Broadcasting Poison: An Irresponsible News Media Warps Public Opinion And Politics On Cop Shootings can this guy be a police shooting victim? I don't understand.

Wiat…how can this guy be a police shooting victim? I don’t understand.

There have been two disturbing police shootings of black men in recent days, both incidents partially recorded on cell phones.

In Falcon Heights, Minnesota, an officer fatally shot  32-year-old Philando Castile as he sat in a car with a woman and a child. A day earlier, 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot and killed during a confrontation with two police officers outside a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, convenience store where he was CDs. Neither of these cases have been investigated yet; the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. In both cases, however, the initial impressions of the incidents were those of relatives of the deceased: Castile’s wife and Sterling’s mother. Guess what they had to say about their deceased loved ones and the police who shot them

This is, as a judge would say in a trial, extremely prejudicial. The emotional and angry reactions of the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown seized and controlled the “narratives” in those two cases before the facts were confirmed and the fatal encounters clarified. Today, CNN presented Mrs. Castile, who  declared that placing the officer involved in her husband’s death on administrative leave with pay was proof of the low value placed on black lives. She, of course, knows what happened, and that her husband couldn’t possibly have been responsible in any way for his demise. The shooter should be punished now, by loss of his income, before any investigation has been undertaken or completed. He’s guilty—of racism, of murder.

Hers is an understandable but biased, emotional and unfair reaction. For that to be the first exposure many Americans have to the case is destructive to the legal process, the justice system, and law enforcement, as well as racial comity. Later this morning, we heard Castile’s child screaming: “Where’s my daddy? I want my daddy!” This is tragedy porn. Meanwhile, the police are demonized and condemned before the facts and sequence of event have been established.

Victim’s families should not be asked to give their opinions on such events when the responses add nothing to the public’s understanding of what happened and only biases them in favor of the idealized portrait of the victim. Yesterday, I heard Alton Sterling’s mother describe him as a gentle giant, and perhaps he was. Michael Brown, however, was also supposedly a gentle giant. The fact is that two police departments don’t know what happened, except that two officers shot and killed two black men. Maybe the cops were racists who executed the men. Maybe they were badly trained police who have a dangerous and biased fear of blacks. Maybe the shootings, or one of them, were justified. The investigators don’t know, I don’t know, you don’t know. The relatives of the dead men, however , are sure that they know: Racist cops once again killed black men. They are the last people who the media should be presenting to the public, and instead they are the first.

I googled “White suspect shot,” just for the heck of it. Google immediately directed me to the stories of the Castile and Sterling, though to be fair, it didn’t ask “Are you sure you don’t mean “black men shot”? Down the list of hits, however, was this story:

“Police in Fresno, California, found themselves in a face-off with a White mob protesting a shooting of a suspect. On June 25,  police responded to reports of a White male carrying a rifle on a residential street. Police confronted Dylan Noble, 19, at a gas station after a car chase for speeding down the street. According to police, Noble got out of his pickup truck, started to walk away and refused to show his hands. Fresno Deputy Chief Pat Farmer told reporters Saturday that “The subject made a statement that he hated his life and made affirmative movement to the small of his back at which time he was shot several times by officers at the scene.”The officers indicated they feared that Noble was reaching behind his back for a weapon and they opened fire. Noble was hit several times and later died during surgery at a local hospital. The two officers involved in the shooting were wearing body cameras. No weapon was found on Noble or in the vehicle.”

While the shooting deaths of the two black men received national coverage, only a few news sources have covered Noble’s death, which is at least as suspicious as those were. Nor has any national source interviewed his mother. Why is that, do you think?

No wonder Jesse Williams thinks no unarmed white men are shot by police.


84 thoughts on “Broadcasting Poison: An Irresponsible News Media Warps Public Opinion And Politics On Cop Shootings

  1. “The idea of a news broadcast once was to find someone with information and broadcast it. The idea now is to find someone with ignorance and spread it around.” -P.J. O’Rourke

  2. With the way the irresponsible media operates these days, it’s going to become nearly impossible to find a jury that is untainted by the irresponsible media. It seems inevitable that mob justice is going to work it’s way into our courtrooms.

    It’s sad.

  3. In the Sterling case we have not just video of the incident, from at least two different angles, but also several eyewitness accounts as well. As luck would have it, both police officers’ body cameras “fell off” at the same time, and the police also confiscated the security video feed from the store. Their car dash camera footage has not been released either. The footage that we do have matches the eyewitness accounts perfectly.

    As an interesting side note, we hear the officers screaming “Get down!”, after Sterling is already down, and “He’s got a gun!” when both of his hands were empty and pinned. They knew even though their body cams was not picking up anything visual, it could still pick up audio. Worse luck for them that two separate people were actually recording the whole thing.

    And for Castile, I think it was fair to interview the girlfriend. She was there and an eyewitness. In the video, during the aftermath of the shooting, the officer, with his gun pulled on her, tries to say that Castile was reching for his gun. She reminds him that he ordered Castile to reach for his id (shades of the gas station shooting in SC where the same thing happened, that man happened to survive). The officer does not correct her statement, probably because it’s true.

    I think the difference between Brown and these cases is, of course, video. It then becomes less a case of he said/she said, than “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” Interviews aside, people can look at the videos themselves and draw their own conclusions, especially in the Sterling case. If the police would be so kind as to release the footage that is in their possession, the public might also be able to draw conclusions from that as well.

    • Yes, I’m surprised Jack didn’t mention that most people’s first impression of the Sterling case was not the mother’s testimony, but the video.

    • The videos are evidence. There will be other evidence. We do not convict anyone, out of court, based on cell phone videos alone. We have seen in other cases where the video has been misleading. I agree that what we have seen looks bad, but no conclusions should be pushed by the news media or officials without due process, and parents and spouses literally contribute nothing but emotionalism and bias.

      • No, I get that the point is we shouldn’t rush to judgment of the officers or let emotion cloud our reason. But the article left out the existence of the video and seemed to imply that all we had to go on was the stories of the family members, which weakened that point.

        • That was more a barb for deery after his “You can’t understand because you’re white” nonsense from yesterday.

          But more to the point: The ‘facts’ of this case are still in contention. We’ve seen this time and time again… “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” and “I Can’t Breathe” being the most obvious and prolific. Lies. Lies told by family members, trumpeted by the media and ultimately proven to be lies, but only to the people who were still interested six months down the road. I hear people spout things objectively false because that’s hat they were told on probably close to a weekly basis, I’m going to hear those lies for the rest of my life.

          The cops here might be complete scummy asshats who belong to the KKK, have swastikas tattooed on their nipples and will show up to their hearings singing Turkey in The Straw, I have every confidence that the proceedings of this case will find that out, and if that is true, disseminate it.

          In the meantime, the media, having aggressively pushed these false narratives, have a legitimacy problem. Can you give me a good reason to trust their judgement in reporting when they’ve failed so miserably in the past? Failed, and not even recognised their failure? When the situations are always so similar it borders Pavlovian? This is the failure of the left: A good tragedy is never let go to waste. Wolf has been cried too many times for me to care.

    • Sterling: That police are put in a position that they have to wrangle a man on the ground; that he is obviously not submitting to the authority of the police; that he keeps struggling; that it requires increasing force to restrain him; and based on what I see in those videos, I can understand why this situation ended as it did.

      If the report was : Man weilding gun at convenience store, one must assume that police will approach it with the greatest caution. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube showing situations like this. I find myself 99.99% on the side of the police in almost every instance. I ask myself: Am I seeing through my bias?

      The shooting of the man in Minnesota — like most I watched the video — does not move me to jump to a position of condemnation of the officer. It seems fair to say that at the worst he made a mistake. That is, he misinterpreted signals. Or was ‘too jumpy’. But I have a great deal of sympathy for a man, a police officer, who wishes to preserve his own life as all police do. After watching 100 videos of recorded interactions between police and suspects, and those that turned into gun fights when guns were pulled and fired on police, I can fully understand that they must operate according to a strict protocol.

