BEFORE BEING THANKFUL

1. It’s Wednesday, November 25, 2015.

2. It’s a day early, but I’m thankful for the fact that I don’t have to drive anywhere the day before Thanksgiving.

3. The release of the video of the Laquan McDonald shooting in Chicago is a reminder of something I’ve been saying: The quality of day-to-day police work is declining and leading to these horrible abuses of power.

There is no professionalism, much less regard for human life, on display in that video. The extraneous gunshots after McDonald was already paralyzed by bullets show a callous disregard for life and an inability to do what a policeman is supposed to do – keep the peace.

There certainly is a racial component to all this, and that unfortunately is going to play out in the days and weeks ahead. We should all be thankful that protests, while tense, have been peaceful so far. The protesters have a case, and I’m certain they’ll be watching closely as prosecutors make theirs against the officer under arrest.

The nation’s police departments really need to rethink what they’re doing in academies. Why are these incidents occurring with such frequency? Communities and peace officers should all be on the same page. In a lot of places, they’re not. That needs to be fixed. Fast.

4. The best hour I’ve spent watching TV this month came yesterday afternoon when President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 17 deserving Americans.

My interest in this was heightened by the fact that I was one of the more than 100,000 people who signed one of the White House’s We the People petitions to get the medal for Yogi Berra.  I’m not sure who started the campaign, but it ultimately succeeded – Yogi’s son accepted the medal for the Hall of Fame catcher, who passed away in September.

Seeing Yogi honored with so many other great Americans of varied backgrounds was a reminder of how great this country can be. These people are its very best, and that really has to make you smile.

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