6) Or on the second 911 call. (3) This is another reason I don’t think Gregory was the first caller despite some sites thinking he was. Those sites also seem to merge both calls into one(7), so you can see why I had to hunt down different sources for different parts of this. No one has the whole story straight.

McMichael also told police that Arbery tried to get away by turning around and going the other way when “Roddy” made an unsuccessful attempt to box him in. They moved to follow and this is when the video comes in. (6) A pretty bold move to say the man your son just killed tried to not get shot and to avoid escalating the situation more than you did.

“McMichael stated they saw the unidentified male and shouted “stop stop, we want to talk to you”. McMichael stated they pulled up beside the male and shouted stop again at which time Travis exited the truck with the shotgun. McMichael stated the unidentified male began to violently attack Travis and the two men then started fighting over the shotgun at which point Travis fired a shot and then a second later there was a second shot. McMichael stated the male fell face down on the pavement with his hand under his body. McMichael stated he rolled the man over to see if the male had a weapon.”

Police Report, Source 6

I watched the video. (7) Multiple times. It was shaky, but it shows enough. If you haven’t seen it, I will say that you can’t see blood, but it is the last moments of a man’s life and you can hear the shots and see gunsmoke from at least one blast. Think carefully before you decide to watch it, but it is important to the case.

Travis and Gregory had parked the truck a ways in front of Arbery while William pulls up behind, camera rolling. Travis is outside of the open driver’s door, standing in the middle of the opposite lane with a shotgun in his hand and Gregory is in the truck bed as the victim runs towards them. Ahmaud continues forward until he gets close to the truck, then he changes direction towards the shoulder farthest from the big angry man with a shotgun. (7) So if the report has even a shred of truth to it, this is the second time the victim attempted to avoid this attack, and also goes against their police report claim that Travis was immediately jumped by Ahmaud upon exiting his vehicle. (6)

The camera pans down and we hear yelling. It comes back up in time to see what really matters. Travis has moved. He crossed the road towards the front of the truck, rifle up and his finger on the trigger, likely in an attempt to head off Arbery. At that point, the victim made a sharp left towards the nearing armed threat. That is when the first of three shots was fired. (7)

It was after this shot that Arbery made contact with Travis, pushing into his shoulder and trying to grab the gun, forcing it down and away from himself. They wrestled for the weapon and two more shots were fired. The second shot happened off camera, with a smoke plume being caught on screen, but the third was in frame after Arbery hit Travis several times. He gave a few final tugs before staggering away and collapsing where he slowly bled to death. (7)

Unlike the report, Travis was the aggressor as he closed the distance first. (7)

Unlike the report, there were three shots, not two. (7) Almost like the first one that happened before “the unidentified male began to violently attack Travis” (6) didn’t count.

Unlike their assumptions, Ahmaud was unarmed. (1)

During this incident, just before the shots were fired, the 911 call was made, this time by Gregory. He gave the neighborhood to the dispatcher but couldn’t name the street through his labored breathing. As he was trying to explain that they were attempting to stop a man who was running down the street, something began to happen around him. (3)

In the recording Gregory can then be heard shouting, “G**damn it, c’mon, Travis.” At least according to the article I found. When I listen, I hear either “Stop right there” or “Stop with that” before he says “damn it” a pause then “Travis.” No matter which, the line goes quiet and he becomes unresponsive to the operator. (3)

The police arrive, the case is decided as self defense, and no arrests are made. Later, Tucker, who works with the McMichaels, released the Bryan tape and the public went wild. (4) And now here we are.

TL/DR:

Arbery goes into a house under construction (for unknown reasons because he is dead), takes nothing, leaves empty handed, is spotted by a neighbor jogging (maybe Bryan but we don’t know), who calls the non-emergency line, who doesn’t seem to get why they are being called but promises to send someone, and then…

Men post up in rode to block Ahmaud. Victim tries to avoid a fight. Gregory calls 911 for the first time. Travis crosses towards victim with his finger on the trigger. The first shot is fired before Ahmaud reaches his attacker. Fight for the gun, two more shots, fall to the ground, and a very inaccurate police report that leads to no one getting arrested.

The Issues With the Case

“But Shadow Bard, you already pointed out the disparities between the report and facts!”

Good observation, but we’re not done yet. A whole host of problems are stuck in this narrative that I’ve only touched on so far in the effort to keep the timeline at least partially coherent. Now we’ll go back and sort out the rest.

The first issue: the non-emergency call. What’s wrong with it? For starters not knowing who made the call. Why does it matter? Motive.

**This is the part where I insert a giant asterisks and say this has not yet gone to trial and despite them robbing Arbery of the proper course of justice, maintaining the rule of law and ensuring they get their due process is essential. Therefore, no matter how guilty I think they are, they must be considered innocent until proven otherwise. But there is no rule against processing the information and drawing conclusions. These are mine.**

Citizen Arrest Angle

Tucker stated that “Roddy” is the one who spotted Ahmaud leaving the house. He then corrects himself by saying he doesn’t know if he was the one to call the police, but I’m nearly positive it was him. (4) Why is this important? Because it would mean that only “Roddy” witnessed anything close to an active crime.

OCGA 17-4-60 “A private person may arrest an offender if the offense is committed in his presence or within his immediate knowledge. If the offense is a felony and the offender is escaping or attempting to escape, a private person may arrest him upon reasonable and probable grounds of suspicion.”

Citizen Arrest Laws Source 5

In order to perform a citizens arrest in Georgia, the person making the arrest must have seen the crime or have “reasonable and probable” suspicion that one was committed. (5) So if “Roddy” was the one to witness him leaving and suspected he stole something, that would mean he would have to be the one to perform the citizen’s arrest. Or at the very least not seeing him leave means both McMichaels have no grounds as the most they can have in this case is hearsay.

But let’s say Gregory did see Ahmaud leave the property. What does the law say in that case? “IF the offense is a felony” [my emphasis] a citizen can pull off an arrest. (5) And was a felony committed that day? Not according to the first police call.

Whoever called the police didn’t seem think it was a felony or anything more than a footnote for police to check out since he called the non-emergency line as opposed to calling 911. The dispatcher on the other end didn’t seem to think it was a felony either as she repeatedly asked “what is he doing wrong… is he just not supposed to be there?” (3) The Arbery family attorney is also certain that at most he committed a misdemeanor. (2)

As for the actual shooter, Travis, he’s the only one who we can almost guarantee didn’t see the incident. Not only did Gregory fail to mention a current event in the report, he specifically said, “he then ran inside his house and called to Travis (McMichael) and said ‘Travis the guy is running down the street lets go’.” (6) Now I’ll admit Gregory is lying through his teeth in this report to defend his son, but would he really lie about the one thing necessary to give them a legal motive in the first place?

Because if they don’t have the house sighting, what do they have to justify them confronting him? Some old tapes from security cameras that are totally definitely him you guys? (6) From a string of burglaries in the area that are “kind of an ongoing thing out here”? (3) You know. The ones that didn’t happen. (8)

Yeah that’s right. Between January 1st and the incident only one robbery was reported for the area, and it was on January 1st. The target? A gun from a car parked outside of the McMichaels’ home. Well that certainly clears a few things up, now doesn’t it? Sounds like there might be a little bit of personal interest and prior gun mismanagement. The vehicle wasn’t even locked. (8)

So we’re supposed to believe that after one prior incident, 54 days before the confrontation(8), with the suspect only being spotted on camera at night (3), that Gregory and Travis were able to definitively identify Ahmaud as this robber? Enough to have probable cause? I’m not buying it but I won’t be on their jury, unfortunately.

Jumping the Gun

According to Jason Vaughn, Arbery’s former high school football coach, Ahmaud was well known for running through the area. Even playing basketball with younger children in the neighborhood. (7) So why was he decided on as the thief? Unfortunately, unless either man confesses, we likely won’t know.

There are a few theories as to why Arbery might have been targeted. One involves Gregory, who had only retired from being a police detective about a year previously(5). During his time as an investigator, McMichael and Arbery had a few run ins. Ahmaud’s first offense was taking a weapon to school, which is absolutely a big deal. But it was his first offense and he was given five years probation. His other big crime? Breaking probation by shoplifting. Aaaaand that’s it. The last offense was in 2018. Aside from that, even Barnhill can’t point to more than his brother and cousin being in prison. (9)

That history does not a serial crook make. That, and the details don’t seem to match up with this being the reason. It was supposedly “Roddy” who decided Arbery was the responsible party. (4) On top of that, Gregory never called Ahmaud by name, and resorted to that weak excuse of reaching down his pants that one time to explain why they needed multiple guns to ask Ahmaud if he had taken anything in the neighborhood. (3,6) I feel like a prior weapons conviction would have been a much stronger excuse if he actually knew who Ahmaud was when he started to chase him. (9)

Then why did they think it was him? We can’t say for sure unless they admit it themselves. But… Weeell… “…there’s a black male running down the street.” (3)

I have bi-racial cousins. I’ve seen little old ladies of different races following each other around Wal-mart on their shopping trips as they laugh and gossip together. The majority of people are disgusted by what has happened. America is not a racist country, and I will stand by this fact. But there are absolutely racists in this country. Was racism at the center of this? It seems very likely.

