The Medl in News
it’s important that we don’t take his contributions to history for granted. It can be easy for stories like Dr. King’s to become larger than life and lose sight of the real struggle and sacrifice that went into ending the segregation era. Worse still, we can make the mistake of viewing his story in isolation instead of as a part of a long struggle for equality that continues to this day. Of course, I don’t know what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a person of color in this country, and I won’t pretend to. I only see the issues of racial inequality from the outside as an observer. But working in the criminal justice system as long as I have has given me plenty to observe, and it’s plain to see that we, as a country, need to do more to carry forward Dr. King’s dream. Civil rights are something I interact with every day as a criminal defense attorney. No matter who we’re representing, it’s our job to protect the freedoms granted to them under the Constitution, including the right to a fair trial. When fighting for those rights again and again, you start to notice that some cases are more of an uphill battle than others, even when dealing with the same charge. You begin to see the biases in the court system. Any honest defense lawyer will admit that it’s easier to get an acquittal for a white woman than a black man in otherwise identical circumstances. As hard as it can be to face, over 50 years after Dr. King’s death, there is still injustice in our criminal justice system.
A LESSON IN COURAGE
Honoring the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
What always stood out to me about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is his personal bravery. During the civil rights movement, he continually stood up for what was right at great risk to himself. He knew the political climate and that many wanted to silence him forever, and yet, he kept speaking. As we prepare to once again honor the life and legacy of this great American, we should draw inspiration from the strength of his moral conviction.
It’s not just that Dr. King continued to live in the public eye despite being the target of hateful, violent groups — it’s that he did so with such grace. If he feared for his life, he certainly didn’t show it. Greater still, he continued to promote change through nonviolence. To continue to march, protest, speak, and boycott in the face of heinous threats and acts of brutality takes courage and self-restraint in equal measure. I’m far from the first person to praise the moral conviction of Dr. King; his words, actions, and underlying bravery have inspired people around the world for generations. But I do think
So, as MLK Day draws near, let’s not simply remember his achievements as isolated acts of a heroic figure. Let’s honor his memory by living by his words: to love and serve humanity.
– Gary L. Medlin, Esq.
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NOW YOU SEE THEM . . .
The World’s Tiniest Animals
Tiniest Reptile: Pygmy Leaf Chameleon The pygmy leaf chameleon also calls Madagascar home, but at half an inch long at birth, it is much tinier than its primate neighbor and not much bigger than an ant. These reptiles are the smallest in the world. At night, they climb high into the trees to sleep — though, for them, this might only mean a foot or so off the ground. Just like their larger counterparts, the pygmy leaf chameleon uses its tongue to capture its prey. Tiniest Mammal: Etruscan Shrew At an average of 3.5 centimeters long and weighing about 2 grams, the Etruscan shrew is the smallest living terrestrial mammal by mass. These timid creatures aren’t keen on being startled. In response to sudden noises, they’ve been known to jump, faint, and even drop dead. Don’t be fooled by their small stature though; relative to their body size, their brains are larger than most creatures (even humans), and shrews have a higher metabolic rate than any other animal. Because of this, they must eat 80–90% of their body weight in food each day. Of course, these are only the smallest known animals in their respective categories. As scientists and conservationists continue to explore remote parts of the world, it’s likely they’ll uncover many more natural wonders.
Often, it’s the big animals in the room — er, forest — that get all the attention. But a look at their smaller counterparts reveals a bustling world of fascinating creatures. From reptiles no larger than your fingernail to tiny primates that only come out at night, these animals are proof that size is not a limitation. Tiniest Primate: Madame Berthe’s Mouse Lemur Jumping from tree to tree, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur is a tiny ball of nocturnal energy. At 3.6 inches long and weighing in at just an ounce, this is the world’s smallest known primate. First seen about 20 years ago in western Madagascar, it was named for charismatic conservationist and primatologist Madame Berthe Rakotosamimanana. While its body may be small, its large round eyes help it see in the dark, allowing it to catch insects for food. Found only in Kirindy Mitea National Park in western Madagascar, this species is identified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. While construction on the streets of Fort Worth is an exciting prospect for a growing city, it also means there are extra precautions to take when driving through these zones. Use these tips to navigate them safely so you can cruise into the new year. Plan Your Route There’s nothing more frustrating than approaching a construction zone when you’re already running late. They hold up traffic, set up reroutes, and sometimes don’t allow you to drive through at all. Because anger and frustration can lead to reckless driving and car crashes, it’s best to avoid this by simply planning ahead. Several websites and smartphone apps show you exactly which areas are affected by public construction so that you can figure out the best route to take to get to your destination quickly and safely. Practice Smart Driving Construction inevitably leads to debris, and workers may not always be able to prevent it from reaching the road.
