Ferguson

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Ferguson

Postby KeithE » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:00 pm

The most recent newsletter from http://www.txbc.org has 4 articles on the Ferguson MO police shooting and resulting situation.

Scott Stearman - a St Loius moderate BC pastor.

Alliance of Baptists.

Russell Moore from the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Alan Bean from the Friends of Justice - a Peace group.

Which article do you think is most appropriate at this time?

There is one article that states a point of fact that I think has been corrected. Which one?

I’ll give my answers after ya’ll give yours (if anyone is still on BL? awfully quiet as of late).

BTW, the Texas Baptists Committed is an excellent weekly source of news of interest to Baptists everywhere.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Sandy » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:54 pm

My wife is a native of St. Louis, grew up in the city itself, and I met her there while serving in missions on the north side, which, in the city back in the 70's, was where most of the African American population lived. Racial tension was high back then, inside the city itself, where the population was about evenly split, white-black, but there was a line through the city that could be seen on a map between the majority black neighborhoods and the majority white neighborhoods. The church in which my wife grew up, and where I served for two years in Christian social ministry, was literally right on that line. Long, hot summers caused a lot of racial tension to simmer, and sometimes erupt. There were few African Americans in law enforcement, from the police force up to the justices of the peace and the courts.

The system was ripe for exploiting the destitute and the poor. Of course, in the 70's, there was discrimination in hiring, the schools were segregated, and I saw a lot of discrimination in the business community. There were two of us on the mission team, and most of our work was daytime, backyard Bible club ministry in the large housing projects that were just blocks from the church. It was the first time I had ever really encountered people who really didn't have equal opportunity in life, since most of the parents and grandparents of the kids we worked with were born before the civil rights movement. Even in the 70's, there was visible discrimination and oppression. Apparently, as African Americans moved to the northern suburbs, the opportunity still eludes them.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Timothy Bonney » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:57 am

I was in the St. Louis area most of this week though not in Fergeson.

We don't yet have conclusive information about how the unarmed teen was shot or why. I hope full information is forth coming.

My own impression is that the Ferguson police messed up when they started with what looked for all the world like a military style assault on the neighborhood. It also appears from reports that some of the officers egged on protesters and behaved in unprofessional ways. The release of an unrelated video in which the police accused the deceased of having robbed a store made things worse because, as I understand it, the police officer who shot him would not have known of this incident anyway. So it looked just like an attempt to smear the reputation of the killed teen as some kind of justification for the killing.

I think the Governor of Missouri is working very hard to try to help a very bad situation and try to clean up a mess that Ferguson police made worse. In no way am I excusing the violence or looting. But there have been more than one instance when the police use what appeared to be exsessive force to break up peaceful demonstrations leading to further escalation.

What a mess!
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:18 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:I was in the St. Louis area most of this week though not in Fergeson.

We don't yet have conclusive information about how the unarmed teen was shot or why. I hope full information is forth coming.

My own impression is that the Ferguson police messed up when they started with what looked for all the world like a military style assault on the neighborhood. It also appears from reports that some of the officers egged on protesters and behaved in unprofessional ways. The release of an unrelated video in which the police accused the deceased of having robbed a store made things worse because, as I understand it, the police officer who shot him would not have known of this incident anyway. So it looked just like an attempt to smear the reputation of the killed teen as some kind of justification for the killing.

I think the Governor of Missouri is working very hard to try to help a very bad situation and try to clean up a mess that Ferguson police made worse. In no way am I excusing the violence or looting. But there have been more than one instance when the police use what appeared to be exsessive force to break up peaceful demonstrations leading to further escalation.

What a mess!


I think you described it well. This is a mess for which we do not have enough facts to draw meaningful conclusions, and it appears that facts are being held back in fear of inciting more responses that could be violent, an event that fuels even more suspicion.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Timothy Bonney » Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:43 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:
I think you described it well. This is a mess for which we do not have enough facts to draw meaningful conclusions, and it appears that facts are being held back in fear of inciting more responses that could be violent, an event that fuels even more suspicion.


Yes, I agree David. I've heard more than one version of how the teen was killed and have no idea how to know at this point which is true if any of them.

