Skip to content

A Tragedy of Errors: the North Charleston Shooting and Its Aftermath

April 13, 2015

scott memorial 2

Here we go again. White cop confronts black man. Black man resists. White cop kills black man. Event generates national media furor. Black community protests war on black men, gets angrier. We seem to be stuck on an endless repeating loop.

The confrontation between Officer Michael Slager and 50-year-old Coast Guard veteran Walter Scott in mostly poor, mostly black North Charleston, South Carolina, started out uneventfully enough. A dashcam video revealed that the officer, who pulled Scott over because of a non-functioning brake light, treated Scott with courtesy and simply told him to remain in the car while he returned to his own car. Standard operating procedure.

We can forgive Scott for dreading an encounter — even a polite one — with the local authorities. He owed more than $18,000 in child support and related court costs, and had done time behind bars on account of his debts. He used to avoid heavily policed areas of town simply because he feared being incarcerated again.

Scott bolted from his car and broke into a run, and we know the rest. A tragedy, yes… but a tragedy of errors on both sides.

Error 1: How does it benefit anyone to lock up a man who owes child support? Unless he’s earning a salary in his cell, he’s less capable than ever of satisfying his debt. As an ex-convict, he’ll be hard-pressed to find a decent job after he’s released. It’s an unjust no-win situation for everyone involved.

Error 2: Scott had no registration for the 1991 Mercedes he was driving, and he couldn’t produce an insurance card. He told Slager that he had just bought the car from a friend, then amended his story to say that he was in the process of buying the car from his friend. If I were a cop, I’d see a couple of red flags there.

Error 3: Given the lethal nature of recent confrontations between black men and white cops, Scott should have known that it wasn’t a smart idea to bolt and run. Cops tend to get angry when you bolt on them, and even a man half Scott’s age can’t outrun bullets.

At some point not recorded on video, Officer Slager caught up with Scott and used his stun gun. Scott didn’t like being tased, as most of us wouldn’t, and apparently he struggled with Slager because the taser dropped to the ground. (I won’t charge Scott with an error here, but he should have known that you don’t grapple with a cop’s weapon — even if that weapon is causing you pain and distress.)

Error 4: Scott broke away and ran once again.  Fatal mistake. By this time both men were undoubtedly pumped full of hormones, so we can assume that reason took a back seat to primal instincts.

The fatal moment. Insets: Scott and Slager looking proud in their uniforms.

The fatal moment. Insets: Scott and Slager looking proud in their uniforms.

Error 5: Slager could have let Scott disappear into the wilds of North Charleston. After all, a broken brake light isn’t a capital offense. But the officer had to get his man. So, without warning (as captured in a bystander’s viral video), Slager pumped seven shots at Scott and brought him down. It goes without saying that American police are dangerously trigger-happy these days. According to a widely disseminated statistic, U.S. cops killed more people in March of this year (111, to be exact) than British police have slain in all the years since 1900 (a grand total of 52), when Queen Victoria still sat on the throne. If true, this is a shocker and a wake-up call.

Error 6: It’s not clear whether Scott died instantly, but Slager and his African American partner made no attempt to revive their victim or check his wounds. They seemed content to let him expire on the spot.

Error 7: Slager picked up an object from the site of their struggle and carefully dropped it next to Scott’s motionless body. It’s assumed that this object was the taser that Slager used on Scott, and if so, this was a major foul on Slager’s part. To move evidence is unsavory enough, but to move it with the purpose of justifying a shooting is even more so.

Error 8: The media and the local community immediately framed the shooting as a racial incident. While we can’t know Slager’s mindset and prejudices, we do know that resisting arrest often results in death — for whites as well as blacks. (Whites actually get shot by cops, you ask? You’d never know it to judge by media coverage, but the ratio of whites to blacks killed by police between 1999 and 2011 was almost two-to-one.) This leads us to…

Error 9: Our mainstream and left-leaning media have been cherry-picking news stories that support the prevailing narrative of systematic racial oppression. This is both disingenuous (because it blatantly ignores incidents involving white victims) and dangerous (because it fans the already crackling flames of race hatred). News sources on both the right and left cherry-pick their stories to push their respective agendas. Nobody pays attention to self-described moderate news sources, of course, so we depend on mainstream outlets like CNN and the networks to steer clear of ideological narratives. When they don’t, the truth suffers.

Officer Slager was immediately charged with murder and fired from his job. While this was a smart public relations move that probably kept the anger in North Charleston from boiling over, it will be difficult to convict Slager of anything more serious than second-degree murder and tampering with evidence.

That’s serious enough, but when you take the taser struggle into account, Slager could end up with a simple manslaughter conviction. If history has any power to predict the future, a light sentence (or, God forbid, an acquittal) means we can look forward to more marches and unrest.

What can we do to break the endless repeating loop of police shootings and well-publicized black victims? Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes. Police culture and ghetto culture are both prone to violence; put the two together and you have a combustible mix. But obviously we need to do something. The status quo is unacceptable.

Short of gathering around a campfire with their assigned communities and singing Kumbaya, cops need to show blacks, through attitude and actions, that they’re a force for good. That means striving to help the people they’re hired to protect, and finding mostly non-lethal methods of bringing lawbreakers to justice.

Blacks, for their part, should acknowledge that their communities tend to have serious crime issues, and that they stand to benefit from the presence of a vigilant, fair-minded police force. Where crime is rampant, the “no-snitch” tradition of non-cooperation helps nobody.

Meanwhile, here we are once again: a tragedy of errors involving cops and victims, and the tragedy of a nation that, 150 years after the Civil War ended, still can’t seem to move beyond black and white.

 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

Advertisements
53 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark Bond permalink
    April 13, 2015 5:22 pm

    Reblogged this on e-Roll Call Magazine.

  2. Pat Riot permalink
    April 13, 2015 10:48 pm

    Per usual, TNM offers a fair and rational, open-minded and deeper look at an incident, rather than sensationalizing or exploiting only the salient, hot-button aspects.

    What can we do to break the endless repeating loop of police shootings and well-publicized black victims? We can do hundreds of practical things at many levels. The flames of racism are being fanned, but we can put a stop to it.

    • April 14, 2015 10:08 am

      Thanks, Pat. I suppose the racial flame-fanners think their focus on black victimhood will stir up some needed change in the way police operate in black neighborhoods. But the exclusive focus on black victims (hey, folks… white lives matter, too!) is creating a warped narrative that’s out of touch with reality, and of course countless blacks are buying it. Some of the anti-white invective I see on message boards (and even in respectable left-leaning publications like Salon and The Guardian) is blood-curdling, and no good can come of it.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        April 14, 2015 9:52 pm

        “warped narrative that’s out of touch with reality”…yes, agree, agree, and that’s not denying U.S. police brutality, police problems, bad cops, corrupt cops, racism, injustice.

        warped narrative that’s out of touch with the truth.

