Minor Thoughts from me to you

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Arizona bill targets dangerous drug traffickers

Let’s not pass this bill in Arizona. It harms drug addicts and won’t do anything to prevent people from using illegal narcotics.

Arizona bill targets dangerous drug traffickers

Maria Polletta, reporting for the Arizona Republic.

House Bill 2779 would establish tougher minimum sentences for those caught selling or possessing even small amounts of heroin, fentanyl or fentanyl-like drugs.

Those who sell or share drugs linked to overdose deaths could face up to 25 years in prison under House Bill 2779, a measure aimed at taking down dangerous drug traffickers who knowingly taint or misrepresent their products.

Justice reform advocates argue the bill would more likely punish low-level dealers selling to support their addictions, boosting the state's already swollen prison population rather than public safety.

In addition to creating the crime of “drug trafficking homicide,” HB 2779 would establish tougher minimum sentences for those caught selling or possessing even small amounts of heroin, fentanyl or fentanyl-like drugs.

It also would make those offenders ineligible for probation, early release or virtually any other incentive.

"The idea that these mandatory minimums are going to deter people — that assumes that individuals who engage in illegal behavior are rational actors and they can accurately weigh future consequences in the moment," said Zachary Stout, a former opioid user who now advocates for sentencing and drug policy changes.

"Drug users who are suffering from addiction are not rational," he said. "If the intent is to decrease the number of overdoses and combat the opioid crisis, then this bill is the perfect example of a complete failure of understanding."

This entry was tagged. Arizona Drugs

Tucson police officer William Gallego accused of assaulting suspect

This is how things are supposed to work, every day. Anytime a police officer crosses the line into lawless behavior, they should forfeit the protection of the badge and be arrested, the same as every other American.

Tucson police officer William Gallego accused of assaulting suspect

As part of a standard review when force is used by an officer, Gallego's supervisor reviewed his bodycam footage from the arrest the next day. They also initiated a criminal investigation.

"Based on video evidence, investigators believe Gallego made intentional contact with the suspect’s head two different times while he was handcuffed on the ground," said Magnus's statement.

On Sunday, detectives arrested and booked Gallego into a Pima County jail on suspicion of aggravated assault.

This entry was tagged. Arizona Police Reform

The Marvelous Saguaro

One of the joys of living in southern Arizona is getting to see the saguaro cacti. I can see them all around town and there are large “forests” of them in the Sonoran Desert.

I recently saw this Kingfisher & Wombat tweet thread from Sat, February 22, 2020 at 05:34 PM about the saguaro. It's worth your time.

So following my retweet of the saguaros being cut down, it occurs to me that the extraordinary nature of the saguaro may not be common knowledge. Therefore, let us talk about this marvelous vegetative creature.

There’s a fairytale quality to the origin of this cactus. They sound more like how you make a unicorn or a cockatrice than a plant. “Born from an egg laid by a rooster under the Dog Star and incubated by a serpent.” “Sprung from the drops of blood from a martyred saint.”

Well, the saguaro fruit must be eaten by a coyote or a cactus wren and deposited in the shade of an ironwood to nurse. No, really.

Mesquite or palo verde will also work, but the cactus requires a nurse tree. The seeds can be eaten by a coyote, but a dove or a quail will digest them instead of passing them whole.

In the event the proper animal ate them and pooped in the proper nurse tree, it will take a decade for the saguaro to grow more than two inches tall.

Between 50-100 years, the first arm appears. It will likely flower before this, in its thirties. The flowers must be pollinated, probably by bats.

By this point, it will have outlived its nurse (and probably outcompeted it.) Those cactus with dozens of arms? OLD.

The cactus is not considered an adult until it is over a hundred years old. It can live to be two hundred, with luck.

To get away from the cold facts for a minute...saguaros, if you live around them, are, uh...Not just plants. There’s stuff going on there. People stuff. Saguaros have souls.

I realize I romanticize plants all the time, so you can feel free to dismiss this as my usual bullshit, but saguaros are...yeah. Okay, you ever met a tree that you thought was big and old and maybe like a person? The whole species is like that. Saguaros are special.

Giant redwoods are a little too obviously gods, any fool can see it, but saguaros are something else.

Anyway. It is worth noting that even if you dismiss my half-baked garden faith, saguaros are the pinnacle of a web of ecosystem arrangements. Three other species, minimum, are required to make a saguaro. Wren, ironwood, bat. Or coyote, mesquite, hummingbird. But three minimum.

This is why they’re so ultimately fragile. They rely on the others to even exist. They are a group effort! But they do repay it. Dozens of species live in them, on them, and by them.

Woodpeckers dig holes, elf owls live in the holes, hawks nest on top, everybody eats the fruit.

They are the nexus of the web. They’re special. Natives in the area have very respectful terms for them, though I do not know enough to give you any details. They’re one of the great goods of the world,and cutting them down is a cruel thing.

That’s all.

Well, no, one more thing. I joke sometimes that when I die, the primary witnesses for the defense will be all the turtles I helped across the road. I’m pretty sure if a saguaro spoke up for someone, they’d halt the proceedings and send you on your way at once.

And hey—we get down on humanity sometimes, we really do, and that border wall is an abomination, but the people of Arizona made laws to protect saguaros. Imperfect, flawed, but by god, they recognized and they’re trying. Credit where due.

This entry was tagged. Arizona

Students of color challenge Arizona schools to do more to address racism

Students of color challenge Arizona schools to do more to address racism →

Lily Altavena, writing for the Arizona Republic.

As police departments and corporations face public reckonings over systemic racism, schools, too, are confronting accusations of racism from current and former students and parents.

The Republic revisited more than a dozen racist incidents reported at metro Phoenix schools since 2016: Those incidents ranged from basketball spectators directing monkey noises at a Black player to students repeating the n-word over and over again in videos posted to social media.