Something that I see contributing to this is "white flight" of anglos to the suburbs in St. Louis. St. Louis county and St. Louis City are two entities with different tax rolls. So as the white folk have fled the city it has left St. Louis with a smaller and smaller tax base for police, fire, infrastructure, schools, etc. So this has led to a segregated rich St. Louis county and poor St. Louis city and while Ferguson isn't in St. Louis City proper it is one of those areas that has been improvrished by the white move westward in the metro area. This level of segregation of resources and living leads to a lot of misunderstandings and misperceptions about people from one part of the community who can't possibly know what is really going on in a part of the community they are never in or may even avoid.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Sandy » Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:56 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:
I think you described it well. This is a mess for which we do not have enough facts to draw meaningful conclusions, and it appears that facts are being held back in fear of inciting more responses that could be violent, an event that fuels even more suspicion.


Yes, I agree David. I've heard more than one version of how the teen was killed and have no idea how to know at this point which is true if any of them.

Something that I see contributing to this is "white flight" of anglos to the suburbs in St. Louis. St. Louis county and St. Louis City are two entities with different tax rolls. So as the white folk have fled the city it has left St. Louis with a smaller and smaller tax base for police, fire, infrastructure, schools, etc. So this has led to a segregated rich St. Louis county and poor St. Louis city and while Ferguson isn't in St. Louis City proper it is one of those areas that has been improvrished by the white move westward in the metro area. This level of segregation of resources and living leads to a lot of misunderstandings and misperceptions about people from one part of the community who can't possibly know what is really going on in a part of the community they are never in or may even avoid.


When my wife was growing up there, and probably you too, Ferguson was an overwhelmingly white community, and a place where many whites from the city were moving in order to escape the inner city. It was actually development of the freeway system, and expansion of the airport, that hemmed in communities like Ferguson, St. John's, Berkeley, and Overland, by cutting off surface street access, and the airline traffic flying over that particular area reduced the property values, opening the doors to minorities, particularly African Americans, fleeing the even poorer conditions in North St. Louis, much of which is now abandoned and rotting. The problem stems from the fact that large expanses of suburban St. Louis County, with a patchwork of multiple small municipalities once developed and sealed off to protect white flight property values and maintain segregated schools, are now majority African American in population, but the whole county governing structure is still majority white, including the law enforcement, which is shared across municipal lines. To my observation, the disenfranchisement of the African American community in suburban St. Louis county has been very deliberate, calculated, and oppressive. Can't say its the case in this situation, but I've seen, in many places, a predominantly white police force that will, on occasion, instigate incidents, or use them, to assert their authority and power in a predominantly minority community. The statistics are pretty clear that the law is not applied equally. Combine that with a hot summer, and school vacation, and what is a constantly simmering pot can easily come to a boil.

Violence is never justified. It happens, though, because in moments of extreme frustration, people who feel powerless, and who often are from a political perspective, see it as the only way to get the attention that their cause needs, and vent frustration at the same time. Looting, while for some is a means of gaining for themselves something they couldn't buy, is really the most effective tool in the hands of the powerless and disenfranchised, because it reaches into a group that has disproportionate power and influence, and it touches them where they feel it most. A shooting in the street may or may not draw the attention of the police, but looting a store, or setting fire to one, will certainly get them there quickly.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby KeithE » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:28 pm

Surprisely I liked Russ Moore’s article the best.

Alan Bean’s article led off with I think is a false story that the officer was arresting Michael Brown for the theft of the cigars caught in tape earlier. I believe he was stopped for walking down the middle of the street (correct me if I’m wrong).
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Re: Ferguson

Postby KeithE » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:57 am

KeithE wrote:Surprisely I liked Russ Moore’s article the best.

Alan Bean’s article led off with what I think is a false story that the officer was arresting Michael Brown for the theft of the cigars caught in tape earlier. I believe he was stopped for walking down the middle of the street (correct me if I’m wrong).

Well late yesterday the purported officer Wilson’s side of the story has come out. And Alan Bean may be right and Officer Wilson’s actions should be more understandable. Too many unknowns.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Sandy » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:18 pm

There are always two sides to the story. There are those who think that the delay in removing Brown's body from the street was a pause to give the police time to come up with a story, and witnesses, to avoid charges. The eyewitness accounts seem to support the contention that Brown was raising his hands to surrender.

