There’s been a lot going on in the US lately, and so I wanted to touch on a few things and update some others. The governor of Indiana (Mike Pence) has signed a revision of the “religious freedom law” I wrote about last week. According to CBS News…
…the law does not, “Authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.” (“Indiana Governor Signs Updated Religious Freedom Law”, Rebecca Kaplan, CBS News website, 4/2/2015).
But, while it states someone cannot refuse or provide services, it is still legal to fire someone in Indiana because of their sexual orientation if they work in, say, a Catholic school as a teacher. That’s wrong. Substitute the word for any protected class (women, Latinos, etc) and you can see how wrong it is.
The law needs to be repealed, in my opinion. And, really, the only reason the governor did this was because businesses were objecting – Apple, Angie’s List, and the NCAA, to name 3. As usual, money is the key (Ibid).
Regarding Ebola, the cases were diminishing, but have picked up again, unfortunately. It’s not in the news in the US much – if at all – because there are no more stories about people coming back from 3rd world countries infected. According to The Independent (UK newspaper)…
Dr David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy on Ebola, told The Independent the world should prepare for more major outbreaks of zoonotic diseases – those which can pass from animals to humans – which he said were a “local and global threat to humanity”.
“There will be more: one, because people are moving around more; two, because the contact between humans and the wild is on the increase; and maybe because of climate change. The worry we always have is that there will be a really infectious and beastly bug that comes along.” (“World Warned: Prepare for More Ebola Outbreaks”, Charlie Cooper, The Independent UK, 4/5/2015).
Deforestation is the reason there is more contact between humans and wild animals. The thing about climate change isn’t necessarily relevant to Ebola, but it is for mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Climate change has expanded the range of mosquitoes.
So, I am sorry to say, that’s the bad news.
The other bad news, this time closer to home, is the frighteningly increasing numbers of people being shot and killed by police – usually African-American males, and often in the back, and when they aren’t doing a thing to provoke it.
As if provocation is any excuse for a police officer shooting someone – it’s not. But so many times, the reason the police use for shooting is “wrestling over a gun”, or “going for a weapon”, and a lot of people used to believe that.
The last incident was not a shooting, but a death of someone who was in police custody at the time. No one is saying how this man got his injuries, and the police are denying they did anything to injure him (though they are supposedly investigating it).
The man, Freddie Gray, was walking down the street when the police made eye contact with him. He took off running.
Let me stop here. If the police were, for some extremely weird reason, killing older white women on a frequent basis, I reckon I would run from them, too. And mind you, this killing of AA males has been going on for a long time, it’s just with smartphones/cameras we are hearing about it more.
They arrested him, and it’s not clear why. Something about him having a switchblade, which by the way isn’t a crime. He didn’t resist arrest (by the police’s own admission), and he was limping. His leg was hurt, and he had just been recently released from the hospital after being treated for three fractured vertebrae and a crushed voicebox (from a car accident).
He was put in a transport van and not seat-belted, and by the time he arrived (half an hour later) at the police station, he wasn’t breathing. The police admit they did not get medical attention for him when he asked, nor did they call an ambulance. (“The Mysterious Death of Freddie Grey”, David A. Graham, The Atlantic website, 4/22/2015; “A Freddie Grey Primer: Who Was He, How Did He Die, Why is There So Much Anger?”, Peter Hermann and John Woodrow Cox, The Washington Post website, 4/28/2015)
Now he’s dead. He was 25.