  3. Pat Riot permalink
    April 14, 2015 8:08 pm

    You are welcome, Rick! You are a voice of reason, a pillar of sanity! When I experience vertigo of the soul from the swirl of sound bites in the mass media maelstrom, the frenzy of fanaticism from the amen corners, I know I can go to TNM for some stability!!

  4. Pat Riot permalink
    April 14, 2015 9:46 pm

    If we were to have a pie chart of racial flame-fanning, and by golly we should, what would the wedges be?

    • April 15, 2015 11:46 am

      I’d say about 75% of the pie would be black activists, progressives and well-meaning “moderate liberals” perpetuating the narrative of innocent blacks as victims of white racism. The other 25% would be social conservatives whose socially unacceptable anti-black bias finds a convenient outlet in the form of Obamaphobia. (Not that all Obamaphobes are racists, but many of them are.)

      By the way, where IS everybody?

      • Roby permalink
        April 19, 2015 11:03 am

        Hi Rick,

        I’m here, just I don’t subscribe so am a johnny come lately when I happen to look in on the NM.

        As always, a fair-minded analysis and I cannot disagree with a word of it.

        But I will add a different perspective perhaps. One of my best friends is a half Black half Swedish man in his mid thirties. Slightly politically conservative, a very successful entrepreneur, utterly respectable looking, light brown. Last year walking down his road in rural Vermont, where he has lived all his life, an unmarked car with an out of uniform man in it stopped him and asked him what he was doing. He asked the man for ID and a badge was flashed. He answered the mans questions and there was no incident. He has no idea to this day which police force the man was working for. All who know him, me included, are pissed.

        To my surprise, my friend was pretty worked up about the Micheal Brown shooting and the shooting in NY. He has never had any racial bug up his ass that I have heard about but he has told me that he encounters in Vermont many people say one a week who have an attitude towards him that seems racial.

        I surprises me not at all that people of color (and there really is no term that I am comfortable with but I will refrain from African American here to avoid the hated hyphenating) feel that they are a target and are not happy at all about it, and it is not just the stereotypical militants/activists. I would say that had any poster here been born with a darkish complexion they would have the same issues with encounters with authorities and their outcomes.

        I’ll add that I have no trouble at all finding (or to be more accurate cannot avoid finding) news stories about black thugs carjacking and murdering, killing babies, homeless people, punching random whites in the face, beating truck drivers after accidents in black neighborhoods, etc. Is there an activist agenda behind those stories as well?

      • April 21, 2015 12:01 pm

        Roby: Good to know we’re in sync on most of my points… I was wondering if I came down a little too hard on poor Walter Scott. I think every fair-minded person would agree that death was too harsh a penalty for Scott’s reaction to being stopped by police. But if he had stayed in his car he’d still be alive today (although possibly behind bars for the asinine child-support penalty).

        I have no doubt that blacks are more heavily policed than whites, simply because they tend to live in high-crime neighborhoods where (let’s face it) most of the crime is committed by blacks. But the fact that your friend was stopped for “walking while mixed-race” in Vermont shows that there might be some racial bias at work.

        As for news stories about crimes committed by blacks… yes, I see them occasionally, but you almost have to seek them out and read between the lines, because the stories often conceal the race of the perpetrators. I have yet to see a black-on-white crime generate the kind of national publicity and outrage that a white-on-black crime does. I suppose it’s because the former aren’t regarded as racial incidents and the latter almost always are.

  5. Ron P permalink
    April 15, 2015 12:52 pm

    Things may not be much different today than they were years ago, and I would suspect in most all cases, things are much better. But there are still that small number of cases where the wrong person gets into a job that they are not suited for. We hear about the teachers that have affairs with their students, we hear about people working with money that are caught for embezzlement and we have the few police officers that either kill or severely beat up people. It happened with Rodney King in the 90’s, it most likely happened many times before that over the years and it most likely will continue to happen.

    What can happen though is a better way to determine the predisposition of an individual to this behavior before they are placed into a law enforcement job. With the technology today, we should be able to develop screening systems of individuals that could reduce some of those that would have tendencies to violence. All the other measures of community policing, etc will help with the relationship with police, but will not do much to reduce the possibility of this type of police action happening in the future.

    Please understand I do not believe this is a systemic problem in police departments today. But anything that can be done to reduce the number of individuals that are predisposed of excessive violence should be investigated. This will reduce the few number of cases that do occur that seem to be headline news when it happens.

    As for this case, most likely will will hear little in the future concerning any outcomes of any trials. We will be all consumed with the 2016 election when this case probably goes to court.

    • April 15, 2015 2:04 pm

      I agree with you, Ron…. I also think it should be noted that police work is another area in which unions have had a terrible effect, much as they have in teaching. Pay has gone up, yes, but at the cost of protecting bad cops and bad teachers.

      This story particularly depresses me, because it is, at its core, a local crime story that has been nationalized for political purposes. As Rick always points out, black on white, black on black, and white on white crime stories are routinely ignored by the mainstream news media ….. but a white on black crime occurs (particularly if it involves a white cop), and the narrative journalists are all over it like flies on manure, long before most facts are in evidence.

      • April 15, 2015 3:29 pm

        Priscilla, yes unions have had a negative impact when it comes to protecting bad cops. But if there were a way to better screen applicants before they are hired, then this may reduce some of these instances.

        And yes, the same holds true for teachers and bad teachers.

        But we also must look at another issue with both teachers and police. In my area the starting pay for both teachers and police sucks. They do jobs that require them to take poop off parents or the public, they have to be nice to anyone that gives them grief and they do jobs that many would never want to do in their life. For $34,000 a year starting pay for a college grad, they can find many other jobs that are available where they do not have to risk their lives or put up with the crap they have to put up with from the public, kids or parents. Most will give up some of the benefits for better working conditions.

        In many instances, the people in these positions that are the most qualified leave the profession well before retirement age and find jobs that pay better and have better working conditions. Getting shot at, or making sure you have your hand on your weapon while conducting a traffic stop at night is not good working conditions.

        But this is a society where people at the top of many large corporations or health care systems make millions and do little in relation to what they earn, while those teaching their kids and protecting their many assets make little in relation to the impact they have on society.

      • asmith permalink
        April 20, 2015 7:24 pm

        It is not “police” unions, or teachers unions that are the problem – it is public unions. Even FDR grasped this was a bad idea that would not work.