The bottom line questions in this case are pretty much the same as they were for Trayvon Martin. Opinions about it run along racial lines. But this is about race, social and economic class, opportunity, and equality. What if MIchael Brown were white? Would he have been shot? What if the cop had been black, and Michael Brown had been white? Would the cop be protected from prosecution?

The inequality and oppression that runs along racial lines is still going on.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Neil Heath » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:57 pm

Regarding the theft of cigars, I've read that the store video shows him paying for some cigars, and then leaving others on the counter that he didn't buy. They also report that the store owner did not call police to report any theft. The video is online, but I can't tell much from it.

I also read a post supposedly from the hacker group Anonymous which said they had disabled some of Ferguson's infrastructure, with a warning that if the police did not release the shooter's name right away, then they would do it. The name was released that day, I believe.
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Couple thoughts and a true test for Russ Moore

Postby Stephen Fox » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:02 pm

First, here is what's right with America. the Jackie Robinson Little league team and the New England Coach gutfelt sportsmanship in a tough loss.

http://espn.go.com/watchespn/player/_/id/1891802/

Take 8 minutes to listen to this historical framework:

http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/08/19/f ... dred-scott

And let's have Russ Moore come to FBC Montgomery, Alabama and address this indictment of how the Tea Party is playing in Alabama. Maybe it's not too late for Moore to get on the agenda at FBC Spartanburg Life and Liberty Conference and address this as well as strong case to be made there is no Tea Party without the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention:

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/1190 ... se-alabama
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Re: Ferguson/Af Am pastor in st Louis

Postby Stephen Fox » Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:12 pm

"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
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Tom Edsall's masterful framework on Ferguson

Postby Stephen Fox » Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:56 pm

Tom Edsall covered the 86 SBC in Atlanta for the Washington Post. I've known him ever since but by no means in his inner circle. I still think his 83 New Politics of Inequality obliquely defines the motivating force for Pressler's role in the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention and expressed that thought to President Carter in the from of a question in 93 in Birmingham:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/20/opini ... egion&_r=0
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McCluer HS football and the Big Sort

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:38 pm

I posted on the facebook wall of the Ferguson HS today, McCluer, and wished their football team well. Great story on them over last weekend on NPR.

And here is another great framework for those who go deep in this thicket

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/arc ... on/378928/
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Sandy » Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:35 pm

The grand jury has the evidence. It's hard to speculate on what that is, though it seems like the weight of the original eyewitness accounts, and the available video supports the contention that he was shot while raising his hands to surrender. It also seems like the police officer's story took a while to develop, and that there was some 'testing of the waters' before they actually released information. Of course, all you get in the media reports are sound bytes, but this sort of thing has been common in the St. Louis area for a long time, white-dominated communities and police forces treating African Americans differently, profiling and using excessive force.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Mrs Haruo » Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:38 am

St Louis is not the only metropolitan area where racial profiling is a problem. Here in an unincorporated county area south of Seattle, a good friend of mine who serves on several local government agencies and happens to be black came to the latest business association meeting after a memo circulated in our county sheriff's department with some rather racist remarks prior to an anti-gang crime sweep got leaked to the public. She said her son, while driving home from night classes at a local university to get some sleep before going to his day job has more than once been pulled over and interrogated for the crime of "Driving while Black"- a common occurrence if you take the shortest way home through residential neighborhoods to avoid traffic on the freeway. :brick:
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Timothy Bonney » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:00 am

Apparently now there are two police officers suspended for racist remarks in other parts of the St. Louis area. One for giving a speach at some club in which he makes remarks about being a killer and another for suggesting that the protesters in Ferguson should have been "put down" the first night of the protests.

Mrs. Hauro, I'm appalled at how many times I've heard about being stopped for "driving while black" from friends and colleagues of mine. This kind of racial profiling is highly disturbing and apparently it happens all over the US.

