Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The Portland Police Bureau

Portland tweet

There are many Ethics Alarms categories the tweet above would fit neatly into, like Ethics Dunce, Unethical Quote of the Week, evidence of The rampages of the Great Stupid, res ipsa loquitur, signature significance and others. I wonder if it is something else as well, like coherent civilization’s death rattle.

The Portland police felt constrained to issue that announcement after a police officer in Portland opened fire at a deranged man who charged him with a screwdriver. The man was shot dead in what all reports indicate was self-defense. This was apparently a “suicide by cop.” Quickly, at least 50 protesters converged at the Motel 6 where the episode occurred, and what looked like it could quickly turn into a violent riot was looming. The mob “began yelling, throwing items at officers, and attempting to interfere with the investigation,” Portland Police Bureau said. Videos showed many black-clad protesters chanting the anti-police phrase “Fuck 12.” A officer’s baton was grabbed as she was pulled toward the crowd; another protester sprayed an officer with pepper spray. One police car had its tires punctured and a window broken. Meanwhile, the Antifa distributed flyers calling the incident another example of racist police brutality against the black community.

So, acting quickly, the Portland police issued the tweet, assuring everyone that it was a white man who was killed. No worries! The nation was made just a little bit better and less racist. one more whitey down!

Naturally, the mob dispersed, and there was no more threatened violence.

The officer involved in the shooting was black. “Our officer encountered a very difficult and dynamic situation that no officer wants to face,” Police Chief Chuck Lovell said at the scene.“I want to assure the community that we’re committed to a full, thorough and complete investigation.”

Hey, never mind, Chuck! The guy was white! Nobody cares.

When an officer shot a black teen preparing to stab another young woman with a knife, there was a riot. When police shot an accused black rapist who was armed with a knife and preparing to drive off with his alleged victim’s children, there were riots. When a black man resisting arrest was shot after trying to fire a taser at an officer, there were riots. When a black man who had tried to take an officer’s weapon away while resisting arrest was fatally shot as he rushed the much smaller officer, there were riots. When a black woman was accidentally shot in the cross-fire between police and her boyfriend began the exchange of bullets, there were riots.

But once the crack Portland Police made it clear that it was only some sick white dude who was killed, all was well.

Rueful observations:

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Ethics Observations On The Shooting Death Of Peyton Ham [UPDATED]

There were no mostly peaceful protests in Leonardtown, Maryland this week, despite the similarities between the 16-year-old high school student’s shooting death at the hands of a Maryland state trooper and the sensational death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland six years ago. Why is that?

Ham was fatally shot by a state trooper who had responded to two 911 calls about someone “acting suspiciously” and armed with a pistol. A witness to the event told police that troopers encounter Ham in a driveway “in a shooting stance” using an Airsoft gun. A trooper opened fire on the teen and wounded him. A second witness said the wounded boy then took out a knife and tried to get up, whereupon he was shot dead.

Airsoft guns are realistic replicas of real weapons. They shoot plastic BBs. My son collected them; once we had our parked car surrounded by police because he left some of them in the back seat. Pointing an Airsoft at a police officer is an excellent way to get shot, and justifiably so. But the reason there were no protests, demonstrations or riots after his death is that Peyton Ham was white. There is no other reason. (Well, it also wasn’t Portland. More about that later…)

Because the victim was white, there was no immediate presumption of racism and police brutality. Nobody argued that police should have tried to “wing” him. Nobody argued that a social worker rather than police officers should have responded to the 911 call. Ben Crump didn’t immediately make a statement that this was yet another “execution” of an innocent, promising young black man due to cop brutality and racism, and a racist system. The story wasn’t even national news.

Yet the family played by the script that has become so familiar. It quickly put out a statement that made Ham sound like the perfect son. It described him as “an incredibly smart, gifted sweet young man” with a “Alex P. Keaton” type personality, referring Michael J. Fox’s character on the 1980s sitcom “Family Ties.”

“Our family is absolutely heart broken and shattered over this sudden, unexpected loss of life of a talented young man, filled with promise,” the statement says. “Words cannot express the gratitude our family is feeling with the overwhelming love and support being extended by our friends and family in our amazing community.”

Speaking to the AP, Ham’s mother described her son as “an awesome young man.” You know, like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. This kind of statement, which made no sense whatsoever in the context of the facts of Ham’s death, was calculated to spark anger and suspicion against the police, and to shift responsibility from the shooting victim to those trying to protect the community. If Ham had been white, there would have been the assumption of a cover-up, and the presumption of a deliberate racist killing of an innocent boy.