        Though I wish government would reduce its role in private unions to preventing owners and employees from doing violence to each other and assuring that both parties abide by whatever they agree to, beyond that I have zero problems with private unions. They are essentially self regulating.
        If they place to great a demands on the business they bankrupt it or cause it to move elsewhere. If employers behave too eggregiously – they get unions.

        Private unions of mostly died because private unions have killed off the busniesses they serve, and employers have gotten far better at making employees happy enough to eschew unions. That is all the market self regulating.

        Public unions are different. Unions do not negotiate with their bosses – we are their bosses. They is insufficient means for the public to push back against politicians. If a private management gives union too much – shareholders revolt and the business fails. If politicians give unions too much – they get votes and political contributions.

    • asmith permalink
      April 20, 2015 7:49 pm

      While I do beleive that things are improving I also beleive we have SYSTEMIC problems in policing.

      The most egregious acts are committed by only a few bad apples,
      but there is more wrong than just “the most egregious acts”

      Read Serpico – that is an expose of the NYPD from the inside.
      Again I think things have improved since the 70’s – though Frank Serpico doesnt.

      Still our choices as a people to criminalize all kinds of activities that are not the publics business have corrupted our government.

      I want my local police officer fixated on those who would steal from me, cheat me or do violence to me. Not the local hooker, numbers game, drug dealer, ….

      Though it started earlier prohibition corrupted our police forces. The war on drugs and all the other legislating morality crap has made it all worse.

      If the local heroine adict steals from me to buy drugs – I want him in jail because he stole from me, not because he is doing drugs or because he is selling them.

      Further the prevalence of all this making everything into a crime makes the police see all of us as criminals.

      I am a really mellow person overall. But I respond really badly to people trying to assert authority over me. Ask me nicely and I will mow your lawn, but order me to mow my grass and I will make you get a warrant to get on my property.

      The only thing that saved my ass in my teens and twenties was that I looked like a geek – 98lb weakling. no police officer took me as a serious threat. But they enjoyed making me miserable. In the past 5 years my hair started to go grey and suddenly the police are all respectful. I have not changed – but they have. If a little bit of grey hair changes the way the police relate to me – do I think that being an angry young black male teen is just going to push all their buttons – sure.

      But we are all entitled to equal protection and treatment by the law – black white, young old, male female, rich poor, grey hair or not.

      The police in much of the country have sold us that they are professionals in the past few decades and they are now paid like professionals. Well if they are going to get the big bucks, they need to be able to act like professionals. Yes, they have a very difficult job. But no one forced them to take it. It is their job to keep US safe FIRST. Even when we are young black male and angry. Even when our taillight is busted and we are way behind on child support.

      This is what offends me the most about Ricks post. Where does this idiocy come from that it is OUR job to make the life of the police easier. Any encounter with a police officier is stressful. Most of us have those encounters rarely. But the police do it every day all day.
      It is their job to get good at it. It is their job not to make mistakes. It is their job to make sure that our mistakes do not end up subjecting us to the “death penalty”
      It is their job to treat us with respect – even if we do not behave as if we deserve it.
      It is NOT our job to treat them with respect – even if some of them might deserve it.

      We have created a culture where the police are permitted to and expected to behave beligerantly. Where they act as if every encounter could end in violence, where we are always a threat to them, where they are taught to take total control of every situation and to treat anyone who does not kowtow as a dangerous threat.
      We have allowed this. And the policing we have is the result.

      • April 21, 2015 12:13 pm

        Said like a true libertarian, but I agree with much of what you say. Where we part company is the expectation for police to act politely under all circumstances. If I’m wearing a uniform and some thug is assaulting me, I’m not going to be polite.

        Granted, police HAVE to start using non-lethal methods of rounding up uncooperative suspects. I never said Walter Scott, the North Charleston victim, deserved to be shot for running away — just that it was a mistake on his part to bolt when the cop ordered him to stay in the car. Obviously tasers don’t always do the job. If the cop was really intent on bringing Scott to justice, he could have aimed for his legs instead of his back. I don’t think police have the right to act as public executioners unless their lives are in immediate peril.

  6. April 15, 2015 5:21 pm

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/thabo-sefolosha-says-his-season-ending–injury-was-caused-by-the-police-193049399.html

    And yet another case that may come back to haunt the police. Click on the TMZ link for the video.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      April 16, 2015 11:29 pm

      Many teachers would love to start at 34K. Teachers in the Catholic School System often start at approx. 19K, with Master’s Degrees. I know several. They have worked their way up to mid-twenties after 5 to 7 years of putting in their day at school and then all of the grading and lesson plans at night. So I’m definitely agreeing with your point that teachers are often under-paid.

      Then when a “decent” public school teaching position opens there are typically 400 resumes being sent, and how often does the job go to a friend? This is what I have seen in PA and NJ.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 16, 2015 11:49 pm

        WOW! And the liberals in North Carolina complain about our budget being balanced on the backs of teachers and schools. I can’t believe anyone would spend the money for an education to become a teacher and make 19K with the possibility of 25K after 5-7 years. I can see why Houston Texas is out on the east coast recruiting teachers to their various schools with starting pay in the 40’s and experienced teachers at 50K to 60K. They have taken a number out of our area. And with 400 for one opening in PA or NJ, they have their pick of the cream of the crop with 2+ times the income and no state income tax.

      • April 17, 2015 8:12 am

        Well, the key variable here is that it’s the Catholic and other private school teachers who are making very low salaries…. Go into some of the urban public districts (Newark, Trenton, Camden) in NJ and you will find entry level teacher salaries in the $50K range. The teachers unions are all- powerful in these districts, the federal monies flow in like water, and the students learn next to nothing. It is not the teachers’ fault that the system is so bad, but the good teachers, who care about education, do not generally stay in these districts, which are drug and crime ridden and offer little in the way of true academics. In just the last year, 4 teachers from Newark and Camden have been arrested for drug dealing…..they have not been fired, but put on paid leave, while the union pays for their legal fees.

        (Ron, PA has no state income tax, although NJ does)

      • Ron P permalink
        April 17, 2015 12:13 pm

        Well it will take someone with more knowledge than I have to figure out a solution to the problems we have in some professions. Even in states without the strong union influence the same problems exist as in states with the strong unions. Just this week , it was reported by our local media that two school teachers were having inappropriate relations with their students. Like with the police, someone has the knowledge to better screen for potential problems before the occur.

  7. Pat Riot permalink
    April 17, 2015 6:46 pm

    Ron, the better screening could be a helpful component, especially as you say with available technologies. But, and it will sound naïve to many, but ultimately isn’t: wouldn’t it be great if people were just better, classier, well-raised people who didn’t need to be screened, monitored, policed so much?? I’ve become disappointed with many aspects of organized religion in many ways, especially the RC Church’s utter failures, but the most sincere aspects of religion, RC Church included, were to create better, more conscientious people who could transcend the every day to deeper humanity, and in many ways they did, and still do.

