The Black Therapist and the Autistic Man

After I read this article, and watched the video, and blew my nose, I thought to myself, “If this ever happened to my autistic son’s African American therapist–if he were ever popped by a, ‘I don’t know why I shot him’ law officer, I wouldn’t be able to forgive him. I still feel that way. Especially because these officers added insult to injury by flipping Kinsey over and cuffing him–while he was bleeding. If they’d hit an artery and he had bled out and died, they would have to stand trial for what, second degree murder? Negligent homicide? Hopefully, but probably, not anything. He had his hands up in the air for God’s sake. The lack of understanding and respect in this country–on every level–has me thinking that society’s gone f___ing crazy. I wrote My Son almost TEN years ago. It was prescient, and now it’s dated. Life matters. Whether you’re black, white, disabled, LGBT, a veteran, a senior, a cop, or a child. A little Kumbaya would be nice, I just hope we don’t wipe each other out.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/07/21/south-florida-police-shoot-autistic-mans-caretaker-as-lies-in-street.html

South Florida Police Shoot Autistic Man’s Caretaker as He Lies in Street

Police in South Florida Thursday said they were investigating an officer who shot and wounded an autistic man’s caretaker, as video emerged apparently showing the caretaker lying down with his arms raised before being shot.

Police were responding to reports of a man threatening to shoot himself on Monday, North Miami Assistant Police Chief Neal Cuevas told The Miami Herald.

Officers arrived to find 47-year-old Charles Kinsey, a therapist who works with people with disabilities, according to WSVN-TV. His 27-year-old patient reportedly ran away from a group home. The therapist claimed he was trying to return his patient to the facility.

Police ordered Kinsey and the patient, who was sitting in the street playing with a toy truck, to lie on the ground. The video shows Kinsey lying down and putting his hands up while trying to get his patient to comply.

An officer then fired three times, striking Kinsey in the leg, Cuevas said. No weapon was found.

The latest shooting comes amid weeks of violence involving police. Three law enforcement officers were fatally shot and three others wounded Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by a shooter whom police also gunned down. Two weeks earlier, two white officers in Baton Rouge killed a black man, Alton Sterling, 37, on July 5 during a scuffle at a convenience store. That shooting, captured on cellphone video, provoked widespread protests about police treatment of the black community.

On July 6, another black man, 32-year-old Philando Castile, was killed in Minnesota when a police officer pulled him over. The next day, a sniper killed five Dallas police officers as they guarded a peaceful protest.

In Florida, Kinsey’s attorney, Hilton Napoleon, provided a cellphone video to the Herald on Wednesday taken moments before the shooting. It shows Kinsey lying in the middle of the street with his hands up, asking the officers not to shoot him, while the autistic man sits next to him, yelling at him to “shut up.”

“Sir, there’s no need for firearms,” Kinsey said he told police before he was shot, according to WSVN. “It was so surprising. It was like a mosquito bite.”

Kinsey is black. Police haven’t released the name or race of the officer who shot him but said he’s been placed on administrative leave, which is standard.

The investigation has been turned over to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, Cuevas said.

In an interview with the TV station, Kinsey said he was more worried about his patient than himself during the incident.

“As long as I’ve got my hands up, they’re not going to shoot me. This is what I’m thinking. They’re not going to shoot me,” he said. “Wow, was I wrong.”

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Hug Your Daughter

My daughter is nineteen, and I treasure her, cherish her, adore her, and so on. All I want to do right now is hug her. I don’t understand this story, or this woman. My chest still hurts after reading about these killings. Of course she had a gun. That made it easier to carry out a solid plan. I guess they’ll make a movie about this family. What a shame.

What to Know About Christy Sheats and the 2 Daughters She Shot Dead

Just Hold Your Nose and Vote

This has been an unpresidented campaign season. We the People still have no idea who will be occupying the oval office next January. No one has hit their delegate count yet, and political fervor and favor morph every day. It’s still true that a candidate will say and do just about anything for a vote, but the pandering has hit a new level. I’ve seen hyperbole on both sides of the aisle, and enough locker room vulgarity to last me until the next election cycle. Nothing is shocking anymore, nothing is surprising. Except for maybe the fact that this year is unknowable and unpredictable. Even the polls are getting everything—including us—wrong. I yearn for the days when you could walk down the streets of your town and profile your fellow citizens perfectly. You could nail them—what their religion was, where they liked to eat, what their hobbies were, where they liked to shop, what music they enjoyed, and so on, by their political yard sign.

