Accountability: Who’s in Charge?

It’s been a rough time for Texas as the state starts to recover from Hurricane Harvey. But while we’ve been (rightly) focused there, the rest of the world continues to turn – in ways comforting and threatening.

Recent news has been dominated by by a lack of accountability, locally and internationally.

I’m looking at you, North Korea, with your hydrogen bomb. Tests being conducted register on the Richter scale (at magnitudes of 6.3 and 4.1), and are also missile-compatible and mass-production ready. The United States responded with a flyover that an obviously irked Vladimir Putin described as a “rash act,” while his officials deal with a U.S. investigation of one of its three diplomatic locations.

These events put three hot-heads – Kim Jong-un, President Trump and Putin – with nuclear capabilities further at odds. And there are plenty of lingering, unresolved issues that continue to chafe; specifically the hacking of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election by Russia.

Looking closer and more inward, the lack of accountability trend continues with the recent treatment of nurse Alex Wubbels by Officer Jeff Payne, and a video of another cop, Greg Abbott “reassuring” a motorist that cops “only kill black people.” Two more members of law enforcement who clearly forgot that a mission to “To protect and serve” applies to EVERYONE. 

What are the repercussions for these officers? The lack of action by both departments is not encouraging. Payne is on full administrative leave, which means that pay AND benefits are still intact, despite clear documentation of unwarranted hostility. Similarly, Abbott found a loophole that allows him to retire. Retirement means benefits remain, circumventing the firing process.

Contrary to Trump’s (need I say uneducated and misguided?) opinion, police brutality of physical, cultural and social forms is unacceptable. Under normal circumstances, that message would come from the top. Instead we get a pardon of trash human Joe Arpaio, under the cover of Hurricane Harvey news coverage.

The lack of accountability and acceptable response to developments that threaten our civilization is dire. There’s advanced politics behind world powers going unchecked, but also it seems, behind community dysfunction.  The spotlight has been on brutal and unethical police actions for years, but where is the transparency? Where is the justice?

We need answers from someone besides Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump, who clearly favor a more lawless form of law and order – especially for people of color.

Next week, I’ll briefly follow up on these stories, and touch on Trump’s ending of DACA. I’ll also look at the recuperation progress in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and the incoming Hurricane Irma.

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