What concerns me is that it appears that there are some people in law enforcement for reasons other than to "protect and serve." It seems to me we have a few (hopefully only a few) who get off on the power trip of being the police.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Sandy » Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:07 pm

I think the conspiratorial fear mongering of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, and their train of wannabees, has contributed to an "us vs. them" mentality, and when it comes to "protect and serve" it is to protect and serve "us" meaning good American WASP types, and "them" meaning anyone of a different race who thinks differently, holds different political views, and reacts to the lack of opportunity that has been caused by racism and prejudice. The fear that has fueled arms sales (to the immense and substantial profiteering of gun manufacturers and dealers) has also put this high level of fire power into police departments that are staffed by wannabee soldiers, with some racist militant elements among them. St. Louis county law enforcement has had this kind of reputation for a long time.

It's the same attitude that breeds the attempts to pass laws to restrict voting in ways that are aimed at suppressing the vote of any group of people, or individual, who doesn't think like a white person "ought to" think. What have you gained if the only way you can win an "election" is by suppressing enough votes from the other side to actually be a majority? And it's the same attitude that prompts ignorant phrases like, "We have to take back America?" Take it back from what? It hasn't been taken anywhere. It's as American as it ever has been or ever will be.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Timothy Bonney » Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:24 pm

Well said Sandy!

I have serious concerns about the growing possession of military style weapons by both police and civilians. When civilians can possess and carry high powered weapondry then law inforcement feel they have to have the same thing. It just ratchets up the fire power and the danger for all concerned. Again, I've got no problem with someone owning a hunting rifle for deer hunting or whatever. But why we let people own some of the stuff that we now allow people to own is beyond me.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Ed Pettibone » Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:02 pm

Ed: What exactly does either of the last two post preceding this have to do to do with the situation in Ferguson, Mo.? In my opinion, any police department should be equipped with the beast available equipment, some of which has been initially developed for the military. And we need enforceable, enforced laws to prohibit their possession and use by criminals.

I see some of the post in this thread and in the thread about sending the Westbroro group of Topeka to Iran, in the same light as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck's rabble rousing.

I will agree that there are some power hungry police officers, just as there are some power hungry Pastors, professors of religion, seminary Presidents and Christian School Administrators.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Sandy » Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:16 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: What exactly does either of the last two post preceding this have to do to do with the situation in Ferguson, Mo.? In my opinion, any police department should be equipped with the beast available equipment, some of which has been initially developed for the military. And we need enforceable, enforced laws to prohibit their possession and use by criminals.

I see some of the post in this thread and in the thread about sending the Westbroro group of Topeka to Iran, in the same light as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck's rabble rousing.

I will agree that there are some power hungry police officers, just as there are some power hungry Pastors, professors of religion, seminary Presidents and Christian School Administrators.


First of all, there's an underlying resentment and prejudice under the surface in many communities in this country, especially in places like St. Louis county, where you have a white population that's moved to the suburbs to avoid close contact with a black community that they don't understand, and blame for crime and violence in the neighborhoods they've left. And then you have the black community beginning to move into areas that were once the exclusive domain of whites. The patchwork of municipal governments, created to protect property values and stop blacks from moving in, represents community attitude.

Sometimes, a catalyst can come along and use the fears and prejudices of people for political or economic ends. Enter Rush the Lamebrain. This is his home turf, he cut his teeth on racism that you can cut with a knife, in the St. Louis suburbs. And while I will concede that most police officers are dedicated to service, there are those, too, along with the politicians who put their leaders in place, who can be prompted by fear into preparing for the war they keep telling us is coming in order to "take America back." What better way to be prepared than over-arming a police department with gear designed to mow a maximum number of people down in a minimal amount of time.

The arsenal that the Ferguson police unleashed on protestors in the early days of this incident is exactly what these last two posts have to do with. That, and what has come out about several St. Louis county police officers and their attitude toward people with different racial background and way of life concerns me greatly.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Timothy Bonney » Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:17 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: What exactly does either of the last two post preceding this have to do to do with the situation in Ferguson, Mo.?


Sometimes Ed I wonder if we are talking about the same thread.

