Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 24, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 12

12 Mountain View News Saturday, April 24, 2021 OPINION 12 Mountain View News Saturday, April 24, 2021 OPINION 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterKim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Rich Johnson 
Lori Ann Harris 
Rev. James SnyderKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanJeff Brown 
Marc Garlett 
Keely TotenDan Golden 
Rebecca WrightHail Hamilton 
Joan Schmidt 
LaQuetta Shamblee 

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April 20th, 

was a very 

significant day. 

First off, it was 

the birthdate of 

former German 

Cha ncell or 

Adolph Hitler 

(remember him).

Perhaps not; 

maybe it’s all part 

of cancel culture 

assuming-we can 

change history 
by simply ignoring it. It was also National 
Marijuana Day noted in the news along with 
witty asides connected to the recent State 
legalizations of cannabis expressing that 
every day is now marijuana day. The random 
confluence of these two occurrences for me 
emphasize that there is national progress, or at 
least change, but is it in the right direction?

I am now going to move to a discussion 
of this week's most publicized event, the 
conviction of former Police Officer Derek 
Chauvin, a Caucasian, of three counts related 
to his killing of George Floyd, an unarmed 
African- American male. The criminal trial 
of this White Police officer has already been 
described as the most significant trial of this 
new century. It has been postulated, and I am 
sure correctly, that the resulting conviction of 
the officer was highly influenced by national 
public demonstrations and protestations 
decrying the officer’s actions. Of course 
empaneled jurors have to pledge not to be 
influenced by anything other than the evidence 
presented during the trial, an almost human 
impossibility. The existence of the video 
shown nationally and worldwide presenting 
the officer placing his full body weight upon 
the neck of a man who has been forced to lie 
face down on the concrete seemed to absolutely 
compel a conviction. The point is made that 
without the public awareness and pressure this 
criminal trial would have never taken place. 
The conviction has resulted in celebrations 
throughout the United States and many have 
been brought to tears by the results.

Alas, my reaction has been very 
different. Of course I am pleased by the 
conviction but from the very beginning 
of the pending trial’s coverage I have been 
extremely displeased that no first degree 
murder count was even alleged. It is true that 
first degree murder requires what is called premeditation, 
the jury finding that the killing 
of the individual was intentional. The video 
tape of the event shows the officer contentedly 
applying all of his weight upon Mr. Floyd’s neck 
while Mr. Floyd offered no resistance and pled 
for his life. To me there can be no doubt that 
this officer, with his sunglasses on his head, 
was relaxed enough to know exactly what he 
was doing. He was murdering a defenseless 

man who offered no resistance. The fact that 
the prosecution believed it too risky to put 
before the jury a count of first degree murder 
is a terrible exposition of the present state of 
expectations regarding actual public opinion. 
The prosecutors believed it too risky to ask 
for the maximum penalty for the act which 
was presented by the video tape in front of the 
world. What would happen if there was no 
conviction on this first count? Would there be 
demonstrations in the street. Yes, there would 
have been and there should have been. 

Yes a precedent has been set. A coldblooded 
vicious killing of a man witnessed by 
many and presented clearly on a video tape is 
not even enough to allow the prosecution to 
ask for a first degree murder conviction. I find 
this appalling and what I also find appalling 
is that so little attention has been given to the 
other officers who were present during the 
entire time the life was being squeezed out of 
Mr. Floyd. After all Derek Chauvin was their 
lead officer, and it was their job to support 
him in whatever he was doing. No wrong, 
absolutely wrong. Their job was at all times 
to act in accord with their duty to protect and 
serve; no, not just to protect and serve but to 
act responsively to their own sense of humanity 
and take what must have been understood to 
be the correct action and stop the killing.

