July 8th, 2016

Whale fluke

Death in Dallas and opportunistic jackholes

The protests were peaceful.

In the midst of this tough week, where (among others) police shot and killed Alton Sterling in Louisiana and an officer shot and killed Philando Castile in Minnesota, people protested yesterday in many places. Then, fatally, opportunistic jerks in Dallas took advantage of that. Snipers, or a sniper and (possibly) accomplices, knew there'd be police at the protest; they appeared to want to kill cops, when so many of us want fewer killings to happen.

At least "opportunistic jerks took advantage" is how it looks at the moment; I know the attack in Dallas is still being investigated. Things could change, details could turn out to be wrong. (3 p.m. edit: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has just said that the shooter was the sole shooter, no accomplices.) Maybe it'll turn out there was just one opportunistic jerk in Dallas, the shooter who's now dead. I've already seen how a man named Mark Hughes was listed online by the Dallas PD's Twitter account as a "suspect" in the shootings, and how people on Twitter then posted piece of evidence after piece of evidence showing Hughes could not possibly have been a shooter. Hughes needs to be exonerated; he was not the opportunistic jerk.*

I keep harping on the term "opportunistic jerk" — I'd rather swear, but I'm trying not to — because I hate when that happens. And it's happened before. That's what I feel, to my core, happened with the 2001 anthrax attack; there is no evidence that the attack had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks, but the anthrax attack felt like someone seeing a fraught situation like the 9/11 aftermath and thinking Yes! I can make it worse!

I WANT PEOPLE TO MAKE IT BETTER. Just in general. And the people protesting want that, too. I am not, by temperament, a protester; some people are, some aren't. But I respect protest. And the people, the actual protesters, in Dallas last night were peaceful. Don't forget that.

Disabling comments on this; I don't want to get into back-and-forths about what happened.



* I personally do not agree with the "open carry" philosophy; I feel it's asking for trouble and is too often used to bully and scare people. I can disagree with Hughes about this and still note that he's been treated badly by authority since last night. I also appreciate that once he knew about the false "suspect" claim against him online, he quickly reached police officers and passed along his gun, showing good faith.
TNG Darmok

Another place to relax and reflect

Today I wanted to find another place to sit, think, and write — not at home, not at a library, not at a coffee shop. I rode buses and a MAX train until I reached the Collaborative Life Sciences building (you can see it in photos), the new research facility on South Waterfront co-operated by OHSU, Portland State University and Oregon State University. It has a large lobby, suspended ramps between some levels, and seats in unexpected places...and this afternoon, it was fairly quiet. I spent part of my afternoon there.

And the building's relative newness inspired this haiku:

A brand-new building
Encloses part of the sky
For changed use by us.