Sunday, March 25, 2018

Black Lives > Your Guns, And Other Signs Of The Times #DisarmPolice

Yup, Maine Legislature, that's you they're talking about. Image courtesy of LumenARRT!

As reported by NewsCenter Maine in Augusta last night:

"Maine itself has a lot of trouble with passing laws that make guns safe," said Anita Clearfield, a member of LumenARRT!
"The legislators are afraid to do that.
You can see by their ratings with the NRA who's got an A plus rating, to know who's voted."
Most of the 400 or so who gathered with my family in Waterville yesterday were students, teachers or those who love them. You could guess who the writing teachers were.

My sister Hope proudly copied her math-ish sign from one in Washington DC before we headed to our local march. Here she is with Mindy Bergeron-Lawrence, local reproductive rights activist.

Photo: Roger Leisner, Maine Paparazzi

My husband, Mark Roman, a former NRA member who turned against the gun lobby as they became increasingly belligerent and dangerous, created a sign targeting what he sees as a big part of the problem:

Some other notable signs of the times in central Maine:

The problem is, until you solve this problem, we've still got a big problem:

Maine's capitol lit up by LumenARRT! last night
Yesterday in Waterville I listened to a teacher of the year, a principal, and a former student who's now a teacher, bear witness to how frightened kids are today, and how traumatic it is to have lockdowns, lockouts, and shooter drills in school.

Oh, and the biggest roar from yesterday's crowd ? When a speaker said:

Arming teachers is a very bad idea. 

(Music teacher Shannon Thurston also got a big response when she noted that school budgets don't even have adequate funding for tissues.)

I was gratified to hear reference to the mammoth violence budget of the Pentagon as part of the problem, despite the fact that the event was a thinly veiled Democratic Party get-out-the-vote effort. 

I also appreciated a minister who noted  my sign referencing the latest egregious killing by police of an unarmed black man, father of two Stephon Clark.

That reminds me of the best article I read yesterday: An Incomplete List of Things Black People Should Avoid Doing So They Won't Be Killed by Police by Michael Herriot in The Root. It's bitterly funny in style but is also a catalog of the many, many men and women gunned down by police who have no business carrying guns.

I lived in Tokyo for four years. Shortly after I arrived there, I saw a drunk man screaming in the face of a stoic police officer as I walked through a park near my apartment. Some impressive de-escalation skills were on display. I kept expecting the cop to clock the guy but it never happened.

There was no danger that the cop would shoot the aggressive man, because police in Tokyo were armed with bicycles and flashlights, not guns.

I may have been the only one in Waterville yesterday with a sign calling to disarm police, but then it was a very white crowd. Many people agree with me that armed police are part of the problem -- not part of the solution.

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