Black Lives Matter

Our nation was rocked by the image of a white police officer pressing his knee onto the neck of a black man for more than eight minutes. George Floyd could be heard gasping for breath and moaning “I can’t breathe,” but Officer Derek Chauvin refused to back off. Bystanders appealed for Chauvin to release his victim, but he ignored them. The resulting death plunged the USA into chaos as protesters by the thousands took to the streets of nearly every city, and in some places windows were smashed, stores looted and buildings torched. Police, protesters, and bystanders alike were injured and a few killed.

Most Americans were appalled by this tragic death, and sobered by the undeniable evidence of police brutality. It’s now impossible to pretend it doesn’t happen. Sadly, this was not a mere aberration, but the latest example of a pattern of abuse that spans decades. Many black Americans have genuine reason to fear unequal treatment at the hands of the police. Serious reform is overdue.

Do black lives matter? Yes they do! We need to acknowledge that long standing racial prejudice continues to erode the American promise of equality. Too many white Americans seem oblivious to the unequal treatment that blacks experience on a regular basis. One nation under God? In theory yes, but often it looks more like two different nations occupying the same territory, one white, one black.

But if there is going to be lasting change, we must be willing to engage in honest conversation about every aspect of this issue. Talking about only one slice of the pie while stifling conversation about the other pieces will not achieve harmony. We need to be able to discuss a number of related matters, not simply abuse by bad cops.

Black People Killed by Other Blacks Matter Too

Every year, thousands of blacks are murdered in the neighborhoods of Chicago, Philadelphia, and other major cities, more often than not by the violent actions of black thugs. Black drug dealers and gang leaders kill people of their own race at alarming rates. Where are the protesters marching in these high crime neighborhoods demanding the end of such wanton slaughter? Do black lives matter only when they can be used to promote a particular agenda? Why does someone killed by a rogue policeman create an international uproar, but the myriads killed weekly by criminals merit little attention?

White Lives Matter Too

In today’s heated environment, saying, “White lives matter too,” can get you fired from your job. Since when does an affirmation of equality become evidence of racial prejudice? Can’t we agree that ALL lives matter? Murder is unacceptable wherever it occurs and whomever it victimizes, regardless the color of their skin. Can I get an “Amen”?

Police Lives Matter Also

How many policeman are killed each year at the hands of law breakers, both black and white? Why is it acceptable, even desirable, that cops lose their lives, but people of color should not? Surely decent people agree that whenever anyone loses his life by an act of violence, it is a serious tragedy. Defunding the police is a convoluted response to police brutality. Does anyone really think that eliminating the police will end violence? It is precisely because there are violent and lawless people in this world that we need the police. It is an unspeakable tragedy when a policeman, sworn to uphold the law and protect human life is himself an angry and violent person who abuses his authority to assault others. But most of the people who do this are not wearing police uniforms. Let’s identify the bad cops and get them off the streets, because we desperately need the good ones, who are the vast majority, to protect us from thieves, rapists, and murderers.

Families Matter a Lot

Studies reveal that the vast majority of criminals come from broken homes without a stable father. Why isn’t more attention directed to the break-down of the family? But not only is that an all too often ignored piece of the pie, but some actually applaud the disintegration of the family. Are we swatting flies while ignoring camels? Clearly, a legitimate movement of genuine grievances about racial disparity is being co-opted by some whose goal is the dissolution of American society.

Unborn Babies Matter Too

Why do only some black lives seem to matter? Thousands of babies are aborted every year in America, and statistics demonstrate that more black babies are aborted per capita than white. If black lives matter, shouldn’t protesters be marching on abortion clinics to demand the end of murder in the womb? Do black lives matter only when they are killed by the police, but not when butchered by abortionists?

Stores and Businesses Matter Too

No building is worth as much as a human life, but burning down businesses only hurts the neighborhoods that benefit from those establishments. Groceries, pharmacies and restaurants pay taxes to maintain schools, pave streets, and deliver clean water, not to mention provide valuable goods and services and much needed jobs. The people who live where rioting occurs are hurt most by looting and destruction. In most cases, rioters descend from other places, satisfy their thirst for violence, and then return to the safety of their homes. They say they advocate for justice, but seriously harm the very people they claim to help. Nothing justifies theft and destruction of property. Where are the protesters demanding protection for the businesses that benefit people of every color?

