Welcome to Issue 28.3 of Digestable, your daily mouthful of real things happening in the world, minus alarmist pandemic news.
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Today’s news, fermented:
There’s been a lot of talk about ethics and line-holding lately. Most prominently, there’s the hypocrisy of Republican senators being absolutely unwilling to do jack shit about the pandemic while people continue to die in numbers equivalent to the fatalities of 9/11 every day for 66 days in a row, and then leaping into action to fill Justice Ginsburg’s still-warm seat.
Then there are other great ethical conundra of 2020—should we allow people with uteri to have bodily autonomy? Should police who murder Black people in cold blood be able to walk free?
Per this second matter, the family of David McAtee, the Black restaurant owner who was a fixture of his Louisville community, has filed a lawsuit against the National Guard and the Louisville Metro Police Department for murdering McAtee in a ‘heated night of protests.’
But Jonathan Mattingly, one of the officers involved in the murder of Breonna Taylor (which that ‘heated night of protests’ was responding to), thinks that actually, criminals have “total autonomy” and cops have “no rights.” He made these claims in a 2am email he sent to 1,000 of his cop colleagues.
Zach Linly, a poet and contributor to The Root, takes Mattingly to task in a phenomenal dismantling of this nonsense email. You honestly—it’s short—you should just go read it. It’s a work of art. Here’s a little taste:
“This leads me to possibly the most egregious, rage-inducing line in Mattingly’s lengthy, pitiful-ass email: “Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday, I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night.”
Imagine leaving someone dead who you can’t even remotely prove committed a crime and considering yourself to be on the moral high ground. Also, four paragraphs ago it was a “mistake,” now it’s the ethical thing? Raggedy blue bitch, WHAT???”
Find the rest here.
So yesterday I had the…pleasure is not the right word, but moving on, of reading a document written by a serial abuser about the beginning of his transformative justice work. There’s a mention in the document of wanting to design a process that is a ‘gift’ to the people around him (many of whom he has harmed).
I was like, hold on a second. How is it even remotely possible in your shriveled little brain that after you cause all this harm, your work could be giving us gifts?
All of this is to say—these ethical dilemmas and self-measurements of harm caused and right done are actually not complicated. Defund state-sanctioned murderers and the systems that hold them up. Out abusers and hold them to account. Kill your masters. Be safe out there, y’all.
Brought to you by the superb Latifah Azlan.
One of the most shocking and tragic stories this year was the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash that happened in California this past January. He left behind his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and three other daughters, including a 1-year-old who was only a baby when he passed. It has been a tremendously difficult year for the Bryant family, especially for Vanessa who has had to bury her husband and daughter while keeping it together for her remaining children. I'd like to think that she's had some form of support from family and close friends over the last few months. But her mother Sofia Laine just gave an interview to a Spanish-language TV outlet about being kicked out of the Bryant household recently and she sounds... like has her priorities misplaced.
According to Sofia, Vanessa kicked her out of her home and forced her to return the car she was using while staying with her daughter. Vanessa Bryant also released a statement responding to her mother's interview, in which she denied all of Sofia's claims and accused her of "emptying the apartment" for the interview to make it look like she doesn't have Vanessa's support. Vanessa also added that her mother has not been physically or emotionally supportive of her after Kobe and Gianna's death, and that the Bryants have been paying Sofia alimony for two decades.
It's unclear what led to the falling out between mother and daughter, but Sofia immediately running to the media to squawk doesn't sit well with me. It reminds me of Thomas Markle, father of Duchess Meghan Markle, who used to accept payments in return for speaking to the media about Meghan -- often unflatteringly and as a tactic to manipulate her into accepting him back into her life. When that didn't work, he started trashing her instead. So I wouldn't be surprised if Sofia escalated her toxic behavior in a similar way. I feel really sad for Vanessa, who on top of everything else, must now deal with her own mother's thirsty shenanigans.