Couple their careless assumption based on appearances with their vigilante ‘citizen’s arrest’ motive and you get a perfect storm of “this black guy is totally guilty and I’m going to do something about it.”

Fast Facts and Inconsistencies

Let’s gather some facts to blow common misunderstandings out of the water.

In spite of claims of multiple break ins: the only reported theft in the past two months was in front of the McMichael house. (8)

Gregory had been retired for around a year from being a detective at the time of the incident. (5)

Travis doesn’t seem to have a job. No one says, but at the very least, he didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps as no one ever talks about ties to him being a problem. (all)

We also know that while the non-emergency line was called before the chase began, 911 wasn’t called until the conflict was underway. (3) Which is really weird if they were planning to hold Arbery for police. If it’s not an emergency, it’s not high on the list. And with roughly 8 minutes passing between calls with no response to a decent neighborhood(3), I think it’s safe to say the police hadn’t rushed over for “snooping black man running down the street.”

Despite him having a gun, Gregory didn’t have his drawn as far as we can see in the video. In fact, he is clearly on the call with 911 until just before the second shot where he drops his phone and reaches for his gun that doesn’t seem to go off. (7)

The detail that struck me the most was Travis’s move during the moment the camera was panned down. Middle of the road to boom: at the front of the truck. And remember, Arbery was putting distance between them. (7)

There were three shots, but only two were reported. (7,6)

Arbery made physical contact with Travis after the first shot. (7)

The McMichaels use the citizen’s arrest defense but a retired cop should have known that without an active felony a citizen’s arrest wouldn’t hold up. (5)

As I go through this, I keep finding more questions that I can’t answer. It’s hard to be patient, especially when the case is moving so slowly. And that’s our last topic.

Why is this taking so long?

Gregory’s former job has had a major impact on the case and its prosecution, if not from the police taking his word verbatim on that day, then absolutely from the debacle with the DA’s office.

The first DA recursed herself because she used to work with Gregory. (1) However, the second one, AG Barnhill waited for at least 3-4 weeks past the time he knew his son worked at the same office as the first DA[and therefore likely with McMichael] to recuse himself(9), which was after the mother of the victim insisted he do so (5).

He writes a letter about it in which he is a passive aggressive creep. He belittles the mother’s concerns, insists it’s all nonsense, then ,despite the fact that this is his recusal letter, he gives his opinion about how he wasn’t planning on prosecuting if he hadn’t been forced to step down. (5)

So for our last step, let’s pick this apart and see why Ahmaud’s mother made the right call, and how the case might actually go once it reaches the courts.

His first point is that he’s a super experienced lawyer man. He’s done SO MANY cases just like this one and that means he knows what he’s talking about. His second point is that the autopsy backs up the other evidence and shows they don’t need to arrest anyone. (5) Are we watching the same videos? Did we read the same report?

His third point is to list the civilian arrest law and that he disagrees with my assessment that it’s a dumb excuse. His reason? They were in their neighborhood, had probable cause, asked him to stop, and “appeared to intend” to hold him for police. (5) Police who were only eventually going to show up because they didn’t call 911 until things got out of hand and he wouldn’t stop for them. (3,7)

Next he tackles the issue of those guns. He claims they were just open carrying in Travis’s truck and therefore compliant with the law.

OCGA 16-11-126 a) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a weapon or long gun on his or her property or inside his or her home, motor vehicle, or place of business without a valid weapons carry license.
(b) Any person who is not prohibited by law from possessing a handgun or long gun may have or carry on his or her person a long gun without a valid weapons carry license, provided that if the long gun is loaded, it shall only be carried in an open and fully exposed manner.”

Open carry law, Source 5

That sounds good, though I don’t know that posed in the street somewhere in your neighborhood counts as on your property. But let’s give them this one for now. They are within their rights to have a gun. I agree with the second amendment, and they didn’t hide the shotgun.

Then the fifth point. OH boy the fifth point. The fifth point is where he walks us through his not at all biased view of events. I’m going to go through them verbatim. (5)

From said video it appears Ahmaud Arbery was running along the right side of the McMichael truck then abruptly turns 90 degrees to the left and attacks Travis McMichael who was standing at the front left corner of the truck.

Barnhill Recusal Letter, Source 5

Hey buddy, you skipped the part where Travis ran from the middle of the other lane of the road to his place in front of the truck. You also forgot to mention that being on the right side was from Arbery moving away from Travis in the first place. (7)

A brief skirmish ensues in which it appears Arbery strikes McMichael and appears to grab the shotgun and pull it from McMichael. The shot is through Arbery’s right hand palm which is consistent with him grabbing and pulling the shotgun at the barrel tip,

Barnhill Recusal Letter, Source 5

Umm… No, it’s not. It is NOT consistent with grabbing and pulling. What it IS consistent with is what we see in the video, him throwing up his hand as he is shot in the first instance before he has even had a chance to reach Travis. (7) Are we actually meant to believe that a man steals a gun by cupping his hand over the barrel opening? No, not even close. This is the autopsy debunking you by showing the first strike was a defensive wound.

…the angle of the 2nd shot with the rear of the buttstock being pushed away and down from the fight are also consistent with the upward angle of blood plume shown in the video and that McMichael was attempting to push the gun away from Arbery while Arbery was pulling it toward himself. The 3rd shot too appears to be in a struggle over the gun.

Barnhill Recusal Letter, Source 5

He doesn’t get as descriptive with these shots aside from: dude trust me. But what little he does give can be confirmed, they were fighting by this point. (7) And there were two more shots which proves they filed a false police report (6).

Given the fact Arbery initiated the fight, at the point Arbery grabbed the shotgun, under Georgia Law, McMichael was allowed to use deadly force to protect himself.

Barnhill Recusal Letter, Source 5

Arbery started the fight when he grabbed the gun? Really? The fight didn’t start when three older men decided they had a right to chase him down because he had maybe pocketed something? The fight didn’t start when they continued to pursue him when he turned around to get away from them? The fight didn’t start when they posted themselves in the road to prevent him from getting away? The fight didn’t start when Travis chased him again and shot him when he raised his hand to block or push away the barrel? But no, the fight happened when he made contact with the gun and started punching after the first shot had been fired. Let’s see what the self-defense laws have to say.

OCGA 16-3-21 Use of Force in Defense, once confronted with a deadly force situation an individual is allowed to use deadly force to defend themselves or others. OCGA 16-3-23.1 Georgia’s No Duty to Retreat Law, an individual is not required to back away from or submit to an attack; OCGA 16-3-24[b] The use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to prevent trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with real property other than a habitation or personal property is not justified unless the person using such force reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. OCGA 16-3-24.2 A person properly and legally defending themselves is immune from prosecution

Barnhill Recusal Letter, Source 5

Oh look, you gave the exact reason you should prosecute as the reason you don’t think it’s justified. Oopsie.

Use of deadly force to PREVENT trespass is NOT justified unless the person thinks it can prevent a forcible felony. (5)

“But.. But… habitation and personal properties are exceptions!”

  1. It’s not their property.
  2. He’s already left the premises. They can’t prevent something that has already happened.
  3. Also, again, a felony is required to be part of this. Once he has left the house empty handed, no felony possible.

Now, what about backing away from a fight and having the right to defend yourself once a deadly conflict has started? (5) Well, if anything the one who that applies to is Ahmaud having the right to try to take the gun after a man unlawfully tries to detain him to the point of running at him with a bloody shotgun. But there’s another piece of this puzzle that Barnhill, with no bias mind you, skipped over.

Georgia Code Title 16. Crimes and Offenses § 16-3-21 (b) A person is not justified in using force under the circumstances specified in subsection (a) of this Code section if he: (1) Initially provokes the use of force against himself with the intent to use such force as an excuse to inflict bodily harm upon the assailant; (2) Is attempting to commit, committing, or fleeing after the commission or attempted commission of a felony; or (3) Was the aggressor or was engaged in a combat by agreement unless he withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to such other person his intent to do so and the other, notwithstanding, continues or threatens to continue the use of unlawful force.

When you can’t claim Self-defense, Source 10

Don’t know about you, but I think we have pretty much concluded by this point that Travis stalking up gun in hand while Arbery was trying to get around him (7), which he had already supposedly done once without attacking (6), was Travis instigating the fight. And there is no way you can come up on someone, gun raised and finger on the trigger, without the intent to use it to cause harm. (7) That sounds an awful lot like Travis creating a situation where he would have an excuse to use the gun.

