No Justice No Peace

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.

Gun Violence in America


A protester displays a placard at the Union Square in New York on April 14, 2015 during a demonstration against the recent shooting death of Walter Scott by a South Carolina police officer. Walter Scott, a 50-year-old father of four, was shot in North Charleston, South Carolina after fleeing from a routine traffic stop while a bystander caught the event on video. The shooting follows a series of similar incidents that have provoked outrage and protests across the United States, most notoriously the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last August. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

The killings of the five police officers in Dallas recently by lone sniper Micah Xavier Johnson was a vicious, calculated and despicable act. I condemn these killings in no uncertain terms. I also condemn the killings of black citizens Alton Sterling, age 37 of Baton Rouge and Philandro Castile, age 32 of St. Paul, Minnesota at the hands of police. Nothing justifies these killings but one cannot escape the nexus between these three events. There is no question that police overstep their bounds and brutalize and murder the citizens they are sworn to protect. With the killings in Dallas the situation is only going to get worse. I stand in solidarity with the Black Lives matter movement but I believe we are all at risk, white, black, brown, or whatever. We should not have to live in fear of those who are supposed to serve and protect. I am very concerned about the militarizing of police across this country. They have been given and allowed to purchase weapons and tools of war. Who are they going to use these weapons against? I am very concerned that the Dallas police department used a bomb carrying robot to neutralize Johnson.  This sets a very dangerous precedent.  I believe we are moving in the direction of a police state and a fascist nation. George Orwell said, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

I think that an armed citizenry is not necessarily the answer. The police are scared shitless out there on the streets because there are so many guns. Sterling and Castile both had guns but they were legal. What do you think is going to happen if you get stopped by a cop and you have a legal gun in your possession? This is dangerous set of circumstances to say the least. If you are driving while black and you have a taillight out it could be disastrous.

I am a gun owner and believe in the second amendment. But I believe common sense gun regulation should be in order. Backgrounds checks are necessary and should be beefed up to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. Loop holes should be closed. Also, no citizen needs a military type assault weapon of the kind that killed the five officers in Dallas or the 49 patrons at the Pulse Nightclub in Dallas. This is pure insanity.

We need to change policing modelling in the country to a more community based model. Hiring practices must change. Police departments must stop hiring homicidal maniacs. If you are a policeman and you are so scared that you shoot first and ask questions later then maybe you should consider a different line of work.

I have had my share of run ins with the police. I was very nearly arrested at the Dali Lama visit here in Louisville when I was harassed by a Louisville police officer for trying to bring in a bottle of water that was sold to me but the YUM center. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor so I let it go, but I felt threatened and intimidated. Also, the irony was not lost on me the type of event I was attending. This was not the first time I have been harassed by police. The first time being when I was eight years old walking alone along a street in Ridgecrest, California when a police car pulled up beside me and asked what I was doing there. I of course was immediately put on the defensive and felt threatened and intimidated. There have been many instances since then. And, I hasten to add, I am a law abiding citizen that has raised a family and has worked my entire life.

I will continue to speak out against police brutality and stand up for civil rights. There is no more pressing issue facing our country.






I Can’t Breathe

According to no less a legal authority than Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the function of the grand jury is not to inquire upon what foundation the charge may be denied or to otherwise try the suspect’s defenses, but only to examine upon what foundation the charge is being made by the prosecutor. As a consequence, neither in this country or in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.


Furthermore, prosecutors work hand in glove with police in prosecuting their cases. They depend on their testimony, their evidence and their cooperation. There is an inherent bias favoring law enforcement by prosecutors. Prosecutors can manipulate the grand jury in any decision they want. Having prosecutors investigate the police is like having the fox guard the hen house.

I would suggest there has been a misuse, indeed an outright abuse of the grand jury system by prosecutors in the Michael Brown and the Eric Garner cases rising to the level of prosecutorial malfeasance. The only reasonable solution to this problem of the investigation police officers who kill unarmed citizens is to appoint a special prosecutor unencumbered by by bias, mutual obligation, and racial animus.