Tag Archives: fear
Comment Of The Day: “The Tangled Ethics Of Men, Women, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Discrimination, Romance, Common Sense, And ‘“Vive La différence!”’
This morning, my mind is occupied by one long-standing ethics issue, and the rest seem trivial in comparison. Let’s warm up by trying to find some way out of this mess.
The ethical problem seems increasingly beyond our ability to solve. Yesterday there was second mistrial in the retrial of Raymond M. Tensing, the former University of Cincinnati police officer who has been charged with the 2015 murder and voluntary manslaughter for fatally shooting Samuel DuBose, an unarmed motorist. This is the third example of a police officer shooting a black man under questionable circumstances being found short of being criminally responsible in a week:
In St. Paul, police dashboard video showed Officer Jeronimo Yanez shoot into the car where Philando Castile was sitting with his fiancée and her daughter, and acquitted the officer. In that case, the officer appeared to have panicked after Castile reached into his pocket for his wallet after telling the officer, unasked, that he was carrying a firearm. In Milwaukee, jurors acquitted Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown after watching frame by frame as he shot once at fleeing armed suspect, Sylville K. Smith, then fired a second time after Smith tossed the gun he was holding and lay on the ground. Now, in Cincinnati, jurors couldn’t agree on the proper culpability of Officer Tensing. He stopped DuBose for a missing license plate, then asked him for his driver’s license. Instead of producing it, DuBose pulled the door closed with his left hand and restarted the car with his right hand. The officer reached into the car with his left arm, yelled “Stop!” twice, and used his right hand to fire his gun directly, into Mr. DuBose’s head, killing him.
What can we say about these scenarios, and many others? Continue reading
1. Mainstream media bias has been such a frequent topic on Ethics Alarms that I hesitate to focus on it even when, against all odds, what passes for American journalism has another rotting chunk fall off. The reaction of most of the media to the Comey testimony was a huge chunk, once again shocking me when I didn’t think my regard for this unprofessional profession could sink lower. Some commentators yesterday (they were conservative, but there is no reason a fair and objective liberal wouldn’t and shouldn’t come to the same conclusion) said that we are witnessing the birth of a mainstream media-progressive fusion political party. This is not a hysterical analysis. The New York Times coverage of the Comey hearing, for example, was so misleading and dishonest as to eliminate that paper from ever being regarded as a reliable political analyst again, at least until it cleans house and issues an abject apology to the nation. Ethics Alarms reader Greg did an excellent job detailing the Times’ disgraceful anti-Trump/pro-resistance spin in the thread on the Comey testimony post, as did journalist commenter Tippy Scales.
The Times knows its first take was untenable; you can tell by its editorial today, in which it already is changing the subject. If Comey had laid a glove on Trump (and he didn’t) regarding impeachable conduct and a route to removing him—which was the Left’s fervent hope and the resistance’s confirmation bias-driven fantasy—the Times would have been shaking its fist and demanding action in it Sunday pronouncement. Instead, it offered an extended whine about how Paul Ryan excused Trump’s clumsy handling of his communications with Comey by citing Trump’s inexperience, but that he had condemned President Obama for his inexperience, as if the two positions are inconsistent. First, they are not: Ryan did not support Trump’s nomination, though political inexperience was the least of his disqualifications. Second, the President’s cluelessness is directly relevant to the weaker than weak argument that he was obstructing justice by having the kinds of conversations with a subordinate that is commonplace in a business setting. The Times, as it has been doing a lot lately, simply assumes away an insuperable obstruction to its “resistance” position, , saying that “The president obviously knows that it’s wrong to interfere in an investigation.”
Like Hillary Clinton, apparent cyber-dolt, “obviously” knew that using a private server for State Department business violated classified communications law?
The same logic that Comey himself used to give Clinton a Stay Out Of Jail pass applies to Trump’s statements to Comey, but far more reasonably. Not only was he not, as Ryan said, “steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between D.O.J., F.B.I. and White Houses,” the President wasn’t interfering in the Flynn investigation by telling Comey he hoped it would end, and he couldn’t interfere in the Russian investigation by firing the FBI director. The Times editorial reveals the real impetus behind the paper’s determination to bring down the President who dared to be elected by “deplorables” who don’t march to the Times’ ideological lock-step: Trump “[struts] about at the head of the party, insulting everyone and everything in sight: staff members, allies, laws, diplomatic decorum and common sense.”