      But the real issue here is that facts do not matter here. Around the time of Ferguson a ‘narrative’ was spun and set into motion. It is THAT that has to be looked at. It does not reveal itself immediately. That is, the surface does not explain it. There seems to me deeply psychological currents that move now in people. What I see forming is a social and cultural rebellion. It starts with irrational anger, that anger gets fed and nourished, it is communicated into wide groups and there compounds itself. It takes on a life of its own and in a sense independent of reality. It gets established and gains legitimacy. I note that the NYTs has openly fed it over the last couple of years. Naturally, once it has been legitimized the next step in obvious: Taking up arms against the cruel oppressor. You’ve established the justification, you have affirmed it and cross-affirmed it, now the only logical step is to arm yourself against the threat.

      And then it makes sense to set up a sniper ambush on ‘the enemy’. It is a manifestation of a social will.

      Very strange things are afoot. Very strange sentiments. The social body is unwell. The social mind is showing symptoms. And the key is: How shall it all be interpreted? *Interpretation* becomes the issue.

  4. It’s simple: White people are privileged. If they get shot and killed, it’s no big deal. The system didn’t kill them. They probably deserved it because they’re white. That’s not newsworthy. Black people are victims of the system. A black guy getting killed is evidence of the inherent bias of the system. The black guys aren’t guilty of anything other than being black in a white system intent on killing them randomly. Their killing furthers “the narrative” and is therefore newsworthy.

    • I’ll take a running swing on it:

      It’s not surprising that innate biases would skew numbers in surveys like this. There are absurdities on both sides: 33% Of white people don’t think racism is a problem? They’re deluded. 66% of black people think they get treated discriminatory during a mortgage application? Also absurd. I think this video highlights a nation divided starkly along racial lines. I think it’s also a wonderful example of how people’s feelings and experiences tend not to reflect reality.

      • 66% of black people think they get treated discriminatory during a mortgage application? Also absurd.

        After controlling for a much as they had data for, they found that people in essentially the same financial situations got different mortgages depending on the color of their skin.

        The authors calculate the likelihood that someone received a high-rate mortgage, which is a federal definition that typically means that the mortgage carries an interest rate a couple of percentage points above the going Treasury rate. For instance, a first mortgage would be considered high-cost in this study if its interest rate was three or more percentage points higher. In this sample of eight major metro areas, an average of 14.2 percent of Americans had mortgages with high interest rates.
        The authors estimate that, all else being equal, black Americans were 7.7 percentage points more likely to have a high-interest mortgage. That’s a 54 percent increased risk.

        And those are the more recent mortgages. The history of mortgages, lending, and discrimination get much, much grimmer as you go back two or more decades.

        • “Was it racism or not?

          The economists hit on something surprising when they tried controlling for one more thing: the lending organization.

          Here’s what they didn’t find. There wasn’t much evidence of what we would consider traditional racism, like the kind reported in the 1992 Boston Fed paper. Individual lending companies appeared to treat everyone who came in the door more or less the same. (There was still a statistically significant but small difference.)

          “A huge amount of the differences in high-cost loans is not whites and blacks going to the same lender and blacks being given a much higher rate,” said Ross, one of the study’s authors. “Rather it’s the fact that there are big differences in the lenders that black and Hispanics are doing business with.””

          Read your own damn article all the way to the bottom next time.

          The fact of the matter is that mortgage applications amount to data entry. A clerk takes some data points, feeds it through a program, those numbers are subject to a ridiculously complex algorithm that produces a risk factor, an approval decision, and if approved usually a couple of options. That decision can be overturned by a manager, but managers almost never overturn that decision… Because if something goes wrong, they can blame it on the machine, but if they override the machine, it’s on them. Which means the vast VAST majority of applications are approved or disapproved by a program that does not KNOW the colour of your skin, and any perceived discrimination is psychosomatic.

          • Yes, but lending officers can, and do steer different customers to different products depending on the color of their skin…just like the article indicated. Minorities tend to be steered towards higher-interest loans, even though they might have the same qualifications to get a lower-interest rate loan (loan officers get more money on those products). As the article states pretty clearly, the loan product might be facially neutral, but the process of who gets which product is far from neutral.

            And as I noted, this is the more recent result. Most people when asked, have not gotten a mortgage in recent years, they are drawing on their memories of getting a loan from decade or more past, or their relatives’ experience in getting a loan. The survey reflects the experience of decades of hostility towards blacks in the housing industry, which has been far from neutral in the lending area. Some big lenders are still paying off fines levied against them because of their discriminatory practices. It is not absurd at all that a large majority of blacks would answer the survey the way that they did to this question.

            • Your article does not say that. Your article says that “Individual lending companies appeared to treat everyone who came in the door more or less the same.”

              If the contention was that banks tend to offer higher rates to poorer people, I’d say ‘Well yeah, duh.’ If you called that predatory, I’d waffle a little because there should be some kind of mitigation to higher risk, but generally agree. If you said that because black people are disproportionately poor, and so these predatory practises are racist per se, I’d say you were looking for equality of outcomes, reality be damned, and either a naive idiot, or a partisan hack, not mutually exclusive.

              When you say ‘It is not absurd at all that a large majority of blacks would answer the survey the way that they did to this question.’ I understand that it’s not absurd for them to think it, yet it remains an absurd belief, It’s a fine distinction, but an important one. When man had never sailed around the sea they believed the world was flat, and the horizon was the edge of the earth. It wasn’t absurd for them to believe that, but it was an absurd belief. And so the answer to infotainment like the video above is to really dig down and find the truth, and educate with it. Your article attributed 3.3% of the 7.2% disparity to discrimination. That’s 3.3% too much, but 66% of black Americans are NOT discriminated on during mortgage applications.

              • Note that the survey doesn’t ask whether the respondents themselves were treated unfairly. It asks whether blacks, as a group, were treated in a discriminatory fashion when it came to mortgages and lending. As I pointed out, and you keep reiterating, the answer, is yes, as a group, blacks are discriminated against when it comes to mortgage lending.

                “But they are only discriminated against a little bit!” It doesn’t matter. Any showing of measurable discrimination against black people is enough to respond to the survey as a “yes.” In this instance, it is whites who are delusional, not black people.

                • ““But they are only discriminated against a little bit!” It doesn’t matter.”

                  Of course it does. This sentence is the clarion call of the progressive… “Well, of course you caught us lying and inflating our statistics to suit our political means, but that isn’t important, it doesn’t matter how little discrimination there is, there’s discrimination. DESTROY THEM!!!.” Well, if it didn’t matter, why do those guys lie so much?

                  The answer is, of course, that scale DOES matter. 1 in 52 sounds much less impressive than 1 in 4, 2% sounds much less impressive than 23%, and in this case, 97% of black Americans are not discriminated against in mortgage applications. “But 3% are!” yeah, and that’s an issue we can work on, but I don’t think it helps anyone to foster a delusion of victim hood that the vast majority of people will not actually experience.

                  • Once again, it is not absurd for black Americans to say that as a group, black Americans are discriminated against when it comes to loans. It is the truth. They aren’t being delusional. As even you keep admitting, it is the simple truth. The truth. So…not absurd.

  5. Ok, there has got to be a few bad apples in some police forces who dislike minorities and are too quick to shoot and check out the threat later. However, being a cop has got to be a scary job with instantaneous decisions required. The military has its rules of engagement and so do the police. To conclude that the police are out to get minorities is prejudicial especially when one considers that their main purpose is to protect communities from crimes. The news media which seems to focus on the appearance racial injustice does a grave disservice to both the communities and the police.

  6. In this case, I don’t see anything wrong with CNN, or a new source, putting a family member on and getting opinions from them. Obviously they will be biased, to some degree or another, but many people will expect that. The media is not a court of law, they do two things mainly, report news and make money, and hopefully the two match up most of the time.

    Besides, CNN, and other media sources, would LOVE to get a police officer on there to tell their side of the story to balance it. But that’s not going to happen. For the police, it’s in their best interest not to for a few reasons. Obviously anything they say will be used against them in court, and with a long time of investigating most of the hype will be down if they actually do find they’re at fault. You can’t blame the media for putting on representatives for one side of a story if the other side refuses to go on the air.