    I realize I usually get philosophical instead of staying political. I don’t think I can help it. 🙂

    • asmith permalink
      April 20, 2015 7:14 pm

      It would be nice if people were better and very slowly over time they actually are getting better.

      But there is not going to be some quantum leap tomorow that makes us all Mother Theresa.

      Further we need to take a bit of prozac or something. As I noted the world is getting better and safer and the people in it better.

      BUT we are now in the all the news all over the world anywhere right this instant.
      If anything bad happens anywhere – e all here about it – nearly immediately.

      We feel less safe, we fell people are worse – because we know every bad thing that has happened throughout the world.

      I am hard on authority – I want the police bound to protect us first – not their asses.

      But I am also not oblivious to facts – police violence is actually way down over the past decade. There are still too many bad apples and to much of a us vs, them attitude among the police. But it still has improved dramatically, just in the past decade.

      The same with all the other things we rant about. Most are improving. We are just far more aware of the problems than ever before.

      Recently in MD they picked up an 8 and 12year old for walking arround in public without an adult.

      We are all worried about kids being abducted – but statistically those kids were safer walking home alone then they were traveling to Children and Youth in the police car.

      We can continue to work to make the world better.
      We should rant and rave about all that is wrong with it.
      But we should take a breath and grasp that much of what we think is getting ever worse is actually getting much much better.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        April 20, 2015 8:55 pm

        Asmith, I will agree with you that we are more aware of the bad. I will agree with you that we are more aware of the bad because of around the clock news. All the instances of bad are collected and beamed into our faces, over and over again. I have been saying this, over and over again! I will also agree that statistics show some of the problems the public rants about are actually lessening, improving, but we think they are worse.

        But it is not that simple. Though our technologies advance, improve, our culture is in decay. You must know this. Town after town in America has slipped from proud, clean communities to ghettos or borderline ghettos. Municipalities and townships and boroughs are bankrupt. The gap is widening between the richest and the rest of us. Do you think that is OK?

      • April 21, 2015 12:25 pm

        Ever the optimist, Dave. I wish I had your world view; I’d probably live to be 100. But I see signs of decline all around: beleaguered middle class, hopeless underclass, deteriorating morality, overwork (for those who have good jobs) and underemployment (for everyone else), shabby values, ugly pop culture, nasty polarization between liberals and conservatives. Yes, blacks, gays, women and rich people have made advances, but that’s about it. And frankly, I’m not sure any of these groups (gays possibly excepted) are happier now than they were in the 1950s.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 21, 2015 6:06 pm

        Rick I understand your thoughts on how the middle class is being negatively impacted and other special interest groups are better off, but sometimes the numbers do not reflect that position. For instance in 1975:
        Average home cost $48,000
        Average income $12,690
        Car: $3,800 (Average for all models sold)
        Minimum Wage: $2.10 per hour
        Gas: .59 cents per gallon
        Stamp’ 13 cents
        Milk: $1.65 a gallon
        Coffee: $1.12 per lb
        Eggs 84 cents per dozen
        Bread 38 cents per loaf

        Now today the average income is around $50,300, so the income levels have increase about 4 times. Compare that to the various cost listed and the only thing that is out of line is a car. Today the average cost of a car is around $30,000 or about 8 times what it was in 1975. That is double the rate of growth in all other cost. Even homes are averaging $230,000 now, so they are well in line with the 4-5 times growth.

        Now statistics don’t lie, but liars can figure, so one could find numbers that are different based on how one might use those numbers, But everything I can find is somewhere close to the numbers above.

        What this tells me is the middle class is not that much better off or worse off than they were 40 years ago, but where the difference occurs is the ability to satisfy one wants as opposed to ones needs. I want cable TV at $100.00 per month, but do not need it. My wife wants cell phone and internet connections, but does not need it. I want to play a round of golf weekly that can cost me $100.00 or more each month, but I don’t need to play. I wanted to go to a small college at a high cost years ago, but did not need to, so I went to a state school for much less cost and no debt after graduation. In 1975, TV was free, people communicated by mail or on the phone, you looked up information at the library and recreation was something that mostly was free at the park. And kids rode the bus to school or drove cars that barely ran. Look at the parking lot today and you will find many students with cars better than the teachers. Those are not needs, they are wants.

        The middle classes wants have become needs and when those needs can not be met due to a lack of income or they are met using debt to finance the wants, then we look at the middle class and say the middle class is worse off than it was 40 or 50 years ago. We need to closely look at the facts before we can really say that as I look at the middle class in 1970 and many of the kids going to war in Viet Nam were middle class kids and died in that war. And many more came home with scars that never healed and no one cared. They were not better off then than now.

        I could care less about the middle class wants. I care about everyone’s needs.

  8. Pat Riot permalink
    April 17, 2015 6:56 pm

    I know a young public school teacher with a Master’s Degree in Easton, PA who makes 90K/year teaching elementary school. Depends on the funding/the district/the negotiations. I’m pretty sure that the same district in Easton had to cut a few jobs after giving everyone those big raises. Such disparity in this crazy country!

  9. asmith permalink
    April 20, 2015 4:35 pm

    Error 1.
    Govenrment is force. Period. End of story. Do not make laws you are not prepared to see enforced – by men with guns. Because that is the only unique attribute to government, the ability to legitimately use force. In my state the supreme court is seriously considering finding the use of force to compel payment of a variety of fines unconstitutional. That sounds good.
    But ultimately that just means the laws get ignored atleast by those who are willing to not pay.

    #2. So what ? Is the death penalty applicable to car registration ? Even the worst case here – the car was stolen or a drug rental. Is that a justification for the use of deadly force ?

    3# Really ? Talk about blame the victim So let me rephrase your remarks more accurately.
    Given that white cops sometimes murder unarmed fleeing black men, if you flee and get killed it is not the cops fault. Considering that Chicago is paying out a multi-million dollar settlement to some who did nto flee and were tortured by the police, staying put sounds so much safer.

    Next, sorry once a police offer uses force without sufficient justification ANYONE is permitted to defend themselves. Like it or not self defense against the unjustified use of force is ALWAYS a right. Once The officer tasered a fleeing person who was not otherwise a danger to anyone have gave scott the right to defend himself – even against a police officer and even to the extent of using deadly force. Further if you make this ludicrous argument that you may not defend yourself against the use of force by someone with a badge, you allow anyone who can get a fake badge on eBay to murder rape and pillage at will.
    But what the heck we can blame the victim for resisting the unlawfull use of force by a real police officer and.or blame them for being fooled by a fake one too.
    No matter what you end up the victim of someone else’s criminal behavior, it is your fault.

