My designation as unethical of the Portland police’s desperate tweet to avert a riot—funny, I had come to the conclusion that Portland liked riots—informing the Antifa and others that the victim of a fatal police-involved shooting wasn’t black as was being reported so there really was nothing to get all worked up about (My interpretation of the tweet’s meaning; some disagree) sparked interesting reactions, but none more welcome than that of veteran commenter Extradimensional Cephalopod, who had been AWOL for far too long. Here is his (its?) Comment of the Day—#26, by my count—on the post, “Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The Portland Police Bureau”…
This story is ominously reminiscent (differences in power dynamics notwithstanding) of an old Jewish joke–a bit of gallows humor. I can’t find the source for it at the moment, but it was set in either the first half of the 20th Century or earlier, and a Jewish community in or near a city was panicking because a girl in the area had been found murdered. The community they knew the gentiles’ antisemitism would lead them to blame the Jewish community and lash out with violence and more bigotry. Then the rabbi arrives to calm the crowd, “It’s alright, everyone! I have good news! The murdered girl was Jewish!”
The urge to do violence without having first gathered all relevant facts comes from fear, which comes from mistrust. In order to build trust, you first have to set mutual expectations, and then demonstrate you will fulfill them even when it’s costly. Humans seem to find setting expectations more difficult than it really needs to be. “What do you expect to happen in this situation? What would you have me do?” You must do this for as many distinct and likely situations as you can think of, unless you can establish general underlying principles. If you can’t work out mutually acceptable courses of action and the risks they entail even by thinking outside the box, then you would next try to prevent those situations.
When people can’t agree on acceptable risks, then they should not be together in the same situation, taking risks that affect each other. That would result in de facto social segregation based on culture, which is actually fairly normal for Earth. It’s why different countries and cultures exist, and why different states in the United States have different laws, such as whether you’re allowed to refuel your own automobile by yourself. Still, I’m fairly certain humanity can do better than fragmenting into segregated communities for every socioeconomic problem. The first approach should be building, not breaking.