23 December 2014

What We the People talk about when we talk about Police Reform

Welcome back Dear Readers, and a happy [Solstice Holiday] to you all.  

In case you haven't read the op-ed "Blue Lives Matter" featured in the Atlantic yesterday.  Do yourself a favor and read it.  Ta-Nehisi Coates is a skilled wordsmith and handles the underlying issues that dog police reform and racial reconciliation with incredible compassion for the victims and for Police Officers.  In a time when people are shouting on both sides that such a view is impossible, Coates reveals why compassion for victims and police is inseparable.  

A lot of what Coates discusses reminded me of a conversation I had with my dad just a few weeks ago.  "My dad told me to be careful about making laws – any law.  Because as soon as you pass a law, you've told someone with a gun to go enforce that law.  If you're not comfortable with the real possibility that someone might be killed for that law, then maybe it's not such a good law."  

And that premise is what Coates calls out: police are in fact public servants.  They are bound to the will of the majority, and it is their burden to enforce all the laws that our representatives pass at the behest of their constituents (that's us).  Police brutality and other abuses of power happen as an outcropping of the beliefs that we as a majority have put into law.  I've known several officers – all good, honorable men and women – and there are laws that they are bound to enforce which they completely disagree with.  Police officers aren't free to enforce according to their consciences, but according to the conscience we created through legislation.  

So what we need to accept when we call for "Police Reform" what we're really calling for is a hard look in the mirror.  We need to change ourselves and our laws, and if we can do that, then the servants of that law will change.  If they don't, then we can say that the police need reform.

As always, thanks for reading.  

08 December 2014

Throne of the Crescent Moon in the Rearview Mirror

Hello, readers!  How are you beautiful people doing today?  

I just finished reading Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon, and it's wonderful. Though the book is definitely written to be YA friendly, the characters are dynamic, driven by multiple motivations, and every bit as devastatingly flawed and hopelessly heroic as we humans are. Whether it's the good Doctor Adoulla struggling to balance his job (ghul-hunting) with the home life he wishes he had, or the dashing lioness Zamia Banu Laith Badawi fighting to discover what it means to be the last of her tribe and its Protector, the characters are inspiring, frustrating, and complex.  Also, despite the YA 

Ahmed's work is set in a distinctly Middle Eastern setting, not unlike Medina (with some extra magic thrown in). Then he peopled it with zealots, traitors, thieves, and prostitutes – there are some bad guys, too. Superbly written with just a touch of exoticism, this is a must read.

If you've already read it, or you have book suggestions, please let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading.