Briefly

I am not done sorting out my feelings about the Derek Chauvin trial– and I doubt that I will be until after he is sentenced. And I am definitely not done sorting out my feelings about the fact that less than 20 minutes after the trial a cop gunned down a sixteen-year-old Black girl in Columbus.

I kinda hate it here right now, and I’m incredibly tired, and I’m wearing my Black Lives Matter shirt to work tomorrow.

I don’t pray

… but the fervor with which I’m hoping for a guilty verdict in a few minutes is starting to approach prayer.

Do the right thing, for fuck’s sake.

Stephen would answer if he only knew how

I have been sort of staring dully off into space for the last half hour or so, and the cops just murdered another child in Chicago, and I’m just kinda … done, today. I’ll try and be interesting tomorrow.

The South Bend Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #36, is a Bunch of Racist Pigs: Update

They’ve not only deleted my comments (perfectly polite, and I should have screenshotted them) from their double-down post, which explains why it’s nothing but praise in there, but they’ve since added a post about how qualified immunity, which is how they get away with murdering unarmed black people all the time, is actually just fine.

So, yeah, no benefit of the doubt remains. As far as I’m concerned it no longer matters if the image was put in on purpose, and I think it probably was. Because anyone with even a little shred of conscience would have removed it by now.

Police unions should be outlawed.

All cops are bastards.

Fuck the South Bend FOP.

(Original post here.)

#Review: ANGER IS A GIFT, by Mark Oshiro

I wasn’t ready for this damn book.

My first exposure to Mark Oshiro actually happened because a mutual Patron suggested that Mark read The Benevolence Archives, Vol. 1 on their Mark Reads Stuff YouTube channel. I admit I feel a little special because, technically, they had heard of me before I heard of them. Which, take that, traditional publishing!

Anyway, they seem to have been enjoying themselves, and watching them read my book has been fun as hell, so I figured there was a good chance I’d like their work as well, and in that spirit I just finished their debut novel, Anger Is a Gift.

And it has kicked my ass. I made a terrible mistake last night while reading in bed; at one point I looked over at my wife (who is reading Harrow the Ninth right now) and said “This book is trying to lull me into a false sense of security. I don’t trust optimism any more. Something terrible is about to happen.”

And like ten minutes later I was so angry I could barely breathe, and any thought of sleep within the next hour or so at the least was banished. Not angry at the book, mind you, although I did come very close to tossing it across the room. Angry on behalf of Moss Jeffries, the book’s main character.

As the events of the book begin, Moss has been without his father for a few years. His father was shot by a police officer while leaving a local corner store with headphones on and hands filled with groceries. He attends high school in Oakland, CA, at a school that has recently begun a policy where students can be pulled from class, at any time, by school police officers to search their lockers. As it turns out, the cop in question already does not exactly have the rest of the student body’s trust, and this policy goes badly.

Which leads to metal detectors at the door. Which goes badly.

Which leads to the students planning a walk-out as protest. Which goes very badly.

I’m not going to spoil any more; suffice it to say that protest and police brutality and loss are strong themes of this book, and it begins with a handful of content warnings that maybe I should have taken a bit more seriously myself, because reading this book as a teacher of Black and Brown children in 2020 was very, very difficult. These kids are failed by nearly every adult in their lives– Moss’ mother is wonderful, as is his boyfriend Javier’s mother, but the school personnel and even some of the other parents are benignly neglectful at best and actively harmful at worst, and I spent as much time angry with school personnel as I did with the actions of the police.

I will admit that there were a few moments where I had thoughts of the Would they REALLY … type, mostly relating to various actions the police take regarding the protesters, and … honestly, there’s no excuse to be thinking something like that in 2020. Even if this was mildly unrealistic when it was released in 2018, it’s just not any longer. It’s impossible to have watched the actions of the police across the country this year with your eyes open and declare anything to be beyond them.

That quote on the cover of the book declares it to be “beautiful and brutal.” And … yeah. That’s a really good description of the book. Anger is a Gift was a hard book to read, but absolutely well worth it, and I think you will hear about it again at the end of the year.