- Glenn Sonnenberg
Musings from the Bunker 8/20/20
It’s Thursday, so time for a mélange of contributions …
The news sadly is filled with stories of police abuse and killing of Black Americans. These are the most egregious of police abuses of power. It is sometimes sobering to remember that when we are in the control of the police, anything can happen—Black or White. It is terrifying to acknowledge how one’s life hangs in the balance with each police encounter. An example offered by a friend:
"I pled to a “crime” I didn’t commit just to have a guaranteed outcome. The police officer lied repeatedly but it was my word against his (decorated military veteran with 20 years of meritorious service). The officer concocted the most unbelievable story that I stalked him and his family and threatened to murder them if he didn’t make my speeding ticket go away. He claimed to have seen me outside his home and that I made these threats to his face. He is 6’5” and 230 pounds with a gun. Why the heck would I jeopardize my entire life and do that to get out of a ticket? Sounds preposterous but the DA took the case and wasn’t willing to budge. Even with a high-power defense lawyer my options were to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars that I didn’t have with an unknown outcome OR get a conviction with expungement two years later. If I fought and lost I would have been incarcerated with my career over and the loss of my home, life savings, and family. The experience was very traumatizing (arrest, handcuffs, interrogation, search warrants for home and office, seizure of phones and computers, strip searched, and more.) I didn’t sleep for months and think about it EVERY day. "
We are not that far from a police state at any time. And we are always at risk of the actions of a corrupt police officer affecting us for the rest of our lives. When I think of the anxiety created in the psyche of every Black man who gets behind the wheel and finds himself pulled over, I shudder.
Don’t get me wrong. Most encounters with the police do not end in violence. Most police no doubt are well-intentioned and hard-working public servants. But in the split seconds of encounters with citizens, the wrong police officer can change—or end—a life.
I MISS DRESSING UP!
From Janine Kolodny, a good laugh about the shoes in our closets that are going unused: https://www.wsj.com/articles/hi-its-us-your-dress-shoes-we-miss-you-11596203906?st=m4uxa4x2jy96jok&reflink=article_email_share
GOING TO A RELAXING PLACE WITH A PUZZLE
From a friend, a reminder of the joy in whiling away the time while keeping the mind occupied:
I have completed a couple of 1,000 piece puzzles during this crisis and I must admit I find inner peace when I am hyper-focused on completing the puzzle. I find that my brain can easily find the patters/colors/spatial relationships of the pieces and who doesn’t enjoy the satisfaction of the finality of completion. So much of what we do in our personal lives (business and otherwise) has stages or parts but no true end like the completion of a jigsaw puzzle.
Seriously, he’s on to something. Having completed several puzzles during the pandemic, I can attest to the sense of accomplishment for having completed an entertaining, yet completely senseless and time consuming activity. Just like Organic Chemistry (only puzzles are actually fun)!
HOW ISOLATION MAY CHANGE US
School is starting—earlier than usual for many. Not only have our days been altered, but the rhythms of the year have changed—the summer vacations, the start of school, the very fact that children attend school in person. In some respects this change to our routines have forced us to refocus. Speaking to a friend the other day he remarked that being home for dinner every night with his family is a gift that he’s grateful to have been given. It’s tough to remind ourselves in this moment that some day we will look back on this time with memories—some bad but some about the gift of time we’ve been given.
Alex Shahidi says he thinks the isolation may help people “gain a better perspective of what’s important and what’s not (and most things are not that important).” Alex is one smart guy. He goes on that perhaps we come out of here with greater compassion, generosity, appreciation and ultimately happiness. Words of hope.
THE SWARTZ MEMORABLE MOVIE LIST
Here are some memorable movies from Dave’s favorites, with which I concur:
What About Bob
The Flamingo Kid
Capricorn One (actually pretty cool…Dave says “pretend OJ’s not in it”)
Mystic Pizza (I think this was Julia Roberts’s first hit
Wag the Dog
The World According to Garp
Gross Pointe Blank
He suggested a few others, but I disagreed…
I want to correct the date of the Black Sox scandal, which I yesterday said was 1918. It was the 1919 Chicago White Sox that threw the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Thanks, Peter Bain for the post hoc copy editing. On another note, in lauding the actors in Chicago, I neglected to mention Queen Latifa’s star turn as the warden. Here she is, singing “When You’re Good to Mama”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t6_odu4lNc