More on the Ahmaud Arbery Case

McMichaels, the ex-cop who spear-headed the two car, at least 2 guns, three man car chase of jogger Ahmaud Arbery, was forced into retirement because he  lost power to make arrests after skipping use-of-force training.

The same office that found it appropriate to refer to Arbery’s bringing a gun to a high school basketball game (and running away, never using the weapon or even pulling it out) from several years ago as a teen, did not think it was important to mention that 
“McMichael’s law enforcement certification was suspended in February 2019 after repeated failures to complete required training, according to documents from the Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney’s office, including a warning in 2014 that he had neglected to finish mandatory firearms and use-of-force courses.”

I get that some of us are jaded after the whole Ferguson, hands-up debacle.  I definitely am.  I have egg on my face over that one, and I hesitated to say anything about this one because I sure blew it there. I was entirely too trusting.  Another good friend of mine tried to explain with sound and gentle reason why statistics made Ahmaud justifiably suspicious on the day he was killed.

I don’t know about that. Good statistics are probably mostly helpful when thinking about large problems, groups, issues, solutions, big pictures, less so when looking at a single human being- especially when he’s unarmed and you’re chasing him down the road armed and loaded, using two cars to play chicken with him and block him.

Or when you, armed and in your two vehicles with your son and a pal chase an unarmed man on foot for four minutes.

Interesting and strange factoid- McMichael Sr. himself is behind the leaking of the clip of video footage of his son shooting Arbery.  He thought it would help his case and calm racial tensions- at least that’s what the lawyer he gave it to says.  That is highly interesting for a couple reasons.  There are a few people out there who insist that they see nothing wrong with the footage, Travis is justified in shooting Ahmaud.  But the vast majority of even those defending the McMichaels do so by saying we don’t have full context, there must be something else outside the video range, or before the filming started, that will justify them.  Hardly anybody but the McMichaels think that the filming he had released actually helps him out, and virtually nobody on earth thinks it ‘eases racial tensions’ at all- so why does he see the world so differently?

I would posit it’s because of his LEO background.  I know traditional law and order conservatives don’t like to hear it, and don’t want to believe it, but there is a sense of us vs them, a sense of strong entitlement, an expectation that if they are speaking, we had best be listening and obeying.  To McMichaels and those defending him, the problem didn’t start when Arbery stood up and fought for his life- it started when he didn’t just freeze and submit to the demands of McMichaels to stop and submit to whatever McMichaels told him to submit to, to answer his questions as though he had any sort of authority to make those demands on another human being.  That world view is at odds with what the law actually requires. Worse, it’s at odds with a proper respect for and care not to abuse what authority legitimate cops do have.  I know I will be hearing, ‘but not all cops,’ and ‘but the good cops.’

I don’t want to believe it, either. I want it not to be true. But I don’t think it is true.  Part of what would go in to the making of a good cop, in my opinion, would be admitting this hubris exists and is part of the make-up of the police force, it would include more standing up against the bad cops than I see happening.

Something else to consider here- McMichaels released the footage himself, thinking it helped his case- but where did he get it? It wasn’t his.  It was his neighbour and friend William “Roddy” Bryan who filmed it with his cell phone from his vehicle behind the McMichaels.

He was recently arrested.  He was charged with attempted murder and false imprisonment.

“The warrant for William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. alleges he ‘did attempt to confine and detain Ahmaud Arbery without legal authority … utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions’ in the 20 minutes before the fatal shotgun blasts.”

He filmed a part of the chase and the final shooting.  He followed the McMichaels, and according to them and the police report, he helped chase Ahmaud (he denies that now) and helped block him in, contributing to the growing sense of being trapped Ahmad must have felt in his last moments alive. He is behind the McMichael’s truck, filming (not helping, not calling 911, not stepping out and shouting to his neighbours, who are his friends, “What are you doing?”  Not the actions of an innocent bystander)- when Ahmaud tries to run around the passenger side of the McMichael’s truck, his exit is blocked by Roddy, who is in his car filming, and he has two armed men at his back.  That is the point he turned and fought for his life.

Bryan’s involvement according to the police report:

“The McMichaels tried to cut off Mr. Arbery during the chase, according to Mr. McMichael’s account, and Mr. Arbery tried to avoid them by turning around and running in the other direction. At that point, Mr. Bryan “attempted to block him, which was unsuccessful,” according to the report.

Mr. Arbery then turned onto another street, and the McMichaels got in front of him while Mr. Bryan pursued from behind and began filming.”

Bryan’s involvement is also taken as a fact by George E. Barnhill, the district attorney in Waycross, Ga, the second proscutor in the case.  He eventually recused himself, when it was discovered that his son worked with McMichael’s Sr.   But before he did, he gave an account of the event which included Bryan as part of the trio in ‘hot pursuit’ against Ahmaud.  (more here)

Roddy Bryan says he was a good samaritan.  His lawyer’s chosen defense of him seems to be that he’s a dolt with only a high school education and in Georgia that isn’t saying much.  No, really, That’s what his lawyer says!

The McMichaels daughter, 30, posted an unedited photograph of Ahmaud’s dead body to her Snapchat.  She took it down later, saying she meant no harm, but was just a big fan of true crime stories.  I find that more than a little creepy and disturbing. It’s probably the least important thing in this post, though.

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Hither, Thither, This & That

I got a call from my incarcerated godson, which made my day.  He gets to call his mom once a week, and she patches in a third person on the call. His voice is deep, and he now sports a very southern accent (they moved down south).  He says I have written him fifty letters and he keeps them separate from everybody else’s.  I’ve been sending him Origami patterns/instructions and origami papers, a few in each letter for the last month or so. He’s done them all and I’m on a search for easily printable B&W origimi instructions for more challenging projects than cranes, fish, whales, boats and stars.

