Sunday, February 16, 2014

Last Call For The Painless Abyss

"Do these people sound like credible and competent standard bearers?"

--Jennifer Rubin, on the Rand Paul wing of the GOP, presumably just before her computer imploded into a black hole and tried to swallow Earth in order to spare humanity and reality.

Bonus Verbatim Stupid:

"There is, to be frank, a clownish like quality to the far right’s antics. They seize upon flaky candidates to challenge mainstream Republican candidates, while ignoring Democratic incumbents whose presence allows Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to rule the Senate roost. They seem to have learned little from the shutdown debacle."

Sluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurp.  Pop.  And other black hole noises.

The Race For Justice

This weekend's verdict in the trial of Michael Dunn, the white Florida man who went to trial after he shot and killed 17 year old black teen Jordan Davis for playing his music too loudly in a nearby car, shows just how far we have to go in America in bending that arc towards moral justice.

After four days of deliberation, the jury in the trial of Michael Dunn, a Florida man who shot a teenager to death in a parking lot during a dispute over loud music, said it could not agree on whether Mr. Dunn had acted in self-defense or was guilty of murder.

The jurors did find Mr. Dunn guilty of three counts of second-degree attempted murder for getting out of his car and firing 10 times at the Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle in which Jordan Davis, 17, was killed. Three other teenagers, the subjects of the attempted murder charges, were in the car but were not struck. Mr. Dunn continued to fire at the car even as it pulled away. On the attempted murder convictions, he could be sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Judge Russell L. Healey declared a mistrial on the count of first-degree murder, which applied only in the death of Mr. Davis. The jury also failed to reach agreement on lesser charges that are automatically included in jury instructions. Those were second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter. Prosecutors are free to move ahead with a new trial on the murder charge, if they wish.

Now let's think about this.  At least one juror rejected all charges for Dunn for the killing of Jordan Davis: first, second, third degree murder, and manslaughter.  The attempted murder of the other three was apparently something they agreed upon, but the actual murder is what allowed Florida's "Stand your ground" laws to go into effect, and at least one juror agreed that the killing was self-defense because they were black teenagers in that car with loud music.

In other words, Michael Dunn's actual crime was failing to kill all four black boys.  If he had actually killed all of them, he would have walked under SYG.

Ta-Nehisi Coates responds:

I insist that the irrelevance of black life has been drilled into this country since its infancy, and shall not be extricated through the latest innovations in Negro Finishing School. I insist that racism is our heritage, that Thomas Jefferson's genius is no more important than his plundering of the body of Sally Hemmings, that George Washington's abdication is no more significant than his wild pursuit of Oney Judge, that the G.I Bill's accolades are somehow inseparable from its racist heritageI will not respect the lie. I insist that racism must be properly understood as an Intelligence, as a sentience, as a default setting to which, likely until the end of our days, we unerringly return. 

And so it goes.  You can kill an unarmed black boy in Florida because he's black and then claim you felt your life was in danger.  All it takes is one juror of your peers to agree.

Sometimes You Come Up Snake Eyes

Snake-handling preachers are still a thing here in Kentucky and the Appalachians, the National Geographic series "Snake Salvation" is all about Kentucky snake handler pastors Jamie Coots and Andrew Hamblin and their families, and it seems Jamie Coots diced with the devil one time too many this weekend.

Paramedics were called to Coots’ church about 8:30 p.m. Saturday to check on a report someone had been bitten by a snake.

By the time they arrived, Coots had gone to his home nearby. The ambulance crew and firefighters went to his home, where they found him suffering from a snakebite on his right hand, according to a news release from Middlesboro police.

The emergency responders told Coots about the danger of not going to the hospital, but he refused to go, police said.

The emergency crews left the house at 9:10 p.m. Authorities received a call less than an hour later indicating Coots had died, according to police. Coots was pronounced dead at his home.

Apparently Coots had survived snake bites before.  This time he wasn't so lucky.  Kentucky's had laws on the books against snake-handling in church for decades, but they never get enforced because of religious freedom reasons.

Read more here:

Seems to me a just and kind deity wouldn't make you risk you life with poisonous snakes, nor would they then require you to not seek medical treatment and then die painfully.  But then again, people will do a lot of things for faith, the truly good, the truly bad, and the outright dangerous.
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