Racial Prejudice Is a Two-Way Street

I recently read a newspaper column asserting that only white people are racially prejudiced. Really? How can anyone believe this? Only by first creating a skewed definition of racial prejudice and then utilizing it to deny what both observation and experience know to be true. Let’s be clear about two things. First, racial prejudice is wrong whenever and wherever it occurs. It should be eradicated from human society. Second, racial prejudice is practiced within every segment of society among every race and color. Progress moves slowly when one group accuses another of prejudice while ignoring the same among themselves. Everyone needs to own and deal with the prejudice that lingers within his own heart.

There Is No Solution Apart from God

We need to acknowledge that racial prejudice is a sin which can only be cleansed by the blood of Christ. We can educate people to behave differently with some success, but lasting change occurs only within a renewed heart created by the regenerating power of God’s Spirit. The problem isn’t skin as much as sin. Failing to recognize this consigns reform to failure. You cannot have peace apart from the Prince of Peace. You cannot have love without the God of love. You cannot have equity while rejecting the God who is no respecter of persons.

Eternal Souls Matter the Most

Finally, we must realize that black lives, white lives, and all human lives matter here upon earth, but eternity is far more important. What does it profit a man if he gains the dignity and respect he desires, but dies without Christ, spending eternity under God’s righteous condemnation? Let’s talk about what matters most, the gospel of Christ, without ignoring real injustices that need to be addressed.

Greg Barkman 2018 bio

G. N. Barkman received his BA and MA from BJU and later founded Beacon Baptist Church in Burlington, NC where has pastored since 1973. In addition, Pastor Barkman airs the Beacon Broadcast on twenty radio stations. He and his wife, Marti, have been blessed with four daughters and nine grandchildren.

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Aaron Blumer's picture


In the short run, the biggest barrier to racial peace is our culture's lack of a coherent view of truth and lack of value placed on facts and sound reasoning. Not far behind, the politicization of everything. We still hear the old quote/adage that "you can have your own opinions, but you don't get to have your own facts" now and then, but in reality a huge segment of American society begins every question by picking up their political commitments and then filtering sources and facts based on those commitments, often sticking with the narrative when it requires truth-avoidance behavior that's obvious and pathetic to anyone who hasn't yet looked at the situation through political lenses. 

But most of the time it's more subtle than that and takes the form of assumptions and generalities.

The quantity of both of those in the "race and policing" and "policing and brutality" fight (it hardly rises to the level of "debate") drives me half crazy.

Do we even know if Chauvin's crime was racially motivated? I'm not saying it wasn't, but where's the evidence... and no, "this fits into a pattern of..." is not evidence. For one thing, you first have to prove that "the pattern" really exists, and second, consistent with a pattern or narrative isn't the same thing as evidence of.

So we have a whole lot of "humans being irrational" in this whole thing. As usual.

On police killings in general, you rarely see included in the conversation the possibility that killings by police are up because confrontations with violent crime are up. Again, I don't know if that's the explanation, but neither does anyone else. It's certainly possible that we see more police shootings because they're getting too good at being where violent criminals are.

It's obvious that Chauvin committed a murder. I normally don't make those pronouncements--let the courts do their job. But we're all pretty much witnesses of the act.

I don't think we're solving problems by extrapolating all sorts of pronouncements about race an brutality based on that. The pronouncements may be accurate, but solutions aren't going to be effective if they're driven by political commitments, narratives, or just feelings... because solutions depend on what the facts actually are. They depend on realities, not stories.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

dgszweda's picture

I think you miss the point of "Defund Police".  It is not to eliminate police entirely.  It is to transform how we structure police.  We have built a society that views problems and seeks to correct them by laws.  They then structure police in such a way as to force those laws.  Police more often than not enforce laws by using overwhelming force.  They are not trained to de-escalate, but to overcome resistance through the use of force.  So if we take a situation like homelessness.  We can create laws to restrict or criminalize homelessness.  We can then send out police ill equipped to deal with things like mental illness, drug addiction and send them out to round up the homeless, using any means necessary and route them through the criminal system.  That is one way.  The alternative way would be to defund some of the police, divert the money to resources better equipped to deal with homelessness, drug addiction... and help address the root cause of the issue.  No one is saying eliminate all police, it is to restructure and divert funds and resources into solutions.