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Mid-Day Ethics Tidbits, 11/4/2020: Sort-Of Post-Election Edition, With Yummy NONE Election-Related Items!

1. Ay Caramba! Does anyone think that former Playboy model Eva Marie has a legitimate complaint because she was kicked off a Southwest flight along with her seven-year-old son for wearing this outfit on board?

Eva Marie

I don’t. She said she was “humiliated and embarrassed” when a Southwest Airlines flight attendant told her she couldn’t board looking like that. I don’t believe it for a second. She was seeking publicity. “When they threatened to remove me off the plane if I didn’t have a change of clothes, I felt completely humiliated, embarrassed and highly offended,” the Instagram influencer said of the incident. “I’m an A list member for SWA and have a credit card with the airline and I have perks that allow any person traveling with me to fly free because of my high status with the airline. So even as being a loyal customer with them, I felt like the other women on the plane were judging me based on my attire and they were saying my breasts are too large,” she added. “Well, that’s something I can’t help.”

No, you shameless jerk, they were judging you because you won’t observe even minimal social conventions, like not going out in public looking like a stripper mid-routine. If she is a “high status” member of the airline, then she is presumably aware that it has a dress code. It is overwhelmingly likely that she pulled this as a stunt to gain Instagram users  to “influence,” and exploited Southwest to do so.

The airline would be fair and reasonable to ban her from flying.

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Tuesday That Feels Like A Monday Ethics Catch-Up, 10/13/2020.

Antifa arrests

Every one of the antifa rioters arrested in Portland a couple nights ago!

***

I have what I believe is an important ethics essay completed in my head—that’s the weird way I write, and nobody knows why—and I just haven’t had the time or the energy to get it done. I’m sorry. Today, actual ethics work intervened. It’s not that there wasn’t time to finish that post (and two others that are almost written), but that the long posts really need my complete attention, and that was impossible today, as it has been increasingly frequently of late.

1. Goodbye Alizia. One of Ethics Alarms more controversial and prolific contributors informed me that she was leaving the comment wars, presumably permanently. I agreed with virtually nothing she wrote, and found her characterization of the approach to ethics here ranging from bizarre to infuriating to hilarious. I also, I must confess, often failed to do more than skim many of her epic screeds, which I found about as forbidding as Finnegan’s Wake. She has been, however, a unique voice here, a sincere and serious one, and virtually always civil. I also admire her resilience, since few participants here have been battered as intensely and personally as she was.

Or accused of being a robot.

Recently there had been suggestions that my failure to ban her from commenting—she is a white supremacist, after all, as well as anti-Semitic—has cost Ethics Alarms readers. Any potential readers who would reject this ethics blog because he or she objects to the opinion of another reader can go piss in their hats, to be blunt. I reject the entire attitude behind such a reaction. There have been commenters who have made me wince when I saw they had weighed in, since I had a pretty good idea what I was in for; indeed Alizia was one of them. But I have to read the comments here—the format includes my actively engaging with those bold enough to speak up. EA recently passed the 12,000 post mark, and I lead all commenters with over 50,000 replies. Nobody, however, has to read any particular commenter, or any of them. Nor am I responsible for the opinions offered here by others. I have Comment Policies, and generally stick to them. Veteran commenters receive a lot of leeway, because they do contribute content to the blog, like it or not. Yes, there is a provision that says a commenter can be banned for “…Exhibiting racism or other bias.” I interpret that narrowly, in part because a theme here has been the effort by progressives to demonize and suppress speech they find inconvenient or upsetting, and to abuse the label of “racist” to do it. I have chosen to err on the side of free expression, especially when it is under assault, and when the party that signals an intent to metaphorically kneel on liberty’s throat seems poised to take power.

But I digress.

Alizia informed me of her decision in a graceful and uncharacteristically brief note. I told her that she would be missed, at least by me.

2. Ah, Portland… Yesterday, after promoting the event on social media as an “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage,” protesters toppled statues Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, then went on to ruin the entrance to the Oregon Historical Society before moving into other areas of downtown, smashing storefronts and engaging in a full-fledged riot. Police ordered the rioters moving  through the city’s streets to disperse but this being Portland, but did not directly intervene until nearly an hour after the first statue fell.

The organizers had called for “direct action” and demanded that onlooker who happened upon the group were ordered to stop filming or delete photographs. An apartment resident who tried to shoot a video from his terrace had lasers aimed at his eyes and a liquid thrown in his face. There were about 200 in the group dressed in black, some with body armor, shields, and weapons.