    As for why these stories, yes, clearly there is some narrative at work, and it goes along with making money for the news media. I think the bigger thing is having video, these stories don’t have the impact without having the video to back them up. That’s what people see and remember (and click on news sites for, even Fox has the story about the black shootings on their page, for the same reason).

      • That’s not their fault though. Should every story not have anyone who is involved in it shown on the news, outside of first-hand witnesses, because clearly there is a biasness to whatever they are going to say? If a child is kidnapped, raped and murdered, should the parents be forbidden to be shown on TV because they’re clearly bias, and the media cannot balance it with the murderers side of the story? With terror attacks, how many family members do we see talking about the victims? Is that ok? Is any family member of a person lost on 9/11 not allowed to talk about it, unless they were also at the scene and witnessed it?

        I would also say the amount it undermines justice is small. Ohhh, it undermines public opinion about an event, particularly those biased to it to start with. But I would say in most instances justice gets served the proper way (we just have to hear people complain about it afterwards who were predisposed to their opinion anyway). There are exceptions, like indicting the Baltimore police, but even they were aquitted (not that it did not cause harm already).

        • Sounds about right. I’m not sure bereaved family’s emotions are news. Not only that, it’s an incredible invasion of privacy to broadcast their mourning on national television.

          Barring being witnesses themselves, they cannot add anything useful to the narrative. And if their goal is to be seen and heard by the nation, I’d be quick to remind them “get back to mourning your loss and less on political activism”

          • So should this end at just situations of murder or death? Should no person, in any news situation, be allowed to be interviewed, or speak in the media, if they have a bias in the situation? Let’s take the Clinton email situation. Should no Democratic official be allowed to speak about the investigation, unless they are privy to being witnesses to the actions, since they will clearly have a bias to it. How about a Republican official, since they will be biased on the opposite end on the issue? All they are doing is inflaming the public with a bias talk about the situation, usually with no inside information more then what the general public has.

              • No, I’m just arguing that it’s a fine line for where one thing starts, and the next stops. If the issue is not putting on someone because of biasness, where do we start and stop it? What makes it ok for people to be in media who are bias on one issue, and not another? You ARE making a distinction, but why should there be one? Why is one ok, and not the other? Why is it not ok for a family member of someone killed to be in the media, but, say, a party Democrat to be on defending Hillary?

                My point was I don’t see a problem with it, in either case.

  7. Clearly, the folks that read this thread are smart enough to recognize media biases, and bullshit. While I get Jack’s point about the credibility of certain family members, it’s pretty much the same media playbook for every type of provocative issue. Given the lack of police prosecutions, the media impact is negligible at best.

    To me, the more disturbing issue is that some are so quick to give the benefit of the doubt to police officers every single time. I’m struggling with why an officer would fear for his life or feel the need to use lethal force on a man in a car, with a woman and child, who clearly states that he has a gun and a concealed carry permit. What is there to be scared of? How ca that be a justification to shoot someone? If anything, the NRA should be up in arms about this. But I won’t hold my breath….

    • You have to give police the benefit of the doubt, though, because they place themselves in peril for society’s benefit. My father used to discuss this in the context of soldiers charged with war crimes in combat situations. The reverse, and what we have been seeing, is a presumption of racism and malice. Law enforcement literally becomes impossible under that burden.

      Agreed, in the absence of definitive video or reliable witnesses, the presumption of good will does protect bad cops. I don’t see a good alternative, though. Officer Slager is going to serve hard time for executing Walter Scott. Good. But we cannot begin every one of these incident with the media presenting biased and distraught family members saying that racist cops killed their good little boy.

      • I completely understand the the issues relative to police officers being in harms way. I can even live with some latitude based on numerous factors. But what angers, and actually frightens me about these cases is 1. The fear for safety defense. If you’re really afraid for your life, it might be time to find another line of work. Cops wear flack vests, and have a variety of weapons at their disposal. I always thought that their should be a hierarchy of force based on the individual situation. But it feels like regardless of the individual situation, the defacto police response is to use the most lethal option at their disposal.Why then should so many cops be so scared so often? I truly don’t understand this. 2. In instances of video evidence, we’re routinely asked to suspend what we see, in favor of an explanation by a “law enforcement official”. Too often, these explanations offer a technical justification for police behavior. 3. In cases where video evidence is not available, investigations are not transparent, take too long, and give the appearance of cover ups. 4. In the Minnesota shooting, I’m struggling with how a man who is in his vehicle, (with a woman and a child) complies with the officers request, and informs him that he has a gun and a permit is still seen as a threat while reaching for his wallet. Is that officers life really in danger? and if we make the leap and say yes, is shooting into a car under these circumstances the only available option? This officer, I suspect will be held accountable for his actions. But Philande Castile is still dead. And the media hasn’t unnecessarily provoked any of these facts. But they have fueled a story that was a grease fire regardless. And i don’t mean that as an ethics justification either…

        • You bring up good points. I had similar questions and so I began to investigate them. One thing I did was to talk directly with police in unguarded, off-duty situations. To ask them about the dangers they face, the tension, and the nature of the encounters. The second ‘educational tool’, in my own case, was making a decision to lear to use a firearm and getting professional training. It totally changed my whole understanding of weapons, firearms, and the sort of situation of a split-second incident where you have fractions of a second to make decisions. The other thing I did was to examine dozens and hundreds of videos about police encounters with criminals who draw weapons and use them; lunatics and schizophrenics with weilded arms in public situations who refuse to comply ; and then ‘sane’ criminals who push their luck to the limits in situations where they should immediately stop resisting.

          Weapons training makes you become 100% conscious that in a situation where you pull out your weapon — at that moment — you have crossed the line and you must be willing to fire it. If you cannot face that, and the consequences, do not have or resort to a firearm. Once you have gone through the training with a professional, and once you understand the dynamic — and in my case — it became much more easy to understand police attitude as well as ‘jumpiness’ when they make stops.

          The Black and also the Latino community in the US — this is just a fact — and I mean among a large section of them, listens to and takes on the attitudes of ‘ganstas’. I assume you have little idea how this ‘gansta’ mentality and the imagery has migrated all over the world and how it feeds violent and unruly activity? (I am originally from S America). The psychology of aggression and reaction is strong. This anger and resentment feeds a rebellious population wjo instead of channeling their energy in positive ways opts for a more glamorous but a dead-end gangsta life-sytle.

          And these are mostly the types that police have to deal with here in the US. A policeman told me: “It is 5% of the population that causes 100% of the problems”. I believed him. They face the same section day after day in unending and continued confrontations.

        • Urbanregor: “In the Minnesota shooting, I’m struggling with how a man who is in his vehicle, (with a woman and a child) complies with the officers request, and informs him that he has a gun and a permit is still seen as a threat while reaching for his wallet. Is that officers life really in danger?”

          Look into concealed carry. I’d imagine that if he had a weapon it was likely concealed in a special holster that fits into the inside of the pants (unless he had an exterior holster). These special holsters conceal the pistol very well and yet allow for quite and easy drawing of the weapon. It takes less than a second, or about 1 second, to get the pistol out and on target. Police are trained to operate in such murky situations — and they watch all manner of different training videos and study different contact situations and they learn what can go wrong and where, and these encounters are discussed in great detail and the protocols are put into practice as a result.

          It is possible that he had a weapon and did not inform the officer. The GFs word on the matter hold weight only up to a point. It is possible that he did not have a concealed carry permit (though my understanding is that open carry is allowed). There are numerous factors that will likely come out. Intuitively, it seems to me unlikely that this is a ‘Slager’-type situation. The officer who fired fired to stop a threat and he did so in accord with protocol that is rational. You fire as many times as it take to ‘stop the threat’. A handgun does not have a great deal of stopping power. Often it does not stop a person from struggling, firing shots, running away, or harming other. Even a mortally wounded person often has 10 seconds or hours when he is capable of acting and shooting.

          If you watch police training videos you will notice that no approach is made when a suspect is down and his hands are not visible and the location of his eapon unknown. It is not paranoia, it is police training. And it too is rational.

