Thursday, July 22, 2021

DeSantis: Disrespected Police Officers Can Relocate to Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on July 12 that police officers from around the United States are welcome to relocate to Florida for a better workplace “culture” if they feel disenchanted.

“I do think you will see; I think you’ve already seen. But there are people in these police departments in various other parts of the country who, if they can get a job in Florida, they want to come to Florida to be able to do it,” he said, according to local media. “Because the culture is better, and they understand they’re going to be supported much more resolutely [in] what they do.”

DeSantis referenced rampant anti-police protests last year following the death of George Floyd, arguing that the lack of support for law enforcement has caused crime rates to spike. Some city governments moved to cut funding to their police departments in the face of left-wing calls to “defund the police.”

Some cities such as Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Portland, Oregon, cut police funding in the wake of the demonstrations and riots—although some municipalities recently have begun to pledge additional funding to departments.

“Make no mistake: the reason that you have such huge spikes in crime in many parts of the country is because of not standing up for law enforcement, having weak policies where you’re letting people out, and you’re not prosecuting people who are committing habitual offenses,” the Republican governor said. “That is clearly causing disastrous consequences.”

Epoch Times Photo
Thousands of people take part in a demonstration to defund the police in support of Black Lives Matter in Toronto, on June 19, 2020. (The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette)
The governor’s comments come amid a wave of retirements and resignations in police and sheriff’s departments across the United States. Recruitment is also down across departments.

An analysis by The Epoch Times last month revealed that the top three police departments in the country—New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago—have lost thousands of officers since 2019. Other cities have seen significant declines in their law enforcement ranks.

Over the past two years, the LAPD has lost about 600 officers, which reportedly has been blamed on a government hiring freeze implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the City Council’s move to cut the department’s budget by about $150 million amid “defund the police” calls.

In Chicago, 646 officers resigned or retired in 2020, while as of April 30, 330 have left the department, the analysis shows.

New York hasn’t fared much better, either, with retirements spiking to 2,600 last year from 1,509 in 2019, an NYPD spokesperson said. An additional 350 NYPD officers have exited this year, as of May 15.


California Appeals Court Overturns Anti-Misgendering Law on First Amendment Grounds

A California appeals court struck down as unconstitutional a state law that penalized elder-care workers for using pronouns inconsistent with elderly long-term care patients’ claimed gender identity.

Gender identity is a disputed concept. A lack of linguistic clarity has clouded the issue in recent years as the concepts of sex and sexual identity, or gender, a politically and scientifically contentious concept whose definition isn’t universally agreed upon, have become difficult to separate. Despite the distinct meanings of the two words, many institutions and individuals use “gender” to mean biological sex, especially on fillable forms and documents.

Failing to use gender in its new meaning can be costly nowadays.

A New York human rights law banning gender identity discrimination imposes fines of up to $250,000 for failing to use a person’s preferred personal pronouns.

Social media giant Twitter bans users for “misgendering” or “deadnaming” transgender people, categorizing it as harassment and abuse. Deadnaming is referring to people by names they used before they changed their gender identity—for example, calling Caitlyn Jenner by that person’s birth name, Bruce Jenner.

Facebook reportedly recognizes at least 58 genders, allowing users to select which gender to use in their profile self-descriptions. Among them are Androgynous, Bigender, Cisgender, Gender Fluid, Genderqueer, Non-binary, Pangender, Trans, and Two-Spirit.

But in a rare legal defeat for the transgenderism movement, a ruling by the Court of Appeal of the State of California, 3rd Appellate District, sided with First Amendment speech protections over activists. The ruling by the three-judge panel was unanimous.

The court decision in Taking Offense v. State of California, came on July 16. Taking Offense is an informal group of state taxpayers.

The court decision affects the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights, which the California Legislature added to the state’s Health and Safety Code in 2017.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat, said in 2017 that he wrote the bill because LGBT seniors face special challenges that weren’t covered by existing nursing home laws, local media reported.

Wiener said he had received reports of LGBT seniors being mistreated.

“We have a number of advocacy organizations that are very excited about the bill, that helped us get it passed, and they are definitely putting the word out that people living in long-term care facilities have these protections and should be aware of them,” he said.

Health and Safety Code section 1439.51, subdivision (a)(5), “prohibits staff members of long-term care facilities from willfully and repeatedly referring to a facility resident by other than the resident’s preferred name or pronoun when clearly informed of the name and pronoun,” according to court documents.