    #4 when someone tases you – there are only two legitimate responses Fight or Flight.
    One of the reasons that the police are and should be held responsible for confrontations of this type is it is NOT the responsiblility of ordinary citizens to get the nuances of the use of deadly force correct. It is the responsibility of our police to FIRST protect citizens and AFTER themselves. If a police officer resorts to the use of force of any kind for any reasons – they had better be certain they are justified. There is no carte blanche exceptiosn to the justifications for the use of force specifically for police officers.

    Regardless whether you like it or not the REASONABLE thing to do when you are in danger is to get out of danger – either destroy the threat or escape from it.
    There is absolutely no sane reason to think you can negotiate with someone who has already unjustifiably used force against you.

    #5. Finally some sense. BTW this was decided by the supreme court long ago.
    You may not use deadly force merely to stop someone who is fleeing. They must be an immediate danger to yourself or others. Even if Slagger caught Scott in the act of committing a non-violent felony, he is not allowed to shoot him to keep him from escaping.

    #6. And this surprises you ?

    #7, Slagger acted criminally in shooting an unarmed person. Why should you be surprised that criminals will try to cover up their crimes ? Do you think that carrying a badge will cause someone who just committted a crime to go “oh, not I can not cover up the fact that I just murdered someone”

    #8. Who cares. Slagger’s behavior was criminal. We look for motives primarily as a means of identifying and convicting. A criminal act is still a crime regardless of motive.
    Further there is “no resisting arrest” when there is no crime. A police officer attempting to “arrest” someone without a crime and sufficient probable cause to do so is a criminal themselves.

    #9. Why do you care whether Slagger was white and Scott was black ?
    You fixate on the media’s obsession with race. So lets discard that.
    Slagger murdered Scott. Period. I do not are is Scott was purple and Slagger green.
    Race may or may not have been a factor. But it was murder regardless.
    Find video of a black cop murdering a white man – still murder.

    Next, get used to more and more of this. Something has changed in the past 20 years.
    Nearly everyone has a digital movie camera readily available to them at almost all times.
    There is no place for police misconduct to hide.
    We are fixated on putting cameras on the police now – while not a bad idea – that is primarily for THEIR protection. What protects us is the myriads of cameras WE have in our possession. You and I are old enough, our first thought at most any event is not to record it.
    But my children record everything. Their food, their chores, trips to the mall. Everything.
    They do it nearly without thinking.

    The era where a police officer could do as they pleased and it would just be their word against a collection of disreputables is over.

    BTW, these stories are not all that rare. There is an officer in my area who just shot an unarmed fleeing person in the back. There was an incident a year ago in my community where a mentally ill homeless man was shot after fleeing when the police caught him urinating in public.

    In the end you are going to have to decide, what level of violence you are willing to tolerate from police officers.

    I am frankly annoyed by your:
    Mistakes were made by all sides crap.

    It is not the responsibility of ordinary people to negotiate a tense encounter with law enforcement perfectly.

    The police choose when and where they confront us. We do not chose the time or the place.
    It is their job to be polite and adhere to and know precisely to the letter of the law. It is not ours.

    As you play this blame the victim thing over and over.
    What if instead of Black, Scott was your teenage son ?
    There are myriads of circumstnaces where we could encounter a police officer at less than our best. It is not our, or our childrens, or the handicapped, or otherwise disabled or incapacitated to dot all our eyes and cross our tees lest the police officer decide to gun us down.

    There is only one “mistake” that justifies ANYONEs use of deadly force against another.
    That is their initiating the use of force. Merely being drunk, angry, big, black, male, beligerant, high – even actually criminal is alone insufficient to allow anyone even a police officer to kill us.

    There is no “mistakes wee made by both sides”.
    It is the job of the police to assure that they make no mistakes when using deadly force.
    It is not ours to behave perfectly in all encounters with police

    • April 21, 2015 12:27 pm

      Dave: I don’t have time to reply point by point, but see my response to your first post on this subject.

  10. Ron P permalink
    April 21, 2015 12:10 am

    Unless you live in the Philly area, has anyone heard about this on the national news? I did not until a friend pointed it out to me. HUMMM wonder why?
    http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Hearing-Teens-Hamilton-Smith-Homicide-Stuhlman-Overbook-299019131.html

    • April 21, 2015 12:35 pm

      Good example, Ron. This story did make the news in Philly, but it wasn’t treated with front-page prominence. And there was no mention of race in the Inquirer account: I had to infer from the neighborhood — and the victim’s last name — that it was a black-on-white crime.

      Yes, the one-sidedness of reporting on interracial crime irks me to no end. As I noted earlier, black-on-white crimes simply aren’t regarded as racial incidents, and in most cases they aren’t. But to ignore the racial element in these stories is to perpetuate the false narrative of oppressive whites brutalizing innocent blacks. It’s a two-way street, folks, and (although you’d never know it if you only watched CNN) most interracial crime is black-on-white.

  11. Roby permalink
    April 21, 2015 1:27 pm

    Rick, no place left to reply but the bottom.

    “I have yet to see a black-on-white crime generate the kind of national publicity and outrage that a white-on-black crime does. I suppose it’s because the former aren’t regarded as racial incidents and the latter almost always are.”

    The beating of that truck driver in a black neighborhood. The black teen who shot the baby, a carjacking at a mall ending in a murder, these all generated national media attention and outrage. Why was there no follow up demonstrating and even rioting leading to a media blitz? In these cases it is not an authority figure doing the killing/beating. Who would one protest against, black thugs in general? Who would protest, white people in general? I think you are missing the point here, the media are attracted to these police brutality incidents because it is authority that is being abused, representatives of the state itself. An entire system of justice can be questioned. That killers kill is not national news. That cops kill is, especially when protests follow. My friends case in liberal old Vermont is more than just an indication that there “may be” an issue. There IS an issue and people of color feel it.

    I do not believe this idea that liberal activist media are fanning the flames and race baiting, any more than I believe the idea I hear from lefties that the media are all in the pockets of the rich and the big corporations and produce a capitalist racist, corporate product. The media have to choose among tens of thousands of potential stories for their daily work and they choose the issues that will sell advertising. Since we are not a left-wing nation, and because the real left is not buying much of what advertisers are selling, having not much money or interest as a group. the media choose stories that their readers with money to spend on consumer goods are interested in. Some of those stories last quite a while, because people are fascinated. Lots of this stuff is stupid, lurid trials, the blade runner.

  12. Pat Riot permalink
    April 21, 2015 10:35 pm

    Roby,
    The lopsided reporting of white on black crime is not driven by advertising and sale of products or what interests the U.S. audiences. It is a top-down agenda.