          • I appreciate your thoughtful comments, and we share a South American heritage. Both of my parents were born in Guyana, but I was born in the states. I continue to believe that cops resort to what should be the weapon of last resort too quickly. They have other options, especially in a traffic situation. If he approaches a car and the driver intends to shoot him, I simply find it highly unlikely that he’d tell him “I have a gun on me”. And from the officers reaction, he was clearly told that a weapon was in the car. The permit is really not relevant at this point. So the issue unfortunately gets back to ones of training, and fear. For an officer to assume that every person of color that he encounters is a thug or criminal that he should be scared of is not rational. Caution I can understand. Protocol, I believe in, solid training, absolutely. Although I’m not sure it would have helped if the officer had a minimal history of real life everyday encounters with people of color. The reality is that most Americans live in segregated neighborhoods, and have few real friends of another race or culture. Either way, the cops in both instances must be held accountable, and quickly….

            • To be fair there is no real or solid evidence that the victim told the officer her had a weapon. There is only the words of the woman in the car with him. It will take weeks and months to get a clearer picture of what happened there. Therefor, that he did tell the officer ‘I have a gun’ is hearsay. It is interesting to take the example — that he did tell him he had a gun — and then try to conceptualise how it is that the officer shot him. Why? It does not fit.

              Just as ‘FYI’: police make stops and come in contact with people who have warrants out for their arrest, or who are engaged in illegal transport of drugs, or any number of different things. If you take the time to watch any of the many videos that are available on YouTube (police stops, police shootouts, etc) you will quickly gain a sense of what they are up against.

              The video was shot after the even had happened and it reveals nothing of what happened before. It is necessary to take that into consideration. I do not believe what this hysterical woman says at face value. She is very consciously trying to ‘frame’ the encounter and channel it into her video feed.

              The issue of a concealed-permit IS relevant, or will become relevant. If he did not have a permit then he was carrying an illegally concealed weapon. The police come in contact with that all the time among the criminal class mostly. And it certainly is a relevant fact for police work generally and a stop particularly.

              I understand what you say about officers and ‘people of color’, and I am sure there is ‘typing’ that goes on. I have a sense that it is typing that makes sense though. Certain sectors of the population are more involved in criminal activity. There are also white areas — working class or low-income — with the same sort of tendencies (I mean a greater concentration of crime). Police know their policed areas and they also have to learn how to recognize ‘types’.

              “Although I’m not sure it would have helped if the officer had a minimal history of real life everyday encounters with people of color.”

              The officer has a Hispanic name: Jeronimo Yanez.

              And in the woman’s video that officer is heard saying ‘I told him not to reach for it!’ I have a feeling that he likely did tell him. And something happened, I don’t know what.

              If this man had a gun, and even if he had his wallet in his pocket, and even if he told him he had a concealed weapon, no sane officer would allow him to reach down toward his belt and out of visibility to get his ID! I can tell you this as a sure fact. He would have told him — constantly — to keep his hands within view. Something else likely happened here.

              • It seems like you’d like to have it both ways though. If you don’t believe the eye witness, (hardly hysterical by the way) or doubt the cop was told about the gun, why would he ask him for ID, then shoot him prior to his producing it? I think it’s more likely that he was told to get his ID, and in the process of retrieving it, he told about the gun. The cop got scared, over reacted or accidently fired. Either way, I continue to struggle with why he was shot. The cops reaction was also more akin to “Oh Crap, I messed up”, than to anything else.

                I would agree that we need to learn more about what occurred before the video rolled, and that she clearly was trying to frame the encounter. I believe it was to capture evidence in what she likely new would be a tough situation.

                Something else most certainly happened. You, as is your right and your experience are willing to give the cop the benefit of the doubt. I on the other hand, do not…..

                • In every instance that I am aware of, over the last few years, the suspect and victim had been either doing something really unwise (Tamir Rice), or actively resisting arrest. I know of no instance, except the case of the officer Slager who summarily executed the man running away in the park (his trial begins in December and I am interested to hear his defense) where there was no active resistance, active opposition and aggression.

                  So no, I do not ‘on the face’ believe the woman with her video upload. It is not because I am malicious though, it is because I have been observing, or think I have been observing, ‘social hysteria’ in action. From Mike Brown through each specific case. There is not one that I have seen where the outcome would not have been avoided if the suspect of the stop had complied. Each instance escalated through bad choices made by the suspect. In my mind this has importance.

                  The issue, as I see it, in a larger social context is rebellion and disobedience. That is the undertone here. Again, this is all my interpretation, and interretation is subjective, yet I think I am on to something. I think that in these instances we are witnessing the beginnings of a larger cultural rebellion with unknown consequences. Now, these specific incidents seen from that overall perspective, take on a different meaning. And please note that my use of the term ‘hysteria’ has some background in my discourse on this blog (which you are likely unaware of). Hysteria can also be cool and collected. I link ‘hysteria’ with somatic events: things that occur not in the ‘rational mind’ but in the sentiments. Social hysteria is communicated from person to person. It is participated in by groups. It is a complex phenomenon obviously.

                  It is impossible to say what this officer saw when approaching the car. (There were two officers in fact and if I understand right the shooter originally approached on the driver’s side, not the passenger’s). I know enough (of the little I do know) to know that an officer has to rely on signs and signals, tone of voice, and small details. Again, it is impossible to say what he saw and what he felt he had to deal with.

                  But yes, I do assume that the victim did not obey commands (like Mike Brown and numerous others) and was perhaps willing and even desirous of escalating a situation for unknown reasons. It happens ALL THE TIME. I suppose you’d have to say that this is my bias.

                  But it will be interesting then to see how it plays out and what new information is brought forward.

                  • I appreciate the explanation on hysteria, and while I’m a frequent reader of this blog, I participate sporadically. The concepts of blind obedience to police officers is not one you’ll be able to convince me of. It’s simply a myth as it relates to black folks. And that’s not to say that we as a race have no positive interactions with the police. It simply is to say that on any given interaction, it could go wrong regardless of how we behave, and we end up dead. I find it ironic that trained police are able to panic, act on impulse or instinct, and justify their actions even when they result in ones death. While unarmed, untrained civilians are expected to stay calm and do as their told, explicitly follow directions, with a gun pointed at them. You tell me. Who should be held to the higher standard?

                    • I can interpret. This is not a defense, just an interpretation. And then a few other details. When he turned around and very quickly reached into the cab, and when I saw it the first time, it looked like he was hurrying to grab something. That is how the officer interpreted it, obviously. In a split second he drew and then, following his weapons training, moved laterally to avoid offering himself as a target. In such situations one is trained to weave, or move back and forth, but not to stay in one spot that makes a target. The officer in this case seesm to have made a mistake of judgment but I am not sure if maliciousness of intent could or should be read into it. But based on the video along I’d say that he was waaaaay too jumpy. Maybe fault could be found for making such a rash decision. But that is what I interpret from the video.

                      One does not yet know what happened, or what the officer who shot did and why. Maybe no more video was taken, and maybe the supporting officer will carefully coordinate his story with that of the shooter? With all the attention going to be placed on it I doubt that lies will hold up well.

  8. Minnesota’s Governor says that race played a role in the MN shooting. He may be right. But maybe not. Either way, what an irresponsible thing for him to say.

  9. Just when it looks like the tide of public opinion has finally turned to a presumption that cops are the worst of the bad guys, along come shooters of cops like in Dallas tonight. But, no doubt, those shooters were merely protecting the crowds of protesters, at least, in their own minds. Cops – BAD! Everybody, fall asleep tonight chanting that to yourself – “Cops – BAD!”

  10. Urbanregor writes: “I appreciate the explanation on hysteria, and while I’m a frequent reader of this blog, I participate sporadically. The concepts of blind obedience to police officers is not one you’ll be able to convince me of. It’s simply a myth as it relates to black folks. And that’s not to say that we as a race have no positive interactions with the police. It simply is to say that on any given interaction, it could go wrong regardless of how we behave, and we end up dead. I find it ironic that trained police are able to panic, act on impulse or instinct, and justify their actions even when they result in ones death. While unarmed, untrained civilians are expected to stay calm and do as their told, explicitly follow directions, with a gun pointed at them. You tell me. Who should be held to the higher standard?”