WallyMorris's picture

Some people in the protests and occupations HAVE stated they want to eliminate the police completely. Others have defined the phrase as "transformation", but transformation into what?. A mixed message.

"Police more often than not enforce laws by using overwhelming force." - Do you have proof of this statement? My knowledge & experience with police is that they use "overwhelming force" only when they are forced to by violent people.

Instead of reducing police budgets to "deal with homelessness, drug addiction...", a better approach would be to ADD to city budgets to "deal with homelessness, drug addiction...". Why focus on reducing police budgets instead of another agency? Reducing police budgets won't solve police brutality. For example, why not reduce the budget for "diversity training"? That is a program that is a waste of money & often used for ungodly purposes.

Of course "We have built a society that views problems and seeks to correct them by laws." Secular society does not have any other way to handle problems. Counseling? Since secular counseling ignores the root sin issue, successfully solving someone's problems are sporadic at best. Practical help with work, a place to live, etc? May be helpful, but without solving fundamental causes, such as alcohol, drugs, family alienation, etc. the problems continue. My wife and I have worked with secular agencies trying to help people, often court-mandated. We have seen the sincere but basically ineffective attempts by secular counseling to help people. Usually focuses on anger management, life structuring, and medication. When we have attempted to gently introduce more fundamental solutions that focus on sin/heart, the secular agency did not appreciate it.

What we are seeing is the result of a society that has rejected Christ and tried to improve itself and solve problems by other means and is now frustrated and angry because those other means are not working. Always room to improve police training and hiring criteria. But the problem is not the police. The police cannot solve society's problems. And when forced to respond to people breaking the law, whether a violent criminal or a homeless person living on public or private property, their job is to enforce the law for the safety of everyone. And if someone resists the police trying to enforce the law, the police have to do what they are required by law to do.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

dcbii's picture


dgszweda wrote:

No one [emphasis mine] is saying eliminate all police, it is to restructure and divert funds and resources into solutions.

That's clearly not true.  See the following (was free early on, but now behind the pay wall):

It was literally calling for abolishing the police, believing reform would not be enough.  You're certainly correct that not everyone thinks that way, but it's not clear which percentage are thinking "abolish" vs. "reform."  One hopes the majority is the latter, but who really knows?

You'll note 1. This opinion piece appeared in the NY Times, not some leftist blog, 2. It met their opinion standards where Tom Cotton's calling for using troops to restore order did not, and caused apologies and loss of jobs.  If the Times is representative of any sort of majority thinking on the left, they sure went out of their way to make it look like they support the most extreme interpretation of "Defund the Police."

Dave Barnhart

Aaron Blumer's picture


What we have going on with funding is a nexus of factors. COVID-19 has hurt, and will continue to hurt, city budgets and state budgets quite a bit, so we have:

  • Anarchists and other radicals who have always wanted to overthrow the system, including policing: small minority but empowered by the current wave of frustration by the less radical left
  • Less radical left that wants to reform criminal justice broadly (including policing, but not only policing) -- currently empowered by a wave of national sympathy by the center and even the right.... thanks to Mr. Chauvin and others of his ilk before him.
  • Center and center-right that just wants to see these killings of unarmed black men stop somehow.
  • COVID-19 financial pressure on cities and states
  • Politicians who have to get reelected but also have to, in many cases, make tough funding allocation decisions

When you take that last bunch (which overlaps with several of the previous) in the context of the rest, you have a % of elected officials who are definitely going to use the wave of interest in punishing/fixing policing as a way to cut their budgets and look good for doing it.

