Star Buck$, an Expression, a Piñata and Police

Today it’s Starbucks’ turn for caustic opprobrium. It’s their turn to be piñata of the day, because there were more decent customers than others, in the coffeehouse, and a woman was adroit enough to use the most feared weapon in America -a cellphone.

I’m not worried about the two Black men victimized. They are smart and doing well enough to take legal action to redress the wrong. Nor is there any sympathy needed for the Black police chief, who made himself so powerless that I don’t want to imagine the compromised, sectional existence that must be his. So all is well until tomorrow, when the world sees another America within a minute of the electronic upload. Worst if streaming. To come are the rest of the stories and American children are all watching and learning.

If this reads as uncaring, that’s not my intention. This is more about how I cope with institutionalized racism that pervades all life in America, and don’t ever think that the perpetrators and enablers are always White. I know that because of many experiences.

Starbucks would have us believe that firing a member of its staff and sensitivity training are good enough….to get by. Well, Mr. Starbucks, visit any of your stores and let us know if you see what your brand projects. Look the thing that you hatched, in the eyes. It’s not pretty and it’s menacing.

Your corporate culture is who you are. Your staff don’t need sensitivity training, they need leadership and good examples worthy of emulation. Just as nothing happens until something moves, people do what they believe is expected of them. They want to please you and maybe get recognition.

They are probably stunned by the swiftness of what corporate America and many governmental agencies rely on. Go to the most junior employee, publicly fire them and some people are satisfied. The latest script is, “that is not who we are.” I differ.

So my personal philosophy in coping with victimization is this: first, who needs whom; second, is the commodity essential to my comfort, and third, is it be available elsewhere? What cannot be changed from within can be changed from without. Starbucks needs me. I don’t need Starbucks. Problem solved.

Lastly, the employee fired and those remaining have learned something and that something would likely be taken to the next jobs. How, Mr. Starbucks, have you helped?

Starbucks

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On Our Attitude to Gun Violence

On Our Attitude to Gun Violence

Now that America’s children have shown us the way out of the amoral morass that we call government, and have assured us that Wayne LaPierre of the NRA is ten times smaller than the toys in the closet, the honorable action expected of adults is instinctively clear.

An educated electorate would have the compassion and courage to draw the teeth of the gun lobby and privately owned politicians, at the national and state level.

Dare I defy the logic of experience and hold my breath?

I watch our political leaders float proposals that would make a comedian weep with envy. For brevity, I’ll make just three observations.

A school is neither a fortress nor a prison. It must be safer than a home. Our children are owed the good memories of study, comraderie and play. They should not have to live in a state of terror, with a policeman present and school counselors fired.

A bar, an open air concert, a classroom -are not fish barrels or caged hunting reserves. Think of the horror. This is preventable sociopathic behavior allowed by an apathetic government.

Isolating school massacres from other community violence is misguided. Perhaps ignorant. Yes, military weapons have no place in civilized society. But have we asked ourselves, why are Americans killing themselves, their families and others in record numbers ? This level of violence is peculiarly American. We don’t have to tolerate it just because people want to get elected. We do have to find out why.

The Problem With Truth, Is That It Is Unwanted

Everyone has his version of the truth but seldom share it. Whether it’s the taste, the smell or whatever, the ugly thing can help you lose friends and create bitter enemies. I wonder if it’s because once acknowledged, the truth will not leave until you do or stop doing, a particular wrong. Our criminal justice system is an apt example.

Let’s take the current situation in Missouri. Not that it’s unique. Far cry. But because it is active, makes that a good example, willing to say a textbook case of what leadership is not. Step back with me a bit.

Jay Nixon was a two-term Democratic governor when Ferguson managed to make world news. That was due to the police killing of Michael Brown and the conduct of the entire criminal justice system in Missouri. As Gov Nixon and Ferguson Mayor Knowles went into hiding for four days, the police were left to “pacify” peaceful protesters. No one could have imagined police management to be that inept, or any criminal justice system is so inbred and corrupted.

The current governor Eric Greitens is a Republican. He never went into hiding, but nothing says “I don’t know what to do”, like readying the National Guard to control a relatively small number of cooperating protesters. So far, more than 150 persons have been arrested for petty misdemeanors, especially not moving when told by the police.

Both dealt with protesters as the problem. Neither appeared capable of confronting and addressing the root of the problem. But quite willing to talk tough and use force.

No civic-minded person supports lawlessness. So let’s agree conditionally: lock them up if their behaviors are imminent threats to public safety. Not because the police told them to move. Do we have a Constitution or not? If the answer is doubtful (as it’s becoming) repeat next year and the years afterward. Finally, both the state and protesters would be locked in an increasingly dysfunctional, dangerous way of life. The state CANNOT win. That would be despite being a police state, as America already is.

Right now, both Blacks and Whites, males and females are being threatened and arrested. How long do the state and local governments think that they can keep this up? I’ll hazard a guess. When you stop seeing truth as the enemy.