Pete's Prep: Monday, April 9, 2018

That red line got crossed again

Syria reportedly gassed more civilians near Damascus over the weekend.

Israel then bombed a Syrian airfield.

The Washington Post report:

Syria’s ally, Russia, on Monday called the Israeli raid a “dangerous development,” and said reports of a gas attack near Damascus were also a “provocation,” Reuters reported.

U.S. officials had said Sunday that they were weighing options to strike Syrian government targets after at least 40 people were killed in the opposition-held town of Douma, roughly 10 miles from the Syrian capital. President Trump had also said Sunday that there would be a “big price to pay” for the attack.

Many of the victims suffocated and the wounded showed signs of respiratory distress and foaming at the mouth, doctors and rescue workers in the area said.

But wait! Didn't Russia assure us that they oversaw Syria's destruction of all chemical weapons?

Didn't the previous administration get that deal after Syria crossed the "red line" Obama drew?

From The Atlantic:

Four years ago, it almost looked as if chemical attacks on Syrian civilians would stop. “We struck a deal where we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out,” declared then-Secretary of State John Kerry on Meet the Press in 2014. Kerry was referring to Bashar al-Assad’s declared stockpiles of chemical weapons which, under a 2013 deal struck by the Obama administration following a sarin nerve gas attack that brought the U.S. to the brink of striking Syrian government forces, were dismantled and shipped out of the country.

But there were two important and deadly loopholes. The first was that Assad did not declare everything—a reality that Kerry acknowledged publicly, including in a farewell memo to staff, in which he wrote that “unfortunately other undeclared chemical weapons continue to be used ruthlessly against the Syrian people.” The second was that chlorine gas, which has legitimate civilian uses, was not part of the deal. The Syrian American Medical Society and the White Helmets civil-defense group have documented 200 chemical attacks in Syria since 2012, many involving chlorine. On Saturday, the group alleged a particularly gruesome attack in the besieged city of Douma, which has reportedly killed dozens and injured hundreds. It remains unclear exactly what chemical weapon was involved in the alleged attack.

And the Trump administration is reportedly weighing military strikes of its own.

Asheville Council looks to relate to humans

OK, not really. But the Council members ARE going to vote on (and probably approve) the formation of a Human Relations Commission.

According to the Mountain Xpress, it would:

  • Make policy recommendations to Council on steps to advance equity.
  • Support the city Office of Equity and Inclusion.
  • Provide a forum for discussion of resident concerns and complaints regarding human relations.
  • Engage the community in city programs and policies regarding human relations.
  • Promote and improve human relations and advance equity in the areas of public safety; educational, art and cultural opportunities; economic development; health and human services; and housing.

If adopted, the commission will be made up of 15 members appointed by City Council.

Another agenda item related to city equity efforts is a presentation which will focus on “Prioritizing equity in planning and investing in recreational facilities and programs.”

I suspect this will get the City closer to a place where it can start taking complaints (and issuing fines) against businesses for not complying with future Decrees of Protected Status.

And maybe it's just me, but the name -- the Human Relations Commission -- sounds a bit forced. Like it's trying too hard to convince us that it's not some government-created bureaucratic endeavor to channel policy towards a predetermined direction.

I keep thinking of this...


Can we run out of cops?

Or maybe the question is more of a "when it happens" rather than an "if it happens."

From Law Enforcement Today:

Per Pew, 72% say officers in their department are now less willing to stop and question suspicious persons. Overall, more than eight-in-ten (86%) say police work is harder today as a result of high-profile, negative incidents.

About nine-in-ten officers (93%) say their colleagues worry more about their personal safety – a level of concern recorded even before a total of eight officers died in separate ambush-style attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Crime in America.

There are some in law enforcement who are convinced that there is a literal, “war on cops” based on the increasing number of officers murdered or assaulted, Cops Worry About Safety. Many believe that there’s a culture war.

I’m aware of family members telling their loved one’s to get out of policing and to get out now. They are also being told to stop being proactive as an act of self-preservation.

Many others are contemplating retirement, and jurisdictions are considering major pay subsidies to keep them on the job.

If local government cannot stem the declines in recruitment and the increases in retirements, how does this impact community safety? Will local governments begin lowering recruitment standards?

(h/t: Stonee)

Reynolds mourns local fire chief

The Reynolds Fire Chief, Richard Sales, died yesterday in a single car accident on his way to a conference - where he was accepting an award for the fire station.

From WLOS:

Sales was the Reynolds fire chief for 10 years, and worked at the station for about 30 years, taking over from his father, Bud, back in 2008.

Bud Sales was the first chief of the Reynolds Fire Department.

And that's a lot of why the members of this department are grieving, why the death has hit them so hard--because, they say, they're like family.

Chief Sales leaves behind a son and a daughter.

My sincerest condolences to his family, his colleagues, and his many friends who are hurting today. The depth of that grief is indicative of how much he was loved.

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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