So that’s strike one. What about part two? Don’t think it applies? Me either, until I remembered a little something called:

Georgia Code § 16-5-41 – False Imprisonment (a) A person commits the offense of false imprisonment when, in violation of the personal liberty of another, he arrests, confines, or detains such person without legal authority.

What it’s called when you make a fake citizen’s arrest, Source 11

And gee, if we look back up there at the citizen’s arrest laws where you need to have proof or probable cause of an immediate felony taking place (5) and compare it to the likelihood that at most that day someone who was not Travis(4,6) saw Ahmaud commit a misdemeanor (2) then it shows that all three men were, in trying to hold him against his will, guilty of attempting false imprisonment. Which…

In some states, like Georgia, Washington and Florida, false imprisonment is always charged as a felony.

What kind of crime false imprisonment is, Source 12

So, with Travis attempting to commit a felony (11,12), that means part two of the self-defense exceptions–can’t use if you’re trying to commit a felony– also applies here! (10) Strike 2.

And lastly, you can’t claim self-defense if you are the aggressor. (10) I think I hammered that point home well enough by now. Strike three. Bada bing, bada boom, the self-defense laws don’t apply to any of you.

Gee, there sure are a lot of laws that instantly point to this being everyone but Ahmaud’s fault. I wonder how a humble shadow can figure that out but a DA who has a paragraph of experience completely overlooked it? Do you think the work relationship that he belittles the victim’s mother for accusing him of having might be related? Let me answer and close out this article with one more quote, and let you decide.

Just as importantly, while we know McMichael had his finger on the trigger, we do not know who caused the firings. Arbery would only had [sic] to pull the shotgun approximately 1/16th to 1/8th of one inch to fire the weapon himself and in the height of an altercation this is entirely possible.

Barnhill accusing the victim of shooting himself, Source 5
Sources
  1. https://www.foxnews.com/us/ahmaud-arbery-case-georgia-father-and-son-arrested-charged-with-murder
  2. https://www.foxnews.com/us/ahmaud-arbery-case-additional-video-being-reviewed-authorities-say
  3. https://nypost.com/2020/05/07/the-two-emergency-calls-made-before-ahmaud-arbery-was-killed/
  4. https://www.firstcoastnews.com/article/news/crime/attorney-for-mcmichael-family-claims-he-released-shooting-video-of-ahmaud-arbery/77-c5df7130-1a00-4acf-90f2-7a5a56363360
  5. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/6916-george-barnhill-letter-to-glyn/b52fa09cdc974b970b79/optimized/full.pdf
  6. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/6915-arbery-shooting/b52fa09cdc974b970b79/optimized/full.pdf
  7. https://heavy.com/news/2020/05/ahmaud-arbery-shooting-video-georgia/
  8. https://nypost.com/2020/05/08/police-debunk-accused-killers-claims-ahmaud-arbery-was-burglary-suspect/
  9. https://thegrio.com/2020/05/08/georgia-man-ahmaud-arbery/
  10. https://codes.findlaw.com/ga/title-16-crimes-and-offenses/ga-code-sect-16-3-21.html
  11. https://law.onecle.com/georgia/title-16/16-5-41.html
  12. https://legalbeagle.com/13710003-what-is-false-imprisonment-charge.html

Who Knew What When? Part 3: The Crash

Every time I sit down to continue this series I wind up having to move the goal posts down. This is the second section in a row where I thought I could make it all the way to the pandemic announcement, but the facts and politics just keep lengthening the sections. My wordy writing style doesn’t help either, and I’m working on it, I promise. ; )

In the first part, I sorted through the WHO’s Situation Reports, travel guides, and a few other sources in an attempt to eke out what the organization knew, or at least what it claimed to know. There were a handful of inconsistencies that drew attention to themselves. In the second part, I continued to follow the timeline and we began to see how the WHO might have gained the reputation for favoring China over the rest of the world through their own actions. Today, we’ll cover early to mid February as the carefully laid plans of the WHO begin to show signs of undoing up until we reach the point where I’m still trying to figure out if I need to do the big Trump rant or if I can still set that aside for later. >_<

Alarm Bells Ringing

I know I’ve been a bit of a whiner through this, and I don’t want you to think that I’m saying everything the WHO has done up to this point has been useless. So before I dive into the way their lies and mishandlings began to catch up to them and fall apart to the detriment of nations, I thought I’d share a few of the little positives the WHO achieved. 

Their plan of accelerating the diagnostic process, streamlining the search for therapeutics and vaccines, and their desire to combat misinformation are all noble. So is their warning to prepare for economic struggles that might stem from the infection. (1:16) In fact, I was happy to see that unlike some of the doctors and other ‘authorities’ that were given a presence on the news, the WHO put just as much emphasis on therapeutics as vaccines instead of ignoring the former and acting as if the later was our only hope of dealing with this illness. 

When the WHO opened up a donation page for nations, and individuals, to fund 90% of their action plan, I first found myself wondering if it was due to them realizing no one was taking the situation seriously enough or if it was a desire on their part to be solely in charge. The plan’s budget of USD 675.5 million was meant to last from February 1 to April 30 for the purpose of helping the international community implement health measures including observation, training, and PPE management with an eye towards poorer nations(1:16). I personally prefer non-centralized solutions that allow nations to help each other directly, but greed can get involved in matters like these so I can understand the need for a more powerful intermediary. So I can’t say I completely fault them for wanting to help train and supply nations otherwise unable to help themselves, as long as we look at the intention and not how they used the money and where it ultimately came from. 

OK, I said a few nice things now let’s take a look at how the early February slump speaks to the success of their opening tactics. 

With a global research and innovation forum on the horizon(1:17), the WHO announced that someone finally thought of adapting SARS and MERS research to fill in the gaps in the knowledge about 2019-nCoV. (2:2/6) They also highlighted testing efforts and questioned if looking for new, different forms of testing for the virus might be a good idea(1:17). With the Diamond Princess cruise ship sitting in Japans’ waters(3) with a total of 20 cases already reported, that might be a good thing to spend some of those millions they’re seeking on(1:17). 

February 7 reports gave me both a good laugh and a grim reminder of one of the reasons China has proven itself so monstrous over the years and in this particular event. The funny bit was reading the WHO whine in their situation report that out of the 72 countries that had implemented international travel restrictions, only 23– or 32%– had actually filed the correct paperwork. They knew this because apparently they paid someone to stalk the news and Twitter feeds of different nations which is where they found out. (1:18) The sobering news of the day was the death of Dr. Li Wenliang, supposedly of the virus, who was the doctor reprimanded by the CCP for warning his fellow doctors of the new virus that was beginning to spread(3). Though he died for his actions taken as a whistle blower, his bravery to speak out might have saved countless lives if only by forcing China to come forward with the information due to it being leaked. I feel this is an opportune time to remind you that the timeline and case counts are listed as they are reported by the WHO who are almost unquestioningly accepting them from China. 

While people cried out in protest of this hero’s death, the repeated rounds of their education bullet points remained the primary concern of the WHO and the groups working with them. The infection prevention and control (IPC) global network met and renewed guidelines on healthcare. Isolation, precautions for carers, and control of as much of the environment as possible all make up the meat of their recommendations as the WHO laid out in their report. (1:19)

One recommendation in particular that has seen little adjustment since is that home health aides and those who are sick should wear masks, but the public as a whole shouldn’t bother with them. (1:19) Even if it’s only a possibility, knowing that asymptomatic people can have the virus (2:1/26)  and that up to 80% of people have only a mild illness (2:1/28) that might not even lead to them seeking medical attention, it seems like a foolish recommendation to make as they do clearly expect there to be some benefit in containing the virus from them. And it seems I’m not the only one to think that as the Japanese government made their own decision and provided masks to the passengers on the Diamond Princess in an attempt to prevent the illness from further spreading among the ship’s inhabitants whenever they left their rooms during the two week quarantine imposed on them. (1:20) 

As the WHO released online training courses for coronavirus response and healthcare workers(1:20), and announced the upcoming meeting for their research and development team(1:21) they quietly gave up constantly stating that they didn’t want people to stop traveling to and trading with China(1:20). That’s not to say they approved of a nation taking either step by any stretch of the imagination, but they stopped putting their less than suggestive advice at the end of every single report starting from that point. With this tiny concession, they continued to plow forward along the same path with a new rallying cry.

The official name of COVID-19, which was just an acronym of the disease’s classification, was announced at last(1:22). There was a small problem, though. By this point the many colorful names that the internet had given the virus to have something other than 2019-nCoV to call it, had come to the WHO’s attention. Apparently unlike Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the Spanish Flu, or Lyme Disease, calling this virus the Chinese Virus, the Wuhan Virus, or the Bat Soup Virus was inappropriate and caused stigmatization which could lead to inaccuracies. (2:2/11) 

Maybe they should have thought about that before oh, I don’t know, spending the first month and a half acting like this was something that only the people of China could get or spread. There isn’t anything inaccurate about saying that it came from China or Wuhan, and there are only so many times the world can hear about eating wild animals causing a major disease before they start taking exception to people who continue to eat them. In case you didn’t know, Ebola also likely started from consuming bats (4) or something bats came into contact with as did SARS and other coronaviruses (5).

