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Jul 20, 2021, 8:14 AM (4 days ago) 
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Black Lives Matter: U.S. Policy to Blame for Cuba's Unrest
Recently, the Black Lives Matter movement posted a critical tweet, targeting the policies of the United States toward Cuba. 
The post condemned the U.S. government's "inhumane treatment of Cubans," and urged the U.S. to lift the economic embargo against Cuba. The tweet went on to blame the U.S. for the current crisis taking place in the tiny island nation. 
The organization also blamed the U.S. for the lack of a Cuban COVID-19 vaccine program and pointed to medical equipment shortages as another obstacle to better health care. 
According to the Twitter post, the U.S. has been trying to "crush this revolution for decades." And furthermore, "the lack of amity, respect, and goodwill on the part of the U.S. government has instigated suffering for the country's 11 million people - of which 4 million are Black and Brown."
Finally, the controversial group called for President Biden to end the embargo, which was characterized as a "blatant human rights violation." 
Secretary of State Antony Blinken disagreed with the prospect that somehow the U.S. was to blame, explaining that Cuba has a long list of problems and its citizens are tired of living under the "mismanaged economy," according to a report by Fox News. He went on to state the unrest is a "reflection of the Cuban people, not of the United States or any other outside actor." 
Many Republicans and Democrats have come out in support of the anti-government protesters. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, tweeted his support for the thousands of protesters. "It has brutalized & denied freedom to generations of Cubans, and forced my family & so many others to flee," he tweeted. "The American people stand squarely with the men and women of Cuba and their noble fight for liberty."  
The progressives in the Democratic Party are struggling to pick their alliances. While many Democrats support the Cuban protesters, most also support BLM. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT, who has been supportive of Cuba's communists in the past, has offered some measured support for the protestors' right to assemble. Other Democrats are calling on President Biden not to miss a "golden opportunity" to bring democracy to the island, leaving some, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, to stay quiet, possibly waiting for the storm to pass.
Canceling Police Dogs? They Can't Be Serious
Recently, Vice.com published an opinion piece by Kevin Maimann that suggested it was time to "cancel" police dogs. The author's argument indicates a "grossly disproportionate" use of police K-9s in pursuing people of color. 
He further expressed concern that police K-9s enjoy social media popularity and seem impervious to the scrutiny that law enforcement has encountered as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement. 
Maimann's article explains that Christy Lopez, a law professor who worked for the U.S. Department of Justice under former President Obama, believes the "cutesy public image" of K-9 officers "masks a broken system that is beyond repair." 
"It's such a metaphor for the way we whitewash policing. It's as if we're gaslighting ourselves. Why are we willfully ignoring that we pay our police department to buy and train ... dogs to attack humans?" Lopez said. 
The Marshall Project investigated over 150 severe bites and determined that many of them were inflicted on low-level, non-violent offenders. Another study looked at 33,000 dog bite injuries and found that many of the injured were Black males, further fodder for those who want to claim a racial disparity. 
Police K-9s are being scrutinized for indiscriminate biting and poor handler control. Additionally, the article cites studies that show inaccuracies among drug-sniffing dogs, arguing that the K-9s show handler bias, possibly leading to "dubious alerts" allowing justification for police searches.
The small number of incidents that result in wrongful biting injuries can mostly be attributed to poor handler training and control. Bob Eden, a 40-year veteran of dog training - and more specifically K-9 handling - firmly believes that this is about a lack of proper regulation and inadequate handler training. But he is still a strong proponent of K-9 police work. 
There are many circumstances where a K-9 incident may have prevented a much more dire outcome. He also cites statistical comparisons between dog bites and taser death. For example, there are three confirmed fatal police dog attacks in the U.S., while there are over 1,000 taser deaths. 
At ATP, many of us are K-9 owners and handlers. We spoke with trainers about their take on the issue. The consensus is that most poor, unintended results in K-9 police work revolve around inadequate vetting and training of K-9 officers who handle the dogs. The responsibility for poor handling falls on law enforcement department leadership and the private companies who provide dogs. 
Politics also plays a role in the controversy, particularly in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement. Because this is a matter near and dear to us and many of our fellow K-9-loving readers, we want to offer some in-depth analysis and personal insight.
ATP analysis: It was only a matter of time before the Left-leaning media used their distrust of law enforcement and assertions of systemic racism to expand to police K-9s.
Dogs of war have saved countless American lives overseas. We have staff members who can personally attest to this statement.
Police K-9s have proven equally effective in finding the missing or injured, as well as protecting innocent civilians and de-escalating dangerous and volatile situations.
Several members of Team ATP are handlers of specialized working dogs. Our dogs and others from Baden K-9 receive a minimum of 1 1/2 years of training prior to being paired with their handlers. 
Prospective handlers of Baden K-9s receive extensive training to learn how to be effective and safe with these highly skilled dogs.  We agree when a K-9 behaves inappropriately, it is due to ill-equipped handlers and sometimes dogs that are not adequately trained for their appointed responsibilities. In regard to accusations of racial bias, we would argue that accidental or uncontrolled biting is due to handler misuse or error, making for a dangerous situation. Race may not be a factor at all.  This is in no way the dog's fault. Perspective of a dog handler: I was paired with my dog when she was 13 months old. We spent one month training together before she accompanied me to Israel for the next nine months. We had many unique experiences in Israel thanks to its diverse society. Overall, Israelis love and welcome dogs. When encountering my dog, there was quite a bit more fear in the Arab population, despite her indifference to them. Another segment of the Israeli population who expressed fear of my dog were remaining Holocaust survivors. Their apprehension was due to the real-life horrors experienced in the concentration camps. German dogs of war were used against the Jews in terrifying roundups and for security in the death camps.
In spending time with Holocaust survivors, we never heard any of them utter anything about racism or feeling victimized by these specially trained animals. On the contrary, some even got used to my dog, and she was happy to comfort and love them.
The point is that although some training techniques and even the breed has survived three-quarters of a century beyond WWII, the horrors of genocide have nothing to do with the dogs themselves. They weren't biased like humans. They were obeying their handlers. The nightmarish K-9 aggression people encountered during the Holocaust was a direct result of evil humans who handled the dogs. 
That being said, when accusations of racism and bias are launched against American police K-9s, we have to first check for authenticity. Then when and if we discover instances of possible racism or bias, we must look to the handler and the leadership of a department for correction. 
Canceling police K-9s is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. More appropriately, it's time to take a look at where we can improve and vet both prospective handlers and trainers to ensure they are held to the highest standards in both their use of potentially weaponized K-9s, and their proper care of these very special animals.
To learn more about our amazing K-9s, check out our website and follow Super Scout and Regan on Instagram.