A “California” solution to a legal problem


Stephen Ausmus/USDA

Bumblebees are eligible for protection as endangered or threatened “fish” under California law, a state appeals court held in a win for environmental groups and the state’s Fish and Game Commission.

The Sacramento-based California Court of Appeal reversed a lower court’s ruling Tuesday for seven agricultural groups who argued that the California Endangered Species Act…expressly protects only “birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and plants” – not insects.

While “fish” is “commonly understood to refer to aquatic species, the term of art employed by the Legislature … is not so limited,” Associate Justice Ronald Robie wrote for the appeals court…

“Accordingly, a terrestrial invertebrate, like each of the four bumblebee species, may be listed as an endangered or threatened species,” Robie wrote, joined by Acting Presiding Justice Cole Blease and Associate Justice Andrea Lynn Hoch.

Matthew Sanders of Stanford Law School’s Environmental Law Clinic hailed the decision as “a win for the bumblebees, all imperiled invertebrates in California, and the California Endangered Species Act.”

Of course. And it’s easier than trying to nudge California legislators into doing something useful.

Look at it!

Jeh Charles Johnson. homeland security secretary, 2013/2017

After the mass murder of children in Uvalde, Tex., America desperately needs to bring the true horror of mass shootings home — through pictures. We need an Emmett Till moment.

I am surprised that when I make this reference, multiple generations of Americans, White and Black, know what I mean. For those who don’t: Emmett Till was a 14-year-old Black youth who dared to say something sassy to an adult White woman in Mississippi in August 1955. For this “crime,” Till was abducted, tortured, shot in the head and dumped in a river by two White men who were later acquitted by an all-White Mississippi jury.

At Till’s funeral, his mother insisted on an open casket for her son, to in effect say to the world, “Look what they did to my boy.” Photographs of Till’s body, dressed in a suit but with a bloated, mutilated head and face, became an international spectacle, burned into the conscience of anyone who saw them. The images helped spark the civil rights movement, including the Montgomery bus boycott that began three months later in December 1955. Time magazine called the image of Till’s body one of the 100 “most influential photos of all time…”

Certain images do more than speak a thousand words. Some actually reveal to us what no words can adequately convey. Images have the capacity to shock the conscience into action, galvanize a population, and alter the course of history…

JCJ

Someone will have to say, “YES” to this request. Let the coppers release the worst images. Let our “Free Press” have a chance at showing these pictures to the nation, to the whole world. If we can’t bear to look at them, maybe we’ll work harder at stopping these crimes against humanity.