Let me say something important here: I’m not condoning attacking foreign nationals or the citizens of China by any means. Whether the unsanitary conditions of the wet market in Wuhan, an under cooked piece of meat, or–for the sake of argument–a scientist from a nearby laboratory who didn’t properly wash his hands after touching the lab’s experiment animals and before picking something up on his way home from work, this is most likely an education problem and I put more blame on the government that has created an environment where families feel the need to turn to often diseased wild animals to sustain themselves. At the very least, a method of teaching people how to ensure foods are cooked all the way through would have greatly benefited the people. 

Intermediate Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus affinis. That live in caves Is a nocturnal animal Foul and dirty These bats are a collection of many diseases. And Colona royalty free stock photography

And, in case you hadn’t heard because I know it’s been a sensitive subject, China and the WHO had admitted by this point that the Rhinolophus bat sub-species was likely the original carrier of the virus by looking at its genetic makeup. However, they suggest that another animal might have played intermediary between the bats and humans in this case as bats don’t typically get sold at markets but directly to restaurants. (1:22) I would think that might show up in the genetic code too, but we’re not going down that rabbit hole for now. The primary suggestion to come from this entire episode from the WHO about how to prevent something like this in the future? Maybe we should do a better job at keeping wet markets clean. (1:22) Yeah. Not close them forever, just make sure their sanitation is up to par. I don’t feel good about this going forward. 

The next day the WHO attempted to mass shame governments via more indirect tweets about not wanting the Diamond Princess and other cruise ships to dock on their shores while also tweeting that 40 of the previous day’s 48 new cases were of passengers aboard the ship in question. (2:2/12) They also sent virologists to Mexico and Brazil to give them guidance in spite of the fact that there were no cases anywhere in Central or South America at the time. (2:2/12) 

While that was going on, nations had begun to plan for how to get their citizens home from China and other viral centers. Ever the helpful ones, the WHO brought attention to their article about repatriation and quarantine that is so unbelievably nightmarish that I’m going to have to rip an entire quote from it in order to properly rant about it. (1:23)

“Evidence on travel measures that significantly interfere with international traffic for more than 24 hours shows that such measures may have a public health rationale at the beginning of the containment phase of  an  outbreak,  as  they  may  allow  affected  countries  to  implement  sustained  response  measures,  and non-affected  countries  to  gain  time  to  initiate  and  implement  effective  preparedness  measures. Such restrictions,  however,  need  to  be  short  in  duration,  proportionate  to  the  public  health  risks,  and  be reconsidered regularly as the situation evolves.” (6)

The World Health Organization

So, in other words, if you had told people not to go to China back on January 10th (when you made your first Travel Guide) or before, or had China locked down their nation immediately upon learning there was a new disease, then we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now. Is that what you’re saying, WHO? Because that’s what I’m hearing. 

But no, that would have been mean. And now there are stranded people, anger, confusion, and the lock downs. Now we need to load up planes full of PPE and medical personnel to go rescue citizens from China when everything has exploded out of control. Just make sure you are properly emotionally preparing the normal flight crew and screening passengers, with the advice being to ditch anyone with symptoms to their fates; because again forget about those asymptomatic patients who are also coming over so might as well bring everyone. Instead you are meant to treat those showing signs as if they are the only ones who matter and track every seat to ensure that if anyone gets sick they will know who was nearby if they are positive for the virus. (6)

And if no one gets sick? Well then apparently it’s fine to let them just go as long as you let them know where to go or who to call if they start to succumb. Don’t forget to tell them to keep track of every person they come into contact with and to tell those people to call and keep track of who they come into contact with just in case. Or, you know, quarantine them for two weeks. You lay out instructions for that in the guide too but no apparently we’re not so concerned still that we won’t let potential vectors have visitors without any test or waiting period (6).

Do I sound frustrated? I know it’s hard to tell through text so let me take a moment to say: I’m frustrated. The farther I read, the worse things get. And I find no comfort in the released Crisis Management Team roster the UN managed to cobble together(1:23). 

“The CMT brings together WHO, OCHA, IMO (International Maritime Organization),   UNICEF,   ICAO,   WFP,   FAO,   the   World   Bank   and   several departments  of  the  UN  Secretariat.”

World Health Organization on the UN’s CMT Member List

Because there isn’t a single organization on that list that has given people of the world reason to question or fear them. Nope, totally not. But hey, at least we know that it’s been very rare for someone who got sick outside of China to spread the virus to new locations and that it’s definitely only spread through small clusters and not through society as a whole. (1:23) But it’s not the Chinese virus you guys. It’s Not STop SaYing THAT! 

In keeping with the everything’s fine nothing to see here theme of the pandemic that’s not yet a pandemic, on February 13 China had a sudden spike of 14K cases overnight(3). Basically, the doctors in Hubei province, who definitely have this under control haven’t you seen how the numbers up to this point have been leveling off, started x-raying patients’ chests and anyone with any sort of lung build up was considered infected. (1:24) Now the WHO didn’t add these to their overall count for China in the situation reports (but they did on their COVID-19 home page) pending more information. They instead stopped reporting on China’s suspected cases and waited for the lab results to confirm the clinical diagnostics. (1:24)

One of these things is not like the others… COVID-19 Dashboard

In the meantime we get the comfort of knowing from one of their tables that seven cases were contracted in Singapore (on February 13 the place with the most cases outside of China and the Diamond Princess) on January 22nd and spread it around to France right after. (1:24) A fun tidbit to learn the day before France’s first COVID19 death, the first in Europe(3). Almost as exciting as the first death in Japan with no direct ties to traveling to Wuhan. (1:25) So much for the virus not being as bad once it gets out of China. 

Let’s see, what other little crises are boiling to the surface? Ah! How about this one? After not mentioning it at all after the initial announcement, suddenly we’re updated by learning that a slew of doctors and medical staff have died in China(2:2/15). I don’t know if we’re supposed to think that they all just died off like Raid doused ants or if we’re meant to extrapolate that they have gradually been falling sick and dying and China has reached the point where they no longer feel the need to hide it anymore. But I do know that the WHO is proud of China for buying the world time(2:2/15) and extremely peeved that other nations are taking steps without running it by them to be ridiculed first(2:2/15). 

Because of these steps other nations are taking, it’s time for the WHO to link up with social media to sensor, I mean correct, any news or information about the virus that they deem fake.(2:2/15) While we’re at it, how about you guys throw in a theory bate tweet saying that you need to study the virus in more places and environments to learn more about it(2:2/16)? Awesome, don’t forget to remind everyone to submit all their data about how it spreads through jobs, hospitals, schools and all that(1:27). Great, and don’t worry. This is definitely not the first time I’ve read your reports and tweets and found that they came off sounding like you were letting things progress just to see how your monitoring equipment worked or how much control you could gain in a situation like this. 

Let’s not focus on that for now, though. Instead, let’s focus on how China published a report on their 44k cases, including the clinical ones which are confirmed now(1:28), which should help the WHO with advising nations. It even gave them an idea of where the virus might be heading once held up alongside a map of the 600 cases and three deaths outside of China. (2:2/17) I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but by golly does it sound sinister. And hey, China also passed a law outlawing the consumption of wild animals (3) so maybe that’ll do something to prevent a new one from cropping up once we scrape our way out of this mess. 

On the 18th a weird tweet was put out saying that it had now been one month since the virus had left China. (2:2/18) You can’t even peg this as them ignoring Taiwan; Thailand and Japan had their first cases on the 13th and 15th respectively so I don’t know who’s watching their calendar over at WHO headquarters (1:1). Hopefully not the same person who took to the Situation Report to inform the nations that they were too stupid to know how to ration PPE properly so take this guide to tell you how, and also you, not naming any names, are all terrible because export restrictions means we can’t do what we want as easily with moving supplies around and finding production places outside of China. Not that they aren’t crucial still, but maybe we should look into it. (1:29) Legal speak stops sounding polite and starts sounding passive aggressive really quickly, especially when I get a hold of it. 

As the cruise ship Diamond Princess began to disembark passengers who had ended their quarantine(3), the WHO announced that its mathematics partners had finally determined that the incubation period was 0-14 days with the median being 5-6. (1:30) Just to be safe, the Japanese government encouraged the cruise passengers to wait another 14 days at home to ensure they don’t develop a fever or other symptoms. So that little saga came to its end after pushing global numbers outside of China over one thousand. (2:2/20) 

And no list of the insane back stabbing admissions from the WHO would be complete without this little gem from the 31st Situation Report. 

“Following the notification of the occurrence of cases of COVID-19 among travelers from Wuhan, China in early January, WHO set up a Global Surveillance System to collect and organize essential information to describe and monitor the extent of the global outbreak.”