I remember what I said to my daughter years ago when she asked me why I didn’t park closer to a convenience store way off the highway in the North Carolina countryside. I rolled my foreign car into an obscure spot under about 32 trees. It was an election year and I told her I didn’t want to offend anyone with my bumper stickers. In reality, I didn’t want anyone to key scratch my car when we were inside the store.

Now, you can’t presume anything about an individual based on the candidate they’re supporting. Even if it seems obvious. As a nation most of us have been forced to settle a bit when it comes to our current crop of candidates. You might vote for someone in a primary just because they are the lesser of two, three, or four evils. You might vote for one candidate simply to negate another. There are exceptions of course. I’ve already spotted a few unapologetic Bernie signs around town. They’ve been mounted by the young, the idealistic, and the vegan. Okay, that’s not fair, but I like to stereotype. (However, my teenage daughter is a relentless Feel the Bern fan and she’s been a vegetarian for over five years now.)

The great irony of all this is that I’m old enough to remember wearing Nehru collars, maxi dresses, and elephant bell pants. I listened to the Cowsills, collected Aquarius posters, and filled my room with incense and peppermints. And I’m still not 100% sure of my vote. Is it because I also own a pair of cowboy boots, enjoy skeet shooting, and was born in Houston, Texas? This has been a crazy election year so far for We the People. One filled with bemusement, soul-searching, and ambivalence. Some of us won’t be able to cast our ballots with the same enthusiasm as in years past. Maybe because we’re confused about our own political yard sign. In most cases—at least in the primaries—we might be forced to just hold our noses and pull the lever.

New Year’s Resolution Dissolution

I made a 2016 New Year’s resolution to be nicer this year. Like I used to be. Of course that all ended with a predictably snarky comment I made on January 2nd. I can’t repeat it, but let’s just say it was a slightly cruel criticism of an acquaintance. The kind of comment I wouldn’t want my daughter to hear. I cracked it like I was superior or something. I shared the joke with my husband and we both got a cackle out of my pithy observation even though I knew my laughter instantly made me a phony two-face. Of course, I’m sure people make fun of me all the time but that’s beside the point. This individual was the innocent butt of my joke. I’m not saying he didn’t deserve my derision, (he really is an ass) but I should’ve kept it to myself until at least 2017. BTW, all politicians are exempt from my failed resolution.

 
I feel doubly guilty about my habitual snark because I am doubly guilty. I made a similar promise during the Jewish High Holidays not to be two-facey or hypercritical of other people. But I can’t help myself. It must be my muted self-flagellation that compels me to insult others. (And the fact that it’s fun.) Anyway, I promised God I wouldn’t be bitchy this year. Or as bitchy, and I prayed He/She would hear me. I want to be inscribed in the Book of Life because I am deathly afraid of death. Classic thanatophobia.

What a disgrace to blow two opportunities—two New Years—to be kind. Blowing it doesn’t give me full reign however, to be my true self the rest of the year. (My mother would argue that I’m not really that mean.) I’m still going to try to be less annoyed with people. I’m going to try to be more loving, empathetic, and patient. The way I try with my family. (Especially my teenagers.) After much self-analysis I’ve figured out that if I didn’t beat myself up so often–about parenting, caregiving, wifely duties, spaciness, bad time management skills, etc.–I wouldn’t be so mean. (My mother disagrees with my daughter about my level of meanness.) It was a tough year but I shouldn’t take it out on others. All that’s going to get me is another lecture from my persistently jolly husband. Blech.

I’ve actually come up with another New Year’s resolution. And it’s not a sanctimonious one. I’m going to practice what I preach to my kids about having a positive attitude. I’m not saying I have to bask in a sunny disposition, (my mother would argue that I already have one) I would just like to redevelop an outlook on life that reflects positivity, good will, and strength. Seriously. I’ll repeat to my soul what my mother repeated to me over and over and over again when I was young: Make lemonade out of lemons, (that one’s annoying) don’t try to control what happens to you, but rather your reaction to it, and have the wisdom to recognize the flow and then go with it. Maybe I could actually flow with kindness. Nah. The one thing about a resolution is reality. Only promise yourself what you can deliver. Happy New Year, and best of luck with your resolutions.

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