So if you have to cut your budget anyway and there's a political wave saying "cut it here, not there," and you're an elected official, what are you going to feel like doing?

But some of them will just talk it up big, knowing their legislature or city council is not going to go for it, but they get some political bank for the rhetoric.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Larry's picture


It's obvious that Chauvin committed a murder.

This type of statement should not be made. "Murder" is a legal declaration that involves a number of elements. My guess is that most people cannot even identify the elements required for murder (of course someone can google it now), nor can they show that Chauvin's act meet that standard. They have not interviewed him. They have not interviewed any witnesses. They don't know the police regulations. 

It might be murder, but such judgment should be made by the proper authority.

Mike Harding's picture

To date 27 police officers were murdered in cold blood while on duty this year alone, and we are only in June.  Blue lives matter too.  Yesterday in Grand Rapids, one police car was riddled with 24 bullets from several gunmen during a protest.  The officer miraculously survived.  One of my BCS grads, Mark Priebe, who is a veteran police officer was run over by a "Peaceful Protester" right in front of the station.  He may never walk again.  BLM is a self-described Marxist organization bent on the destruction of this nation and has an anti-family pro LGBTQ agenda and is openly hostile to Western Civilization including "white Jesus" who is a "symbol of oppression".  All bad cops should be prosecuted for their bad behavior.  Fortunately, the vast majority are good cops.  They are here to punish evil and reward the good (Rom 13) as the sword of human government.  Defunding the police will only create more crime, murder, rioting, looting, poverty, and destruction.

Pastor Mike Harding

dcbii's picture


"Council advances plan to dismantle Minneapolis Police Dept",the%20killing%20of%20George%20Floyd.

"The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously approved a radical proposal to change the city charter that would allow the police department to be dismantled, following mass public criticism of law enforcement over the killing of George Floyd."

The article mentions a long road ahead for this process, but the fact that they are even considering it should give you a pretty good idea of what they truly intend.

Dave Barnhart

Bert Perry's picture

While I stand by earlier comments regarding not continuing to use force when a suspect is cuffed/unconscious/without a pulse and not going anywhere or doing anything, the actual prosecution is going to hinge a lot on toxicology and what responsibility the officers had to see he was in respiratory distress.  I would guess that the degree of pigmentation in his lips would make a difference--whether one could easily see them turning blue or not as you would with a caucasian.  Also important would be whether someone can be more robust to opioids than average, and whether the officers were carrying any Narcan.  I've read it's done in the MPD.

Regarding the varying responses to police brutality and other issues, my take is that this is why it's very important to have a proactive response that addresses the key issues, and to have a set of reasons why certain responses would not be a good idea.  For example, my response to the notion of reparations is that I oppose them because I want to do better for African-Americans--a one time payment to someone who's never learned to handle money leaves them off worse than before, as thousands of lottery winners can attest.  Let's see what we can do to create opportunity and character instead.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

As others have noted, many are proposing that police budgets be severely cut.  There are multiple reasons this ought to be suspect.  First, there are no clear examples of which I'm aware where cutting police budgets severely gets the job done, either in terms of apprehending and prosecuting criminals or in providing good community relations.  Second, the example they give--that of Camden NJ--police budgets were maintained and even increased to approximately double the # of police officers on the beat, among other things.

Finally, the desired end state is a place where people know and trust officers, and to achieve that, you've got to have them doing things like going into coffee shops and helping kids with flat tires on bicycles.  Perhaps there is a way of gaining trust without doing the full Mayberry/Andy Griffith, but my initial response to the notion of delegating most of the non-violent work to social workers is that it would be likely to militarize police even more while giving the public the impression that when the police come, heads are going to be banged.

Keep cutting police budgets and delegating non-felonious apprehensions to social services, and you're going the wrong way, and that's going to hurt minorities the worst.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

JohnBrian's picture

Why Derek Chauvin May Get Off His Murder Charge

There are six crucial pieces of information — six facts — that have been largely omitted from discussion on the Chauvin’s conduct. Taken together, they likely exonerate the officer of a murder charge. Rather than indicating illegal and excessive force, they instead show an officer who rigidly followed the procedures deemed appropriate by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). The evidence points to the MPD and the local political establishment, rather than the individual officer, as ultimately responsible for George Floyd’s death.