-The World Health Organization

Monitor global extent? Provide early risk assessment once cases were detected in new countries?? Provide guidance on trends???(1:31) Um… Guys, pretty sure you were still saying this was something that wasn’t going to spread outside China apart from the direct travelers back in January. Or at least it sure felt that way with how you kept repeating that it was very rare and almost impossible to pass it along to anyone outside of China. (2:1/27,1/30)

Quick! Focus on the fact that South Korea had two days in a row of 50+ patients pushing them to the top of the not China infection slot! (1:30,31) Turns out there was an underground church in South Korea affiliated with China that was discovered as having contributed to their outbreak. The nation quickly shut down schools, nursing homes, and rallies to put a stop to this development(3). 

So please, whatever you do pay attention to that. Don’t focus on the fact that INFOSAN is only just now trying to figure out if the pathogen that causes COVID-19 can be passed around on international food shipments. Because FFFFFfffafafFfasffadfRICk that might have been something nice to know back at the beginning. Especially since we already know that coronaviruses can live for up to two years while frozen and last on surfaces for a few days. But hey, SARS and MERS didn’t spread that way, so it’s probably fine. (1:32)

I mean, it’s not like you had to test every single little detail up to this point before deciding to make up your mind on it. But hey, those were ways to prevent the spread, so it was fine to assume they wouldn’t work and look into them while not taking steps to protect people in the event it might be true and waited for later to figure out if maybe the intermediary animal between bats and humans that you suspect might have helped introduce the virus to us might be something people other than desperate pangolin eaters at a wet market might be interested in (1:32). It’s fine.

Remember how they said it’s possible to spread the virus via fomites back in January? (1:4) Well they just published the protocol about how they want to go about testing for that on February 18th so it only took them about a month to get around to finalizing the process they would need to start doing it. : D (1:33) 

No need to focus on all of that. After all, we’re kind of busy with the fact that South Korea’s count just went up by a third and Italy has started to close a few cities to deal with the looming crisis(1:34). Plus, the emergency committee decided that it might be too scawy to call it a pandemic yet, which I’m sure they won’t have to change after a week again(2:2/24). It’s not like South Korea is up to having 763 cases and 161 deaths at this point(1:35) and when China was near that with 830* cases they were already classified as very high(1:4). Not sure why we’re still at high and are postponing the pandemic talk but fine, I guess. 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I don’t see any problems that have come crashing down into a soppy mess on the floor that was then shoved under the rug of causing stigma with all the grace and subtlety of fruit laden Jello. We’re clearly not suffering the consequences of anything that was ignored up to this point and are definitely not setting up more by continuing to stay in denial and cover one dictatorship’s red starry butt. Join me next time to look even deeper into this mess. Maybe we’ll actually make it to the pandemic declaration this time! But be cautiously optimistic, more politics are starting to creep in and I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold myself back until I actually try to cover these topics. (=w=) 

Until then… Strive to be healthy and be happy with the rest. 

Sources
  1. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/
  2. https://twitter.com/WHO
  3. https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-timeline.html
  4. https://www.livescience.com/47946-where-did-ebola-come-from.html
  5. https://www.businessinsider.com/wuhan-coronavirus-sars-bats-animals-to-humans-2020-1
  6. https://www.who.int/ith/Repatriation_Quarantine_nCoV-key-considerations_HQ-final11Feb.pdf?ua=1

WHO Knew What When? Part Two: Red Love Affair

Introduction

Welcome back for the next part of this saga of sorting through the WHO’s situation reports, Twitter page, and other communications. For this section I continue to follow the Situation Reports from January 22, 2020, tracing the starts of some heavy evidence for the belief that something was rotten in the international halls of this organization. I know it sounds like a vague summary, but trust me, it’s a complete story in its own right.

Just a minor head’s up before diving in; the situation reports are very repetitive. I will do my best to use the earliest possible date for when the report began talking about topics, seeing as how the point of this series is to cobble together a loose timeline of sorts, but if I don’t mention everything in a given report each day it’s because the information is mostly repeats of prior content.

A Taiwanese Mystery

I wish things became easier in this section but the questions only manage to get deeper and more tangled as time goes on. Every answer opens another three questions, so forgive me if this starts to wander a bit. To keep myself on some semblance of a track, I’ve picked out what I feel is the biggest, or at least most central, question to help guide the overarching narrative. This will be a bit tricky, seeing as how I lack the authority to draw any definitive conclusions, but I can speculate on the facts at hand and it’s not long before we see hints of potential answers in the texts. 

What is the relationship between the WHO and the Chinese government^ in all of this? Specifically, has the WHO taken steps to put China’s image and success over the health and safety of the rest of the world? As favoritism can only be detrimental to the majority of nations who put their trust and funds into the WHO, it’s a serious allegation to lay against them. So grave would discovering a loss of the proper neutrality the organization was built to maintain during such crises be that many governments, in particular the US, have started to probe into the possibility. 

To see what we can glean from the reports, let’s look at the cliffhanger from my last post. I gave you a hint that something I had already mentioned in the article might offer a clue as to why the WHO quietly changed their stance on person-to-person transmission in a tweet(2:1/19) the day before the two Guangdong province cases with only a sick family member to act as a source was announced(1:1). If you guessed the Taiwan case of dubious circumstances(1:2), then congratulations, you get internet cookies. (The imaginary ones that date me and my introduction to the internet, not the software ones everyone has to deal with.)

Without breaking focus too much let’s take a second to address the issue with Taiwan itself and how the WHO refers to the country. They mention Taiwan as if it were a part of China, not its own nation(1:2). There has been back and forth on the topic for years now, with many nations not wanting to go against the manufacturing powerhouse that is China and risk upsetting their own personal trade or starting conflict over acknowledging Taiwanese independence(3). Though I personally loathe the decision, I can’t say I hold the WHO solely or even primarily responsible for not breaking the pattern by continuing to refer to Taiwan in the way the US would refer to Ohio or Kentucky. 

What I do take issue with is how Taiwan’s first case provides such an overarching example of the way evidence was presented early but not acted upon until far too late. The is not only a dating nightmare for the overall timeline, having her onset as January 11th but not reported until the 22nd, it also throws an ever expanding monkey wrench into the story of transmission as she had no history of contact with any wet markets, no interactions with live animals, no trips to the patients in Wuhan hospitals, or anyone else known to have the virus(1:2). So how did she get sick? 

Most likely, not by an animal, a research study, referenced by the WHO in one of their situation reports and conducted in the UK, determined. Aside from the fact that less than 15% of new cases were linked to direct visits to the Hunanan market at the time; which would greatly limit the possibility of animal exposure(1:3) (because apparently closing down the offending wet market on the first of the month(1:1) didn’t do the trick), there was very little variation in the genetic makeup of the virus, suggesting that it was both very young and had made a single leap from humans to animals. It looks like all transmission of the virus may have occurred by some form of person-to-person means other than that first infection. (1:3) Oops. 

With that statement on paper it’s hard to see why they paid such attention to the close nature of the relationships of the two Guangdong cases, giving a false impression such ties are necessary to spread the illness. (1:3) After all, if it was only family and friend ties that could spread the virus, I doubt confirmed cases would have jumped by 11% in one day up to 314* with sixteen healthcare workers coming down with the illness(1:2). This sudden spike in medical personnel cases is a bit disconcerting, two fifths of new cases and 5% of the total count, especially since the WHO considered 2019-nCoV to be not very active within hospitals when compared to MERS or SARS in the next report(1:3).

Theoretically this is one of the assessments the WHO should have been primed to change at any moment, especially seeing as how their favorite mantra is the Platonian mantra that all we really know for sure is how little we know about the virus. Not to worry though; figuring out the source, transmission, and best containment method was decided on as the focus for the emergency committee that met on January 23(2:1/23). The committee had originally been called together to determine if the novel coronavirus could yet be classified as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern(2:1/21). They concluded that it was too early to call it much more than an alert for the global community and that China was still the primary focus of the disease(2:1/23). 

The idea of containment and mitigation seemed to strike a chord with other nations that stepped up their own protocols for keeping new cases out and striving to get ahead of the spread from any infections already present in their countries. The US CDC, for example, continued with what seemed to be working and expanded their entry screening stations to include Atlanta and Chicago airports and took their own tests to Washington state to track down anyone who might have been exposed to the initial case. (1:3)

Seemingly in response, the WHO maintained that entry screenings were practically useless in their newest travel advisory report posted on January 24th. This advice was given on the same page where they indicated that a majority of cases known about outside of China were picked up via such methods. I wish I was making that up. So yeah, despite the fact that patients may throw off thermometers by taking a few aspirin on the way over, checking upon entry might still do some good. (4) With the fever intervention as their main case for why entry screenings are an expensive waste of time, while in the same breath and in later reports praising exit screenings as useful, I find myself asking: does China not let people take medicine for fevers until they get on an airplane? 

