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They Had Been Getting Away With Killing Teenage Boys For Years. Then August 9 Happened.

Sad but true: It took the deaths of several young men for people to finally start "getting" why not everyone feels safe around the police — and with good reason.

They Had Been Getting Away With Killing Teenage Boys For Years. Then August 9 Happened.

On Aug. 9, 2014, police officer Darren Wilson shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The response was overwhelming. Advocates and locals mobilized to protest what they called an unnecessary use of police force on an unarmed teenage boy.


But Aug. 9 wasn't an isolated incident. Far from it.

In fact, the statistics are kind of alarming.

1,450 deaths. That's a lot. Here's how many deaths per day that is:

Three human beings every day dying at the hands of cops.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. Molly Crabapple made a four-minute video commentary and used her artistic talents to *literally* illustrate exactly what we need to know about the police:

Powerful video, right?

Just in case it didn't catch your attention, I want to emphasize this statistic:

A black male teenager is 21 times more likely to be shot dead by a police officer than a white male teenager.

We have to ask ourselves: How are we letting this happen in our country?

FACT-CHECK TIME!

So much of this might sound way too bad to be true. The bad news, as Upworthy's fact-checkers determined: It's all true.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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