CanJAmerican - my blog
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JD Miller's picture

dgszweda stated,

Police more often than not enforce laws by using overwhelming force.  They are not trained to de-escalate, but to overcome resistance through the use of force. 

What is your source for this statement?  I am a former sheriff's department chaplain and your statement is not at all reflective of the people I worked with.  Perhaps those in the rural are where I served got special training or something or could it be that the assumption that police are not trained in de-escalation is invalid?

JD Miller's picture

Here is an video of a confrontation between a protestor and some police officers over the issue of race.  One of the black officers told her that the solution was Jesus Christ.    Of course not all officers are Christians but it is encouraging to know that many are.  When I was a chaplain we had Christian men who were praying for the people they arrested as well as for their coworkers.

Bert Perry's picture

John  Brian, that was a well reasoned article, but one thing that strikes me about it is that it misses what I, were I to be called as a juror, would hold as a central set of issues; the question of whether force continued to be used long after the suspect was cuffed and no longer capable of resisting/causing a ruckus?  Question #2; in using force, did the officers fail to address the reality that their arrestee was unconscious and perhaps in need of a dose of Narcan or other medical help?

Perhaps state law (federal, city, whatever) allows the police to continue using force when the suspect is no longer capable of resisting.  If so, count me in support of changing the law.

Another issue that may free the officers; many lawyers are pointing out that the evidence points more clearly to a lesser charge than the ones filed.  Overcharges often lead to exonerations.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture


"It's obvious that Chauvin committed a murder."

This type of statement should not be made.

It's not a statement I would normally make. I think I noted that already maybe? Let the courts do their job. I probably should have said "It's obvious to me, and I'm not alone" or maybe "it's obviously a murder in the popular, not legally technical sense of the term."

Kind of like we say abortionists are murdering babies.

Of course, defense is going to argue that Chauvin didn't realize he was killing him. This is quite likely true, because calmly and intentionally killing a man in front of many witnesses you know are there watching is such a self-destructive act for a cop (or anybody, really), who would make that choice? But most of us are looking at the situation in moral terms, not legal ones. He clearly took a man's life in a situation in which he was responsible for the moral equivalent of murder...  because he had no excuse for not knowing, for not finding out, for not listening... on and on it goes. Morally, it's murder, and the legal parsing is of minor importance relative to the morality of the act.

As for MNPLS PD policy, as someone who typically reads about 60 police dept policies a month in detail, I'm skeptical. If I were a defense lawyer, I'd go for that defense. Juries are often readier to blame an entity over an individual. But was there a policy that said kneel on a guy's neck until long after he ceases to move and becomes silent? Not a chance.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Aaron Blumer's picture


Minneapolis PD's Use of Force Policy

Entire Policy Manual

The UOF policy does have some recent additions. They're dated. (e.g., 5-303.01      DUTY TO INTERVENE)

Graham v. Connor is referred to quite often in UOF policies, so this bit is not unusual...

5-303 AUTHORIZED USE OF FORCE (10/16/02) (08/17/07)

Minn. Stat. §609.06 subd. 1 states, “When authorized…except as otherwise provided in subdivision 2, reasonable force may be used upon or toward the person of another without the other’s consent when the following circumstances exist or the actor reasonably believes them to exist:

When used by a public officer or one assisting a public officer under the public officer’s direction:

In effecting a lawful arrest; or

In the execution of legal process; or

In enforcing an order of the court; or

In executing any other duty imposed upon the public officer by law.”

In addition to Minn. Stat. §609.06 sub. 1, MPD policies shall utilize the United States Supreme Court decision in Graham vs Connor as a guideline for reasonable force.

The Graham vs Connor case references that:

“Because the test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is not capable of precise definition or mechanical application, its proper application requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including:

The severity of the crime at issue,

Whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and;

Whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.

The "reasonableness" of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of the reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.

The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments - in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving - about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.”