    Could you explain what you mean about ‘blind obedience?’ I would begin to read too much into this if you did not explain what you mean by this.

    Do you mean that there are instances where people do not have to or should not obey police orders? Do you mean that a culture of ‘disobedience’, or a social attitude of encouraging disobedience to police orders, is to be encouraged?

    I have more to say but I want to avoid what I notice sometimes happens in forum communication: a mistatement of what another actually means.

    • Thanks for asking for the clarification. To begin, I, like every one of my African American male friends has had bad dealings with the police, and have had police guns trained on me. Very scary. What I mean by blind obedience is that as American citizens, we are under no obligation to do whatever a cop orders us to do. Obviously this changes if we’re placed under arrest. But in the initial encounter, we all have rights:
      You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud. You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home. If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
      Now you seem to be well versed in police policies. If I choose to exercise my rights and the cop doesn’t like the way I sound, or what I say, my rights could end right there. The concept of “obeying” is flawed. We don’t owe any police officer immediate obedience. We do have a responsibility to them to not lie, and to answer their questions or engage in a conversation in an attempt to clear up the situation.

      I don’t subscribe to, or encourage a culture or social attitude of disrespecting police officers. I actually do my best to avoid encountering them. Most black males have actually been warned as to how to behave with the police, and are not usually belligerent. But police officers, I’m sure based on their own experiences approach black males with far less respect than they would a white male in the same situation. This must factor into any honest discussion. It can’t simply be “do as the cop says and all will be OK”. All is not OK….

      This is one of the best online discussions I’ve been involved in, and is why I continue to read “Ethics Alarms”. Thank you….

      • This might interest you (speaking of rights and such):

        I’ve had guns pointed at me except not by the police. I have been robbed by criminals (not in the US though). That is neither here nor there except it is quite scary to have a gun pointed at you.

        I am going to have to do more research. There seems to be a difference of situation when someone is being stopped when a crime is suspected. In that case, and if there is cause, there are certain minimum things one has to do if asked. And if one does not obey one can be charged with ‘disobeying a lawful order’. In some situations we do indeed have an obligation to follow an order.

        I am curious to know more about your police encounters. In what situation were guns held on you?

        Of the major cases of police violence that have come to the fore, which ones seem most outrageous to you? (aside from the Slager killing which by all indications was an assassination in the heat of the moment).

        How do you interpret the Mike Brown case? What about Tamir Rice? What about Sterling? And what about the Minnesota incident? How do you weight each one?

        • I’ve previously commented in this forum on Mike Brown, and we’re likely to disagree. Regardless of his physical size, I’m always skeptical when an officer claims that someone reached for his gun. I think you have to be some kind of fool with a death wish to reach into a police car an try to take a gun off a cop. The case is bad on so many levels that I’d rather not debate it here. But I will readily admit that he was no saint. (not a crime) But at 18 years old few are, and none have fully developed brains. So anything could have happened.

          Tamir Rice breaks my heart. The boy was 12 I believe. I think kids this age play with guns in public parks most every day. Was it stupid? I’m honestly not sure. It’s within normal behavior for a child his age. He can’t control how police officers see him, and they were way too quick to shoot him. Ohio is a state where openly carrying a firearm is legal. If you’re going to have such laws, then cops cannot claim that black people are more violent or more often than not criminals, so their rights are to be violated at will. Even if this boy looked like a man, he was by himself. there was no risk to any other civilian. They could have approached him with caution as has been done with white folks openly carrying. And they could have connected the dots that someone in a park playing around might have a more innocent explanation than something sinister. They should have been convicted is my opinion.

          I’m troubled by Sterling because two cops were on top of him, and couldn’t contain him. He didn’t look like he was in great shape, and I think cops should be in good enough shape that two of them could handle him easily. The cop reaching into his pocket afterwards is extremely problematic, and if they had a heads up that he was carrying, why would they not disarm him from a safer distance, then try to cuff him? Is that not the procedure?

          The Minnesota case is by far the most troubling because there was a woman and a child in the car. A cop that fears for his life under those circumstances ought to retire.

          I’d be amenable to telling you my run in with the cops offline. It’s too emotional for me to risk on this forum. I do explain it to my students each year, and have to fight with everything I have not to cry in front of them each time. It hurts that much, and the incident was more than 20 years ago…

          • I guess you and I conform to a predictable pattern and one that is written about and the statistical studies that support it: I am inclined to understand that Mike Brown did assault the officer, and to believe that the investigation more or less indicated that as a strong possibility. It is not a question of being or not being a saint, it is a question (as I read it) of a whole string of choices.

            (I also do not doubt that in America the police are comparatively more intense in their policing. I’ve asked myself why that is. I have loosely concluded it is because a great deal of authority and power is conceded to them and that it is a cultural and legal tradition that when the police operate they do it with tremendous authority. I suppose this is the way that (most) Americans want it. Police in America do not stand down, back away, and otherwise reveal weakness. In situations of being provoked they come in with that much more force. I wonder if it is related to a strong notion of ‘rule of law’? (In other countries however they do everything in their power to deescalate confrontations).

            I would overall have to accept that the whole way that Tamir Rice’s situation was handled was bad right from the start. If indeed the report was that a man was flourishing a gun they should have hung back and not rushed in for their own safety. They might have used a radio from a distance. I can see many ways it might all have been avoided. Were officers inclined (more inclined) to shoot him because it was an AA? I’ll just bet that the asnwer is yes, and for a group of reasons, and not all of them cause to blame the police. Stereotypes, patterns of behavior, daily experience? Is that fair to say? (But there you have possible evidence of my own bias.)

            With Sterling, I also have watched the videos numbers of times. But I refer to my own weapons training to understand that when one is in a critical situation, and if it is possible that your opponent may have and may use a weapon, you have justification to end the threat before you suffer the consequences. If it turns out that he had a weapon — on him, under him, in his belt, and even within reach — the police clearly have justification. The video shows a struggle and a man who does not stop struggling! That tells me a good deal. It prejudices me. And it would too if he were white or any other race.

            Your thoughts on strength, or his apparent lack of it, do not have a great deal of fact to support them. There are many videos I could show you that indicate what a semi-restrained person can do, and I am thinking of one where a suspect puts a bullet right in the head of a police officer in a hand-to-hand physical confrontation. It is interesting that I have a rather cold attitude overall when considering these things. I really do think it must have been, and will be, a traumatic event for the child (and the woman). And yet I also know that criminals regularly put surrounding people in tremendous danger all the time. They often have no regard at all in this sense. And the police see this all the time. Five percent of the population cases 100% of the problem, and they share characteristics and habits. That there was a little girl there would not, just for that reason, impede a criminal in risking her or others. I think that is a simple fact.

            But I am not saying the victim was a criminal. I am speaking of overall police attitude, police procedure, etc. Time will tell what actually happened there (and maybe it won’t).

            I have no opinion on the Minnesota incident, except what I’ve already written. More information is needed.

            • We’re really not that far off, and regardless you’ve made your points in a manner that I truly respect, and will think about.

              When I was in college, I took a sociology course on the police. The professor had spent considerable time riding with police officers in Philadelphia, and did a good job explaining their behavior, thought patterns and risks associated with policing. This coupled with the stories from a [parent who’s an ex prosecutor, and my own experience have formed my opinions on the police. Yet I still am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in a wide array of circumstances. There is however a long, broad and quite racist history of the police and blacks. Much of it started as the civil war was ending and some of it has yet to change. But that’s a discussion for another day. As it relates to the Sterling case, from what I’ve read (and I’m not overly familiar with everything to date) a call came in about a man selling CD’s that had brandished a gun. The officers arrived knowing they had a situation where the “suspect” might be armed. I would have thought that the gun would be the first thing they dealt with, and from a distance, with their own weapon drawn. This might have happened, but if what we see them taking out of his pocket at the end is in fact the gun in question, this doesn’t appear to be a case where proper procedure was followed. But I’m no expert. My comments relative to his strength and a physical confrontation are with respect to why they would have physically engaged with a suspect known to have a gun on his person without disarming him first. In that context, I’m again confused and wanting more information, as I believe you are. We just have differing thoughts on what could have led to this point in the encounter. Both of us are speculating based on our own experience and knowledge base. But we’re also not name calling or disrespecting one another’s position.