Taking Offense challenged that provision, arguing that it violates care facility staff members’ rights to free speech, free exercise of religion, and freedoms of thought and belief, and is vague and overbroad.

The court said it “recognized the Legislature’s legitimate and laudable goal of rooting out discrimination against LGBT residents of long-term care facilities,” but stated that “we agree with Taking Offense that … the pronoun provision, is a content-based restriction of speech that does not survive strict scrutiny.”

“The pronoun provision—whether enforced through criminal or civil penalties—is overinclusive in that it restricts more speech than is necessary to achieve the government’s compelling interest in eliminating discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of sex. Rather than prohibiting conduct and speech amounting to actionable harassment or discrimination as those terms are legally defined, the law criminalizes even occasional, isolated, off-hand instances of willful misgendering—provided there has been at least one prior instance—without requiring that such occasional instances of misgendering amount to harassing or discriminatory conduct.

“Using the workplace context as an analogy, the statute prohibits the kind of isolated remarks not sufficiently severe or pervasive to create an objectively hostile work environment.

“There is no requirement in the statute that the misgendering at issue here negatively affect any resident’s access to care or course of treatment. Indeed, there is no requirement that the resident even be aware of the misgendering.”

In this case, the attorney general “has not shown that criminalizing occasional, off-hand, or isolated instances of misgendering, that need not occur in the resident’s presence and need not have a harassing or discriminatory effect on the resident’s treatment or access to care, is necessary to advance that goal.”


Be careful whom you celebrate

Many Americans have a "thing" for bad boys and make heroes of them. Along with Jesse James, they celebrate bloodthirsty revolutionaries like Che Guevara, cop-killers like Mumia Abu-Jamal, drug lords like Joaquín Guzmán (El Chapo) whom they lionize in songs (narcocorridos), robbers like Bonnie and Clyde, and all manner of scum and villainy not fit for society. Maybe they'd have a different bunch of heroes had they been victims of their intemperate heroes.

This celebration of criminals goes back decades. But nowadays, if one isn't a big-time evildoer, one can still ascend into the pantheon if one is a victim like, say, George Floyd. Mr. Floyd certainly didn't deserve the treatment he got from the Minneapolis police, but neither does he deserve the shrines. He resisted arrest and had used fentanyl, microscopic amounts of which are fatal. Floyd also had quite a rap sheet, with stints in prison. Should he really be beatified?

Consider another type of hero:

The University of Missouri in Columbia was the first university established in the territory of the Louisiana Purchase, a rather smart investment made by one Thomas Jefferson. In 1883, descendants of Jefferson donated his original tombstone to UMC, which "was unveiled at the university on July 4, 1885."

On July 6, I visited the campus of UMC, and, strolling on the quadrangle, I learned that Jefferson's tombstone had been encased in acrylic to protect it from student vandals. In September of 2020, the Columbia Missourian reported:

The acrylic case was put in place by MU to ramp up security around the obelisk after incidents of vandalism occurred near it and the bronze statue of Jefferson sitting nearby.

"We took this action to protect it from vandalism," MU spokesperson Christian Basi said in an email. "This is Jefferson's original tombstone, and it was entrusted to the university. We have a responsibility to ensure that it is preserved appropriately."

Many took to Twitter after the case was built to criticize the decision.

The university might do a little introspection to see if it could be responsible for engendering its students' self-righteous indignation at Jefferson's obelisk. How do dumb kids get the idea that they are moral arbiters of anything if not by their professors? Students are being told that they're morally superior. They have no doubts and make heroes and martyrs out of ne'er-do-wells like George Floyd while destroying the shrines to those whose greatness they have neither the maturity nor sophistication to understand.

Students who harm our heritage, like Jefferson's tombstone, should be expelled and indicted. Teachers who fill students' minds with garbage should be summarily fired. On July 18, Mark Levin provided a roadmap on how you can "push back" against the idiocy in education; watch this four-minute video of it.

America needs a better bunch of heroes. I suggest the old ones, like Jefferson.


Pastor Who Resisted Church Lockdowns Threatened With Death, His Family Intimidated

Pastor Brian Gibson, who has been a target of cancel culture for resisting draconian lockdown measures as well as for exercising his First Amendment rights, has received hundreds of death threats. He and his family have experienced various forms of harassment.

“Just for being a vocal proponent of the First Amendment, just for being someone that supported President Trump, and someone that spoke out actively, I received close to 1,500 death threats. People broke into my house, kicked my gate down, hacked all of our accounts,” Gibson said on EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program.

