An update on something pretty important

It’s been a while since I posted anything. The main reason for that, aside from being busy, was simply that I knew what I wanted to post about, but had trouble collecting my thoughts as more aspects of this whole collected topic came to light. I am talking about the ongoing situation with the protests and other fallout from what happened in Ferguson, New York City, Cleveland, and many (far too many) other places.

I also went back and forth for some time on just what I wanted to say. Certainly, much (much) has already been said on these issues, and it’s not as if I actually have the power to effect change on any kind of significant scale. What good will adding my voice to the pile really do?

The answer may be, “none at all.” So, while originally I thought about trying to write something really eloquent and long and nuanced, I don’t think that’s going to happen. So instead I’ll just point to a couple of things that have happened recently, that I think are important and actually show some semblance of progress, and give me a bit of hope.

On the heels of this (which was incredible – look at all those people!), I stumbled on a couple of other developments that seem to indicate we might have actually learned something from all of this. That progress is actually being made.

First off, there’s this, which came as quite a surprise. Not only because it’s indicative of real progress, but also because… congress actually did something? Aside from bicker and talk about nonsense and waste time? That’s nothing short of shocking.

It’s only a step, of course, and the federal government stepping in and saying “change needs to happen and here is some change” won’t simply solve the problems of systemic, institutionalized racism, or the issues of police brutality and grossly inappropriate use of force. At every turn, police have escalated tension and violence – the exact opposite of what they are supposed to do – in response to protests which were sparked by their unjust actions in the first place. That’s not all going to simply go away overnight because of the government telling them change is needed. Nor does this address the issues of the grand jury proceedings that have taken place – certainly, the one in Ferguson was a joke, and prosecutor Robert McCulloch clearly did not want Wilson indicted, and even then, the problem still goes beyond that. Expecting prosecutors who regularly work closely with police officers to make cases to turn around and truly, zealously pursue indictments (let alone convictions) against those same officers is ludicrous.

But this is still significant. It’s still progress. And it really is one of those things that, when you stop and think about it, you realize it’s kind of weird that this wasn’t ALREADY the case. ALWAYS the case. Law enforcement agencies don’t have to compile and report statistics on those they kill – justified or not – to anyone? Why the hell not? Hopefully this new legislation is carried forward by the momentum from all the recent attention on this issue, and doesn’t fizzle out after several years as previous, similar legislation from 2000 did, according to the linked article. It’s interesting, too, that this really did happen “while no one was looking”, as the title purports – I have seen very little on this development from most mainstream media sources.

So it’s at least a good sign, as is this. The article refers to the restraining order itself as “temporary”, but again, it is a step in the right direction, as it acknowledges the fact that the police were in the wrong (on a number of levels) throughout the situation in Ferguson.

Hopefully this is all indicative of some kind of positive change coming out of these tragedies. Nothing can change what happened, but at least these are steps toward trying to change what happens going forward.

-Saito S

 

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NaNoWriMo: Day 30 – closing thoughts

One more day to add a little bit more to the word count; 571 words added on the 30th, for a final Nano 2014 total of 51,700. Nice round number – didn’t plan that, it just happened!

This was a pretty fun Nano. Went to several write-ins (just about every one of the Tuesday in Berkeley and Friday in Emeryville ones), met some cool new people, reconnected with friends from Nanos past (shout out to all of you! Nano wouldn’t be Nano without people to write with and make stupid jokes with! XD). And, while I ended up working on SA specifically a lot more than I’d planned, I still met my goal: 50k words in existing works. Granted, it would have been nice to make more actual progress in Crafters, but I did get a lot of new ideas and notes for it. I’ll be continuing to work on it in 2015, and I’m hoping to make serious progress and maybe even finish it (or at least, finish the first novel; the story as a whole would probably take more than one). While I doubt I’ll actually try to write a full 50,000 words in a single month, I’ll probably take some specific weeks here and there and make them “writing weeks”, during which I’ll really try to put a lot of time into making progress.

As for December, I won’t be doing much – if any – writing during this month, because I have a bunch of other things I want to get to, and because I think it’s okay to take a writing break. After all, I just wrote fifty-thousand words in a month! I’d like to get back to mapping projects (Valocea, of course, but some other things as well), I’ve found myself actually wanting to play video games again (after months and months of just being completely uninterested in them. I guess I just needed a really massive hiatus! This month I plan to FINALLY play through Mass Effect – yes the first one, I am way behind I know), and my roommate and I really need to go some work on cleaning up our mess of an apartment. That last one, I am not looking forward to, to say the least, but eh. Has to get done. Also, with my “30 days, 30 blog posts” thing done, I’m going to get back to using this space for other things – obviously any writing developments that do occur will be documented here, but there are other things I’ve wanted to talk about as well, now that I’m not quite so focused on word counts.

So! Another year, another Nano. Back to regular life I go!

-Saito S