Authorized use of force requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each case. Sworn MPD employees shall write a detailed, comprehensive report for each instance in which force was used.

There's a section calling officers to attempt de-escalation. Then this..

5-305          AUTHORIZED USE OF DEADLY FORCE (08/17/07) (08/18/17)

  A.    Statutory Authorization

Minn. Stat. §609.066 sub. 2 – “The use of deadly force by a peace officer in the line of duty is justified only when necessary:

·         To protect the peace officer or another from apparent death or great bodily harm;

·         To effect the arrest or capture, or prevent the escape, of a person whom the peace officer knows or has reasonable grounds to believe has committed or attempted to commit a felony involving the use or threatened use of deadly force, or;

·         To effect the arrest or capture, or prevent the escape, of a person who the officer knows or has reasonable grounds to believe has committed or attempted to commit a felony if the officer reasonably believes that the person will cause death or great bodily harm if the person’s apprehension is delayed.”

 B.     United States Supreme Court: Tennessee v. Garner

In addition to Minn. Stat. §609.066, MPD policies shall utilize the United States Supreme Court decision in Tennessee v. Garner as a guideline for the use of deadly force.

The Tennessee v. Garner case references that:

“Apprehension by the use of deadly force is a seizure subject to the Fourth Amendment’s reasonableness requirement.”

“The use of deadly force to prevent the escape of all felony suspects, whatever the circumstances, is constitutionally unreasonable.”

  C.    Sworn MPD employees shall recognize that:

·         The use of a firearm, vehicle, less-lethal or non-lethal weapon, or other improvised weapon may constitute the use of deadly force.

·         This policy does not prevent a sworn employee from drawing a firearm, or being prepared to use a firearm in threatening situations.

     D.    For the safety of the public, warning shots shall not be fired.

     E.     Moving/Fleeing Motor Vehicles

1.      Officers are strongly discouraged from discharging firearms at or from a moving motor vehicle.

2.      Officers should consider their positioning and avoid placing themselves in the path of a vehicle when possible. If officers find themselves positioned in the path of a vehicle they should, when possible, tactically consider moving out of the path of the vehicle instead of discharging a firearm at it or any of its occupants.

F.     Officers’ Actions that Unnecessarily Place Themselves, Suspects, or the Public at Risk

1.      Officers shall use reasonableness, sound tactics and available options during encounters to maximize the likelihood that they can safely resolve the situation.

2.      A lack of reasonable or sound tactics can limit options available to officers, and unnecessarily place officers and the public at risk.

I rarely see Tennessee v. Garner cited in UOF policies but it doesn't seem important.

Prosecution might argue that a section calls for hobble restraint rather than some kind of hold/knee to neck: 5-316          MAXIMAL RESTRAINT TECHNIQUE (05/29/02) (06/13/14) (07/13/17) (04/02/18).

There is a lot in this policy on methods of restraint, e.g. below (MRT is not a choke hold but can result in inhibited breathing, so the rule is there to avoid letting that happen...)

B.     Maximal Restraint Technique – Safety (06/13/14)

1.      As soon as reasonably possible, any person restrained using the MRT who is in the prone position shall be placed in the following positions based on the type of restraint used:

a.       If the hobble restraint device is used, the person shall be placed in the side recovery position.

 The portion on choke holds has been updated, but did exist before. I don't know how the previous version read...

5-311 PROHIBITION ON NECK RESTRAINTS AND CHOKE HOLDS (10/16/02) (08/17/07) (10/01/10) (04/16/12) (06/09/20)

(D) Neck Restraints and choke holds are prohibited. Instructors are prohibited from teaching the use of neck restraints or choke holds.

It looks like choke holds were in some way limited since as long ago as 2002. It would be interesting to see how earlier versions were worded.

Well, this is a digression from the main topic, but it's something I would have done anyway for my own education as part of my day job, so... thought I'd pass it on.
(Any policy based defense of Chauvin is going to have to contend with clear calls to use Graham v. Connor "reasonable" force alternatives to what he actually did. I'd say I wish him luck, but I don't.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

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