I’ve started sending him paraphrased stories in serial form, a Bible story here, a fairy tale or biography there. Transcriptions of  Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story would be fun, I think.

There have been a few crises with the Cherub, a couple of them quite scary.  I’ve been a completely on my own single parent since early March, 24 and 7. I need to set up a kind of baby monitor with camera. One crisis was when I left our bedroom to go start breakfast, and she was sound asleep.  But she got up and managed to pull the clear plastic lid cap off of a small squirt bottle – the contents were safe, but popping the lid in her mouth was not a fun time.

Her father will not address why just because he can’t see her due to his job and covid concerns for her that means he just vanishes from her life, and doesn’t ask about her or send a recording of his voice or anything but the usual funds in the bank (which are generous, but don’t mean that much to her).  He just ignores my questions about why it’s cool for him to just drop out of her life periodically (this is the second time- the first time was five weeks of silent treatment and acting like she did not exist, in a snit about being asked to move out)

I don’t take the Cherub inside anywhere, which means I haven’t gone inside anywhere, either.  For nearly three months.

My phlox is about done, but the poppies are blooming and so are the wild geraniums. Orioles, scarlet tanangers, rose breasted grosbeaks, and squirrels are visiting the feeders.

I have a working oven for the first time in many years- the son-in-law who does remodels was at a house where they got rid of their oven and he brought it over and installed it.  I had a double oven, and this is just one so he is coming back to do some cosmetic work around the edges where there are gaps, but it’s nice to be able to cook up more than four chicken breasts at a time.  I’m very excited.  Soon I’ll be getting my scratched up, battered sink replaced with a stainless steal one in better condition, same way I got the oven.

I’ve picked up on my reading, and my state is loosening some restrictions- we have entire counties with fewer than ten cases and no deaths.  My own county has had one death, and under 500 cases.  Because they are loosening up a wee bit, I have been able to see more of the grandkids this last week than I had in the previous 12 weeks.

I dyed my hair red. I love it.  The grandkids keep commenting on it.  One of them told me it makes me look younger. Lest I get a big head, another grandchild asked when I was going to have my baby, and this quarantine eating is no joke. Since I can’t go inside places with the Cherub and I don’t have any steady sitter options (I have emergency options)- I am wondering about finding a personal trainer to help me get on track with a regimen that isn’t going to overtax my knees, hips, and back, but will help with exercise, flexibility, and some disciplined goals.  Not likely in my county, but I’m praying about it.

I’m growing a cilantro plant outside my kitchen door and it’s doing well.  I’ve killed the basil plants. I grew a bunch of turnip and radish tops and they flowered on my kitchen windowsill.  I decided not to get chickens.

I found this striking bit of fungus, a bit of a small branch that blew in from somewhere one stormy night.  In the morning, the orange fungus was very orange, gradually it’s gotten lighter and will eventually be creamy or white.  I’m told it’s in the neofavolus alveolaris family.  The underside reminds me of certain types of coral. So do the pearly gray cups of fungus or lichen, when looked at enlarged.  They are so tiny with the naked eye I almost missed them.

While I examined the dead branch and the fungus, gradually other life forms emerged- a very tiny bug that traveled by arching its body and sort of springing into the air. A small wormish creature not much thicker than a strand or two of hair, about half an inch long, transluscent, pearly white in one half of its body, speckled darkly in the other half- and the dark speckles seemed to be inside its body. It kept making itself into a circle and then stretching, searching for its branch (it fell off onto the tray while I examined the branch), and lastly, a delicate, tiny, about the size of a mustard seed, spider, with legs like filaments, delicate, careful.  I carefully set the branch back outside, wondering what other secret lives it kept hidden within its bones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ran out of paperplates, which aren’t strictly necessary in this quarantine, but the less time I spend in the kitchen the better for me and for the Cherub. You know those straw or plastic paper plate holders? I started putting a paper towel or a plastic bag over the top (or putting them in a plastic bag and tying the bag shut), and putting the food on that- you wouldn’t want to do baked beans this way, but it works for steamed sweet potatoes, sausages, roasted turnips and radishes, sandwiches, rice cakes with cheese, etc.

I heard from friends in the Philippines who were in pretty desperate circumstances and I was able to help out some and put them in touch with several people who could help out a lot, and that made me feel very happy.

Life is not perfect. My laundry is nearly all washed but none of it is folded. I have floors that desperately need mopping, grass that needs mowing, a soul that needs refurbishing,habits that need pruning or weed killer from the Lord, (it’s okay that people are being wrong on the internet, I keep telling myself).  I’d like better sleep, but when the Cherub snores it wakes me up and when she doesn’t snore it wakes me up even harder.

I’m here now because of that (it’s 2 a.m.).

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What if…

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Models vs Reality

Neil Ferguson’s Imperial model could be the most devastating software mistake of all timeThe boss of a top software firm asks why the Government failed to get a second opinion before accepting Imperial College’s Covid modellingMore criticisms of Ferguson’s work.

Hockey Sticks, Changing Goal Posts, and Hysteria

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Papaya tests positive for Covid?

Tanzanian President John Magufuli says he doesn’t really trust The WHO.  He collected samples from a goat, a papaya and a quail and sent them in to the WHO for Covid-19 testing.

They tested positive for Covid-19.

President Magufuli has his own controversies swirling around him, and the WHO has not commented on this yet (at least to my knowledge). More here.

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