              My biggest wish is that police do a better job understanding the 95% of us that don’t cause the problems instead of treating everyone, well that’s likely not fair-many, especially many African Americans as if they’re automatically a potential criminal. They’d make better decisions, and not be at any further risk to their own safety.

              • Thank you. This warrants more conversation. But I’m tired out. I learned a good deal here and have to think things over. Perhaps tomorrow. Thanks for engaging with me.

                In fairness to you I should say that I have not always very politically correct opinions. And I have been accused here of having racist ideas. Some on this blog interpret me that way. I am trying to define a ‘race realism’ and as well a conceptual position respect my own and all other identities. Also, I am involved in studying the Alt/Right and I am, this I admit, a Eurocentric. That is said by some to be racist, xenophobic, and much else as well. That ‘by the way’.

                I cut this out and put it in with my documentation:

                I hereby invoke and refuse to waive all of the following rights and privileges a afforded to me by the U.S. Constitution:

                •I invoke and refuse to waive my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Do not ask me any questions.

                •I invoke and refuse to waive my Sixth Amendment right to an attorney of my choice. Do not ask me any questions without my attorney present.

                •I invoke and refuse to waive all privileges and rights pursuant to the case Miranda v. Arizona. Do not ask me any questions or make any comment to me about this decision.

                • I invoke and refuse to waive my Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. I do not consent to any search or seizure of myself, my home, or of any property in my possession. Do not ask me about my ownership interest in any property. I do not consent to this contact with you. If I am not presently under arrest or under investigatory detention, please allow me to leave.

                •Any statement I make, or alleged consent I give, in response to your questions is hereby made under protest and under duress and in submission to your claim of lawful authority to force me to provide you with information.

                • Imagine for a moment, if a black person in America, exercised their rights in the same manner you do. Or in the manner of those in the video that you provided, which I very much appreciate. This speaks directly to my earlier comments relative to blind obedience. We as black folks have rights that we don’t dare exercise in the same manner as white folks. If we hand a laminated card with our ID to a police officer, I’m very skeptical that the response would be, “gee, this black person knows their rights and I should treat them differently”. Or at least the same as I would treat a white person with the same card. I think that this behavior by a person of color would escalate the situation negatively.

                  Imagine if an armed group of black men blocked the entrance to a neighborhood for whatever reason, in the manner that Cliven Bundy and his crew exercised their rights in Nevada and Oregon. I realize that someone was shot and killed in Oregon by the police. But this was after an extensive standoff. Do you really think that in the same situations the feds would have treated a group of black men the same? This is what we mean by white privilege. Although we’re all U.S. citizens, we are not all the same in how we are allowed to exercise our rights; rights that we supposedly share. The police will not, and video evidence has shown, do not respond to us the same. So when I hear people say, “do exactly as the police tell you”. I think most times we do. And still winf up with an ass whippin, or worse…..

                  • Imagine a black man exercising his rights like we do?

                    You mean like Mr. Hughes, the Dallas Open-Carrier, who remarkably, when he *didn’t resist arrest* and *cooperated with the police* managed not to be shot by the police in the middle of an ACTIVE SHOOTER situation?

                    Do you mean like that guy?

                    Imagine a group of armed black men blockading things?

                    Do you mean like the Deacons of Defense?

                  • “So when I hear people say, “do exactly as the police tell you”. I think most times we do. And still winf up with an ass whippin, or worse…..”

                    Funny though that the video evidence of the episodes you cite don’t seem to show too many people actually “doing exactly as the police tell them”…

                  • Urbanregor writes: “Imagine for a moment, if a black person in America, exercised their rights in the same manner you do. Or in the manner of those in the video that you provided, which I very much appreciate. This speaks directly to my earlier comments relative to blind obedience. We as black folks have rights that we don’t dare exercise in the same manner as white folks. If we hand a laminated card with our ID to a police officer, I’m very skeptical that the response would be, “gee, this black person knows their rights and I should treat them differently”. Or at least the same as I would treat a white person with the same card. I think that this behavior by a person of color would escalate the situation negatively.”

                    As you may have noted if you have read my two posts below from the weekend, it is my understanding that an entire and a very complex situation needs to be brounght out in the open and examined carefully. If now the focus is ‘What would happen if a black person, stopped under questionable conditions, set limits to a policeman’s interrogation by referring to the 4th 5th and 6th ammendment rights’, I don’t feel qualified to answer. I think you are working with a general supposition which is that all black people under all conditions and when stopped by the police under questionable conditions would not have their rights respected.

                    I don’t see this as having a great deal of bearing on the present issues, these police shootings which have people up in arms.

                    The 2 posts below that I wrote over the weekend go toward the essence of the issue(s), at least I think so. I am interested in this question of ‘white privelage’ and all the other issues that could be brought up. I feel at a disadvantage when the conversation narrows to some smaller point, since I do not see the smaller aspect as revealing enough about the larger issues, and so I am inclined to try to get the larger issue out into view.

                    • I’m in and out of class, but will try to think, and respond to at least a portion of your substantive post above later today. To start though, and in an attempt to add context, I’m posting an analolgy relative to white privilege for you to ponder.And I recognize that some folks can’t fathom such a concept:
                      Peggy McIntosh describes “White privilege is like an “invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks” which can be used at any moment. Key is that its unearned. More later…

                    • Good Morning there Urbanregor. I am responding here to let you know that after a few responses in these threads one runs out of space and there is no more ‘reply’ button. So look to the bottom of the page where I have — as is my style — written more on these very interesting topics. I will respond to the ‘white privelage’ question there.

  11. This straight from Black Lives Matter’s Facebook page…

    “The Black Lives Matter Network advocates for Dignity, Justice, and Respect.

    In the last few days, this country witnessed the recorded murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police, the latest victims in this country’s failed policing system. As we have done for decades, we marched and protested to highlight the urgent need to transform policing in America, to call for justice, transparency and accountability, and to demand that Black Lives Matter.

    In Dallas, many gathered to do the same, joining in a day of action with friends, family, and co-workers. Their efforts were cut short when a lone gunman targeted and attacked 11 police officers, killing five. This is a tragedy–both for those who have been impacted by yesterday’s attack and for our democracy. There are some who would use these events to stifle a movement for change and quicken the demise of a vibrant discourse on the human rights of Black Americans. We should reject all of this.

    Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it. Yesterday’s attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible. We continue our efforts to bring about a better world for all of us.”

    The boldfaced sentences is what I want to focus on.

    Black Lives Matter has absolutely no problem demonizing all policeman and all Police Departments across the United States and spread false propaganda that they are all racists based on the actions of the “one”; however, they say that “to assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible”. Black Lives Matters is full of shit and full of a bunch of racist hypocrites; these idiots are going to start a shooting race war if not an actual civil war.

    If any of you reading this are supporters of Black Lives Matters, you might want to have your head examined – seriously. Those noises you hear from the cemeteries are Martin Luther King, Jr. and his loyal followers turning over in their graves.

    • “Black Lives Matter has absolutely no problem demonizing all policeman and all Police Departments across the United States and spread false propaganda that they are all racists based on the actions of the “one””

      Can you cite an example of Black Lives Matter saying this?

      • Chris asked, “Can you cite an example of Black Lives Matter saying this?”

        You’ve got to be freaking kidding me?!?!

        Are you deaf and blind?

        Black Lives Matter has been screaming about institutionalized racism of police and police departments across the country based on the actions of the “one” since day one of their existence.

        • Zoltar, do you understand the difference between saying there is “institutionalized racism of police and police departments across the country,” and “demonizing all policeman and all Police Departments across the United States and spread false propaganda that they are all racists?”

          You are acting as if those two statements mean the same thing, but they don’t. “Institutionalized racism” =/= “they are all racists.”