These are the people Americans are voting for when they support the Democratic party in 2020. Joe Biden has passively supported them and their violence with his weasel words, and his VP has directly endorsed them.

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Columbus Day Ethics Voyage, 10/12/2020: Portland And Washington, Which, Had Chris Known His Discovery Would Lead To Such Dens Of Madness, Might Have Caused Him To Turn Back

When you see me a day off like this, please understand that it is a direct result of the new, mandated, stupid WordPress system making it literally impossible to complete a post on my laptop. (Having a newly rescued, affection starved  large dog desperately needing to climb onto your lap doesn’t help either.) Once the office is closed for the night, getting back up there to complete a post is nigh impossible, not to mention domestically perilous, if you get my drift.

1. In Ethics, we call now this kind of problem “Portland”… Portland software company New Relic is roiled with a controversy over CEO Lew Cirne’s donations to a private Christian school that excludes gay students and opposes gay rights and to a controversial evangelist Cirne’s wife is a contributor to President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Can’t have that!

The aggrieved employees say Cirne’s personal values are not consistent with the “message of inclusion”n the company claims to represent. They see his wife’s donations to the President of the United States as also antithetical to the company’s stated values.

One New Relic employee told the media, “That is deeply concerning to me, especially to someone who is queer. I don’t feel like those diversity and inclusion initiatives are real or will be protective of me,” and says the company lured her into a false sense of security with its diversity pledges, pulling a bait and switch.

I advise Cirne to make this statement as soon as possible. No charge for my advice, and I recommend it, as an ethicist, to any company executive who encounters similar criticism:

“Our company does not mandate particular political opinions or social views among its employees. In the United States, we are blessed with freedom of expression, association, speech and religion. It is literally none of our business. As long as employees confine their conduct to company policies and values while doing their job, they have met all of their obligations to the company.

Similarly, executives of this company have those same rights, and will exercise them as they see fit. It is none of anyone’s business in this company how the company’s leadership or their family members choose to direct their charitable donations or devote their private time. Employees who cannot meet these fair and essential requirements are invited to seek employment elsewhere.

In addition, any employee, at any level of the corporation, who presumed to criticize another employee’s family members for their personal political or charitable activities is subject to firing for cause.”

[Pointer: Matthew B]

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Comment Of The Day: “I’ll Try To Stop This From Being A Rant, But I’m Not Promising Anything…” AND “Lazy Sunday Afternoon Ethics, 8/30/2020: A Letter, A Slapdown, A Poll, Sherlock Holmes, And A Dinosaur Walk Into An Ethics Post…,” Item #2, Mayor Wheeler’s Letter

Steve-O-In NJ has struck again with another of his long form comments, easily snagging another Comment of the Day. It is also a first here: the comment covers two Ethics Alarms posts. To be technical about it, the second was posted after Steve’s comment went up, but it includes a long section that directly applies to the late post…which I wrote before I read what follows. This Comment of the Day is, as a classic TV commercial for Certs used to chant for almost 40 years, “Two! Two! Two comments in one!”

Confused? Don’t be, just read and enjoy Steve-O-In NJ‘s Comment of the Day on the posts,  “I’ll Try To Stop This From Being A Rant, But I’m Not Promising Anything…” and “Lazy Sunday Afternoon Ethics, 8/30/2020: A Letter, A Slapdown, A Poll, Sherlock Holmes, And A Dinosaur Walk Into An Ethics Post…,” Item #2, Mayor Wheeler’s Letter.

This is the year we were stripped of a lot of the things that we liked and that were important to us, and expected to like it. The message rings loud and clear that if you aren’t woke, there is no place for you in this brave new world. The thing is, like Obamacare, it was predicated upon and sold to us with lies, half-truths, and omissions, which a lot of our fellow Americans have bought, hook line and sinker. Obamacare was as much about power as it was about putting healthcare on the national stage and giving people greater access. The Democrats and the left knew it, and that’s why they used procedural chicanery, promises to the now-dead Senator Spector that they had no intention of keeping from the get-go, and lies and half-truths to the general public to get it passed – without even saying what was in it. It was a power grab, plain and simple.