“It’s amazing what they can do and how coordinated some of these intimidation rings can really be. I think I underestimated what that would really be until it happened to me.”

Gibson and his family were threatened on social media and received intimidating phone calls or mail. It affected his three kids, aged 9 to 15, the pastor said.

“My kids … weren’t able to go home for over a month. And then … we had to sell that home and relocate.”

Gibson took his family to a rather isolated place in the Rocky Mountains to get away, but they were found, even there, and intimidated while spending time in a park.

“I didn’t know if they were going to try to kill me,” Gibson said. “So I went into a convenience store, sent my kids out the back through woods to where we were staying, and I went around the other side of a building—flanked this guy and found out what he was doing there [and] confronted the man.”

Gibson has multiple churches in Texas and Kentucky. Through his organization Peaceably Gather, he has helped churches to reopen when pandemic-related lockdowns were imposed across the country.

When lockdowns due to the pandemic caused by the virus were in effect, Gibson’s church in Kentucky ran a drive-thru Easter egg giveaway for kids. The Health Department told the pastor that his church would be shut down if he continued to pass out eggs.

There were “less than 10 people working, gloved and masked, giving an egg to a kid in the name of Jesus,” Gibson said, yet the health department had concerns about it.

“They’re letting the liquor stores do drive-thru sales. They’re letting the fast food places do that. The Lowe’s is full of people, Home Depot’s full of people, all the big box stores right?” he said.

“It blew a fuse in me. I called all the local media [and] told them: ‘I’m going to defy the governor’s orders. Here’s when I want to do it, here’s how I’m going to do it. Have them come arrest me.’ And I was looking to get arrested for Jesus.”

He then started Peaceably Gather and rallied pastors. “I think the hand of God was guiding me. God called me for that time. And over the course of the next three weeks, 5,000 churches opened up with us.”

Capitol Protest

On Jan. 5, the day before the U.S. Capitol breach, Gibson gave a speech at Freedom Plaza in Washington.

“The only thing I did on the fifth is, I preached the gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in Freedom Plaza, telling people about his death, burial, resurrection, telling people they could be forgiven of their sins, and also standing up and speaking for the First Amendment,” he said.

About six months earlier when speaking out in Arizona, Gibson had taken a selfie with a man who stood out in the crowd because he was wearing a large, horned fur hat.

“I take a pic with him, post it up on my Instagram, [saying], ‘This guy’s got the craziest outfit in Arizona today,’” he said.

It turned out that the man in the picture became one of the people who entered the Capitol building during the breach on Jan. 6 and was later arrested.

Media used the picture to try to frame the pastor, saying that he was “one of the masterminds of the Capitol siege,” according to Gibson.

“I wasn’t in the Capitol, but I think what they do when they create these hit pieces, they’re trying to build a narrative against you, build a case against you: No. 1, with the public, and No. 2, they want a legal case against you,” he said.

“The mainstream media works to try to spin the narrative, and to spin public opinion before they’ll ever file charges on somebody.”

Do Not Be Afraid

“In America, especially in the West, a lot of the churches bought into that the blessing of God will make sure there’s no problems in your life,” Gibson said. “I preach that [God will bless you]—I believe that 100 percent—but he also promised people persecution.

“In America, we’ve become so comfortable. We don’t want to give up any of our comforts for real truth and real conviction anymore. And that’s why the church remained silent during the lockdowns. So that’s why so many pastors didn’t speak up and push back.”

People don’t want to speak up against critical race theory or on other issues because they don’t want to be labeled a racist, Gibson said.

“Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t be afraid. Continue to love your enemies, but stand your ground. I think that’s really what we need in America,” he said.

Gibson advises people, especially Christians, to look at the current situation and issues such as cancel culture from a broader perspective.

“Stop being afraid of what somebody might do to you. … The high cost of living is potentially dying,” Gibson said. “I don’t want to die. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a martyr’s complex, I want to live a long life, be an old man, see all of my kids’ kids.

“But if someone has such a grip of fear around you, [that] you can’t live or be who you are, what good is living anyway? So I really think it’s time for people to not be afraid.”

Pope John Paul II, during his inauguration ceremony in 1978, said, “Do not be afraid.”

Historians agree that the pope’s words informed by his faith uplifted people’s spirits and inspired people to stand up to communist oppression leading to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe




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