To Drive Through Construction Zones YOU SHOULDN’T NEED A HARD HAT
Watch your path carefully and stay alert for wayward materials. Also, remember that construction affects everyone around you, including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, so be extra aware of their presence. Most importantly, slow down. Construction zones will post reduced speed limits, so make sure you keep an eye out for them and obey them. Slower speeds give you more time to react should you need to. KnowYour Rights Always go out of your way to make sure you’re practicing safe driving, but also be aware of the responsibility of construction companies or the Department of Transportation to provide a safe environment to travel through. If they fail to properlymark construction zones, don’t redirect you away from unsafe locations, or raise any other red flags that lead to your injury, you may be eligible to seek compensation. If you find yourself in this situation, call our office so we can help.
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UNDERSTAND YOUR RIGHT TO REPRESENTATION
Understanding what you are — and are not — legally required to do can save you a ton of time, money, and trouble. When dealing with the law, a rule of best practice is to never speak to the police without legal counsel. If you are summoned to the courthouse regarding an incident, do not go until you have obtained legal representation. Once secured, your attorney may be able to gather essential information from detectives and police officers before you are questioned. Often, an attorney may even be able to get the case dropped. The same advice applies if the police show up at your home. By insisting on legal representation before submitting to questioning, the likelihood that your case will be dropped increases, and the likelihood that you will unwittingly incriminate yourself (even if you’re innocent) decreases. If you are pulled over while driving and an officer asks you to step out of the vehicle, you should do so. While it is possible that the officer is engaging in illegal detention, it is also possible that disobeying the officer’s order could lead to more harm than good. Furthermore, in the event of unlawful detention, your attorney will possibly be able to get any evidence gathered against you thrown out.
Passengers should also comply when asked to exit the vehicle, although passengers are not required to provide legal identification. When requested, passengers should, however, supply officers with their names, dates of birth, and addresses. Once they’ve identified themselves to police, however, passengers and drivers are within their rights to refuse any further questions. Finally, when a police officer approaches your lawfully parked vehicle and motions for you to roll down your window, it is important to understand that your legal obligation ends the minute you identify yourself to the police. Here, once again, you are not required to answer any questions and should be aware that you have a right to full legal counsel before being questioned by the police.
Simple Pancakes From Scratch
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 tsp salt
Unsalted butter or canola oil, to grease skillet
1 tbsp sugar, optional
1. Heat a griddle or skillet to medium-low. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (including sugar if you like a sweeter pancake). In a separate bowl, beat eggs into milk. Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ones. Mix only until flour is moistened. Clumps are fine. 3. Add some butter or oil to the skillet. If the butter foams or oil shimmers, the temperature is correct. Pour in a pancake of any size, cooking until bubbles form, about 2–4 minutes. 4. Flip and cook other side for 2–4 minutes. Serve warm.
Inspired by The New York Times
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Reflections on MLK Day
2. TheWorld’s Tiniest Animals
Safely Navigate Construction Zones
3. Protect Yourself by Understanding Your Rights
Simple Pancakes From Scratch
4. Meet theWorld’s First Airport Therapy Pig
MEET THEWORLD’S FIRSTAIRPORT THERAPY PIG
How Lilou and Animals Like Her Calm Stressed-Out Travelers
Imagine you’re navigating a vast airport on a busy Saturday, shouldering your way through crowds and struggling to hear the PA system over the clatter of 1,000 wheeled suitcases. Suddenly, you see a pig wearing a hot pink sweater waddling toward you on a leash. Do you stop in your tracks? Does your stress level drop? Do you laugh out loud when you see its pink nail polish?
Lilou may be the only pig of her kind, but airport therapy animals have been a growing trend for the last few years. According to NPR, as of 2017, more than 30 airports across the U.S. employed therapy dogs, and these days, estimates land closer to 60. The San Jose and Denver airports have therapy cats, and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport even offers passengers the chance to play with miniature horses before boarding their flights. Therapy dogs started appearing in U.S. airports after the 9/11 terror attacks, which changed American attitudes about flying. They did so well at helping passengers calm down that airports began implementing permanent programs. Some have pets on hand 24/7 to assist passengers, while others host animal visits every few weeks or months. These days, regular travelers have fallen hard for their local therapy animals, many of whom even have their own Instagram accounts and hashtags. So, the next time you’re traveling, keep an eye out for a friendly pup, cat, pig, or horse to pet. A bit of love from an animal just might improve your trip!
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then you can sympathize with the passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and staff at the San Francisco International Airport. They get to enjoy visits from Lilou, the world’s first airport therapy pig, on a regular basis! As part of the Wag Brigade, the airport’s cadre of (mostly canine) therapy animals, Lilou wanders the airport with her humans, bringing joy, peace, and calm to everyone she meets.
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