The left tried for a cultural power grab three years ago, with the assault on Confederate monuments, which they tried to parlay into attacks on other areas of history. Unfortunately for them, it kind of petered out before it could really go anywhere, NYC made it clear it wasn’t going to stand for attacks on public art, and the next thing you knew, we were in the holiday season and no one was thinking about fighting over statues and what they stood for anymore. The first of the year passed, and the mayor of NYC said he was moving one statue and that was it. There was still a dislike of police, but they still met with grudging respect…mostly. The days of assassinating police or declaring them enemies were over. I think I should really say that they were over for that period of time. The plans for a cultural and political power grab never really went away. They just went on standby, waiting for the right time for them to be revived. Even though there were other police shootings and errors, it just never seemed to be the right time. Besides, the economy was doing well, and most people were too busy making money to bother. Then came the pandemic, which put a huge amount of people out of work, so they’d be available for protesting/rioting. All they needed was the spark to set this off. George Floyd was it. This was it, the spark to light the flame of white hatred and make a revolutionary break with the past. It stopped being about Floyd in two days. Meantime, though, the liberal DA and other authorities, who might have had a chance to tamp this down by saying hey, we don’t have all the facts, said nothing instead. Inwardly these mayors and governors were dancing with glee at the chance to proclaim a new cultural revolution and destroy conservative America forever. The same mayors and governors who ticketed Hasidic Jews for burying their dead and moms for walking in parks told the police to use a light touch or stand down completely from protests that quickly became riots. They wanted to be helpless, anything to make the president look either incompetent (if he did nothing) or heavy-handed (if he did). Meantime this movement either forced local leadership into embarrassing humiliation like foot-washing, pulled them into their own orbit, or overwhelmed them. Continue reading

Lazy Sunday Afternoon Ethics, 8/30/2020: A Letter, A Slapdown, A Poll, Sherlock Holmes, And A Dinosaur Walk Into An Ethics Post…

1. Oh-oh…Ethics Alarms has been and will continue to use “Wuhan virus” rather than various versions of Covid or corona virus as a matter of principle. China inflicted this contagion on the world and greatly abetted its spread by its cover-ups and lies, and pandemics and flus usually are identified by their site of origin. Furthermore, the political correctness edict against using the province where the first outbreak (we know of occurred) was yet another anti-Trump ploy, simultaneously covering for a brutal foreign adversary.

Syracuse University placed chemistry Professor Jon Zubieta on administrative leave and will be investigated by its Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution because he used the terms “Wuhan Flu” and “Chinese Communist Party Virus” in his syllabus. In a joint statement from Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Karin Ruhlandt and Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost John Liu, explained,

“Syracuse University unequivocally condemns racism and xenophobia and rejects bigotry, hate and intolerance of any kind. The derogatory language used by a professor on his course syllabus is damaging to the learning environment for our students and offensive to Chinese, international and Asian-Americans everywhere who have experienced hate speech, rhetoric and actions since the pandemic began.”

There is no racism here, and the theory, much in vogue, that  irrational people reacting to factual statements by persecuting others justifies suppresng the truth is unethical and perverse.

2.  Res Ipsa Loquitur. This is the letter Portland mayor Ted Wheeler sent to the President of the United States.

Wow. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/4/2020: Marching To Georgia Edition

Hello, I must be going…

Desperately trying to get this post out before the walls close in. I’m doing a program for an always receptive BigLaw firm in Atlanta, and its a program I know well, and I’m still anxious about it. It doesn’t help that I have some kind of cold, but the show must go on…

1. Super Tuesday musings…

  • Last night, I stumbled on  a Fox News panel discussing the Julie Principle at length regarding Joe Biden’s brain farts and Trump’s Tweets! They didn’t use that term, of course, but it would have helped explicate what they were trying to say, which was that once you’ve decided to accept the flaws of a candidate, more evidence of those flaws won’t change your support.
  • Speaking of… Joe Biden got his sister and his wife mixed up during his victory speech. If there was ever a question of how much the country doesn’t want socialism, the fact that so many Democrats preferred to vote for this sad husk than capitulate to Bernie should answer it.
  • How proud I am of my home state, which told the world that even voters who know  best, and presumably support to some extent, Elizabeth Warren don’t think she should be President. Thus they validated Abe Lincoln’s rule: you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Warren was the 2020 field’s worst demagogue and biggest hypocrite, as well as one of the most shameless liars. As I write this, she hasn’t dropped out yet, perhaps because she doesn’t want to help Sanders, whom she still resents for saying that a women couldn’t be elected President. Well, he was right as far as she is concerned. Good.

Warren was easily my least favorite of the Democratic contenders from an ethics standpoint. After I posted on Facebook about one of her many deceptions, a friend, apparently seriously, commented that I seemed to have a real bias against her. It reminded me of one of Martin Short’s brilliant improvs as idiot celebrity interviewer “Jiminy Glick,” when he cracked up Mel Brooks by asking, “Now what is it that you have against Hitler?”

