What a terrible fucking week. (And no, I don’t want to read your emails scolding me for my dirty mouth. Seven Americans are dead, so let’s talk about that with the outrage it deserves.)

This week gave us two new entries on that ubiquitous list of black Americans whose names will endure but whose lives have ended, at the hands of police officers.

And it saw five police officers lose their lives as they were protecting that ultimate tool of democracy – a protest.

Some weeks I have nothing to say in this space because there’s not much going on, and I can’t think of a single subject worth devoting even 300 words to. (Once I even wrote about our inter-office chat system. Sorry about that.)

Then there are weeks like this, which present their own unique kind of writer’s block – the kind where you want to say everything, but you’re drowning under the weight of all the words and thoughts and sadness and rage and exhaustion. So you say nothing instead.

Any time I try to put into words all the anguish I feel about Minnesota and Baton Rouge and Dallas, I stop myself. What if I write something, and it ends up displaying Mischa Barton-level cluelessness? Is this one of those moments where I should just shut up and listen? What could I write that would ever capture my own feelings, let alone contribute to a broader discussion?

Erin Evans, who as a black journalist from Dallas has a lot to say about the past week, expressed something similar:

Several times, I wrote a few words and quickly deleted them. Nothing seemed quite right — everything was too cheap, too boilerplate, too small for the impact that these deaths are having on not only the victims’ families, but also on every person who values black life.

That’s exactly it – nothing ever seems quite right. But Erin did eventually write something, and it’s a beautiful piece. And here I am trying, because what else can you do?

Here’s a start.

I want to support journalists who hold police officers and systems accountable, who grapple with prospective solutions and who help tell the stories of those who died so that they’re remembered as fully human, complete people – not just hashtags or Twitter fodder. I want to soak in the most valuable ways to help, even if they involve getting uncomfortable. And I want to take care of myself, because the last thing the world needs right now is another seething ball of rage.

What VOSD Learned This Week

We’ve heard a lot about which neighborhood schools local parents avoid. McKinley Elementary used to be one of those schools, but now it’s the opposite: More students want to get in than the school has spaces. Mario Koran examined how the neighborhood’s changing demographics played a role in the transformation. There was another big factor at work, too: money.

Most McKinley students go on to attend San Diego High. Mario also detailed the struggles that school has had over the last several years, and how a new principal is working to right the ship.

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A couple weeks ago, we told you about how Imperial Beach is trying to aggressively prepare for how sea-level rise will affect the community. Ry Rivard and Maya Srikrishnan found that Coronado, surrounded almost entirely by water, is taking a different approach: It’s choosing to do nothing.

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Many of San Diego’s civic debates have been around seemingly forever. (See: Should we build a new stadium?) One of those longstanding debates – whether offering free food to the homeless hurts more than it helps – has been revived lately.

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A lawsuit filed this week claims Randy Ward, the county superintendent, illegally paid himself as much as $100,000. The suit was filed by a taxpayer group represented by Cory Briggs.

One of the issues in the suit is a provision in Ward’s contract known as a “me too clause” – meaning any raises that he gives to teachers, he gets too. If those raises are found to be illegal, Ward could have to pay a lot of money back.

Those same clauses have also been an issue in Poway, where the superintendent there has a similar arrangement.

What I’m Reading

You can feel the depth of devastation and utter exhaustion in these pieces about the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by Kara Brown and Roxane Gay. (Jezebel, New York Times)

Emily Badger points out that there’s a double standard when Eric Garner and Sterling end up dead from police encounters over selling CDs and cigarettes, and mostly white Airbnb and Uber drivers who operate illegally don’t raise any eyebrows. (Washington Post)

This excellent investigation shows that common roadside drug tests used by police routinely produce false positives – but they keep using them anyway. (ProPublica)

These photos captured during and after the Dallas shooting are just incredible. (Dallas Morning News)

I was a little stunned but happy to see many conservatives on Twitter endorsing this excellent column on the uncomfortable truths that led to the Dallas shootings. (RedState)

Line of the Week

“I’m right here with you.” – The 4-year-old daughter of Diamond Reynolds, as Reynolds live-streamed her boyfriend’s death following a traffic stop.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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