Of course their defense would be that 
they were just following orders and doing what 
the man in authority wanted them to do. This 
brings us back to our old friend Adolph Hitler. 
Those acting under the authority of Hitler 
and responsible for the death of millions and 
millions of defenseless people also asserted 
at the Nuremberg trials that they could not 
be held responsible in that they were just 
following orders. As those of you familiar with 
the trials already know this defense was found 
inadequate and the defendant German officers 
were executed. I am afraid that many of you 
are simply not familiar and are unconcerned 
even about recent history. Much of this 
technologically adept present generation seems 
completely ahistorical and willfully ignorant 
and proud of it. I attribute this to the all-
encompassing presence of drug abuse and 
alcohol abuse within this society and statistics 
show that the problems nationwide are 
increasing. Meanwhile the nation’s attention 
is diverted from the fact that the habitability 
of the entire planet is being threatened. Public 
opinion and public demonstrations are a 
potential source of great power. Unfortunately 
this power and energy can easily be diverted 
to attend only to spectacle such as the O.J. 
trial which in the end means nothing. Even 
the daily political posturing which saturate 
the media are just a diversion of the attention 
which should be directed elsewhere. Yes, 
humans are racing but to what end and for how 
long is in question. 




Republican pollster Frank Luntz met last weekend with 17 vac-
cine-resisting Trump voters to better understand why they won’t 
take the sim-ple step of protecting themselves and their fellow 

Their answers were predictably ignorant. One guy said, “I mean, 

we’re just going to be shot up and shot up and shot up. We can’t 
live like this. This is not sustainable.” One woman complained about “being bullied, 
being humiliated, basically, by the media. I don’t really see the point in getting 
it if nothing is going to change, and I haven’t gotten sick.” 

But the piece de resistance was their enthused opinion about fake vac-cination 
cards. They want one. If they were to get one, think of all the freedom they would 

The cult of American selfishness is truly a phenomenon to behold. One woman in 
the Luntz focus group said she’s “1,000 percent” in favor of ob-taining a fake card 
with the CDC logo (widely available these days on eBay and elsewhere) so that 
she could do anything she wants. And one guy said, “If I have a fake vaccine card, 
yeah, I can go anywhere,” especially to ballgames in parks – like Yankee Stadium – 
that currently require proof of vaccination. Others at the focus group table shared 
their desire to go to concerts or go on trips where proof of shots is mandatory. 

These people are contemptible. 

Their concern for the community is zero. Their self-absorption is total. Their determination 
to commit fraud and walk among us – to breathe among us – will 
spread COVID-19 (especially the variants), extend the pandemic, sicken more 
people and kill more people. Every health expert says this, but alas, as we well 
know, Freedom-lovers don’t like it when the “elites” try to “bully” them. 

Ask yourself this question: As life incrementally returns to something re-sembling 
normal, would you want to eat inside a restaurant next to an un-vaccinated idiot 
with a fake CDC card? Or stand shoulder to shoulder at a concert? As Nenette 
Day, an assistant special agent in the federal Depart-ment of Health and Human 
Services inspector general’s office, reportedly says, “It disturbs me, having been in 
law enforcement this long, this flip-pant attitude that people have.” 

What explains this flippancy? It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots. 

There is much to admire in the American creed, as we who love this coun-try can 
attest. But the pandemic continues to expose the worst of us – most notably our 
selfish individualism. There’s a crackpot belief, shared by millions, that “freedom” 
is a license to be irresponsible toward others, and that any requirement to care for 
the welfare of others is some kind of commie nanny-state diktat. 

After all, one of the bibles on the American right is Ayn Rand’s The Virtues of 
Selfishness (“To hold one’s own life as one’s ultimate value, and one’s own happiness 
as one’s highest purpose, are two aspects of the same achievement”). And the 
current icon is Donald Trump, who codified self-ishness last year when he said, “I 
don’t take responsibility at all.” In normal times, these strains of individualism are 
merely obnoxious. Today, they’re downright dangerous. 

President Biden is demonstrating that government can actually work – more than 
200 million vaccination shots in less than 100 days – but his administration can’t 
bring America back on a decent timetable if so many people plan to “own the 
libs” by obtaining fake vaxx cards and spreading more disease. Haven’t we suffered 
enough already? 

Tammy from Virginia said in the Luntz focus group, “I was zero (on) the vaccine. 
I’m still a zero.” Yes, she certainly is. 

Excuse me if that sounds like “bullying.” I’m just thinking of the welfare of others, 
even if Tammy is not. 

