Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bombs & Bullets By The Light Of The Full Moon

Gov. Cuomo & Mayor de Blasio inspect the explosion site
Back when I used to work as a bartender in an Irish Pub on West 81st street in New York, there were a few regulars who worked as cops and firefighters.

One of my favorite regulars was a guy named George who worked as the on-call social worker at the emergency room of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

Based on the kinds of people we dealt with at our respective jobs we all knew that the arrival of the full moon each month always coincided with an uptick in unusual behavior.

Violence, people having meltdowns, random encounters with really weird people; that kind of thing.

It was to the point that one of them could walk into the bar with a haggard or exhausted look on their face and I could look at them and say, "Full moon?" and they'd just nod and sit down for a drink and explain some kind of incident they'd experienced on the job.

The full moon for September that took place on Friday was a Harvest Moon, meaning it's the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox, but as astrologers note, the effects of a full moon can be felt anywhere between one to four days before or after the actual full moon.

Donald Trump's decision to publicly announce on Friday that he was officially accepting the long-established fact that the President of the United States was born in Hawaii after spending five years fanning the flames of discredited Birther theories was about as bizarre as him having the gall to lie and and say Hillary Clinton started the Birther-thing.

I know I'm not the only person still shaking their head over some of the senseless violence and unusual events that have taken place over the past three days.

Particularly the explosive device that was detonated on Saturday night in the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan and a smaller device that exploded Saturday morning near the location of the scheduled Seaside Semper Five 5K charity run benefitting U.S. Marines that was scheduled to take place in Seaside Park, New Jersey.

While it's way still too early to be able to definitively tell who was responsible for the two explosions, CNN is reporting that the man dressed in a security guard uniform who said something about Allah and asked at least one person if they were a Muslim before going on stabbing rampage in a Minnesota mall on Saturday before being shot and killed by an off-duty police officer was acting on behalf of some kind of ISIS splinter group.

Tulsa cop shot unarmed Terrence Crutcher on Friday
Things turned deadly in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Friday for reasons that had to do with a very different kind of terror.

According to a statement from his family, 40-year-old Terrence Crutcher (pictured left, center) was driving home from a class at Tulsa Community College when the SUV he was driving stalled in the middle of a two lane road.

Tulsa police responding to a different emergency saw the SUV and stopped.

According to a rather confusing statement from the Tulsa Police Department, officers saw Crutcher approaching their police vehicle and they asked him to put his hands up (whatever happened to "Good evening sir, is everything okay here?").

Now what happened next isn't really clear, but police claim that Crutcher "refused to comply with police commands", allegedly reached into his vehicle and one officer shot him with a taser before another officer fired a single shot that killed him.

Crutcher's family insist he was unarmed and that he was driving home from class; if the police pulled up and asked him to put his hands up, maybe he got mad and was reaching in his car to get his ID to show to the police.

(Remember Levar Jones? He was the African-American pulled over at a gas station by former South Carolina State Trooper Sean Groubert back in 2012, Groubert was caught on video ordering Jones to show his ID, when Jones reaches into his car to get his wallet Groubert shot him.)

Now I think if most people found themselves on a road with a stalled vehicle, your natural inclination would be to approach a police car for help right?

If you've ever blown a tire or been stuck on the side of the road at night, it's a little scary and when a tow truck or a cop shows up you're relieved to see them, and the natural inclination is to go towards them assuming they're there to help you, not kill you.

Jonathan Ferrell killed by police in 2013
In fact you may recall that three years ago almost to the day that's exactly what happened back in September of 2013 when 24-year-old African-American Jonathan Ferrell, a former Florida A&M football player who got into a bad accident near Charlotte, NC, crawled out of the back window of his vehicle and knocked on the nearby home of a woman to seek help.

She called the cops and told them someone was trying to break in, officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department showed up, saw the injured Ferrell running toward them for help and promptly shot him with a taser before shooting him multiple times and killing him.

By the way that incident took place on September 16, 2013 three days before the full moon.

Now I'm not ascribing all these events to the full moon, plenty of bad stuff happens when the moon isn't full, but I wanted to share the strange frequency with which unusual events tend to happen around the full moon - ask a cop or an EMT about it.

Like the bizarre shooting rampage that took place Friday night in Philadelphia that left an innocent woman dead and two police officers and three civilians injured.

Just this afternoon a man was shot and killed at the intersection of Stuyvesant Avenue and Marion Street the West Ward of Trenton, NJ; less than a mile from the spot where city Councilman Duncan Harrison called for action against gun violence last week.

And so 40-year-old Terrence Crutcher of Tulsa, Oklahoma joins the list of The Counted, one of 41 people killed by police in the United States this month - one of 772 to be killed by law enforcement this year.

Anyway, let's all hope that the two explosions that took place in New Jersey and New York on Saturday don't have anything to do with random acts of terror connected with ISIS; the full moon is nice to look at, but some of the things that happen under the light of that full moon aren't always so pretty.

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