2. Wait, he did WHAT??? Cedric Sunray, a college recruiter from Oklahoma Christian University,  visited Harding Charter Preparatory High School in Oklahoma City last month and met with 110 juniors and four teachers in the gymnasium to talk about opportunities at the college. He then asked the students to line up from darkest to lightest skin complexion, and then line up from “nappiest” to straightest hair.  As the students lined up, some of the teachers left to report the request to school administrators, who intervened. Sunray was quickly fired.

Sunray later wrote that the exercise was meant to be an “icebreaker” and that he has made the same presentation dozens of times at other institutions. Really? And nobody complained?

The president of Oklahoma Christian University, John deSteiguer, visited the prep school to apologize to students and staff members. Too late, I’d say. Any school that would let someone like Sunray represent it is too inept to be trusted. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/10/19: Omar, Warren, Clinton, And Urinals

Good morning!

Yesterday I had completed a 3-hour Ethics CLE program for a distinguish national law firm’s D.C. office, aided by my sister, retired justice Dept. and HHS attorney Edith Marshall. (This time, her role was to lead the attendees in the chorus section of my legal ethics parody of “Trouble in River City” from “The Music Man.”) I knew that I should have gotten some posts done when I returned, but a) I was exhausted and b) there were two Game Five play-off games to watch. Sometimes, baseball comes first. Priorities! Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for an upset win over the Braves, whose horrible fate of giving up ten runs in the first inning I wouldn’t even wish on the Yankees. Imagine knowing you have lost before your team even gets up to bat, and that you’re in front of the home team fans who will have to suffer through three hours of slow, inevitable humiliation. Ugh. The Braves lost with as much dignity as possible in such a hopeless situation. And congratulations to the resurgent Washington Nationals, who came back from a late  deficit to tie the game in the eighth, and then won on a grand slam in the tenth. They are now headed to the seven game play-off to determine who represents the NL in the World Series, the first time a Washington, D.C. team has been this close since 1933. D.C. really needed this.

1. Should it matter? Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Ilhan Omar, she of “The Squad” fame (or infamy)  has filed for divorce from husband Ahmed Hirsi, whom she only married last year, though he is the father of her three children. Omar’s petition for dissolution of her marriage has been posted online here. Our sole Somali Muslim House member previously was married to  Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, who appears to be her brother and whom she married to perpetrate a citizenship fraud in 2009. Omar legally dissolved that marriage in 2017. There appears to have been a period where she was married to both men. Omar has never given a straightforward explanation for her tangled domestic affairs.

Should any of this matter? These things really do constitute “personal, private conduct,” unlike the workplace misconduct that the enablers of Bill Clinton tried to defend by using that term. If Omar did perpetrate a fraud, however, or was married to two husbands, those are very relevant to her fitness to serve as a law-maker. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/2/2019: Monkeys, Howlies, Nikes, And The Great Tag Hoax

Gooooood Morning!

1. Talk about a newspaper column that is exactly the opposite of the truth! The Times had an essay in its “Review” section this Sunday with a title that gave me a shock: Want to Be Less Racist? Move to Hawaii”

The headline would have been more accurate if it read, “Want to live in the only state with lawful and open racial discrimination? Move to Hawaii!” Hawaii gives special benefits to residents with full or partial Native Hawaiian ancestry. There is a special  Hawaiian registry program which verifies an individual’s Native Hawaiian ancestry, so the favored race can receive such goodies that are unavailable to other racial groups as buying land for a home at only $1 a year,  low-interest loans, and admission for their children to the elite Kamehameha Schools.

Anecdotally, I can also state that the only time in my life that I felt I was the target of racial epithets was in college, when the Hawaiian contingent frequently derided me and my white room mates as “howlies,” a disparaging Island term reserved for anyone who is not a native Hawaiian. I will always remember my 6’5″ roommate Dave ending the practice by saying to the two main offenders, “If I ever hear that word from any of you again, I promise that I will shove you, Howie, directly up Reggie’s ass, head first.  Are we clear on that?”

Dave never bluffed, and seldom joked. That was the last time we were called “howlies.”

2. Nike is not just scum, but cowardly, sniveling scum. Nike Inc. cancelled a U.S.A.-themed sneaker featuring the Betsy Ross American flag because Head NFL Kneeler Colin Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, told company officials that he and others felt that the  historic flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery.

The Air Max 1 USA had been designed for release in celebration of the July Fourth holiday, and scheduled to go on sale this week. The heel of the shoe featured a U.S. flag with 13 white stars in a circle, the original flag created during the American Revolution and known as the Betsy Ross flag.

Wow! How racist can you get!

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