Today I went to church and had fellowship afterwards. Titus set up a wireless speaker and my smart phone so I can now get driving directions while I am driving. Penny got runs both going and coming from church.

While several hundred protestors marched in Grover Beach and Arroyo Grande against police brutality and racism on Friday, several rifle wielding men stood on rooftops to guard against looters and vandals, leading to heightened animosity between local conservatives and liberals.

In San Luis Obispo County, dozens of protests have been primarily peaceful but there has been some looting and vandalism. In some larger cities, opportunists and vandals appear to have utilized protests over the death of George Floyd to loot and vandalize.

They looted businesses, burned down buildings, and shot or assaulted people trying to defend their property.

During a half dozen protests in SLO County, motorcycle clubs have lined the streets to protect the communities from looting and vandalism. Before and during protests, some business owners close early, others board up their buildings, and some wait inside with guns or baseball bats.

Before Friday’s protest, John Hackleman, the owner of The Pit Martial Arts and Fitness, posted a YouTube video noting looting in other areas, and warning that he would be protecting his property. He said that he has had to close his business because of the coronavirus, which appears to be a “hoax ‘in our area because they are now letting large protests occur.

“I say protect free speech, but this free speech is turning into violence, brutality, murder, destruction of property,” Hackleman said. “We will be watching our gym. Walk quickly when you go past The Pit. Run past The Pit, don’t even f**king look at it.”

During Friday’s peaceful protest, men with rifles stood on the rooftops of a barber shop and The Pit Martial Arts and Fitness. They appeared to hold the rifles pointed down at the rooftops and did not point them at protesters.

Following the protest, liberal Grover Beach Councilwoman Mariam Shah said her son would no longer attend The Pit, and chastised the owner for “turning assault weapons on your own community members with different views,” according to a Facebook post, even though the owner of The Pit did not point his gun at protesters and his stated purpose was to protect his business.

Hackleman responded angrily, calling those asking for a boycott of his business “pathetic.”

“If someone breaks into your business or home, what the f**k are you supposed to do?” Hackleman wrote. “If you want to boycott The Pit because we were willing to protect ourselves and our neighbors from evil, violent, predatory, opportunist rioters, you do not want to come to The Pit, believe me, and we don’t want you there.”

Others have chimed in on social media, some asking for a boycott of The Pit, other calling the owner names.

“Some ‘family’ friendly place you are, with armed thugs brandishing weapons on your roof at peaceful marchers,” Anthony Toohey wrote on Facebook. “We don’t need trash like that in our community.” By “trash” I assume he means people who are willing to protect their property.

During the LA Riots in 1992, a group of business owners in Koreatown, dubbed the “Rooftop Koreans,” stood on top of buildings, armed with rifles to protect their community from looters. They were revered as heroes.

One Central Coast resident is helping her neighbors stay optimistic during the pandemic through her passion for playing piano.

Lee Ann Vermeulen moved to Morro Bay after spending 35 years of her life in Amsterdam.

When COVID-19 prompted stay-at-home orders, she started opening her garage doors and playing piano for one hour each Sunday.

Vermeulen says she wants to give people a chance to focus on something other than the pandemic.

“It’s very powerful, it’s very personal, but it’s also something you can experience in a group,” pianist and artist Lee Ann Vermeulen said. “It has a definite energy that people feel and recognize. it’s not a logical process, it’s an emotional and spiritual one.”

She says her neighbors come out and watch her play from a safe distance and often invites other musicians to play with her.

Former House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy told “Sunday Morning Futures” that “defunding the police is the single dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”

“Who is going to process crime scenes, arrest bad people?” Gowdy, a Fox News contributor, asked during an exclusive interview with host Maria Bartiromo. “Who is going to enforce any law, child sex abuse, homicide? Who is going to do it if it’s not the police?”

Gowdy made the comments after a recent push to weaken law enforcement in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Days after Floyd, who is black, died when a white officer knelt on his neck, Black Lives Matter announced a “call for a national defunding of police,” and notable Democratic voices as well as celebrities have echoed the sentiment.

Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who appeared with Gowdy on “Sunday Morning Futures,” agreed, saying defunding police is “a ridiculous idea.”

“It is not an idea whose time has come. It should never come,” Scott said.

“The absolute nation requires law and order. We need order in our streets and the easiest way to have that is to have a strong presence of character-driven law enforcement officers.”

Scott then brought up the fact that he recently reintroduced the Walter Scott Notification Act, which requires states to report deadly shootings by law enforcement officers.

Walter Scott was a black motorist who died in 2015 after running from a white police officer during a traffic stop and then struggling with the officer who ran after him. The officer testified that Scott grabbed his Taser and he then shot him, firing “until the threat was stopped,” which is what he said he was trained to do.

“One of the reasons why I proposed … [the] Walter Scott Notification Act [was] to get law enforcement agencies to report the data on the use of force that leads to death,” Sen. Scott explained on Sunday.

“Without that actual information in an aggregate value, we don’t really know what’s going on.”

He went on to note that “fewer than 45 percent of agencies actually report their information to the FBI so I think it would help all of us to get a clear picture of what’s going on within the law enforcement community.”

“Within communities of color, the issues with law enforcement are much broader than who shoots whom,” Gowdy said. “I mean that’s incredibly important, but it’s arrest rates, it’s sentencing disparities, it’s access to bond, it’s access to diversion programs.”

Gowdy then told Bartiromo that Sen. Scott, who is black, “was stopped seven times as a public official, seven times, the man your viewers are looking at was stopped by law enforcement, he was stopped from entering the Capitol even though he wears his Senate lapel pin and looks like a CPA.”

“I look like a gangster and don’t wear my House lapel pin and I was never stopped,” Gowdy, who is white, said. “So, the problems are much broader than just who shoots whom.”

The calls to defund police departments come as uniformed law enforcement officers across the nation suffered injuries during George Floyd protests that turned violent in some cities, with officers being pelted with bricks and bottles. A police officer in Las Vegas was shot in the head, while police in New York and New Jersey were injured by bricks and rocks. In Los Angeles, one officer suffered a fractured skull and officers in other cities suffered injuries in hit-and-run incidents.

Valerie and Phillip discuss their upcoming wedding plans after church

Dorla and Marilyn carry on a conversation after church.

© Copywrite MPFitch

Published by mpfitch

I am a retired disabled veteran and am actively involved with a Baptist Church on the Central Coast of CA. I am a photographer who likes to shoot portraits and scenic photographs.

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