    I’m sure you already know that 6 corporations control approximately 90% of U.S. mainstream media. It’s a top-down agenda. It’s propaganda with a purpose. Divide and conquer is part of it. Do you think these mega-corporations are just winging it without a plan? Do you think the widening wealth gap is accidental?

    What are the demographics of the U.S.? About 73% White, 12% Black, 9% Mixed, 5% Asian. Are the 73% Whites thirsting to see “white authority attacking black victim”? Not.

    Is there not a large segment of the U.S. population, regardless of race, that is interested in the TRUTH, as close to the whole truth as possible? Is that what we are getting? Why not? If it’s just head-turning they want, it wouldn’t be so selective, so slanted. Would we all turn away from the media and stop buying products if we were getting truthful, balanced reporting?

    I’ve always liked your personality here on TNM, so nothing personal, but on this issue I think you are missing the “conspiracy.”

  13. Pat Riot permalink
    April 22, 2015 7:10 am

    Of course the manipulation is not just via what is shown, over and over, but what is omitted, time and time again.

    Rick was able to look at errors on both “sides” of a tragic situation, but mainstream media is not? Who does it help to have local police forces less trusted? Who does it help to have the “masses” arguing and distrustful of each other?

    Communication and Coordination—these should be part of our agenda, not division.

    • Roby permalink
      April 22, 2015 11:55 am

      No Offence taken Pat. I hope you will have none when I state that I do not believe that you can connect the dots on your conspiracy theory. The media are not trying to start a race war, conquering the American people is not a goal of the corporations that produce the news. How would that be to their advantage? even if they could do it, which they can’t. They compete with each other and try to conquer each other business wise, or at least to avoid being conquered by their competitors. They are not conquering us.

      Rick found his facts based on what the mainstream media came up with! Where else did he get them? He started later and so there was more to go on. He also had the intention of writing an essay that found a middle ground and shades of grey. That is a different goal than writing a news story that fits in a small space with all the other news stories that fit in small spaces in a newspaper or on a news broadcast. On day one of any sensational story you have an incomplete picture that fuels the imaginations of those with various agendas. As time goes by more details emerge and the picture becomes more subtle. That was the point where Rick could step in and bring together different pieces of this story to reach these shades of grey.

      It would help no one in the long run to divide us, but all the same opinionists looking to earn a living throwing red meat find ways of painting their black and white pictures. Its a shame that the mainstream media ever hires these people, but their reason for doing so is not that they are an evil conspiracy, its that the system has evolved to produce these opinions and the market for them over hundreds, if not really thousands of years. Human nature likes to judge. There is a market for stories that let people do that. Thus, the ugly sight I see whenever I check out at the supermarket, so called magazines that are devoted to malicious gossip by the dozens.

      The question of why the media sells a product that can be toxic is much like the question of why my supermarket and all the little mom and pop stores in Vermont sell cigarettes. They should not sell this disease and death causing product from one moral point of view, but they all do, because they all do and that is competition, the CEOs and boards of directors and owners etc. have no desire to cause cancer, but selling cigarettes has to be done because if they were the only one not to sell them they would lose too many customers.

      Your view is much too dark, in one way, of the mainstream media. The badness of the product is not an evil scheme, instead it is a byproduct of competition. The publisher of the NY time and the Wall street Journal very likely had no desire to cover the Blade runner trial, for example, but they had to anyhow because it was a sensational story. Vast impersonal forces are at work much more than evil intentions. Which pretty much sums up capitalism.

  14. Pat Riot permalink
    April 23, 2015 10:15 pm

    Roby,
    I’ll respectfully disagree with you without writing a treatise.

    When you say “the media,” I think you are talking about the writers, producers, newscasters, actors, actresses, cameramen, etc., and even the CEOs at the tops of competing companies. I’m talking about above that.

    Let’s look at the NFL as an imperfect but hopefully helpful analogy of the type of manipulation and control I’m talking about. The players and coaches are competing, training, trying to win, like you say members of “the media” are. Yes. I agree there. Writers, actresses, program directors, and newscasters are doing their thing for their daily bread in the marketplace.

    But the NFL didn’t want Jim McMahon of the ‘85 Bears wearing a headband for example, the league put a clamp on certain types of celebrations, it limits expression and behavior so that players refer to the league as the No Fun League, and the multi-billion dollar league amazingly maintains tax-exempt status. The big money folks at the top maintain a certain level of control. No, they are not controlling everything, not every player and every play and every game, but they control enough to protect their image and keep their market share strong and growing. And the young players all over the country strive to make it, and we fans tune in, and the advertising dollars flow, and the thing exists that has woven itself into our culture. The folks at the top try to steer it to maintain their good fortune. And they should. Within limits. (See billions paid for concussions.)

    Well of course the people at the very top in the world steer things a bit too. No, it’s not Dr.Evil, and all the dots are not connected, but subtle and not-so-subtle manipulation exists right along with the impersonal pushes and pulls of markets and competition as you rightfully mention.

    You won’t deny that corporations pay big money to lobbyists to keep laws in place that they believe are favorable to their mission, or to change ones they perceive as unfavorable. It’s not perfect manipulation. Sometimes it backfires. Sometimes groups fight them. Sometimes citizens say “NO!” or “Enough!”

    Yes, it is advantageous for the people at the very top to maintain their grip by “keeping the masses down.” I didn’t say they want to obliterate the masses. I didn’t say they don’t want the masses to be able to buy their products. Keep the masses capable enough to drive the trucks and work in the hospitals, etc, etc, but confused, distracted, and despondent enough to not understand how to bring some of the power back to “the People.”

    The widening wealth gap. The manipulation is working.

  15. April 23, 2015 11:41 pm

    Without putting too fine a point on it, I think that it is fair to say that the news media, in general, is corrupt and stupid. Whether from ideological bias or economic self-interest (almost certainly both), the fourth estate has rotted from within and without. Same with most of academia.

    The institutions that we have relied on for decades (centuries, really) to sort things out and put them in perspective, have become untrustworthy and vacuous. As far as I am concerned, the time has come to do away with them as they currently exist. The so-called “mainstream media” has become an appendage of the Washington establishment….Pravda is probably more objective. And our most elite colleges and universities seem more like extremist left-wing training camps.

    I think it goes way beyond conspiracy theory, and right to the heart of our societal breakdown. I have to agree with Pat – there are those that benefit from the way things are going, and they are fine with things continuing to go that way…..even though the rest of us thinks things are going to hell in a hand basket.

    I am not entirely pessimistic. I think that the ship can be turned around. But it’s not gonna be easy, and having a dark view of the future no longer seems to me to be crazy.

