From “The Rest Of The Story Files,” The Resolution Of The Great Central Park Dog-Walking Controversy, And I Don’t Like It One Bit

Amy Cooper

You might have forgotten this ethics story from last May. That would be understandable. It was momentarily big news (though it should not have been), but it occurred on the same day Derek Chauvin put his knee on George Floyd’s neck, and the George Floyd Freak-out and The Great Stupid soon descended on the land.

The verdict here—you might want to review the post—was that the villain in the story, Amy Cooper, was indeed an asshole for calling the cops on a black bird-watcher in Central Park.She did it because he told her to leash her dog (as the rules required) and began filming her defiant reaction. The other Cooper, Bird-watcher Christian, posted the video, thus severely tearing the fabric of Amy’s life for a single incident of miserable conduct. (“Take that, bitch!”) She was fired and humiliated, and New York banned her from Central Park and tried to put her in jail. Amy is also probably tarred as a racist for life, though as I argued in the post, the fact that she mistreated a black man and attempted to use his race against him doesn’t prove she’s a racist. It just proves she’s an asshole.

Christian, who did his part to blow an ultimately minor dispute into a national controversy, ultimately had second thoughts, and to his credit decided not to pursue a legal vendetta against Amy. I don’t like his rationale for this, which consisted of two rationalizations that I detest: #38 B, Excessive Accountability, or “She’s Suffered Enough,” and the awful rationalization #22, Comparative Virtue, or “There are worse things.” He told a reporter that he felt the lack of D.C. statehood was more important than punishing Amy Cooper. Oh. If there’s one thing that makes me think about D.C. statehood, it’s a rude white dogwalker having an altercation with a black bird-watcher.

I would have had no problem with prosecuting Amy Cooper for making a false complaint to the police if that law were enforced in New York as a matter of course. It isn’t, however. NYC District Attorney Cyrus Vance decided to charge Amy because of the high profile nature of the case, and to grandstand for social justice warriors, using the Minnesota white cop’s knee on black neck narrative as an opportunity. The Ethics Alarms verdict is that this was an unfair and irresponsible reason to pile on Amy, not because she didn’t deserve to be charged, but because the motive behind her charging was unethical for a prosecutor, and indeed racially biased. Vance would not have charged a black Amy under the exact same circumstances.

Now you’re caught up, so this next development can be put in context: the criminal case against Cooper was dismissed a month ago. In part because Christian Cooper declined to support her prosecution, Amy Cooper cut a plea deal that stipulated that if she completed a “therapeutic program” including instruction “about racial biases,” all charges would be dropped. She did, and they were. Amy had faced up to a year in jail if convicted, so a metaphorical gun was at her head. Learn to love Big Brother, or else.

Yecchh.

This is being hailed as an example of “restorative justice,” a faddish movement to address the alleged social malady of “mass incarceration.” ( If a lot of people are in prison, the malady is excessive law-breaking, not excessive imprisonment for it.) Restorative justice is an alternative to traditional prosecution that prioritizes mitigating the harm done and that seeks reconciliation among the parties, including the offender, the victim and the community. It’s a bad, squishy and naive theory that makes wrongdoing less risky, and lessens the consequences of being caught breaking the law. You may quote me.

For Cooper, “restorative justice” meant attending “counseling sessions” at the Critical Therapy Center in Manhattan. There, the president and founder of the center told the New York Times, patients are subjected to “a critical inquiry into one’s personal beliefs and how they impact other people, how they impact the world and how they actually contribute to racism.”

Translation: she was subjected to indoctrination sessions designed to change her beliefs.

The government has no right to mandate brain-washing, which is what this really is, if a weak version. Weak versions can and often do get stronger. Amy Cooper has a right to her beliefs, no matter how misguided or ugly they may be (or how much others disagree with them), and the government conspiring to change them is totalitarian to the core. Amy does not have a right to harm others while acting on her beliefs. The law punishes the conduct, and it is up to the wrongdoer to evaluate her beliefs as a result.

_________________

Source: New York Times

12 thoughts on “From “The Rest Of The Story Files,” The Resolution Of The Great Central Park Dog-Walking Controversy, And I Don’t Like It One Bit

  1. Well, we have been letting state universities do it as a condition of getting a taxpayer supported education for decades. Those people weren’t even facing any criminal charges. Their only crime was wanting an education and the color of their skin. It was only a matter of time before the rest of the state adopted it in some fashion. It will soon become mandatory for everyone. Another slippery slope argument that came true.

  2. Another in a long line of pieces of evidence showing that the 21st century’s totalitarian minded social justice warriors have won the battle of the minds.

    Nope, it’s not a conspiracy theory, reeducation “camps” are already here and extreme political left totalitarians are rationalizing the usage in academia, the judicial system and corporate America. This cancer and it will infect our entire culture.

    This is not defeatist, this is our new reality.

    • What we need now is a nationwide registry of racists, where one can go online and see how someone has been racist, where they live, what treatment they’ve been through (if any), and then restrict them from living within half-a-mile of anyone belonging to a protected minority.

      • Why stop there? Why not also restrict them from government jobs and make the registry available to potential employers, lenders, insurance carriers, educators, professional boards, and dating services? In fact why not make it available to any and all businesses? Before long the whole world will shun anyone who once told a politically incorrect joke when he thought no one was listening or expressed an opinion that’s out of favor. He won’t be able to practice a profession, get a home or business loan, get a job, rent an apartment or lease a commercial space, get insurance, get a degree, or otherwise make himself a productive member of society. Then again, anyone who thinks like that belongs OUTSIDE society, right?

  3. I’m not shocked. People like Christian Cooper have been around for a while, keeping their desire for power and injury to those different from them under wraps. As I already told you, I used to have a secretary who once said that all white people are racists, some of us are just better at hiding it. That same secretary freaked out when I used the harmless Britishism “brass monkey weather” when it was cold. It was not even intended for her, I said it to someone else. she said she was going to look up that expression right then and there and if it was a racist expression she was going to go to the corporation counsel and ask that I be fired on the spot. Unfortunately for her, the lookup confirmed that it was just a British expression without any racial overtones. Sorry, you don’t get to take my head home as a trophy.

    At this point, however those people can ask for pretty much whatever they want, because everyone in this nation is either suffering from the great fear or the great stupid. It doesn’t matter what it is, or how tenuous the connection to the death in custody of George Floyd, if they say it’s connected, it’s connected, and they automatically win.

    Centrists like you and traditionalists like me are fast becoming endangered species.

  4. Hey, she got off easy. Canada just threw a man in jail for calling his transgender (biologically female, XX-chromosome) child his “daughter”. We are truly through the looking-glass now…

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