Black Lives Matter. All lives matter is frequently clapped back. All lives most certainly do matter. Emphatically, unquestionably, indubitably. But right now, we are focused on the Black Lives lost and the injustice that has been visited upon the black community for 400 years. We are focused on the lives lost by George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arberry, and many more. There have been protests in the street for weeks across the nation against police brutality and the extrajudicious killings of black folk and white folk alike. Here, in a photo essay are some of the expressions of the protests and the outrage. All pictures were taken by me in Louisville, Kentucky where Breonna Taylor was gunned down in her own apartment by police who executed a “no knock warrant.” One of the officers who participated in the raid has been fired. No one has been charged. There still is no justice for Breonna.
Instruments of death that fit snugly into the palm of your hand were gleaming dully in their showcases lovingly caressed by blue velvet. Oiled wooden handles jutted from solid blue-black bodies. There was a faint odor of oil and metal lingering on the air-conditioned atmosphere of the room. The soft sound of creaking leather reverberated through the reverential quiet as the clerk tenderly, ever so gently, eased a delicately balanced, but heavily weighted .357 magnum pistol out of its holster. Firmly, but gently, he gripped the butt of the gun in his right hand. He placed the web of his thumb over the hammer of the awesome black revolver and slowly began to exert pressure on it. The man’s hands trembled slightly and he closed his eyes. Small beads of perspiration began popping over his upper lip. A little metal clicking noise emerged from the gun as the hammer went through it first cocking phase. A slight smile appeared on the lips of the clerk as he continued to pull back on the heavy hammer and another click emerged – the gun was half-cocked – the clerk began breathing heavily now and rapidly and his face grew flush. He slid his thumb to the edge of the hammer and applied the tip of it to the ridges cut deeply into the top edge. He pushed down hard and fully cocked the revolver. A tiny teardrop appeared in the corner of the clerk’s eye. The gap between the ridged head of the steel hammer and the body of the gun was a chasm. It looked like the jaws of a primordial reptile. It was powerful and it was frightening – the stored-up energy of the hammer begged to be released. He pulled the trigger. Snap! I jumped. The hair on the back of my neck prickled and a shiver ran down my left arm. The clerk placed the gun back into its holster. He lit a cigarette, inhaled deeply and blew clouds of tobacco smoke across the room. He had a distant look in his eyes. I turned on my boot heels and walked out of the store into the bright afternoon sunlight.
On the last day of my hiking trip, I tripped over some vines and fell to the ground. I had been hiking in the Cumberland Falls area for a few days taking pictures. When I fell, I had a tripod in one hand and a camera in the other. Trying to protect the camera I fell hard on my left side jamming my left hand into the dirt as I let the tripod go flying. On my drive home my hand and wrist grew more painful and swelled. I thought I’d better see a doctor. I called my private doctor on my cell phone and made an emergency appointment.
I arrived at his office about an hour later. After a thorough examination he said he didn’t think it was broken, but badly sprained and that it would heal up on its own. Not so lucky with the camera. I had to take it to the shop to be repaired, set me back $200.
This is where I tripped
Wild River (Cumberland River)
Cumberland Falls is located on the Cumberland River in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Southeastern Kentucky.
Vice President Mike Pence and Donald Trump’s recent refusal to wear masks (PPE) in violation of their own public health guidelines is a dangerous failure of leadership and a dereliction of duty. The first principle of leadership is to lead by example. When I worked in manufacturing this is a lesson, I repeatedly pounded home during out daily staff meetings and production meetings. Our employees were required to wear PPE on the factory floor to ensure their safety. If our supervisors and mangers wouldn’t wear the PPE, then neither would the rank and file employees. Lead by example! And if you can’t do that, then get out of the way. You have no business being in a position of leadership.
When I was a human resources manager working in a factory in New Jersey we would always have an annual service award banquet for the employees. We were a union shop with four locals and four union presidents. These affairs, as I ran them, were kind of a big deal and the employees looked forward to them every year. We always had a live band and invited lots of guests. One year I thought I would invite the regional union rep for the International Union. His name was Frank, he was Italian, and he looked liked he walked right off the set of the Godfather. When I introduced Frank to speak, as he strode across the floor to take the podium, I glanced at the band leader and nodded my head. The strains from the Theme to the Godfather began to emanate from the bandstand, to uproarious laughter, and no one was laughing more that Frank. The employees loved it! It was a night to remember.