In the News: Week of June 14th

What happened in the world from June 14th to 20th

In the news this week

Attorney General Bill Barr tried to fire SDNY U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman Friday evening. Berman was leading an inquiry into Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s current lawyer, and successfully put Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, in prison. Attorney General Barr did not inform Berman that he was “stepping down” in advance, and Berman issued a statement after he heard the news that said, “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position.” Berman’s office has not shied away from investigating those close to Trump, and that ultimately cost him his job; after initially refusing to resign, Berman was fired by Trump on Saturday. Attorney Berman prosecuted and obtained a guilty plea from Cohen, and was investigating Trump’s private company and others close to Trump before the firing.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that gay, bisexual, and transgender workers are protected from workplace discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Until Monday, it was legal in over half of the states in the U.S. to fire employees for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The ruling was somewhat surprising, with conservative Justice Gorsuch (a Trump appointee) and Chief Justice John Roberts (appointed by George W. Bush) both coming out on the side of LGBT rights. The Trump administration urged the court to rule against gay, bisexual, and transgender workers, and after the decision Trump said, “some people were surprised, but they’ve ruled and we live with their decision.”

The Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration from dismantling DACA, the program that grants temporary legal status to children brought to the U.S. if they graduate high school or are honorably discharged from the military, and pass a background check. Conservative Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion, and reasoned that no detailed justifications for canceling DACA were given by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the acting secretary of homeland security at the time, Elaine Duke. DACA recipients have 200,000 children of their own who are U.S. citizens, and pay $60 billion in taxes every year. Trump said the decision was yet another one of the “horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court.” 

The former Atlanta police officer that shot a Black man outside of a Wendy’s restaurant twice in the back, and kicked the man as he was dying, was charged Wednesday with murder and aggravated assault. The victim, Rayshard Brooks, had fallen asleep in his car in the Wendy’s drive-thru. Brooks appeared “slightly impaired” and failed a sobriety test. When officers went to arrest him, Brooks grabbed one of their tasers and made a run for it. One officer shot him in the back twice as he was running away, killing him. The officers failed to aid the victim for over two minutes as he lay dying. One officer stood on the man’s shoulder, while the officer who fired the shots kicked the man. In an interview on Fox News Wednesday, President Trump said of the officer, “I hope he gets a fair shake, because police have not been treated fairly in our country.”

President Trump threatened protesters before his Tulsa, Oklahoma rally Saturday night. Trump held the first mega-rally of his 2020 reelection campaign in Tulsa last night. He warned protesters before the event that “you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” and that his rally would be a “much different scene.” Epidemiologists and health officials are worried that packing so many people into an enclosed space could accelerate the spread of coronavirus in Oklahoma, a state which has seen a record number of cases in the last few days, and other states attendees will be traveling from.

Headline of the Week: Officer ‘Karen’ taped crying at McDonald’s drive-thru ‘wanted to share that I hurt, too’

All these killings of unarmed Black people have really made it hard to be a police officer. Stacy Talbert, an officer from Georgia, was forced to wait several minutes for an Egg McMuffin meal! I can’t imagine the hunger pains and suffering she experienced while sitting in that drive-thru. When asked later about the video, the officer said, “Everybody lost the whole point of the video. I’m just so sick of people being mean.” By “sick of people being mean,” I hope the officer means “sick of cops killing Black people” and not “sick of this damn McDonald’s not treating me like I’m the most important person in the world.” 

Recommended Reading: Sit With Negative Emotions, Don’t Push Them Away

If you could never experience negative emotions again, and feel good and happy all the time, would you do it? 

In an influential Psychological Review article, two evolutionary psychologists argued that sadness and depression have “survived” evolution because they bring cognitive benefits. We could be happy all the time and only experience positive emotions, but negative emotions like sadness, anger, and fear have survived human evolution up to this point because they benefit us in some way.

Sadness makes us better at assessing reality in social situations, enhances our focus, and helps us learn from mistakes. Many meaningful and life-altering experiences are painful. Research shows that experiencing anger, fear, and anxiety teaches people how to cope with those emotions and creates an emotional resilience. 

We would not have appreciation for life without loss, and we can not fully appreciate happiness without first experiencing sadness. Negative emotions are an unpleasant part of life, but a necessary one. How would we even know whether or not we were happy if we never experienced unhappiness?

Although it sounds strange, take time to be grateful for negative emotions; for without the lows, the highs would not exist.

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