Yes, for once the Times is reporting accurately, but that’s not grounds for removing an elected President, and it does not justify misrepresenting facts to create a public groundswell based on bias, hate, fear and ignorance.
2. And when it is clear that the news media and the Democrats are coordinating in an “Anti-Trump” party, what is a responsible stance for the Trump Administration regarding news organizations who wave the anti-Trump banner at the expense of fair reporting? Continue reading
Comment of the Day: “Ethics (and Legal) Dunces: Hillary Clinton And Everyone Else Who Is Suggesting That The Government Should Be Able To Keep Someone From Buying A Gun By Placing Them On A “No-Fly List””
From Comment of the Day auteur Chris Marschner comes more perspective on the post Orlando debate, and some of the irresponsible arguments being made. His focus: the distortion caused by fear, and he adds a further rebuttal to the suddenly current “The Second Amendment only applies to muskets” nonsense, for which he has more patience that I. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics (and Legal) Dunces: Hillary Clinton And Everyone Else Who Is Suggesting That The Government Should Be Able To Keep Someone From Buying A Gun By Placing Them On A “No-Fly List”
What I have not seen yet is an actual deconstruction of the events that took place well before the self-proclaimed radical set his sights on the Pulse night club. Furthermore, once again one side immediately attributes the root cause of mass shootings to an inanimate object that has the capability to inflict substantial casualties or, as the New York Times editorial(s) puts it, Republican rhetoric that fuels hate toward the LGBT community and other minorities and that the pro-gun lobby is complicit in facilitating these horrific events. It seems to me that such rhetoric fuels the intransigence by the pro gun side to stick to their guns, so to speak.
Whether it’s the NRA and the millions people that make up its membership, or non-gun owners who would not know an automatic weapon from a semi- automatic weapon used by the military both sides are arguing from a state of fear.
At the heart of the problem is how do we combat that fear without sacrificing the very freedoms we want to protect. We aid, abet and give comfort to our enemies when we fight internally over these issues. By dividing us they distract us from their activities; so they win a tactical advantage. By causing us to sacrifice our fundamental freedoms they win some battles. When they force our retreat into isolation they win the war.
Irrespective of what we call it, radical Islamists or simply extremists we do know the name of the organizations that seek to inflict as much death and destruction to the civilians living in western Europe, Israel and the United States. Each has a name and a state of war can be declared on each one. Continue reading
“Let’s not generalize about an animal based on the shape of its head or the texture of its coat… Individuals are individuals. Generalizations—about dogs, or about people—are odious.”
I have several times,in posts here about the senseless, ignorant and unethical vendetta pursued against “pit bulls” [Ingall: “Pit bulls’ (meaning ‘any dog that looks the way we think a pit bull looks’) “], compared the reasoning of the anti-pit bull Furies to the logic of racism. Thus I was especially pleased to read Ingall’s essay, while she called “Pit Bulls—the Jews of the Canine World.” Another sample…
Nowadays, people associate pit bulls with thugs. And the word “thug,” as we all know, is barely coded shorthand for a young African-American man. (Truthfully, I’d thought of pit bulls being Jews … but comparing pit bulls to African Americans is even more resonant, in terms of the stereotyping both face.)…Study after study has shown that pit bulls are no more likely to bite than any other breed…Fear of the word “pit bull” and misplaced fear of the breed, combined with a healthy dose of racism, have trumped common sense.
You can find the Ethics Alarms post on this topic here.
In Waterloo, England last September, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Buster (or Butch…he apparently answered to both names, much in the way I answer to my wife when she calls me “Jack” or “You Idiot”…) found himself in a situation reminiscent of the infamous 1972 Andes plane crash that forced its survivors to resort to cannibalism. His master died suddenly, leaving the dog trapped in the apartment without access to sustenance. After an undetermined amount of time and increasing desperation, Buster decided “Oh, the hell with it” and ate a sufficient amount of his best friend to stay alive..
I know—“Ick.” Buster may well have felt the same way. Once police had made the grisly discovery, however, Buster found himself in big trouble even though he was was in an emaciated state that suggested that he didn’t do this for fun. The police claimed he was a danger to the community, and the deceased’s family made it clear that it wanted Buster to be put down. Dog lovers and animal rights groups insisted that Buster was a victim of circumstance and that absent evidence that he had plotted to convert his live master into a feast, there was no precedent for blaming the victim in such a case.
After all, those passengers who survived in the Andes by eating the bodies of their less-fortunate companions were not executed. They appeared on talk shows.
Why the different attitude? Well, let’s see: Continue reading