    • Ron P permalink
      April 24, 2015 12:01 am

      Priscilla, I am more pessimistic than you are because so many people are so uninformed by any source today. Only 57% of eligible voters voted in the past election and when we hit 62% we think that is a huge turnout. That means 43% do care enough to pay attention to anything that is going on and of the 57% that did vote, I question how many of those really know what is being reported.

      I think a small percentage of people do know whats happening, but the largest percentage don’t watch or read anything from the main stream media, then there is another group that hears news from agenda driven news organizations where the truth is twisted and finally there is a group that gets their news over the internet. (They are the only ones with the true story as we know it has to be the truth if its on the internet).

      Not until the government is on their doorsteps and taking away a liberty impacting them personally will they realize what has happened, but at that point it is too late. It happens all the time in many different countries around the world. It just takes a little longer in the US because there is an impediment in the way of government that they have to work around before they can finalize their actions. Its called the constitution, but it is being whittled away slowly.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        April 24, 2015 7:14 am

        Whittled away slowly. I agree, Ron P. But it’s not over yet. We can all find niches where we can take a stand.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      April 24, 2015 7:11 am

      Well said, Priscilla. And the societal breakdown and the manipulation go hand in hand.

      And I should be able to say “societal breakdown” without it being assumed I don’t see the good, the beautiful, the promising, the accomplishments. One of the things I fear the most is that our language and our communication skills as humans is not up to the tasks that lie before us to steer ourselves toward the good and away from the bad.

      Already I hear a chorus of people scoffing at my words “good” and “bad.” “Oh yeah,” they will say, “who is to say what’s good and what’s bad, huh??” Oy veh. Good is developmental, growth, liberty, self-actualization as human beings, cooperation, construction. Bad is oppression, exploitation, destruction, war, death, stupidity, despondency, ignorance. To name a few.

      One of the manipulative messages that gets sprayed around by the media like poison chemicals is “it’s all relative; it’s all subjective.” No. Some things are subjective. Some things are bad for humans in the long run and some things are good.

      It’s not over yet.

    • Roby permalink
      April 24, 2015 7:47 am

      Really, you are going completely overboard. I work in academia and have seen its excesses and I fought them with vigor. There are those 2 left wing ISO members in the (nearly 50 person) English department at UVM, yes, but they are a tiny percentage of the faculty. The lefty students at groovy UV made up about 20 out of 10,000. They just made a lot of noise, while the others were busy being students. I think its a little early to do away with academia.

      Pravda is more objective than our media? Oh good grief. Same line I actually hear from the lefty activist students who believe our media is right wing corporate blah blah blah. Silly from them and more silly from you. They at least are young and naive.

      Guys, get a grip.

      • April 24, 2015 8:40 am

        Well, the Pravda remark was mostly (mostly!) sarcastic, Roby. And I don’t think that we should do away with academia, that would be counterproductive. But, you must admit that when a major state university like Rutgers is afraid to let the first female African-American Secretary of State speak at a graduation, when a small group of students can prevent Ayan Hirsi Ali from speaking at an elite university like Brandeis, when the University of Michigan feels that its special snowflake students need to be protected from seeing an Academy Award winning film (“American Sniper”), when the son of Holocaust victims is told by his fellow students at Princeton that he is blinded by his white privilege, when parents of girls are told that “rape culture” dominates university life and one in every five females will suffer a sexual assault …….well, I could go on, but you get the idea. Something has got to happen to stop the insanity (oh, lord, remember those commercials?)

        And, like I said, I think that “something” can and will happen. Clearly, the feeling that things have gone waaaaay overboard with the lefty nonsense is strong among liberals and conservatives alike. To a certain degree, I see the changing demographics of the country as the potential driving force for this turnaround. Many Asians and Hispanics are here for the opportunities that America has traditionally promised, and they will get educated at institutions that provide them with the tools to get ahead, rather than waste their their money at elite white tower colleges. This “follow the money” process may be the “something” that is needed.

        We all need to get a grip, that is for sure….but that cuts both ways. I suppose the takeaway here is that people feel that a tipping point has been reached, and that the normal cycle of things swinging right and then left and then back right, etc., with the middle ground holding fast, has somehow been changed.

  16. Roby permalink
    April 24, 2015 8:54 am

    Priscilla, your issue is political correctness, not academia. Most academics are physicists, economists, biologists, mathematicians, etc, and they are engaged in publish or perish, not PC nonsense, they are too busy not perishing for that.

    It is easy to find examples of stupid PC behavior on campus and off. But to think it indicates the rot of academia is to actually buy in to the idea the PC wackos are selling, that their small, humorless, fanatical society is actually really really big and powerful and important. Instead its a tiny proportion of the entire enterprise that has found a silly tactic that sometimes forces a stupid result. Yes, they can be infuriating, but they are not academia itself. While they are busy doing that, the vast majority of other students and faculty are doing things in the direction of building their lives and careers.

    I ran into one of the UVM campus lefty fanatics several years after he graduated UVM. He was putting cream cheese on bagels for skiers and tourists (and me) in Stowe. That’s the result of his degree in Sociology or whatever and leftwing nuttery. Ticket to nowhere.

    • April 24, 2015 9:19 am

      Roby, I agree that it is political correctness. But it is political correctness run amuck and has reached beyond the usual craziness into a global level of craziness at the highest levels. This is where I think that Pat nails it. A few months ago, during the Ferguson riots, you probably recall that the president of Smith College wrote an email entitled “All Lives Matter,” and was forced to take it back and apologize! This cow-towing to the most extreme elements of leftwing nuttery by the very people who have the power and influence to push back is what concerns me.

      I have to say that I appreciate your perspective on this, because I know that you are not a Pollyanna. I actually have been a Pollyanna for a good portion of my life….on some levels, I’m sure that it’s the inability to find the silver lining in this stuff that gets to me. And, like Ron, I wonder if it’s going to be real tyranny that wakes people up, only after it’s too late.

  17. Roby permalink
    April 24, 2015 9:23 am

    “You won’t deny that corporations pay big money to lobbyists to keep laws in place that they believe are favorable to their mission, or to change ones they perceive as unfavorable. ”

    No I won’t deny that, or the many other sensible points you make. But that is a long way from the idea that the media is taking up the supposedly left wing/liberal cause of police brutality towards people of color in order to actually further the allegedly right wing/conservative cause of keeping the rich safely richer and richer and the rest of us poorer.

    Whatever plots there may be to save the rich, I can safely say that one place they are Not found is in media coverage of deaths of minorities at the hands of the police. That is far too convoluted and cynical.