You may be wondering why travel with China was still going on once person-to-person transmission had been confirmed and even our mystery girl from Taiwan was known about. Well, as far as the WHO was concerned, it was still safe– and important–to continue traveling to China for the holiday season that they helpfully recorded would cause an explosion in cases the day before it happened(4). But don’t worry, Wuhan won’t be holding any big events(4) which is the closest the WHO gets to admitting that China itself cut its losses and closed the entire city down on the 23rd(5). I don’t know about you but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more blatant yet underhanded way of saying that traveling to an area is a one way ticket to infection. 

With only 587 cases and 17 deaths reported on the 23rd, China’s movement to shut down appears to be a quick and prudent call. Then you look at the second report from the UK that was referenced by the WHO and the doubts resurface. Using what they had seen, what they believed due to their assessment of its transmissibility, and an average period of ten days between infection and discovery of a case; the report estimated that as of January 18 there should have been anywhere from one thousand to nine thousand cases in China, with four thousand being the average. (1:3) 

After the debacle of ‘two hundred thousand to two million deaths’ that took place here in America, I’ve learned to take these mathematical guesstimations with a grain of salt. Still, on the low end China could have had twice what they were reporting while on the high end it’s nearly twenty times the amount. Their quarantine shutdown sounds a bit less preventative and a bit more desperation at that point. But, assuming the math isn’t completely wrong, where are the other cases? Does it have anything to do with the Taiwan mystery? 

The WHO and their team began asking new questions too, once there was too much evidence to deny that person-to-person transmission was possible and likely the primary means of spreading the virus. Recalling MERS and SARS again, they began to talk about the role droplets and fomites–aka contaminated surfaces–might play in the process. They redoubled their calls for cleanliness to limit further exportation and even sent masks to the people of Macau in an effort to slow the spread. (1:4) {Don’t get used to that!} However, they just as loudly disavowed any avoidance of travel or

trade with China. As long as you kept your germs to yourself, washed after touching anything, and immediately ran to the doctor upon getting sick to tell them you went to China during the outbreak because the WHO said you would be mean if you didn’t, they were confident the virus would be reigned in. The only other advice given for travelers was that anyone who came into contact with someone who had the illness needed to remain in isolated observation for fourteen days to wait out the incubation period. (4) Did I mention it’s definitely safe to go to China? 

Really, it’s fine you guys. This is definitely not the point where I started having a hard time convincing myself to give the WHO the benefit of the doubt. Not at all. They certainly don’t seem like they’re encouraging dangerous travel by constantly reiterating that there was only one known case of person-to-person transmission to happen outside of China(1:5), as if a border might turn off that trait. And it totally doesn’t seem disingenuous to say that after the UK report suggesting that all the transmissions were person to person(1:3), which would make sense because it’s been OVER THREE WEEKS since the market that started it all was closed and there are still new cases coming forward(1:1). And I’m not at all suggesting it’s outright sinister to claim that the main goal at this point in the fight was to prevent further exports of the virus to other nations while also repeating on the daily that there should be no interruptions to international travel or trade(1:5), especially when some quick math of the numbers provided by China reveals a 3% death rate up to that point.

No, I’m not suggesting it. But it sure as hell has done a pretty good job of suggesting itself. Nothing seems to add up when it comes to the tweets and the reports. Two days after suggesting a fourteen day quarantine for anyone exposed to a visibly sick person(4), the WHO tweeted both that they estimated the incubation period to be two to ten days and that MERS was known to have asymptomatic carriers(2:1/26). And there we have our first potential answer, and my personal belief, on how the Taiwan case came about. 

Up to this point, the emphasis has been strictly on patients with symptoms. The fever screenings, the respiratory signs, and the suggestions of isolation all center on patients who show symptoms of their illness. An asymptomatic and undiagnosed patient would leave a more susceptible person ill with no apparent reason why. It’s not the only possible answer, but once more it will be a distressingly long time before either one is brought up again. (That’s right, I already mentioned the other method. : P Can you guess before I bring attention to it?) 

After mentioning that they don’t know what role asymptomatic carriers and patients within the incubation period play in the spread of the virus(1:7) and that scientific journals had agreed to forego their normal wait period and paywall on all articles involving the virus (2:1/26) the WHO announced that it was sending some of their highest members to China to speak directly with President Xi and those working on the front lines(1:8). 

Can’t edit tweets! A look at a supposed typo of the WHO saying the global level was moderate when it was, in fact, meant to by high. The situation report had the same error.

Almost as if they were getting a new perspective on something, their attitudes began to change in a more serious and desperate direction after this meeting. At least as much as they could without coming out and nullifying everything that had been said up to that point. Economic problems and suggestions for mitigating them began to appear. An anonymized submission form database for nations to share data from any and all cases they discovered was finalized. (1:8) The Emergency Committee was called back after less than a week to see if they had maybe changed their mind about the PHEIC status of the virus (2:1/29). They even broke down and admitted entrance screenings could be of some use if utilized alongside other methods, though they should be limited to planes arriving from known hotspots for practicality (2:1/29). 

Over night, while there were only 68 cases of the virus outside of China(1:9), and while the virus was still seen as a China problem and not a global one(2:1/29), the WHO had formed another committee, this time called the Pandemic Supply Chain Network(1:9). The purpose of the PANDEMIC supply chain network was to assess and plan for global PPE demand. I don’t know what I find weirder, them suddenly seeming to know that there is going to be a wild demand for PPE while there are only 6065* cases with 1239* hospitalizations and 132* deaths, the fact that they use the word pandemic before they have even admitted it’s an international health emergency, or the fact that they emphasize focusing on symptomatic travelers three days after bringing up asymptomatic carriers as possible contributors(1:9). 

So the emergency committee sat down for their second meeting on January 30(1:10) to debate whether calling the situation a public health emergency of international concern was worth the fear that term would stir up(2:1/30). Yes, because I know my first thought while scrambling to secure PPE and prepare for something big that I’ve been ignoring for a month until seeing the first hand devastation is to consider whether Susan might get the vapors over learning this disease is something that could directly impact her life. During that very important meeting, that apparently took more talking than the five minute phone call it should have been, the WHO used the special focus section in their situation report to explain why they were still calling the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV and not a proper name. The answer was that apparently the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) {no, I don’t know where that acronym comes from} and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) needed to be part of the overall naming decision and that it couldn’t be finalized until the new book detailing diseases was officially published. (1:10) Because books can’t be edited or something. 

To no one’s surprise, or at least no one would have been very surprised if they had been following along this closely at the time, the committee announced that this virus was, in fact, a PHEIC by January 31, 2020. They also handed down a tiny recommendation for the WHO to find a way to create a third step in the grading scale between PHEIC and no PHEIC without having to rewrite their entire rulebook. (1:11) Sounds like maybe this wasn’t being taken as seriously as it should have been after they decided it wasn’t that big of a deal last week. 

With the decision finally being made, how did the WHO change their approach? Education seemed to become one of their focal points with the release of the EPI-WIN program to share targeted information with at-risk communities and the launch of a mythbuster campaign to combat false information about the virus. (1:11) I’m not sure if this is when the campaign was started, it may have been shown in the tweets before now, but as this is its first mention in the situation report I’m going to take a minute to cover the information here as accessed on 4/23/2020, so there might be a few newer ones that weren’t on the list in January/February. 

When asked about treatment; they mention that there is no medicine to prevent or treat the coronavirus, specifically pointing out that antibiotics are for bacterial infections not viral ones(6).

When asked about who is at risk; they mention that anyone can become infected, though the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are more susceptible(6). 

When asked about at-home ways to prevent illness; they say that no matter what the alternative medicine guru on Facebook says, eating an entire garlic bulb and flushing with saline won’t keep you from getting it. And please for the love of all that is holy don’t douse yourself in alcohol or chlorine that will kill you(6).

They clear up confusion about the stages of the disease by mentioning that despite pneumonia being one of the worst outcomes of the virus, the vaccines currently available to protect against pneumonia won’t work(6). 

When asked about UV lamps for sanitation they state those will just cause skin irritation, though the graphic doesn’t confirm or deny that the virus will die(6).

A series of their graphics deny any temperatures will help with defeating the coronavirus be it hot baths, cold weather, heat, or humidity(6). 

When talking about transmission, they point out this is one thing mosquitoes can’t be blamed for(6). 

There are others to be found but more importantly, there are some missing from the last time I went to the page about a week ago. Perhaps when they added that 5G isn’t the cause(6), they also pulled these ones, which were the ones I specifically was wanting to talk about. Luckily, there is no edit button on twitter and I got screenshots, though I don’t think they are very good at remembering to take down incriminating tweets so you might be able to find them.

On February 18 (again I don’t know when this was first added to their mythbusters) they posted as fact that “the risk of being infected… by touching coins, banknotes, credit cards and other objects, is very low.”(2:2/18) The other one that I wanted to bring up that I screen-capped from March 6 said “the new coronavirus cannot be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or by any countries reporting COVID19 cases. If you think a surface may be contaminated, use a disinfectant to clean it.”(2:3/6) I’ll definitely be adding those tweets to this post so I can show that I’m not crazy. I’m so glad that I capped them. It feels like I caught them with their pants down.