          • It’s a distinction worth making, Chris, but it is also sloppy all-indicting rhetoric as frequently used, and can’t be neatly or fairly separated from the individuals who are involved/complicit/participating in that culture.

            For most people they DO mean the same thing. When one is a police officer, and a group says YOU are an active part of a racist system, that will be taken as an accusation as racism. So we need a clearer set of terms.

          • Chris said, “You are acting as if those two statements mean the same thing, but they don’t. “Institutionalized racism” =/= “they are all racists.” “

            You’re welcome to your opinion; but you need to open your ears and listen. The reality on the ground is that the phrase institutionalized racism is a racist dog-whistle which does “equal” they’re all racists and the rhetoric of the racist organization BLM eats at the soul of the racists and they use it to justify premeditated murder of police – particularly white police officers.

            Words have consequences and BLM does not understand that; they need to stop using their brain as a prosthetic and start thinking about the consequences of their words. The truth is that they don’t give a damn if police officers, particularly non-black officers are murdered by premeditated criminal thugs, they justify it.

            Remember the BLM chants int the streets.
            “Pigs in a blanket, fry then like bacon.”

            “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now! “

            “How to you spell racist? N-Y-P-D!””

            A BLM supporter
            “It’s open season on killing whites and white police officers. “

            Yeah these people are civil protesters, nothing more; that’s some serious Magical Thinking.

            We the people have the right to do and say whatever we want; however, that does not make what we do and say right.

  12. Valkygrrl wrote: “I strongly suggest you read ‘The Rise of the Warrior Cop’ by Radley Balko.”

    I did not read the book but I read many reviews this AM (GoodReads) for about an hour. Now, what is often necessary is to attempt to discern in the situations that are analyzed here on Ethics Alarms just what are the core issues, both legal and cultural, and then of course ethical and moral, involved. People seem to accuse me of complexification of issues but as I say I do not think it possible to adjudicate an issue unless one actually *sees* it in fullness. I also sometimes think — further complication! — that it is not possible to actually *see* our world. What we see is our own interposition of images and narratives. Well, put that last statement aside and let’s pretend that we can.

    I read through many of the reviews for the book ‘The Rise of the Warrior Cop’ and it becomes very clear that the militarization of the police has a specific history going back to Prohibition and to the Red Scare which, as it seems, was a paramilitary struggle in many senses against a sector of the population that had become (as I would say) ‘infected’ with Marxian doctrines. Just as in Europe in the 1920s and 30s, I mean comparable to that, there arose movements dedicated to resisting communism. My understanding of fascism, at least in some respects, is that it involved a counter-movement as-against Marxian infilttration. Thus what is outlined, then and now, is a low-intensity war with more elements of civil war conflict than meets the eye.

    In brief, the 1960s in many senses represented a social uprising with a revolutionary and liberationist current, and also in brief many people good pulled up into it and became ideologically enraptured. The narratives and discourses of that era — nearly universally — were counter-cultural and anti-establishmentarian, and then of course (the echoes in our immediate present are notable!) there is the Black Liberation movement which, as it happens, I have studied in some detail. So, to give the present and for example the Black Lives Matter movement some cultural and historical background, and then to link this present conversation with Second, Fourth, and Fifth Ammendment rights, I would submit the following video that deals on the assault on the MOVE compuntd in Philidelphia in 1985:

    Since I tend to understand *sentiment* as linked to undercurrents of will that are sub-intellectual (somatic) I’d also suggest listening to the content of this proto-rap song by Gil Scott Heron which someone included in a review of the book you mentioned. I’d never heard of him. It expresses, in clearly felt terms, the sense of cultural war, rebellious opposition, revolutionary sentiment, and a desire to bring things to confrontation. I think it sums up a spirit of opposition and also a danger.

    I cannot help but keep referrring, mentally, to those videos of President Obama’s former pastor, the Rev Wright and his ‘God Damn America’ speeches. Classic Black Liberation Theology but one that connects to, if it does not explain, a clear spirit of resistance and opposition to …

    Well, to WHAT exactly? that is the question isn’t it? As I see things, always attempting to get to the core, to peel away the layers that keep me from *seeing clearly*, these issues all have to do with POWER. Who has it, who can use it, and under what justification. As I said on another thread, and again attemtping to reduce things to a common factor, the issue in essence of African Americans in the US reduces to a sheer question of power: The power to rob someone from their own shores (to paraphrase Angela Davis) and to put them to work int he Empire of Your Will. But once you then decide to ‘liberate’ a people with your lofty Lincolnian idealism the power-equation does not end there. That is really the point where it begins. Then, you will further inflict your will on molding a people to fit your image. You will go to work on them. You will batter and beat them, in one way or another, until you have whipped them into shape and they are then ‘suitable subjects of your civilization’. This is power-in-operation. The essential dynamic is there. And the problematic here is — in essence — that African Americans at the historical root are not voluntary participants in this Project of the White Man’s Will. I beg someone to make some arguments either for or against this root-analysis. To say anything at all that goes to the core of the issues.

    The references here are all to issues of sovereignty and what sovereignty means. To understand the Sixties — and this more from the peaceful or the ‘philsosophical’ side of that movement — one has to remember that a large element of the philosophical movement of the Sixties is to be discovered in ‘Personalism’ ( and as it pertains to the Sixties in Catholic Personalism. These questions touch on primary philosophical and also religious questions that cannot be dismissed. They are as real and as considerable as anything. (But naturally I am asking those questions from my position within Conservative Reaction).

    These are issues that concern me insofar as I see no choice but to examine the essence of power as it operates in our republic and polity, and as anyone who has read what I write knows I see militarism (getting ’embroiled in foreign wars’ and in establishing a war-based economy) as being one possible root of a destructive force that may — may in fact — destroy the republic. That term cannot mean too much from me if only because I do not have anywhere near enought experience to understand very much of anything. In fact the more that I examine things the more confused I seem to become. Nothing is helping me to gain certainty. Just the opposite: the more that I research the more that I cannot seem to decide anything.

    But now that things have moved to what is now being called a ‘game-changing’ point with a mass killing of police, and now that the two sides of the power-equation seem to be out in the open, there is no choice but to examine every element of the power dynamics all over again.

  13. I read through this amature reporting account and notice various outright conjectures (for example the link with photos of the armed robbery and the grainy image of what is said to be the handgun, which I cannot distinguish as such). The video on the girl’s FaceBook page from some days earlier creates in my mind what I suppose would be looked at as ‘prejudice’: Smoking a ‘blunt’ marijuana cigarrette in the car with her daughter in the back and carrying on in that way. It seems to me to fairly indicate a doubtful ‘life-style’, a group of different attitudes and postures, and a general irresponsibility, at least from the angle of my cultural habits and values.

    According to what I have read, she uses a reverse-imaging camera or app. While you’d think she was in the drivers side she is actually on the passenger side. He is in the driver’s seat. And he was in the driver’s seat when he was shot. And he was shot through the driver’s side window.

    It is when the ‘back-story’ gets presented (in almost all of the cases I am aware of that have become national events) and a different narrative is revealed, and one that seems to counter the one framed and purveyed in media, that my initial and prejudicial suspicions are confirmed. What I suspect is that there is much more here than meets the eye.

    So what I notice, without knowing if it is correct, is that it seems to me that a general criminal element within the country is clamoring for some level of recognition, or clamoring not to be treated as criminal, when in fact ‘they’ seem to be somewhat or well within that world of attitude and choices. In my mind, it shifts the interpretation away from a narrative of ‘oppression’ to one of self-chosen irresponsibility. While I understand the issue of excessive force, and question it, I also notice the elements of an ‘uprising’, and I suspect this uprising is as much motivated by the animus I notice in much rap music: aggression, violence, criminality, rebelliousness and bad, destructive attitude, as it is by issues of ‘justice’.

    I think that one also has to begin to talk about the different ‘worlds’ that are lived in by different classes and also by different races and cultural sets. I wonder if it is reasonable to make a separation on the basis of race. It is definitely unpopular, this I know, but I ask: Is this widening ‘gap’ and the base of civil confict that is developing now one that has a basis on different visions of the world, of life, or how it should be lived, and then too of what one’s basic realationship to our polity is? Is it strictly a class issue, or can race and race/culture be included in one’s interpretation?

