L.A. City Council votes to replace some police officers with unarmed crisis responders
via Michael Dorausch

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to replace police officers with response teams for nonviolent emergency calls.

The new response teams will be unarmed and respond to situations that don't require violent interactions such as substance abuse incidents, neighbor disputes, and mental health issues.

Four councilmen also suggested that this unarmed response team could enforce traffic violations including speeding, illegal turns, and other vehicle code violations. The decision comes as Los Angeles is enjoying a historical dip in violent crime.

In 2019, the homicide rate was the lowest since 1962 and has decreased by 77% since 1992.


"For years, police officers have used traffic enforcement as an excuse to harass and demean Black motorists while violating their rights," Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson said according to CBS Los Angeles. "We do not need armed officials responding to and enforcing traffic violations. This practice is expensive, costing the city millions and far too many innocent people their lives."

via jondoeforty1

The change in police enforcement has been applauded by Black Lives Matter. "More often than not, when such calls become violent, they become violent at the hands of police," BLM-LA co-founder Melina Abdullah said.

"Driving while Black or Latino should not be a crime, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a young person of color who has not had a negative interaction that began with an alleged traffic infraction," Councilman Herb Wesson said.

If the traffic proposal is adopted, leaders will work with Los Angeles Department of Traffic to develop methods of enforcement that do not require armed officers.

"It's common sense. We don't need an armed response to a broken tail light or a traffic accident," Wesson said. "This is a logical next step to reimagining public safety in Los Angeles."

"Don't use a hammer if you don't need to pound a nail," writes economist Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution.

"The responsibility for handing out speeding tickets and citations should be handled by an unarmed agency," Tabarrok adds. "Put the safety patrol in bright yellow cars and have them carry a bit of extra gasoline and jumper cables to help stranded motorists as part of their job—make road safety nice."

The Los Angeles City Council's decision is powerful push-back against a form of authoritarianism that Americans have lived under and accepted for decades. We've all been conditioned to the idea that armed agents of the state should to be summoned for the smallest law violations or to bring order to nonviolent conflict.

When, in reality, unarmed security guards do a fine job at keeping the peace at private establishments and meter maids can hand out parking tickets without needing a shotgun.

via jondoeforty1 / Flickr

Over the past few decades, largely due to budget cuts, Americans have dropped the ball on caring for its most vulnerable by making drug addiction, mental illness, and homelessness an something to be handled by the police.

This puts undue pressure on police to solve societal ills they aren't necessarily equipped to handle and subjects vulnerable populations to become the care of the prison system instead of organizations based on treatment.

The Los Angeles City Council's decision is a step towards possibly having mental health response teams, community interaction teams, and homelessness efforts that can be solved by specifically trained, nonviolent actors, instead of armed officers.

It's a move to create a more humane relationship between the state and its citizens and bound to save lives by reducing the number of interactions between citizens and armed officers.

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Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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