  18. Pat Riot permalink
    April 24, 2015 11:20 pm

    Roby in the land of Academia…

    You are again taking the high road, staying positive, choosing a wider view of life rather than being dragged down by dirty deeds of scoundrels, mafioso, an unscrupulous mass marketers! I think such a willful positive attitude is actually one of the many important ways that we can side-step some of the madness and choose a sustainable future.

    So, rather than proving nefarious manipulation that I see so clearly (how many examples do we need other than the way the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were marketed to us through the media with the help of the shills of GOP Bush and Dem Obama, i.e. how the Oligarchs dictate to both corrupt parties), I will also choose to be part of the solution rather than pointing at problems.

    But first a clarification to get me off the hook: You are much more specific and direct with your talk of left wing PC race baiting being used to bolster right wing preservation of capitalism status quo. I was seeing the antagonism and trouble-making more in general as distraction and division that gets in the way of more purposeful activism and pursuits. It’s a bit like All-Star wrestling, a spectacle, with the bad guys and good guys, and then they switch ‘em around a few years later.

    “How are the 99% doing these past weeks, Johnson? Are there any new threats to our empire?”

    “They are still watching football, Dancing with the Stars, and playing Candy Crush, sir. There seemed to be some momentum gathering toward campaign finance reform there for a few weeks, but that has gotten drowned out with all the racial stuff.”

    “Oh good. Send a memo to all our subsidiaries. Tell them to keep running the racial stuff for a few more weeks. The morons can’t seem to get enough of accusing each other. Focus on the white cop against black victim. That gets both sides riled up the most”

  19. Pat Riot permalink
    April 25, 2015 5:34 am

    “Aren’t you concerned about riling them up, sir?”

    “What are they going to do? Write their Congressperson?”

    Both men had a good laugh.

    “Yeah, I’ll be sure to read all my emails and get right on that,” Johnson said, leaning on the rail of the yacht.

    • April 25, 2015 8:20 am

      “And, by the way, that Bruce Jenner story should help, too. He’s becoming a She – that’s always good for riling up the Christian conservatives and LGBT activists”

      “Arrgghh! Jenner said that s/he IS a Christian conservative! Worse yet, a Republican! This kind of diversity could be a problem – find a more divisive topic! Maybe a pizza joint that wouldn’t cater a gay wedding…..”

  20. Roby permalink
    April 25, 2015 10:41 am

    Heh, I had to look up polyanna to see if I am one. No, I am not. I think the world is going to hell in a bucket. I see wars, famines, tyrants, race and religion based wars and genocides, ecological catastrophe, the possible collapse of civilization etc. in our future in the next hundred years , along with a lack of good new popular music and a vapid tasteless popular culture no intelligent person would want any part of.

    All of this caused much more by vast impersonal forces, viz., human nature, population growth, climate change, technology falling into the wrong hands than evil people. Of course there are the individual villains the Putins, Murdochs, Assads, Moore’s, Limbaughs, Kim Jon-uns, etc. But as soon as one dies he is replaced.

    I took a writing course ten years or so back and one story I wrote had Ralph Nader, Ted Kennedy and Jesse Helms all sitting on a yacht together having a good laugh at the little people they were fooling into believing that there was some difference between them. So, I am capable of fantasies of a cabal of super villains. The truth according to me is actually much worse, The direction of events is driven by enormous impersonal forces that are not consciously malicious and thus even more difficult or impossible to stop than individual villains.

  21. Pat Riot permalink
    April 25, 2015 11:46 am

    OK, so none of us here are Pollyanna, but we often put up a heckuva cheerful, buoyant persona. Kudos to any of us who can manage that, but I want to be more than a resigned violinist on the Titanic. (Hey, did one of them have a large stand-up bass? Might have been able to float on that!) Anyway, I’d be tying the deck chairs together into a makeshift raft…

    Interesting, Roby. Yes, those “impersonal forces” (a.k.a. this generation’s version of plain ‘ole ignorance and stupidity in large waves ands movements) are bad enough, depressing enough when hoping for peace and happiness for mankind, but I think we have been and will continue to overcome many of those. One of my favorite “duhs” of mankind is our discovery that many “colic babies” have acid reflux. Boom, cured, once the understanding is there. (I grew up next to one in a row house in Philly. Such non-stop torture for all within earshot, and of course the infant. P.S. Not all colic babies have acid reflux.)

    Anyway, yes, the blundering around in the dark of ignorance is bad enough, but what’s more dangerous is maliciousness, purposeful destruction, because it takes a willful progression through a series of steps, rather than just a misstep like an accident.

    I hate to remind everyone, but there are ridiculously rich folks, 4th, 5th, 6th generation ridiculously rich, who have come to the conclusion that there are too many humans to sustain life on earth, and that some us have got to go. They have about as much concern for troublesome populations as they do for baby chickens on a conveyor belt. Sorry for the image. Why do we create horror movies when reality has so much to offer?

    Anyway, it’s my mission for the 2nd half of my life to enlist help to change the minds of the people without souls. Instead of referring to them as super villains, how about we agree on something less cartoonish. The “Let Them Eat Cake” Oligarchs of the Digital Age is much too wordy. I don’t have a cape, but I did raise two children, including through the teenage years, and everyone says they are such nice people. If I can do THAT…there’s hope!

    • Roby permalink
      April 25, 2015 2:32 pm

      My hat is off to your plan. My pessimistic post is how it (the situation in the world) seems to me, but nothing is written in stone.

      My largest driver of pessimism is climate change, which will change agriculture much for the worse if the mainstream climate predictions follow through, which will then drive many other human bad tendencies. Not to mention the huge damage to genetic diversity, polar bears, emperor penguins just to name a few large species sitting in the crosshairs.

      As well, having watched history march backwards this last year in the direction of tyranny and European war, added to the bad turn the Arab spring has taken and Islamic fundamentalism…. Well, when the USSR collapsed it seemed the history was taking a far different path towards freedom. It has not been fun to watch, especially when I have relatives by marriage now all over that area, not to mention in Israel.

      I will be 60 next birthday, you will encounter a certain amount of grumpiness and loss of ideals I think when you speak with persons my age. Our time is passing, friends and relatives aging or worse, our cultural connections tied to an era long gone and replaced by tasteless crap. I am mostly cheerful, I have a great life and family and situation. But when I think of where the world seems to be heading, I am left hoping for a miracle, because the downhill slide seems pretty apparent and could quickly become a freefall back to the worst events of the last century.

  22. Pat Riot permalink
    April 26, 2015 9:12 am

    And I will be 53 this summer, so not too far behind you. We grew up during a mostly good period in America, situations depending.

    I’m glad some of your pessimism isn’t written in stone. We need you at your best to hold things together where you are: for you, your family, and your circles of influence. This is part of the plan too–bottom up strength!

    Happy 60th in advance!

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: