+
Cities

L.A. City Council votes to replace some police officers with unarmed crisis responders

L.A. City Council votes to replace some police officers with unarmed crisis responders
via Michael Dorausch

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to replace police officers with response teams for nonviolent emergency calls.

The new response teams will be unarmed and respond to situations that don't require violent interactions such as substance abuse incidents, neighbor disputes, and mental health issues.

Four councilmen also suggested that this unarmed response team could enforce traffic violations including speeding, illegal turns, and other vehicle code violations. The decision comes as Los Angeles is enjoying a historical dip in violent crime.

In 2019, the homicide rate was the lowest since 1962 and has decreased by 77% since 1992.


"For years, police officers have used traffic enforcement as an excuse to harass and demean Black motorists while violating their rights," Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson said according to CBS Los Angeles. "We do not need armed officials responding to and enforcing traffic violations. This practice is expensive, costing the city millions and far too many innocent people their lives."

via jondoeforty1

The change in police enforcement has been applauded by Black Lives Matter. "More often than not, when such calls become violent, they become violent at the hands of police," BLM-LA co-founder Melina Abdullah said.

"Driving while Black or Latino should not be a crime, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a young person of color who has not had a negative interaction that began with an alleged traffic infraction," Councilman Herb Wesson said.

If the traffic proposal is adopted, leaders will work with Los Angeles Department of Traffic to develop methods of enforcement that do not require armed officers.

"It's common sense. We don't need an armed response to a broken tail light or a traffic accident," Wesson said. "This is a logical next step to reimagining public safety in Los Angeles."

"Don't use a hammer if you don't need to pound a nail," writes economist Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution.

"The responsibility for handing out speeding tickets and citations should be handled by an unarmed agency," Tabarrok adds. "Put the safety patrol in bright yellow cars and have them carry a bit of extra gasoline and jumper cables to help stranded motorists as part of their job—make road safety nice."

The Los Angeles City Council's decision is powerful push-back against a form of authoritarianism that Americans have lived under and accepted for decades. We've all been conditioned to the idea that armed agents of the state should to be summoned for the smallest law violations or to bring order to nonviolent conflict.

When, in reality, unarmed security guards do a fine job at keeping the peace at private establishments and meter maids can hand out parking tickets without needing a shotgun.

via jondoeforty1 / Flickr

Over the past few decades, largely due to budget cuts, Americans have dropped the ball on caring for its most vulnerable by making drug addiction, mental illness, and homelessness an something to be handled by the police.

This puts undue pressure on police to solve societal ills they aren't necessarily equipped to handle and subjects vulnerable populations to become the care of the prison system instead of organizations based on treatment.

The Los Angeles City Council's decision is a step towards possibly having mental health response teams, community interaction teams, and homelessness efforts that can be solved by specifically trained, nonviolent actors, instead of armed officers.

It's a move to create a more humane relationship between the state and its citizens and bound to save lives by reducing the number of interactions between citizens and armed officers.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

This company makes it easier than ever to enjoy guilt-free fairly traded coffee

Thanks to Lifeboost, good coffee can be good for everyone.

Unsplash

Lifeboost coffee

Americans love coffee. Like, we really, seriously, truly love it. According to one recent survey, 75 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee at least occasionally, while 53 percent—about 110 million people—drink it every single day. For some, coffee is an essential part of their morning ritual. For others, it’s something they enjoy when they hit the proverbial wall in the late afternoon. But either way, millions of people use coffee to boost energy, focus, and productivity.


Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

13-year-old ventriloquist sings incredible, sassy version of 'You Don't Own Me' on 'AGT'

Ana-Maria Mărgean only started her hobby in 2020 and is already wowing audiences on "America's Got Talent."

America's Got Talent/Youtube

Ana-Maria Mărgean singing "You Don't Own Me" on "America's Got Talent"

It’s not every day a ventriloquist act is so jaw-dropping that it has to be seen to be believed. But when it does happen, it’s usually on “America’s Got Talent.”

Ana-Maria Mărgean was only 11 years old when she first took to the stage on “Romania’s Got Talent” to show off her ventriloquism skills, an act inspired by videos of fellow ventriloquist and “America’s Got Talent” Season 2 champion Terry Fator.

Using puppets built for her by her parents, the young performer tirelessly spent her quarantine time in 2020 learning how to bring them to life, which led to her receiving a Golden Buzzer and eventually winning the entire series in Romania.

Mărgean is now 13 and a competitor on this season of “America’s Got Talent: All-Stars,” hoping to be crowned the winner and perform her own show in Vegas, just like her hero Fator.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Linda Ronstadt's 1970's ballad is a chart-topping hit once again thanks to 'The Last of Us'

The iconic 70s song "Long, Long Time" was an integral part of an unforgettable episode that fans are calling a masterpiece.

Linda Ronstadt (left), Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett (right)

HBO’s emotional third episode of the zombie series “The Last Of Us” became an instant favorite among fans, thanks in no small part to Linda Ronstadt’s late 1970s ballad, “Long, Long Time.”

Using the song as the episode’s title, “Long, Long Time,” moves away from the show’s main plot to instead focus on a heartbreakingly beautiful love story between Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), from its endearing start all the way to its bittersweet end.

The song makes its first appearance during the initial stages of Bill and Frank’s romance as they play the tune on the piano, just before they share their first kiss.

We see their entire lives together play out—one of closeness, devotion, and savoring homegrown strawberries—until they meet their end. The song then plays on the radio, bringing the bottle episode to a poignant close.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

34-year-old man is learning to read on TikTok in series of motivational videos

His reading skills have improved so much that he plans to read 100 books this year.

@oliverspeaks1/TikTok

Oliver James is the biggest star on BookTok.

With over 125,000 followers, 34-year-old Oliver James is a star in the BookTok community. And it all started with a very simple goal: Learn to read.

For most kids, school is a place where they can develop a relationship with learning in a safe environment. For James, school was the opposite. Growing up with learning and behavior disabilities subjected him to abusive teaching practices in special education, which, of course, did nothing to help.

"The special education system at the time was more focused on behavioral than educating," he told Good Morning America. "So they spent a lotta time restraining us, a lotta time disciplining us, a lotta times putting us in positions to kinda shape us to just not act out in class."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

Keep ReadingShow less