The Sanctity of Human Life

This is not an article about abortion. It’s about the killing of unarmed American citizens by the police.


Montgomery County, MD Police Chief Tom Manger: Officer Safety Is Very Important, And So Is Everyone Else’s Safety

Wexler:  “Tom, what was your takeaway from the Scotland trip?”

Chief Manger:  “It made me realize a couple of things. One was that our use-of-force training, our defensive tactics training, are so wrapped around one issue—the fear of the gun, and the gun culture we have in the United States—that it permeates everything we do in terms of training. It also made me realize that there are some cultural issues in American policing that we may need to rethink. All of us have heard a sergeant tell us in roll call, “The most important thing is that you go home safe today.” And when you hear that over and over again, it almost gets to the point where we are thinking that our safety is more important than anything else, or that other people’s safety is not as important as ours. In Scotland, the culture is that the police officer’s safety is in fact very important, but it’s no more important than the safety of everybody else among the public. They have this notion of the sanctity of life, which is something that we are talking about more than we did 20 or 30 years ago. I think we’ve got to emphasize to our cops that their safety is important, but so is the safety of the public and the people that they’re dealing with, and our goal should be that everybody goes home safely at the end of the day.”

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24-Hour News Cycle


If you don’t live in NYC, it could be hard to imagine that most people in the city have gone about their regular lives after the bombing on Saturday night. But it’s true. We have.

This morning I found myself annoyed with the 24-hour news cycle as I walked past the site of the bombing. If you don’t know, I work on 23 Street, less than a block from the site of the explosion.

At 8:00 AM EST, there were a few cops keeping watch, workers trying to replace broken glass at an Orange Theory Fitness, and news vans taking up the rest of what was left on 23 Street between 6 and 7 Avenues. You would have thought with the number of media outlets present that we had breaking news. But there was none. Just highly coiffed anchors hammering away at the same story while New Yorker’s bought Dunkin Doughnuts and pick up their dog’s poop.

So if you find yourself glued to the TV with a bit of heightened anxiety, please know it’s business as usual here.

As some famous man once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

So turn off the news and live your life. We have.

Love from NYC.

West Side Gory


This weekend I attended Church Basement Ladies: A Mighty Fortress is Our Basement, in central Pennsylvania. A colleague of mine was in the show and it was truly a fun evening.

After the show I waited for the restroom as an elderly woman in a wheelchair, being helped into the handicapped stall by her daughter and an elderly friend, blocked the door. They started chatting about the show once the woman was securely seated on the toilet and the stall door was shut.

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Dear Readers,

It’s been awhile.

I’ve traveled. I’ve worked. I’ve played. I’ve photographed. I’ve cooked. I’ve relaxed. I’ve beached.

Some new ideas are in the works, but I’m taking my sweet time.

It’s all still percolating.

I have been thoroughly enjoying my summer, and I hope you are too!


What Can’t Be Measured


Caitie Whelan, the Noter-in-Chief of The Lightning Notes (Photo by Andrew Propp)

The one thing that has been cool about my Lina story is seeing how far it has reached. I found this today on The Lightning Notes, and I love the thoughts added to it. I am happy to see that this story has been inspiring to so many!

The Lightning Notes

For two years, April Lee Uzarski bought coffee from Lina’s cart on the East Side of Manhattan.

Lina sang “Happy Birthday” to Ms. Uzarksi in February. When Ms. Uzarski’s husband had an aneurism last year, Lina offered her coffee and support every day.

From her cart on East 52nd Street and Lexington Avenue, Lina knew more about Ms. Uzarski than some of Ms. Uzarksi’s closest friends.

You, Lina told Ms. Uzarski, are a good friend, wife, and person. Three things Ms. Uzarski often doubted about herself.

But in April, Ms. Uzarski was offered a new job. It would mean not seeing Lina every day. The decision weighed heavily on Ms. Uzarski.

She took the job. But before she left, she wrote a thank you note to Lina in The New York Times. Here is one line from it:

“The value of the kindness you have shown me the past…

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