Trevor Noah explains why Rayshard Brooks shouldn't have died at the hands of the police

Comedian Trevor Noah has become not only a voice of comic relief in tough times, but a voice of thoughtfulness and reason on social issues, as well. As an immigrant to the U.S. from South Africa, Noah brings a unique perspective to the table, but it's his ability to zero in on the truth at the heart of an issue that brings people to hear his social commentary.

This week, Noah posted a video with some thoughts on the police killing of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Atlanta man who fell asleep while drunk in his car in a Wendy's drive-thru. According to CBS News, Brooks resisted arrest and took an officer's Taser. As he was running away, police shot him twice in the back. One officer in the incident has been fired and another placed on administrative duty.

Noah described what surveillance video showed. He explained: "In the beginning, it seems like everything is going to be fine. The cops are talking to him like a person. They're not being aggro, they're not being disrespectful, they're not being mean or anything. He's being respectful. He's calling them 'sir', he's not cussing them out, he's offering to walk home. Everything is going well..."

He continued, "And then in one moment, in just a few seconds, every part of that normal story turns into the abnormal ending that we've come to know as interactions with police and black people."


Noah pointed out that the encounter never needed to get to that point. Despite the fact that the story is messy—Brooks was drunk, and he did resist arrest and took the police officer's taser—the question remains, Why do we call on armed police in a situation like this in the first place?

"Why are armed police dealing with a man who's sleeping in his car?" Noah asked. "These are the questions we need to ask: why, why, why, why, why, why? Why are armed police the first people who have to go and respond to somebody who's sleeping in their car, who's drunk?"

Noah laid out the way the story could have or should have played out, especially considering the fact that the man was drunk. The sober people in the situation are supposed to be the ones who can handle the situation responsibly. He also addressed the inevitable "ifs" that come up anytime people talk about an incident of police brutality.

"If you didn't resist arrest, then you'd still be alive. Or if you didn't run away from the cops, you'd still be alive. Well, if you didn't have a toy gun and were 12 years old in the middle of a park, then you would have still been alive. Well, you know what, if you weren't wearing a hoodie, then you would have still been alive. If you didn't talk back to the cops, you would have been still been alive. If you weren't sleeping in your bed as a black woman, you would have still been alive.

"There's one common thread beyond all the 'ifs'." he concluded. Watch the video here:

Why Did Rayshard Brooks Have to Lose His Life? | The Daily Social Distancing Show www.youtube.com

Noah's questions are worth exploring. At what point do we fundamentally examine what the purpose of policing really is and whether or not the way we currently do it fulfils that purpose?

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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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
True

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.

Keep Reading Show less