    While I understand that Blacks interpret the present to be one that targets them disproportionately, and that police act over-the-top and more aggressively (in general), I ask a larger question: What is wanted here? That the police police in a very different way? Or that they don’t police? Or that they disregard a culture of lawlessness? That they stop patrolling in those neighborhoods? What is the BLM movement attempting to construct? Do they wish to create Black Panther-style storefront headquarters and meal programs for an eventual revolutionary war? How do their concerns, which are local and community-based, fit in to a larger ‘progressivism’? Where is this going? This leads to the questions: What is the ‘correct’ relationship to have to these events, I mean as an ethicist?

  14. FYI, I’m reading/commenting on a random few pieces on the evolving racial divide. (I don’t have time to read them all.) I will tell you this, based on what I’m reading… the United States (misnomer) is in for a very long, very hot summer. As always, expect the unexpected.

  15. I am going to continue with my ‘thinking out loud’ about these issues, and if I may I will ‘sort of’ direct what I write to Urbanregor. Nothing I write is conclusive. I am more interested in taking risks and seeing where ideas lead.

    These issues are fantastically complex, and ultra-difficult. They have to do at the most basic point with power. Obviously, everything that we deal with now as it pertains to African Americans in America (but one really has to say ‘in the New World’ since it is a pan-American issue) extends from, evolves out of, the fact of slavery. The best way to put it is to put it dramatically: Africans robbed from their own shores to serve in the White Man’s empire. This is the first instance of the assertion of power. It forever revolves around that first equation, and I do not see it ever shifting away from the fact and the understanding of that first equation. And that is, and will always be, the problem.

    If I were to take this problem to its furthest possible point, as an exersize in thinking and speculating, I would be forced to say, and that means to realize, that what Black people need, and what must happen for them, is that they must gain their own sovereignty. Because I start from the supposition, or from the perspective, that they did not have it when they were ‘robbed from the shores of Africa’; nor when they labored in the empire of the white man’s will; nor when they were liberated by Lincoln’s armies; nor in the failed Reconstruction; nor even as a result of the 1960s civil rights movement. And not now.

    All of this extends, still, from the original act of violence, the original violation of sovereignty, the original exercize of power, and the continuance of the same general processes.

    Lincoln, who ‘liberated the slaves’, did not ever desire (as far as I am aware) to incorporate the African-descended population into the polity. Nor did the white population. Ever. He had other plans, and quite radical ones. Upon liberation then by Lincoln’s federal forces the African American population became, and have remained, a problem. The problem is, I suggest, unsolveable. Put in other terms I would say that the only way to solve the problem is through a process of reclaiming sovereignty. At the farthest and most dynamic point of that assertion is the idea, the possibility, the necessaity, of the formation of an African American New World state. I make this assertion without the certainty that it will ever happen (but you never know) and also to put into relief, so it can be seen, the essential and core issue. The sovereignty of the African American person. (The other alternative is to racially blend-in the African American body so that there is no longer a black person to be identified as such. Similarly, the same could be done with the white body and the white identity. If there is no more white body to protect, and if everyone is blended, there is no more issue, right?)

    The ultimate question that is ‘asked’ of Black people is: Why cannot you be like white people? Why can’t you be like us? Really, this is what it comes down to. I was reading up on the issue of women in chess and noticed that all the top girl players are Asians. Quiet, docile, super-smart, studious and dedicated. They will never ever be a social problem. They will become chemists, doctors and in any case professionals. This seems to be generally true for Asians. (I know there are exceptions and there is a criminal Asian underground but I am speaking in generalities). So, they give evidence, at least they seem to, of being ‘civilizable material’. But trhe black community has been and is still a non-ending problem. They are not, or do not seem to be, civilizable material. They cannot get on their feet in the economy. They do not as a community take advantage of access to the institutions. They have limited presence in academia. They do not develop into an economic or an intellectual powerhouse. The issue stems from the need to surrender identity and to merge identity with a ‘white-determined’ identity, and this ‘they’ are loatch to do, or so it seems. They do not improve and develop their own communities. They do not seem to have ownership interest and the pride of ownership interest (again, speaking generally and perhaps only about the communities where the recent problems arise). In all areas they very simply and quite clearly do not seem interested or capable in, well, ‘becoming white people’. I know this rings sour but I say it for effect.

    It all seems to extend back to the original power-dynamic. It is not me saying this that makes it so, it is in essence what *they* say, is expressed in their own narratives. Their conditions are such as they are because of ‘white privelage’. Because I am well-off (I do not mean this in economic terms and anyway I am not that well-off economically), this explains why they are badly off. I see the same ‘memes’ being expressed in all the writing I have read on the BLM theme. It is not an ‘absolute lie’ because, always, statements about African American conditions must be statements about historical relationships. But no matter what advantages are conceded, no matter what white people do, it is never enough — or so it seems — to resolve the unbalanced equation.

    But what does a black presidency do? What I notice is that it continues, in essence, the struggle of African Americans in a long historical battle to gain sovereignty. The backdrop, or the subtext, of Obama’s politics does indeed seem to be that of Black militancy. The rhetoric of black struggle in the sermons of Rev Wright reveal exactly the driving and determining undercurrent that comes to the surface in President Obama (this gets complicated as an assertion because President Obama must serve, also, a whole range of other power-issues that have nothing to do with the Africans in the New World question). Yet this indeed is what has resulted from a black presidency, or in any case this particular black presidency.

    (There is a famous black intellectual who is also a conservative economist, I forgot his name, who has described how ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ policies in regard to African Americans have CREATED much of the conditions of African Americans in our present, and I assume that were he to have been elected prisident that things would have turned out differently. But only a small percentage of Blacks, to all appearances, see things in these terms).

    Now THAT is a bizarre situation. A radical Black Liberationist president with a notable *psychology*. The implications of this are really really bizarre. I now believe — I believe it because I see it — that Barack Obama’s will is shown by the level of social and political and racial conflict that is unfording in front of us. He did not create it obviously, it does not start and end with him, yet he is a vehicle for it. And what exactly is trying to manifest itself? What exactly is taking shape? It looks like armed civil conflict. That is the understructure of it. That is what is found at the core of the narratives.

    Am I right or am I wrong?

    This is what has to be seen through the smoke. It has to be discerned out of conflicting narratives. It has to be separated out and then examined. It has to be decided.

    There is a false narrative of ‘equality’. You cannot make unequal people equal simply by a declaration. An unequal people has to fight and struggle their way, through historical processes, to become ‘equal’. But to be ‘equal’ within the very structure of what has rendered you unequal and even to have gained ‘equality’ cannot, in my mind, and does not, actually make you equal. Because to be an equal does not mean to be the same. I may choose to be radically different from you or anyone but because I have defined the terms, I am equal on my own terms. I don’t really care what you are, or are not. Thus I believe the issue of black ‘liberation’ is not really about becoming equal within this existant and totally and absolutely ‘white system’ set up, imagined, constructed and put into motion by white overlords, and by that I mean they who established the Empire of the White Man’s Will. To become equal in such a system is to 1) take over the system and radically transform it or 2) to take it over and perform the same task of determining, according to your will, what shall happen. That is, after all, how ‘worlds’ get constructed. They are ‘impositions of will’.

    Now, am I psycho for saying this? Am I psycho for seeing this? I do not think so and yet I have a feeling that people get uncomfortable when the real truths in a situation, andy situation, get exposed to view.

  16. Urbanregor said: “Peggy McIntosh describes “White privilege is like an “invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks” which can be used at any moment. Key is that its unearned. More later…”

    I understand the concept, and the fact, of privelage. I also understand, and accept, racial definitions (‘racism’) as well as many other ‘isms’. I start from a different position. I do not have to change the world, or change how any other views things. I know that race-based perception eixts now, has existed, and will always exist. I know that I have advantages, and I know that in relation to some others I am disadvantaged.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.