Crime, DCMontreal Commentary, Freddie Gray Murder, History, Media, News, Opinion, Politics, United States, Wordpress, Zimmerman Trial

Baltimore Charges Police: But What If They Get Off

Freddie_Gray_Arrest

Freddie Gray Arrest/ New York Daily News

In the course of less than a week the streets of Baltimore have seen both angry rioters wreaking havoc in the name of injustice followed by jubilant marchers cheering what they see as the application of a justice long denied. Unless you have been under a rock for the last couple of weeks you know that the incident that sparked the anger was the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police. The rejoicing was spurred by the laying of charges against the six police officers involved.

Almost instantly the tone of the protests in the streets of the city turned from anger to joy. Could it be that at long last justice was not only being done, but was being seen to be done?

I’ll not go over the details of the arrest and subsequent death of Gray as there are countless news pieces available that provide a far better timeline of the events than I could create.

Last Friday morning Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore City state’s attorney, announced that she deemed Gray’s death to be a homicide and was therefore bringing charges to bear against the six Baltimore police officers involved in the death of Gray. The most serious of the charges was levied against the driver of the van in which Gray was being transported. Officer Caesar R. Goodson faces charges that include one of “second-degree depraved heart murder”. (As an aside, I found it interesting that CNN anchor Don Lemon and correspondent Ryan Young made a point of explaining that the proper term is police van, not “paddy wagon” which is derogatory – chalk one up for the Irish.)

Almost instantly the tone of the protests in the streets of the city turned from anger to joy. Could it be that at long last justice was not only being done, but was being seen to be done?  Some naysayers commented that it was a matter of a rush to judgement in an effort to quell the violence that was rumored to be in the works for Friday or Saturday. Be that as it may, the charges have been brought.

Marilyn Mosby/ AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Marilyn Mosby/ AP Photo/Alex Brandon

As I watched people reacting to the announcement of the charges with glee, and listened to many community leaders warning that although this is a step in the right direction, the whole process must play out, I became increasingly nervous. With charges comes a trial; no doubt one that will become a media circus. I do not know when such a trial will take place, could be a year from now, maybe two. Who knows what will occur in the interim. What will the evidently long strained relationship between the police and the people be like with this situation hanging over their heads?

I am not a lawyer, but it appears to me that the main plank in the state’s case is the manner in which Gray was left shackled but without seat belt in the back of the police van then given a “rough ride” by Goodson, causing injuries leading to his ultimate death. Numerous reports have shown that there is not a whole lot of give in the metal seating configuration found in the back of a police van. Tie someone’s hands behind their back, tether their feet together, opt not to apply a seatbelt then drive erratically and it is not difficult to see how serious injury can occur.

In Florida George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed youth, yet the jury found him not guilty. In light of that, and a long history of police acquittals, I am finding it difficult to believe that any jury will find Officer Goodson guilty of “second-degree depraved heart murder” based on the way he drove.

In Florida George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed youth, Trayvon Martin; yet the jury found him not guilty. In light of that, and a long history of police acquittals, including the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles in the early nineties, I am finding it difficult to believe that any jury will find Officer Goodson guilty of “second-degree depraved heart murder” based on the way he drove. I am not saying he should not be found guilty, I am merely pointing out that if one man can shoot and kill an unarmed boy and get off, I fear it is going to be a stretch to find Goodson guilty.

I am not in the habit of raining on people’s parades, but should my fears be realized down the road and the result be a hung jury, or a not-guilty verdict, I can only cringe at the thought of what form the reaction will take.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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CNN, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Gun Control, Media, News, Opinion, Politics, Review, Wordpress

Exit Piers Morgan; Enter Don Lemon?

Don Lemon

cbc.ca

Last night after just three years in the host’s seat Piers Morgan signed-off for the last time. He ended his stint as Larry King’s replacement in the coveted nine o’clock time slot on CNN by revisiting his crusade for tougher gun control laws.

Unfortunately Morgan never really made an impact with viewers and was consistently a ratings loser. Even if I agree with his gun control comments, they often degenerated into rants, showing his frustration with, and inability to understand, American’s love of guns.

The fact that he carried out these harsh criticisms of a US cultural mainstay in his British accent may have irked more viewers than it pleased; Americans don’t like to be told what to do, and certainly not by a “foreigner”.

He’s paid his dues, has shown he can be controversial, and handle it, he’s not a “foreigner”, he’s a member of a visible minority who is also openly gay, and he’s both charming and versatile.

In my opinion Morgan was never the person for the post, not that he isn’t very intelligent and not that he didn’t do an admirable job, but for the very reasons outlined above. It was a matter of the proverbial square peg in a round hole.

But now the question is who will replace Morgan: Jake Tapper, Michael Smerconish, Bill Weir and Don Lemon are all being considered according to the Huffington Post. I might add Chris Cuomo to that list; as I’ve written, things don’t seem to be working well on New Day, his current home.

For my money the next nightly host on CNN’s nine o’clock show should be Don Lemmon. He’s paid his dues, has shown he can be controversial, and handle it, he’s not a “foreigner”, he’s a member of a visible minority who is also openly gay, and he’s both charming and versatile. He can handle a wide range of topics, from breaking news to Hollywood entertainment, race relations to politics.  It’s time.

Of course CNN could give all of them a week or two in the host’s seat and let the viewers decide, call it CNN Idol!

Not that the other gentlemen aren’t capable journalists – sadly no women are being considered according to the HuffPost piece – but in my opinion Lemon is just a wee bit better.

Of course CNN could give all of them a week or two in the host’s seat and let the viewers decide, call it CNN Idol!

