Seven Stories

There are seven major stories in the news, outside of electoral politics, that I want to provide space to discuss today. That's not to suggest that there aren't other important stories, and the fact that I'm combining them into a single post should not be misinterpreted to mean I don't believe they don't each rise to the importance of warranting their own post. It's just a reflection of my being one person with a finite capacity.

1. Charleena Lyles.

[Content Note: Police brutality; death; racism; disablism.] Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old pregnant Black woman from Seattle, was fatally shot by two white police officers who were called to Lyles' residence by Lyles to report that her home had been burgled. Lyles, who has had mental health issues for the past year, greeted them at the door holding a knife for self-protection. Video shows that Lyles let police into her home only after they promised not to shoot her. A former civil rights attorney from Seattle, Beth Caldwell, has published a Twitter thread providing additional context around the police culture in which two officers shot Lyles.

I just want to say, again: Black people should not have to be perfect in order to live. That is the most unreasonable expectation. That is an impossible standard.

There are millions of viral videos, and countless segments of that disgusting show COPS, showing white people acting like dangerous, disrespectful, antagonistic fools with police officers. We probably all know white people who have done something stupid and reckless and maybe even criminal, yet walked away from an encounter with police. (Some of us in this space probably are some of those white people.) We've all witnessed the white mass murderers who have been taken alive in handcuffs. Think of how very different white people's expectations of police interactions are, and vice versa; how white people are never expected to read police officers' minds and behave in precise accordance with their expectations just to stay alive.

This is just fundamental inequality. Rank racism in action. Over and over.

My sincerest condolences to Charleena Lyles' family, friends, neighbors, and community. I grieve with you, and I take up space in solidarity with you. You have both my sympathy and my anger. I'm so sorry.

2. Finsbury Park Terrorist Attack.

[CN: Terrorism; Islamophobia; death; injury.] A 48-year-old man drove a white van into a crowd outside a mosque in London, which had just emptied following Ramadan prayers. He injured ten people and one person is dead—although Metropolitan Police have said the man who died was receiving first aid at the time of the attack, so the reason for his death is not entirely clear yet. The attacker then targeted the crowd gathered around the man who had collapsed. So he's a vile terrorist shitbag who used people's goodness against them, to harm as many of them as possible.
Witnesses said the man who died had been taken ill outside the Muslim Welfare House, a few hundred metres away from Finsbury Park mosque.

A small crowd had gathered round to try and help him when the van was driven into them at around 12.20am.

One witness said he and his friends had stopped to help the "elderly man" who was lying on the ground.

"In seconds this terrible thing happened," he said. "Literally within a minute, a van with speed, turned to where we were and ran over the man who was laying on the floor and the people around him, around eight people or 10 people got injured, some of them seriously. Thank God I'm safe, but my friends got injured."

Witnesses said the driver then got out of the van and shouted "I want to kill Muslims" before onlookers pinned him to the ground.
There they held him for about 20 minutes until police arrived on scene. The next time some bigoted asshole spews some trash about Islam being an inherently violent religion, remind them of the Muslims in London who restrained without harm for 20 minutes a man who'd just driven into a crowd of their friends and family and was screaming about how he wanted to kill Muslims.

3. Philando Castile.

[CN: Police brutality; racism; death; injustice.] Jeronimo Yanez, the Minneosota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile was found not guilty on all charges.

Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, who has been a passionate advocate for her son in seeking justice, had [CN: video may autoplay at link] strong words about this grievous miscarriage of justice: "People have died for us to have these rights and now we're devolving. We're going back down to 1969. Damn. What is it going to take? I'm mad as hell right now, yes I am. ...The system continues to fail black people, and it will continue to fail you all. Like I said, because this happened with Philando, when they get done with us, they coming for you, for you, for you and all your interracial children. Y'all are next, and you will be standing up here fighting for justice just as well as I am."

