So I am officially the new intern for the De-Escalate Washington campaign. It's pretty cool but it means my schedule is going to be pretty erratic, subject to the needs of the campaign. Posting might be less frequent at times, especially as we approach the December 31 deadline for signatures to get I-940 considered and potentially on the ballot for 2018.
The initiative is reasonable as fuck. It would increase the time that all police are trained in de-escalation, identifying and handling mentally ill individuals, require cops to provide first aid on the scene rather than letting people die in the street, and remove the ridiculous "malicious intent" language that makes Washington State the most difficult state to prosecute an officer for needlessly killing a suspect/civilian.
I'd prefer to abolish the police altogether, but I believe in short term solutions to save lives now while working toward long term goals.
Last night I helped collect signatures and was pleased by how many parents were happy to sign or at least listen to me talk about it. I was even more pleased by how many kids were interested, some even being disappointed when I told them that you had to be 18 or older to sign. One (white male) teen asked me two bizarre questions - do I believe in lethal force and do I believe in the second amendment. I just find this language odd. Do I believe they exist? Yeah. But that's the only way that's a straight yes or no answer. I said "it depends" for the first and "yes" for the second, and he seemed to be really happy with my second answer, then left.
If I'd had the time or energy to focus on a kid who couldn't sign anyway, I might have explained that while I think people should be allowed to own guns, that doesn't mean I don't think there should be any limits on the type and amount of guns they should reasonably be allowed to own, but then again since we're clearly not going to get any kind of effective gun control in this country anyway, we might as well take advantage of it and stockpile guns for the revolution. I wonder how many other interesting interactions I'll have on this job.