Me DCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Media, News, Weekly Writing Challenge, Wordpress

Weekly Writing Challenge: Reel Talk – Time for Don Lemon to move to primetime

This week’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Reel Talk encouraged bloggers to incorporate video into our posts. A recent Don Lemon piece on CNN affords a great opportunity to do just that!

Dear CNN,

cbc.ca

cbc.ca

As a long time viewer I thought I’d take a moment to bring something to your attention. I understand fully that you may be well aware of what I’m about to point out, and may even be in the process of dealing with the situation. If so please disregard this letter. I’m writing about Don Lemon and, more to the point, the notion that it is time he had his own weeknight prime time show. Trust me, to paraphrase the old Dr. John song,if you don’t do it somebody else will”.

I’m writing about Don Lemon and, more to the point, the notion that it is time he had his own weeknight prime time show

Lemon has been a mainstay of weekend programming for some time now as well as a regular fill-in when needed. But recently he has started to outgrow that position. He’s written a book, come out as a gay man, and most recently taken on the Black community in his “No Talking Points” segment in the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing. He is intelligent, articulate, well presented and fair. Just the kind of person you would want hosting a news and opinion show.

… but I also think it might just be time for an African-American to take a place in that line up

The current CNN evening schedule has Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper, Piers Morgan and Anderson Cooper yet again. All of them great at what they do, and all of them undeniably white. Don’t get me wrong, I think Cooper is great, but I also think it might just be time for an African-American to take a place in that line up, maybe the second Cooper hour might be the spot. Perhaps a bright experienced host who is not afraid to be a wee bit controversial.

A friendly warning, someone is going to take notice a snap up this talent if you don’t lock him up

Which brings me back to Lemon. A sixty minute show at ten o’clock would suit his style and make CNN a leader. A friendly warning, someone is going to take notice and snap up this talent if you don’t lock him up.

Thanks for hearing me out!

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Media, News, Wordpress

Dear CNN: Time for Don Lemon to move to primetime

Dear CNN,

cbc.ca

cbc.ca

As a long time viewer I thought I’d take a moment to bring something to your attention. I understand fully that you may be well aware of what I’m about to point out, and may even be in the process of dealing with the situation. If so please disregard this letter. I’m writing about Don Lemon and, more to the point, the notion that it is time he had his own weeknight prime time show. Trust me, to paraphrase the old Dr. John song,if you don’t do it somebody else will”.

I’m writing about Don Lemon and, more to the point, the notion that it is time he had his own weeknight prime time show

Lemon has been a mainstay of weekend programming for some time now as well as a regular fill-in when needed. But recently he has started to outgrow that position. He’s written a book, come out as a gay man, and most recently taken on the Black community in his “No Talking Points” segment in the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing. He is intelligent, articulate, well presented and fair. Just the kind of person you would want hosting a news and opinion show.

… but I also think it might just be time for an African-American to take a place in that line up

The current CNN evening schedule has Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper, Piers Morgan and Anderson Cooper yet again. All of them great at what they do, and all of them undeniably white. Don’t get me wrong, I think Cooper is great, but I also think it might just be time for an African-American to take a place in that line up, maybe the second Cooper hour might be the spot. Perhaps a bright experienced host who is not afraid to be a wee bit controversial.

A friendly warning, someone is going to take notice a snap up this talent if you don’t lock him up

Which brings me back to Lemon. A sixty minute show at ten o’clock would suit his style and make CNN a leader. A friendly warning, someone is going to take notice and snap up this talent if you don’t lock him up.

Thanks for hearing me out!

Me DCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Media, Misused words, News, Wordpress, Zimmerman Trial

Zimmerman trial shines light on words

SkittlesWith CNN providing gavel to gavel coverage of the George Zimmerman murder trial in Florida the “N word” has been getting more media attention than it has had since the OJ Simpson trial.  Zimmerman, who is accused of murdering Trayvon Martin two years ago, is alleged to have a racist background that may have been the motive for fatally shooting the unarmed Martin – either that or he really wanted Trayvon’s Skittles. This aspect of the case has brought about an in-depth analysis of the “N word” including CNN’s own Don Lemon doing a special on the history of the word and how it has changed.

You’ll have to “use” it to explain the concept

I think one thing that needs to be made clear is that there is a definite difference between “calling” someone the N word and just “saying” it. Let me explain: when asked publicly if they have ever used the N word, people usually trip all over themselves trying to be as emphatic as possible in their “no”. But I doubt that’s true. In fact I’ll bet that during the current discussions people have, on many occasions, used the N word when explaining it to someone. Let’s say your relatives from X-country are visiting, they see the media frenzy and ask you about the infamous N word. You’ll have to “use” it to explain the concept. Next time you find yourself  under oath and are asked if you have ever said it you’ll have to come clean and say yes. However, if on that same witness stand you are asked if you have called anyone the N word, you will be able to, in all honesty, answer no!

I think one thing that needs to be made clear is that there is a definite difference between “calling” someone the N word and just “saying” it

CrackerHow do I know this? From the very same trial of George Zimmerman. One of the witnesses recalled how Martin had referred to Zimmerman as a “crazy ass cracker”. As a white male in my early fifties (okay, mid-fifties) of relatively average intelligence I can honestly say I had never heard of the word Cracker being used in a derogatory, let alone racist, manner. Perhaps it’s the British influence of my grandparents, but cracker was a word used to  indicate a sharp minded person, it was a compliment. In fact there was a very popular TV series starring Robbie Coltrane called Cracker.

I can honestly say I had never heard of the word Cracker being used in a derogatory, let alone racist, manner

So words mean different things to different people in different places and at different times. As the late George Carlin once put it “There are no good words or bad words; only good thoughts or bad thoughts”.

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