Fight This Hate: A Weekly Roundup

California Fire Season extended…

Climate change means fire season no longer ends in October. In fact, it appears the firefighters will be battling blazes throughout the holidays this year. The Thomas Fire has now burned more than 230,000 acres and is creeping toward Santa Barbara north along the Pacific Coast as of December 11th. California Governor Jerry Brown declared this the new normal.

Tens of thousands of firefighters are working to contain the inferno. California has called upon neighboring states to send workers, including Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona. In addition, nearly one quarter of all firefighters are inmates, who are paid $1-2 an hour, which is the most money inmates make at any of their allowed jobs. In fact, so many inmates help fight fires that California is running out of them. The good news is California has been releasing more inmates in order to reduce overcrowding. The bad news is a reduction in force of potential firefighters.

Firefighting will have to become smarter. San Diego thinks it has learned from the wildfires of 2003 and 2007, which helped battle the Santa Ana wind-driven Lilac fire recently. At least forty-six horses died in that fire, and eighty-five buildings were razed as 4100 acres burned in the first twenty-four hours. But there was better communication between fire agencies; more fire engines and air tankers on the front lines, day and night; and better tracking of the flames.

As climate change continues to create more wildfires, more flooding, more hurricanes, people may have to migrate to safer ground. Middle America may become more populated as people try to escape the hazards of living along the coastal areas. Being snowed in, facing tornados, and the other hardships of living inland may become preferable.

As for the sexual harassers, a day of reckoning is coming…

According to Jan Adams, political analyst and blogger of San Francisco: “And that reckoning has become partisan. That’s a good thing. In order for a social change to take root, at least one of our major political parties has to adopt it. Change doesn’t emerge from political position papers; it bubbles up among constituencies. Parties take up formerly unthinkable causes — think racial integration, or transgender rights, or sensible gun control, or even what I think are crackpot nods to ‘religious liberty’ — when the change has already percolated through parts of their base. Leaders find they have no choice and ‘evolve.’ After awhile, the novelty becomes just part of what we expect from Democrats (somewhat frequently) or Republicans (less frequently — who needs novelty when you have plutocrats?).”

While many liberals (Democrats or otherwise) complain that Al Franken did not get due process, some going so far as to claim his accusations were a Republican trap we fell into, complaining Franken didn’t get due process and that we believed “one woman” [there have been eight accusations so far] “just because she was a woman.”

On the other hand, there are those who are ashamed of liberals who decry holding harassers like Franken accountable.

We all know there is a spectrum of sexual assault ranging from verbal (catcalls, innuendos, jokes) to all shades of physical (groping, molesting, rape). Some we can sue against, some we can prosecute, and all of it we have endured since time began. Is it a surprise that we don’t have systems in place for how to deal with each type of assault or harassment? Until we do, I am fine with men resigning their positions of power or being fired from those positions when they are accused of sexual assault. Particularly when there are multiple accusations and/or the accused apologizes and resigns. It’s the right thing to do.

As for Democrats taking the high road, that is also the right thing to do. Have we forgotten that Michele Obama said, “When they go low, we go high?”

Fight Back

Stay strong. Remember that more women of color are assaulted than white women are. Women of color are less likely to be believed. Support all women in coming forward to accuse their abusers. Believe the women. Support women and non-binary candidates for political office.

Good News. Finally.

Ex-cop Michael Slager has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing unarmed Walter Scott. Getting a conviction against a police officer who killed a black man is difficult. The quote below is from an article in Vox Sentences.

“The case was the first time murder charges were brought against a police officer in a high-profile case after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, led to nationwide protests over racial disparities in police use of force in 2014. But the fact that it took nearly a year for a high-profile police killing to result in murder charges — and even longer for an actual conviction — shows just how rare prosecutions are against police officers involved in shootings.”

 


Sandra de Helen, author of the lesbian thriller Till Darkness Comes also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. She is a poet, journalist, and a playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland and Canada, Chicago, New York City, and in thirteen states. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her books are available online, at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Samples of her work are available on her website.

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