57 Buffalo police resign (sort of); if they can protest, so can we!

Act 1: Buffalo police officer shoves to the ground an unarmed 75-year old man who had approached him.

Act 2: Man falls backward, hits head on sidewalk and is knocked out. A blood pool is evident.

Act 3: Officers are suspended for their actions.

Act 4: 57 other officers resign in protest…of the suspensions. (Technically, they resigned as members of a special unit, but they did not resign from the force. How convenient.)

The Guardian picks up the story from there.

”Why? Why was that necessary? Where was the threat?” asked the New Yorkgovernor, Andrew Cuomo, at his daily briefing on Friday, saying he had spoken to Gugino. “It’s just fundamentally offensive and frightening. How did we get to this place?”

But the local police union boss defended his officers. “Fifty-seven resigned in disgust because of the treatment of two of their members, who were simply executing orders,” said John Evans, PBA president, according to WGRZ.

“Simply executing orders.”

Remember those three words. What kind of orders are consistent with shoving innocent civilians. Worse, why didn’t the officer who pushed him immediately come to his aid?

Well, if 57 police officers can protest, so can I. You won’t be seeing me visiting Buffalo anytime soon.

I nominate as TIME’s Person of the Year — Teachers

As is the case every year, the men and women at TIME Magazine who select the Person of the Year will have no shortage of candidates in 2020.

The (likely not complete) list of who can be considered right now:

-Dr. Anthony Fauci, a steady voice of calm and reassurance during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic

-New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern, whose down-to-Earth style and realism is in stark contrast to other (alleged) leaders

-China’s premier Xi Jinping, who continues to make his country ever more relevant on the world stage while retaining a authoritarian approach

-German chancellor Angela Merkel, who although nearing retirement remains the leader of the free world

-George Floyd, whose death reminded America of its systemic racism and often unchecked police brutality

-The protester, who whether located in the United States or Hong Kong remains resolute in denouncing efforts to reduce freedom while calling attention to oppression

-COVID-19, which, although not a person, disrupted the world in ways no human ever could.

Any and all can be described as a worthy candidate; and, yes, someone might do something over the final seven months of this year that ensures his or her selection as POY.

For me, however, the 2020 POY is obvious: the teacher.

Yes, I’m biased. I’m one of those teachers, so you may criticize me for being selfish in suggesting educators for this honor. But please don’t disagree that the educator must be in the conversation about worthy nominees.

I nominate the teacher because

  1. We had mere days to convert our teaching plans to remote delivery
  2. We had to juggle the necessity of academic rigor with the reality of our own (and our students’) limitations with technology
  3. Our work world flipped from exclusively (or almost exclusively) face-to-face instruction to remote delivery, ensuring we lost one of the most valuable teaching tools we have: high-touch interaction with our students
  4. We embraced our students’ anxiety and other legitimate mental health challenges, knowing full well many of those students were dealing with them for the first time and recognizing we had similar emotions
  5. We miss our kids, no matter how old they are; the teacher-student connection is one no other industry can match
  6. We made our students’ day/week when we drove past their houses to wish them a Happy Birthday or to just wave and say hello
  7. We often don’t have sufficient resources to do our jobs and the pandemic took away some of them
  8. Far too many of us don’t get paid enough to do the job in good times
  9. While we kept our jobs, many employees at our schools did not; there’s a healthy degree of guilt associated with this
  10. State and federal leaders retain interest in high-achieving students and robust standardized test scores and won’t accept a pandemic as an excuse for seeing those lowered
  11. Many of us had our own child(ren) to take care of as we taught our students
  12. We might have to do most/all of this all over again in the fall (and maybe the spring)
  13. Parents realized just how challenging our job is under normal conditions and how Herculean it is during coronavirus

The baker’s dozen reasons why the teacher is THE BEST nominee as TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year.

Cops attack journalists, threaten First Amendment; world takes note

Public Domain image

The New York Times reports that as journalists throughout the U.S. take a beating by police, so does the First Amendment. And world leaders are taking note.

Attacks against journalists covering demonstrations against racial injustice have prompted foreign governments to call on American authorities to respect press freedom and protect reporters, both local and foreign.

For the United States, it is a role reversal.

The attacks bear a striking resemblance to police brutality against journalists around the world over the years — ones that have been swiftly condemned by officials in the United States, where press freedom is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.