Is NYC Going Back to the Bad Old Days?

For some New York City residents of a certain age, their memories of the “bad old days” in the 1980’s are probably ones that they would prefer to forget.

Back then, I was a sheltered child, protected from the truth of the city. But now, as an adult, I understand why these memories are kept in the mental filling cabinet.

Recently, some have been saying that NYC is starting to return to the “bad old days”. Though Mayor Bill de Blasio insists that we will not be back sliding into the past, the metrics state otherwise. Over the 4th of July holiday weekend alone, forty people were shot. Three of them were killed.

Before some of you jump on me, I need you hear me when I say that I am all for bail reform and police reform. If the city and the country is to move forward, we must address both ASAP. The last thing thing anyone wants is another Eric Garner or George Floyd case splashed across the headlines.

But I feel like there has to be a balance. The police and the justice system still need to be able to do their jobs.

I don’t claim to be an expert on these very touchy topics. I’m not and will make such a statement. But I am a proud NYC resident who cringes at the thought of my beloved city going back to an era which no one wants to revisit.

I don’t know what it will take to prevent us from rebooting the “bad old days” but with a 2020 twist. But I do know that something has to be done.


Firing Daniel Pantaleo Was the Right Thing To Do

Five years ago, the death of Eric Garner opened an old wound and forced this country to look at our collective racial sins in the face.

Two days ago, the fate of the police officer accused of putting Mr. Garner in a choke hold and killing him was decided. Officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired.

I am not a police officer nor am I a person of color, so I cannot write this post from either perspective. As much as I understand a day in the life of a police officer, I get that they are putting their lives in their hands every day that they go to work. I also understand that citizens (especially men) of color are often targeted by police because of their skin color and not because of any crime they may or may not have committed.

Either way, the decision would not have ended well. Someone would have been unhappy. As I see it, the way to move forward is communication and developing open relationships between the police and the community members. The problem is that these steps are often very hard to make. But unless these difficult steps are made, the open wound between the police and communities of color may never heal.

Daniel Pantaleo Should Be Fired

It’s not exactly a secret that in the United States, citizens of color are stigmatized, forced into an unspoken second class and targeted by the police simply because of their skin color.

Eric Garner is just one of the many African-American and Latino men who have been targeted and killed because of who they are. But his name, along with a few other names, have become synonymous with police brutality.

Earlier today, a judge recommended that Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer accused of putting an illegal choke hold on Mr. Garner, should be fired.

I agree that Officer Pantaleo should be fired. Some may argue that he should not be fired. They will probably state that Mr. Garner already had a record and health issues, which is undisputed fact. However, even with those facts, the response by the officers could have been different. Officer Pantaleo, as I see it, was far too aggressive. Mr. Garner didn’t have to die that day.

Officer Pantaleo’s fate is now in the hands of the police commissioner. Commissioner O’Neill should not only fire Officer Pantaleo, he should use the firing as an example to the rest of the force. This kind of behavior is unacceptable. If a member of the NYPD reacts as Office Pantaleo did, they will be prosecuted.

May Mr. Garner’s memory be a blessing to his family and a reminder that the ideal of true racial equality in this country is still just an ideal.

Thoughts On Second Night of the Second Round of Democratic Debates

Last night, the second night of the second round of the Democratic nominees aired on CNN. Over the course of three hours, the nominees debated, argued and did their best to prove why they should go against you know who next fall.

I have a few thoughts about last night.

  • Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) is not the golden child that she was after the previous debate. She was and still a strong contender. However, it was clear that the other nominees had her in their cross hairs, especially Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).
  • Speaking of Representative Gabbard, it felt like she was grasping at straws. While I can’t speak of Senator’s Harris’s record while she was Attorney General in California, I can’t see Representative Gabbard being the Democratic nominee next fall.
  • There were more than enough one liners to go around.
  • The polls may say that for Vice President Joe Biden has the best chance to win the election. However, given that the polls leading up the 2016 elections said that Hillary Clinton was slated to win, I don’t exactly trust the numbers. In regards to last night, Vice President Biden was still not as on top of his game as he could have been. He was evasive at some points and used his former boss, President Obama as a crutch one too many times for my liking.
  • And finally, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proved once again why he should not be President. Called out for the fallout from the Eric Garner trial and the lead paint poisoning in NYCHA buildings, he was evasive and put his two cents where they were not wanted.

Readers, those are my thoughts. What did you think of last night? Has your opinion changed about any specific candidate or have you already made up your mind as to whom you will be voting for?


What Would Martin Luther King Jr. Think Of America in 2018?

Every January 15th, America celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Decades after his death, he remains an icon for civil rights not just in the United States, but across the world.

Considering all that has happened in our country since his assassination nearly fifty years ago, I feel like I have ask what he would think of America in 2018?

I think he would be immensely proud that Barack Obama sat in the Oval Office for eight years. I also think he would be thrilled to see the leaps and bounds made by Americans of color since 1968.  I also think he would be angered and still marching when the murders of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner made headlines across the country.

While we still have a long way to go in terms of true equality, we would not be as far along as we are without Martin Luther King Jr.

Wherever you are, sir, RIP and thank you. Your courage helped to create the America we see today.

I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street: Book Review

From the eyes of an optimist living a post-Obama world in 2017, racism is a thing of the past. We view our fellow citizens, as fellow human beings and individuals, not by the color of their skin or where their families originated from. A realist will say otherwise, racism is still alive and well in America.

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was killed by several New York Police Detectives during an arrest.

Earlier this year, journalist Matt Taibbi published I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, a detailed expose of the circumstances that led to Garner’s death, the trial that resulted from the murder and the pervasive racism that is still part and parcel of American society.

While this book is difficult to read at points, it is I believe a necessary read. It is difficult because of the subject matter, the book forces the reader to examine and challenge their own prejudices while reading about a man who has unfortunately become another representative of the injustice that still exists in America.

I absolutely recommend it.

Dear Mayor De Blasio

Dear Mayor De Blasio

Two New York City cops were murdered in cold blood today.

According to the press that is being released, the police were killed in retaliation for the Eric Garner and Mike Brown cases.

I recognize that these cases are complicated and not as simple as the media claims.

I also recognize that being on the police force is not the easiest job in the world.

Mr. Mayor, we live in a large and busy city with a very diverse population.  I appreciate that you are trying to keep the peace, but the fact is that we need our police force. I also appreciate that you are one half of a bi-racial couple and because your wife is African-American, your son has challenges in life that his Caucasian peers might not have.

In short, sir, we need the police to do their jobs and you need to support them. While I am sure that there are a few bad apples in the police force (as there is in every industry), most police men and women are there because they want and need  to work.

When the mayor does not support the police department, this sends the wrong message. This message leads to the broad daylight murder of two policemen just doing their jobs.

This message might also add your name to the list of one term mayors.


A Concerned Citizen


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