Thousands marched in protest following the verdict, and, of course, protesters were arrested, and they will face charges, and most of them will have more consequences than the officer who shot and killed Castile ever will.

The NRA continues to cover itself in disgrace by not championing Castile's case, even though he "had a valid permit for his firearm, reportedly told the officer about it to avoid a confrontation, and was fatally shot anyway after being told to hand over his license." The NRA has made it abundantly clear that they believe gun rights are only for white people.

4. Nabra Hassanen.

[CN: Murder; description of violence.] 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen of Reston, Virginia, was killed after leaving her mosque, and a man is in custody, but police are not investigating her death as a hate crime, but have so far declined to say why—even though Hassanen was dressed in Muslim garb (the abaya) and was reportedly killed with a baseball bat.
On Sunday, police found the girl's remains and a 22-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection with the case.

The mosque, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) in Sterling, and relatives identified the girl as 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen of Reston.

Fairfax County police identified the man charged with murder in her death as Darwin Martinez Torres of Sterling. On Monday, they did not release any explanation as to why they weren't investigating the murder as a hate crime.

According to accounts from police and a mosque official, a group of four or five teens were walking back from breakfast at IHOP early Sunday when they were confronted by a motorist. All but one of the teens ran to the mosque, where the group reported that the girl had been left behind, according to Deputy Aleksandra Kowalski, a spokeswoman for the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

...Shoyeb Hassan, the co-chair of ADAMS, said that during the last 10 days of Ramadan, the mosque has extra prayers at midnight and 2 a.m., and members frequently go to McDonald's or the 24-hour IHOP to eat before they start their fast at sunrise, as Nabra and her friends were doing.
My condolences to Nabra Hassanen's family, friends, and community. I hope that they get better, clearer communication from investigators soon. If there's a valid reason for not investigating Hassanen's death as a hate crime, then that should be publicly, carefully explained.

5. Bill Cosby.

[CN: Rape culture.] After fifty-two hours of deliberation, and requests for clarification of what proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" means, the jury in the trial of Bill Cosby for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand still could not come to a unanimous verdict, so the judge was obliged to declare a mistrial. I haven't written anything about the trial, because I just simply haven't had the wherewithal to do it, and that frankly hasn't changed (except possibly to make me even more tired) with the verdict. So I will say only this:

6. Russia, the US, and Syria.

Patrick Wintour at the Guardian: Russia to Target Planes from US-Led Coalition Flying over Parts of Syria.
Russia has said it will target any plane from the US-led coalition flying west of the Euphrates river in Syria after the US military shot down a Syrian air force jet on Sunday.

Russia's defence ministry said the US had given it no warning, and that as a consequence it was also suspending coordination over "deconfliction zones" that were created to prevent incidents involving US and Russian jets engaged in operations in Syria.

According to the Pentagon the Syrian jet in question had dropped bombs near US partner forces involved in the fight to wrest Raqqa from Islamic State (Isis) control. It was the first such US attack on a Syrian air force plane since Syria's civil war began six years ago.

...The Russian response increases the risk of an inadvertent air fight breaking out between US and Russian warplanes in the skies above Syria.
This is so, so not good. It is also a perfect and terrible example of why the "work with Russia to defeat IS" argument, which became curiously popular during the 2016 campaign, was always garbage.

7. The USS Fitzgerald.

[CN: Death.] Seven U.S. sailors were killed when the destroyer on which they were stationed, the USS Fitzgerald, collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship off the coast of Japan.
The cause of the collision is not known.

Multiple U.S. and Japanese investigations are under way on how a ship as large as the container could collide with the smaller warship in clear weather.

...A significant portion of the crew on the U.S. ship was asleep when the collision occurred, tearing a gash under the warship's waterline and flooding two crew compartments, the radio room, and the auxiliary machine room.

...The U.S. Navy on Monday identified the dead sailors as: Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia; Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California; Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut; Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas; Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California; Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland; and Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio.
My condolences to their families, friends, and colleagues. I'm so sorry.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus