Missing the point on purpose

More evidence, as if any were needed, that Donald Trump has given up trying to expand his appeal and has gone all-in on white grievance politics:

Here’s the thing: for once he’s not completely wrong. In the United States, on average, more officer-involved shootings take the lives of white people than African-Americans.

But there are also far more white Americans than black Americans, and the raw numbers show that more white lives than black lives are taken by police, African-Americans disproportionately bear the brunt of the problem. And that’s why people are protesting.

Trump either knows this and doesn’t care, or he legitimately doesn’t understand the math. I leave it to you to decide which would be more depressing.

In the meantime, an infuriating case from Alabama illustrates, once again, that police shootings are not the only problem:

The Alabama Cannabis Industry Association on Monday released a statement critical of the decision by an Alabama court to imprison an Arizona man for five years after his probation for a 2016 marijuana arrest was revoked in April.

Sean Worsley was an Iraq War vet who legally uses marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder, and for back and shoulder pain stemming from being wounded in an IED attack in Iraq.

He and his wife were arrested in Gordo, in Pickens County, in August 2016 after a police officer found the marijuana while questioning the Worsleys about the volume of their music when they stopped to get gas.

That Worsley had a valid medical cannabis card in Arizona — one of 33 states where that is legal — was no defense for the authorities in Pickens County. Worsley missed a court date in Pickens County after the VA rejected his application for a substance abuse program, so Pickens County issued a fugitive arrest warrant.

When Arizona arrested Worsley for letting his medical cannabis card expire, he was extradited back to Alabama. He is currently detained in Pickens County awaiting a spot to become available in an Alabama Department of Corrections facility.

Worsley could spend the next 60 months as a guest of Alabama taxpayers.

Police shootings and tactics get most of the attention, but ending drug prohibition is probably the best thing American lawmakers could do to show that Black Lives – and, indeed, “All Lives” – matter.

The Chairman of Alabama’s Senate Judiciary Committee (who, to his credit, appears to be a criminal justice reformer) has spoken out against the prosecution, and Worsley’s family has started a GoFundMe campaign to appeal the decision. Everyone with a “support the troops” bumper sticker or T-shirt should donate.

One thought on “Missing the point on purpose

  1. M says:

    The Alabama Appleseed site in the Washington Post article adds quite a bit of information. Mr. Worsley initially attracted police attention by playing loud music and performing air guitar, probably playfully interacting with his wife, since he was reportedly looking at her. Since when is that a reason for police to intervene? Although, come to think of it, I also tell my autistic kids: Don’t behave unusually or draw attention. If you do, people will interpret your differences as drugs, aggression, being “suspicious” or whatever seems like a good enough excuse to get rid of the “weird” person. Only this guy happened to be both disabled and black.
    The subsequent process by which this couple’s life was destroyed feels familiar. I recall being on welfare after leaving a man from whose injuries I finally mostly recovered this summer, twenty years after the event. Welfare required job searches – a futile task with no experience other than ‘bruised housewife’. Job searches required $50 in taxi fares and a full day of walking through town with small children and no place to go. Transportation was about 7 to 8 percent of the month’s income, cutting into scarce food. Childcare was not an option; job training was out of reach. Every attempt to take a step forward in one area crumbled our supports in another.
    The gradual dismantling of this couple’s life is many times worse. The chain of events was predictable and preventable. They were cornered, their resources and capacity to look after themselves taken apart step by step over years. If the system had actually set out to destroy their lives, it could hardly have done a more thorough job. The loss of basic needs such as home, work, stability and a basic sense of security for merely attracting attention is so fundamentally wrong that it’s hard to believe no one in the system stopped this from happening.
    I hope they get plenty of support and fight this through successfully. However, even if it ended right now, their lives will never be the same.

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