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a 
Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at 
Email him at 




At a time when police are being attacked 
on all sides for brutality, racism, 
recklessness and all sorts of social 
sins and criminal acts, I hesitate 
to write this column. 
I hesitate, not because I think that 
what I am about to say is wrong, 
but because words have been used 
as weapons and in the wrong hands, 
they misfire and they wound. I hesitate, 
because the very last thing I 
want to do is wound the good men 
and women of the fragile blue line.
On December 5, 2020, Caron Nazario, 
a second lieutenant in the U.S. 
Army Medical Corps, was kicked and 
pepper sprayed when he refused to 
get out of his car during what turns 
out to be an illegal traffic stop.
The reason we are only hearing about 
this now after four months is that 
Nazario has filed a lawsuit against 
the small Virginia town where the assault 
took place. He’s seeking damages 
in excess of $1 million.
The video of the incident is unassailable 
proof that the two police officers 
involved in the traffic stop, allegedly 
due to Nazario driving his SUV with 
a missing license plate, don’t deserve 
my support. If I were to extend the 
benefit of the doubt to them, I’d never 
again have the right to stand up for 
an officer who, in the course of putting 
his life on the line, is attacked by 
a raging mob.
One of the officers involved, Joe 
Gutierrez, has been fired. There’s still 
no information on what’s happening 
with his partner, Daniel Crocker.
Race should not be an issue, because 
Nazario is Afro Latino, and Gutierrez 
is also Latino. Race is going to be 
an issue, because in this climate, it’s 
But I am a white woman who knows 
of white men and women who have 
also had problems when the police 
have stopped them, people who cannot 
be characterized by their epidermal 
attributes. I have witnessed some 
extremely unreasonable acts by those 
who wear the uniform, abuses in attitude 
and authority. None of them 
were justified, but none of them rose 
to the level of actual abuse. 
Making this about race obscures 
a greater problem if we excuse the 
ac-tions of Joe Gutierrez. And those 
of us who don’t believe the police 
should be defunded and who honor 
their presence in our lives and communities 
need to speak out.
There are people who should not be 
in positions of authority over the rest 
of us. Either because of their temperaments, 
their lack of self-control 
or empathy, their inability to calmly 
assess a situation or their sense of 

they are 
unfit to hold 
the societal 
imprimaturthat commands “obey me.” 
And that’s why the people who have 
said to me something along the lines 
of “Well, if you do what the police say 
you won’t have a problem” just don’t 
get it.
That is not supporting the police. 
That is enabling the bad ones to do 
the things that the good ones find 
That must be what it’s like to live in, 
say, Myanmar.
Some have said that the officers were 
justified in their actions because 
when they put their sirens on, Nazario 
didn’t initially stop. And I understand 
that argument.
But the circumstances of that “stop” 
turned out to be illegal, since the officers 
were aware that Nazario had 
temporary plates and still pursued 
him. The circumstances of that “stop” 
were also charged because there was 
no reasonable suspicion that the driver 
had done anything wrong, that he 
was weaving, that he was speeding, 
that he was causing a threat to other 
drivers. They apparently had nothing 
other than their subjective sense that 
this car was not his car. 
And the worst thing about it is that 
the driver of that car was in the military. 
Here you have a man wearing the 
uniform of his country being treat-ed 
as if he was a second-class citizen, by 
a brutish officer who – when told by 
Nazario that he was afraid of getting 
out of the car – was told “you should 
be afraid.” 
“You should be afraid.” No American 
should ever say that to an American 
soldier, an Army medic. The fact that 
another man in uniform said it is 
I hate that I have to write this column, 
at this time. But if I remain silent 
when this sort of thing happens, 
I have no right to shout out my support 
for the honorable warriors who 
police our streets competently, coura-
geously and with humility every 
day, every hour, every minute. And 
I have no intention of ever giving up 
that right.
In my daily walks, I pass by the memorial 
plaque that commemorates 
the place where Daniel Faulkner was 
murdered by Mumia abu Jamal. I also 
walk by the memorials to Charles 
Knox, and the mural to Sgt. Robert 
I hope they’d understand why I wrote 
this column. 

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