Other than a few posts on Twitter and a couple of general references, I have tried to refrain from political commentary during the two and a half years that I’ve written here. That’s mostly because, while I am the managing editor of this site, I am not the owner.
While the owners of iPad Insight have not explicitly restricted me from commenting on my personal politics, it’s just not my place to do that. I appreciate how hands off they are and the latitude they give me to write about Apple products and beyond and don’t want to take advantage of that.
However, I’ve been thinking a lot about all that’s gone on over the last week and the thing is, this isn’t political. Human rights aren’t political. They are supposed to be a guaranteed part of the social contract here in the United States, but that contract isn’t being fulfilled for a large number of our fellow citizens. Justice, or the complete lack of it in the case of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a policeman isn’t political, either. He was killed by someone who is supposed to protect us over whether a $20 bill was a fake. That can’t be ignored, and again, it has nothing to do with politics.
This may be a tech site, not even my tech site, but I don’t see how I can say nothing. I can’t understand how any reasonable person who cares about others can be completely silent. I’ve made comments elsewhere on social media and talked about the events of the last week with others, but I felt like I had to put something here, too. I’m under no delusion that my individual voice matters much as someone who has never had to endure any real oppression before. However, just sticking to tech just doesn’t feel right.
On a practical note, for those looking for some information on ways to reform police departments, Samuel Sinyangwe had a great post on Twitter with lots of hard data on changes that both have and have not proven effective in reducing police violence and shootings. I found it to be really informative and thought this would be a good time and place to share it.
For those who are interested in research-based solutions to stop police violence, here’s what you need to know – based on the facts and data. A thread. (1/x)
— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) October 6, 2019
We need to reform police departments if we want to be able to trust this institution to protect and serve us and ALL of our neighbors. They have to be accountable and these are some ways to make that a reality. These reforms aren’t full solution, but they are necessary steps.
I also want to brag about my hometown, Memphis, TN. We obviously have a very checkered history with race relations, as do most cities in the southern US. And there is no getting around the fact that Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated here. That adds another level of complexity and just makes Memphis different.
Despite a chronically high crime rate and over a decade of difficult economic times, I have seen some positive changes in Memphis in recent years. People are coming together more in a real way, especially younger people. Right now, we are seeing this played out in several peaceful protest marches that have taken place over the last week. There’s a unity in this city that didn’t used to be here.
In comparison with many other cities, there has been very little violence, vandalism or looting. Other than a few minor incidents, the Memphis Police have also done a good job of keeping order and people safe without unnecessary violence. Neither side has been perfect, but I think both have set a good example for others on how to express outrage peacefully and keep the peace without force. I’m just really proud of my city. My sincere hope is that this can become something to build on going forward.