Why? Well, if you hadn’t guessed, this claim paired with how the WHO had become so demanding that trade and travel with China remain open at this point–even going as far as to say that restricting either (even as they warned countries to prepare for an onslaught of the virus in the same severity as what Wuhan had faced) was creating stigma and that nations who had shut their borders had 48 hours to provide scientific evidence to the WHO to back up their decision for them to decide whether they felt it was justified and that they felt it their right to advise nations to change their minds if they didn’t agree(1:11)–is my second guess for how the mystery Taiwanese girl got her seemingly unconnected infection. I know that sentence is a nightmare so let me break it down. 

According to the US CDC, the coronavirus can live on surfaces for hours to days. Their article on sterilizing contaminated areas suggests that you can’t be sure an unsanitized surface is free of pathogens until a full seven days have passed. (7) Seven days seems like plenty of time to make it from the factory to the customer, especially in the era of express shipping. It also makes you want to avoid paying in cash and to wipe down your debit card after every use. 

I feel safe saying the WHO already held their belief in the safety of money and goods in late January, even if the tweets are from later. If not for the constant calls for continued trade with China, then for the fact they dismissed asymptomatic patients as a significant carrier since they wouldn’t be coughing and sneezing their germs on everything(1:12). I guess the WHO members have never heard of a kiss, which now that I think about it might be half the reason why Europe took a gut punch on this one. 

Speaking of Europe, things were starting to heat up there with France reporting the first European doctor succumbing and evidence that even non-Chinese sufferers could pass on the illness to others(1:12). Yeah, I don’t know why they felt the need to say that either. Maybe they were just so convinced everyone else is being racist about things that they made a racist statement that no one with half a brain cell would have otherwise entertained. Except maybe for the people who read the first 11 reports where the WHO seemed to have a vested interest in saying that all cases outside of China were travelers from China which made it less of a big deal or something. (1:1-11) And they want to know why people started calling it the Wuhan virus or, more epicly, Kung Flu. 

If you’re keeping count, Situation Report 12 came out on February 1, 2020 and my eagle eyed American readers are likely on the edge of their seat waiting for me to go back and tackle the second half of my jumbled up run-on sentence. The half about the passive aggressive declaration when the WHO had dropped all pretenses of asking people to keep trading with China by threatening that nations MUST comply by submitting a report as to why they might close their borders(1:11). I thought this was in response to America on my first read through, both from unfortunate geographical bias and the late realization that the article was using information from the day prior so anything that happened on the day of the report couldn’t have been referenced. However, the US limited travel from China for all foreign nationals who had come from Wuhan or laid over there on the same day as the report so technically, it wasn’t directed at them. Yet. (8) This means the WHO was actually yelling at Russia, North Korea, and Mongolia who had all shut down their borders by the 30th(9). I wonder if their leaders had to put up with the opposition loudly declaring them racists. OH! Wait… Right. Russia and North Korea.

Scoldings aside, the first death outside of China took place in the Philippines and UNICEF and IFRC joined the WHO to plan outreach to poor and at risk communities to increase education(1:13). Their website also launched the virus dashboard to let the public easily track cases reported, their Pandemic network began to shift around their available commodities, and outbreak kits to assist countries with management were thrown together(1:14). Hard to believe the most cases in a single country outside of China is only 20 at this point. 

After the EPI-WIN program contacted manufacturers directly about the PPE concerns they had(1:15), the WHO brought up part of their response plan which acknowledged at last that the tourism industry might suffer a bit if they didn’t start planning for how to make it safer(1:16). That should have maybe crossed their minds back on January 13 when the first exported case was reported, but they still don’t recommend closing down travel or anything so I can’t say them worrying about it sooner would have been much help. They don’t even have a plan for decontaminating or even letting products from hot zones air out because I guess having to admit person-to-person transmission was enough going back on their assertions for one month. (1:16)

Just… Is there any wonder we got into this mess? Getting them to admit they made a mistake is harder than pulling a loose tooth from the mouth of a hyper anxious child. But if you want the WHO to take an actual preemptive measure by advising nations to do something simple that may help before there is ‘strong evidence’, then you might as well be slicing their tendons out of their ankles because they’re not going to budge until an independent scientist takes a piece of data from weeks prior and explains to them it means they should have been advising people to take helpful steps before it became too late to help. 

I’m going to cut part two here. Originally, I wanted to make it all the way to when they accepted we had a pandemic on our hands but that’s still a month away and I think the saga of the Taiwanese mystery case and the two big possibilities to explain it that the WHO ignored makes its own effective chapter. It’s not even that they ignored it really, they talked about both but kept pretending like it wasn’t a big deal all through the period of time it might have been useful advice to pay attention to. I wonder if someone is being held hostage and trying to get out the real information without pissing off the higher ups. On a less conspiratorial note, they need a better editor because they’re up to about six erratum corrections at this point; some with more attention brought to them than others.

Sources
  1. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports
  2. https://twitter.com/WHO
  3. https://www.thoughtco.com/is-taiwan-a-country-1435437
  4. https://www.who.int/news-room/articles-detail/updated-who-advice-for-international-traffic-in-relation-to-the-outbreak-of-the-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-24-jan/
  5. https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-timeline.html
  6. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters
  7. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html
  8. https://www.statnews.com/2020/01/31/u-s-declares-public-health-emergency-over-coronavirus-bans-travel-from-china-by-foreign-nationals/
  9. https://apnews.com/4ab3d1f101c55f376e204727e620afc4

^ I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will. When I’m talking about China in these reports, I’m talking about the Chinese government. Specifically the Chinese Communist Party lead by President Xi which is currently in power. The average citizen of China is as much a victim of the current regime as the rest of the world and I’m not trying to pick on them doing what they need to in order to survive.

* All counts are taken from the WHO reports as they were presented to them by China. We all know the counts are a lie, but for this series focused on primarily the information the WHO made available, I will still be using what is provided.

WHO Knew What When? Part 1: The First 20 Days

Introduction

The job market is crashing. Debts are skyrocketing. The twin echo chambers called the mainstream and social media have crescendoed their inarticulate cries to a deafening cacophony bound to concern any intergalactic neighbors we may or may not have. While they contemplate whether to call the space police over to our place for a welfare check, a single question rises to the forefront of the din. Who knew what, when in this struggle with COVID-19?

I’ve seen fingers pointed every which way when it comes to this pandemic. This president should have acted sooner, that organization wasn’t being honest, entire dark governments were manipulating the world into a new world order. It was disheartening and the temptation to crawl into bed and curl up until my life and liberties could return to what they once had been was overwhelming. But I’ve always been too much of a control freak for that.

I’m not a doctor, or a scientist, so the amount I could achieve on the front line seems pitiably small despite my essential worker designation. Though, I reasoned, if I took the time to get my facts straight to help spread the truth in a sea of disinformation and accusations, that would be a good use of the anxious energy that I can no longer expend on three am trips to the local super center. Well, as it would turn out, researching while an event is unfolding and while everyone is still fighting over what qualifies as a fact means getting to the truth is almost as much wishful thinking as repeating the word solidarity and expecting wars, opposition, and suffering to evaporate.

Still determined, I went after the source that, at the time, had the least amount of conspiracy and speculation seeped into it. And let me just say for the record, I started at least two or three days before President Trump announced the US would be investigating the WHO’s actions during this crisis. Weaving through their tweets, situation reports, and travel guides I picked apart a timeline and gave myself several headaches as the tiny but undying flame of my optimism that somehow has survived all these years guided me forward and illuminated all the little red flags and curious details. So buckle in ladies and gentlemen for a sarcastic, possibly hindsight biased, look into the truth of what the WHO knew and when they knew it. In their own words, anyway.

Early Action is Key

The most common accusation I see being thrown around is that X, Y, or Z official didn’t take things seriously enough or act quickly enough early on in this series of events. As politicians can only act on the information they are provided with, what the WHO did as an international source of data for illnesses during the first weeks would have set the stage for the decisions that the governments who invest and trust in them would eventually make. The WHO claims that it was first notified of an unknown pathogen causing a cluster of pneumonia cases in China on December 31, 2019(1:1). The first Situation Report on what turned out to be a novel coronavirus was published on the WHO website on January 21, 2020. What happened in that first twenty days and how much impact did it have on where we are now?

According to the situation reports, all branches of the WHO had been alerted of the new pathogen by January 2. By January 3, forty-four cases of the illness had been identified in China. Impressively, the Chinese government claimed to have isolated this new virus, temporarily dubbed 2019-nCoV, by the 7th(1:1) and made their official announcement of the novel coronavirus on January 10(3).