The connection is that the Fergeson police far from having the usual police gear marched into the streets wearing what looked like military style uniforms, armor, weapons, etc. It looked like an invasion force. And the appearance of the police that way actually escalated the fear, panic, and maybe even the potential for violence. If you read around the net you can easily find articles that are critical of their early heavy duty response which is one of the reasons that the Governor of Missouri took control from the Ferguson police chief and gave it to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

So far, as a native of Missouri and the St. Louis metro, I think Sandy here has the most accurate take on the mood and situation in the community. It is hard to understand a metro area you've not lived in or near. I was in St. Louis during desegregation busing. Racial tensions have been a problem for decades in the community.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Sandy » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:06 pm

I was there in the late 70's, and worked in ministry right along the line through the city that separated white neighborhoods from black. The church in which I served had a lot of members who drove back in from the suburbs, and some of them were going through the same things in their suburban neighborhoods that they had encountered in the city, as the black population migrated into the northern suburbs, like Normandy, Berkeley, Overland, Pine Lawn, and began to hit the southern boundary of Ferguson. I think the airport expansion, which took out a lot of neighborhoods just west of Ferguson, landlocked the area, and hastened the increase of the black population. There were frequent eruptions of violence, as police clashed with neighborhood residents, much of it prompted by perceived police brutality toward blacks.

I lived in Hyde Park-Bremen, on the north side, in a flat with one other Baptist missionary, in a four flat building with a Ukrainian family, an inner-city single mom and her 15 year old son who was a promiscuous drug dealer, and a black newlywed couple. The neighborhood was the last remaining mixed area in the almost totally black North St. Louis. I rode the bus back and forth every day, sometimes at night, and never felt threatened, even when passing some of the most notoriously violent and dangerous housing projects in the country at the time. Most of the time, changing buses at Washington and Grand, I was the only white person riding north.

The racism was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The common phrase, that the blacks were "taking over everything" and "look what they've done to the city" were heard frequently. It was quite difficult to minister, attached to an all white, Southern Baptist church, but it was actually one of the few in the city that was willing to at least make an effort, mainly VBS and reaching kids, not adults, and providing a weekly food distribution to the elderly who lived in the housing project up the street. We also had a ministry to people in City Hospital, a charity medical facility, and that is a whole other experience.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:23 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: What exactly does either of the last two post preceding this have to do to do with the situation in Ferguson, Mo.?


Sometimes Ed I wonder if we are talking about the same thread.

The connection is that the Fergeson police far from having the usual police gear marched into the streets wearing what looked like military style uniforms, armor, weapons, etc. It looked like an invasion force. And the appearance of the police that way actually escalated the fear, panic, and maybe even the potential for violence. If you read around the net you can easily find articles that are critical of their early heavy duty response which is one of the reasons that the Governor of Missouri took control from the Ferguson police chief and gave it to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

So far, as a native of Missouri and the St. Louis metro, I think Sandy here has the most accurate take on the mood and situation in the community. It is hard to understand a metro area you've not lived in or near. I was in St. Louis during desegregation busing. Racial tensions have been a problem for decades in the community.


In the first place none of us have been there in the past few weeks. As I read it manny citizens of the area where inflamed by the shooting of a young unarmed blak male, and began rioting . a strong force of police with standard riot gear where dispatched to the area to quell the riots, thus protecting the local residents black or white. It seems the rioters recognizing they where out manned and under prepared backed off. No additional serious injuries or destruction of propety. Mission accomplished.

What did you want the police to wear, tennis shoes and kaci shorts and T-shirts and ball caps and carry BB guns. Go back to the article in Ethics Daily by the African American pastor / former police officer and I think we have possibly the most level headed reasonable report and helpful suggestions I have seen With that kind of leadership in the community I don' think anyone in Iowa, upstate NY, or in Rural PA have much to say about the situation. I have been acquainted with a few policemen that I saw a fine christian gentlemen and the gentleman that I was pictured with on the cover of BT after we hosted the BFN meeting a few years ago is a pastor in our association and a former NYC police officer and he will tell you that during his twenty plus years on the force he was no angel and knew few who where, but isn't going to argue with a police officer who is doing his or her Job. I sure that if he felt he where mistreated he knows the proper channels through which to file a complaint.
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Re: Ferguson

Postby Sandy » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:38 am

Actually, the police had little success in putting down a "riot." If you pay attention to the news reports, when the police marched in to what was developing as a protest with their riot gear and their high powered rifles and equipment, it scattered the protesters, and led to a "riot", looting, and attacks on the police. If they'd just stood by, and allowed the protesters their right to assembly, it is likely the violence would have been minimal, and easy to control.
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