The 19th of April is a violent ethics day in history.
—In 1775, on this date, the evening before had seen Paul Revere’s ride, and a few hours later, right about at dawn, 700 British troops marched through my home town of Arlington, Mass., then known as Menotomy, into Lexington. 77 armed minutemen under Captain John Parker waited for them on the town’s common green. Shots were exchanged, and when the Battle of Lexington ended a few minutes later, eight Americans were dead or dying and 10 others were wounded. No British soldier was killed and just one was injured, but the battle launched the Revolutionary War, for which most of us, and most of the world, are or ought to be grateful.
—In 1943 on April 19, the courageous but doomed Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began when Nazi forces attempting to clear out the Polish city’s Jewish ghetto were met by gunfire from Jewish resistance fighters. The surprised Germans withdrew but soon returned, and on April 24 launched an all-out attack against the Warsaw Jews, slaughtering thousands. The Nazi army progressed down the ghettos, blowing up buildings as they went. The resistance took to the sewers to continue the fight, but their command bunker fell to the Germans on May 8, and its leaders committed suicide. During the uprising, some 300 German soldiers were killed, and thousands of Warsaw Jews were massacred.
—In Waco, Texas on April 19, 1993, the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a tear-gas assault on the home of the Branch Davidians, an armed religious cult, after a 51-day standoff. The compound was burned to the ground, with 80 Branch Davidians, including 22 children, dying as a result.
—April 19, 1995 saw the beginning of mass domestic terrorism here, as a massive truck bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The blast instantly killed more than 100 people and trapped dozens more in the rubble. When the rescue effort finally ended two weeks later, the death toll stood at 168 people killed, including 19 children who were in the building’s day-care center at the time of the blast.
Liberal pundits and Democrats blamed Rush Limbaugh, among others, who had been vocally condemning the government since the election of Bill Clinton.
1. When did Derek Chauvin get appointed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals? In this case, the 5th Circuit ruled that an officer who deliberately caused pain to a woman because she was being “uncooperative” was in the clear. She had been arrested and was in custody, but refused to respond to the officer’s questions about her name and age. In response, the officer raised her handcuffed arms behind her back, causing, the woman said, “[e]xcruciating pain.” This was captured on the officer’s camera, and wasn’t disputed. The woman sued for violations of her Fourth Amendment rights. In ruling on an appeal, The Fifth Circuit held that such conduct by the officer—deliberately inflicting pain on a subject in custody to force compliance—was acceptable:
Nor did Martin violate Hymond’s Fourth Amendment rights. Hymond was shouting at Martin throughout the entire confrontation. She did not comply with any of Martin’s commands or instructions. Only after Hymond refused to provide Martin with her name did Martin employ any force against her. Martin’s use of force—lifting Hymond’s handcuffed arms behind her back—was relatively minimal. Hymond continued to verbally deride Martin while Martin was lifting her arms and immediately after he put her arms down. Given Hymond’s continued resistance, Martin’s use of force against Hymond was not objectively unreasonable.
The opinion literally excuses a police officer’s inflicting pain on a subject in handcuffs in response to verbal abuse and a lack of cooperation.
2. Watch: she’ll probably be elected, too. Here you can read former sex-worker and stripper Alexandra Hunt’s argument for being elected to Congress. It nicely ticks off all the boxes necessary for progressive love. I think this paragraph’s my favorite:
One does not need to boast a law degree to see how criminalization has become about a person’s identity rather than any grievance they may have committed. The prison-industrial complex has come to serve the purity model of white supremacy and places individuals into egregious living conditions if their identity deviates from white supremacy in anyway ― their race, their sexuality, their gender identity, their economic status, their nationality, or their occupation.
In fact, not having a law degree assists reaching that asinine and counter-factual conclusion. (So does hitting yourself in the head repeatedly with a frozen leg of lamb.) Elsewhere, explaining her abortion when she was 18, Hunt engages in one of my all-time most reviled rationalizations for abortion:
“I as a person was not ready to bring a child into this world, but also the world was not in a state — and is not, 10 years later, is not in a state — that I wanted to bring a child into yet, which is my decision to make. My generation faces a lack of jobs, a lack of living wage, a housing crisis, an affordable housing crisis, a student debt crisis, the climate emergency, the prison-industrial complex, and the list goes on and on. And I wanted to offer my child better.”
Actually, Alexandra, you wanted to offer your next child better. The first one you decided was better off being rubbed out of existence than getting a chance to live in the less-than-perfect world you seem to be enjoying. I’m pretty certain all potential human beings, asked whether they would prefer an imperfect life than none at all, would like their shot.
3. And now for something completely stupid…This nicely illustrates the quality of American punditry. Matt Yglesias has been a long-time progressive pundit for Slate and Vox among other platforms. He tweeted this brilliant revelation yesterday:
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