Aside from alerting their various branches and communicating with the Chinese government (1:1), the WHO kept relatively quiet in those first ten days; making only a few tweets on January 9th. The tweets gave a generalized overview of what a coronavirus was: a class of pathogens that had already set SARS and MERS loose on humanity in the twenty first century. These particular illnesses are defined by their leap from an animal host into humans, but from there can range in severity and transmission– particularly whether they can pass from person-to-person– from case to case. They also pointed out that as global surveillance improves, scientists will likely discover new bugs more frequently. (2:1/9)

Right off the bat, if you’ve been keeping up with the news, a handful of keywords jump off the page and smack you square in the jaw. Having them included within the first round of tweets so casually seems oddly on the nose for how important of details they wound up being. Seeing the comparison to SARS and MERS, two deadly illnesses, also seems weird the more time that passes and you’ll see why by the end of this section.

The next piece published by the WHO was an International Travel Guide released on the same day as China’s public announcement. It explained that many of those found infected were vendors at Huanan Seafood Market(3). Later we learn that the Chinese government closed the market, located in Wuhan City, for cleaning on January 1(1:1): a remarkably quick response considering it took six additional days to isolate what was causing the people to become sick, if China is to be believed. Aside from identifying a potential ground zero for the illness, the guide also listed what symptoms to look out for, fever and difficulty breathing, and the observation that there seemed to be “no significant human-to-human transmission” as well as no infections among healthcare workers(3).

Everyone knows the saying, “hindsight is 20/20,” and reading over the guide the first time I had to talk down that inner conspiracy theorist that sits across from the my final hope for humanity and remind myself that just because we know something now, doesn’t mean they knew it at the time. Even if they had already acknowledged it as a possibility both on its own and by comparing it to two other illnesses that did transmit in that way. Time is that immovable ethereal concept that binds us in place no matter the inconvenience.

And the Chinese government was likely already drowning in time-based inconveniences as this novel coronavirus chose to make itself known in Wuhan, a hub of domestic and international travel, right on the cusp of the Chinese New Year; a tourism boom(3). With a limited amount of information, almost fifty cases identified in three days, and the looming comparison to SARS and MERS, what guidance did the WHO give to contain this new pathogen that as of yet was limited to only this one city? If you guessed “postpone your planned trip until the situation was better understood,” the we have a lot in common with one another. Unfortunately we think nothing like the WHO who recommended no travel restrictions of any kind, even to the point of outright advising against it.(3)

With the information they had from China the WHO felt, despite everything that was still unanswered, it was perfectly safe for all travel to continue to the metropolitan area during one of the busiest times of the year. As long as health clinics, travel agencies, and points of entry made a point of providing the public with the correct set of tools to protect themselves, everything was predicted to turn out fine. The tools: avoid anyone who seemed sick, wash your hands frequently, don’t touch animals–dead or alive–and cough into your elbow or a tissue(3). Simple steps that we’ve all heard before that can prevent the interruption of travel plans or the flow of commerce.

There were a few more tips in the guide. Travel agents were to encourage travelers to seek medical attention immediately if they started to feel sick, remembering to alert their doctors of where they had been recently. Okay… And if air crew members noticed a passenger on their craft starting to display signs or symptoms of an acute respiratory infection, they should register their information and submit the report to the proper health authorities. : ) That report would be used alongside a passenger locator to obtain their contact information should any sick passengers need followup contact. 8 ) (3)

Hey, WHO… Are you SURE it’s safe to go to Wuhan? Because you sound like a scientist trying to hide that you let a head crab loose into the Locked Doors and Ventilation Shafts museum. And while your tweets on January 12 praising China for their transparency and willingness to share their knowledge speak of your trust of the regime, to the point that you released the now infamous tweet denying person-to-person transmission(2:1/12), I am having a bit of trouble extending the same trust to you after reading that China informed you that the virus started at the seafood market on the 11th and 12th(1:1) after you wrote about it on the 10th(3) after they closed it down for deep cleaning and environmental sanitation on the 1st(1:1). That seems like… maybe… you’re having a tiny bit of trouble keeping your story straight.

No, wait, I need to focus. Let’s not jump to conclusions, we’re only half way between the WHO finding out and sharing their first situation report and, as they themselves admit, there is still too much we don’t know and more research to be done. At least in this point in the game it’s still only in Wuhan with no reports elsewhere. (2:1/12)

Until the very next day when when Thailand imported their first case in a traveler from Wuhan(1:1). The message seemed to be received by one party since the 14th saw China ignoring the WHO’s assertions that entrance and exit screenings offered little practical use(3) and installing infrared thermometers at airports, train stations, and bus stops around the city(1:1). The WHO spent that day commenting on the statuses of concerned individuals who had seen a Reuters article tweeted out claiming that there might actually be person-to-person transmission of the virus(pic) and that there was a patient in Wuhan who was a frequenter of a completely different wet market than the one at the center of the the outbreak(2:1/14).

The added safety measures ultimately weren’t made soon enough to stop another case from arriving in Japan on the 15th(1:1) but it seems like an impressively fast response time for the CCP government. Though when you peek ahead and see that on January 22 the WHO reported a case in Taiwan, referring to them as little more than a city of China, whose symptoms would have begun on January 11(1:2), it starts to look as suspect as the lack of reporting of China’s new measures until the situation report seven days after they were put into place. Whether or not you are of the opinion this case was known about sooner than it was reported, it had become clear that it wouldn’t take until a holiday for the new malady to make its way around the world(2:1/16) and I feel it might have been more useful to start issuing the situation reports or update the travel guide as opposed to simply restating that they knew nothing for certain other than that they need more research(2:1/16).

Thailand followed in China’s footsteps in ignoring the WHO’s wishy-washy guidelines and set up their own entry screening points on the 17th(1:1). It isn’t until the 23rd that the WHO mentioned the United States, in addition to the CDC establishing a COVID Incident Management Structure on January 7, set up entry screening points at the three biggest airports to check anyone who had come from or laid over in Wuhan at the same time(1:3). What they did tweet in this time frame was a series of tips for how to stay safe in wet markets (none of which were to stay far away from them as humanly possible) and a reminder that it wasn’t safe to eat animals that were sick or had died of disease(2:1/18).

Just like how it had managed to worm its way into different nations, the 2019-nCoV virus was caught leaving the confines of Wuhan for different regions of China(2:1/19). In a blink and you’ll miss it tweet the same day, the WHO mention that–while animals were still considered the primary source of the illness–there was starting to be limited signs of person-to-person transmission between close contacts(2:1/19) Two days later with the release of the situation report it becomes evident that their change in attitude might be due to two cases found in the Guangdong province who had no personal history of traveling to Wuhan, though a close acquaintance had(1:1). However, these cases were supposedly identified on the 20th(1:1), one day after the tweet, meaning something else might have been in play. (Here’s a hint for part two, I already brought it up.)

January 20 seemed to be the day to get the ball rolling as the first case arrived in South Korea(1:1) and an emergency committee was announced to be in the works for the purpose of deciding whether China’s little problem was shaping up into a international matter of public health(2:1/20).

Most importantly, by the time the first Situation Report was posted early on January 21, 2020 there were 278* confirmed cases of this illness and six deaths(1:1). Later that day the US announced their first case(2:1/21). This prompted the CDC to enact the emergency response system the same day, raising the alert for travelers to level two with an advisory to the elderly and those with compromised systems, the primary suffers of the disease(1:3).

That’s a lot of information packed into (mainly) two reports and two-thirds of a month of tweets. I decided around page four of my outline that this would need to be more than one part and the spaces in between those lines of text that seem to scream out additional information don’t make it any easier. Even if that’s just an overreaction, what isn’t are the two big patterns being set up that continue through this entire saga. I’ll leave you with these to mull over for the next part.

Pattern one
  1. The WHO makes a claim about the virus based on China’s research.
  2. The WHO distances themselves by claiming limited understanding.
  3. Something happens that proves the claim wrong.
  4. The WHO alters their statement as little as possible to fit these new parameters (i.e. changing from ‘little evidence supporting’ to ‘some evidence in limited circumstances’).
Pattern Two
  1. The WHO makes a suggestion to the nations for how to combat the virus.
  2. The WHO words and repeats their suggestion to not be a suggestion.
  3. Listening to the suggestion has terrible consequences for nations.
  4. Nations make their own decisions about how to proceed.
  5. The WHO sulks and belittles their decision with all the tact of a teenager vague posting on Facebook.

It’s a lot to take in, and even more to stomach, but I hope you’ll come back for the next part of this deep dive. I’d appreciate the companionship in this ever-evolving headache.

Sources
  1. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports
  2. https://twitter.com/WHO
  3. https://www.who.int/news-room/articles-detail/who-advice-for-international-travel-and-trade-in-relation-to-the-outbreak-of-pneumonia-caused-by-a-new-coronavirus-in-china/

*All counts are those from the WHO who got them from China. The count controversy will be another article and for now, this is all we have.