Mass protests & riots happening over murder by police officers

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by aaradia, May 31, 2020.

  1. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Well-Known Member

    I believe this can depend heavily on the trend of the day and current events.

    In my personal opinion there can be a lot of paranoia within the crowd of people who feel they need to be armed with firearms all the time. There can certainly be legitimate hunting and sporting folks who have appropriate guns for those purposes. I grew up in that kind of environment and I was one of that crowd. But the heavily militarized people who stockpile AR-15s and thousands of rounds of ammunition and like to undergo military-inspired training exercises in the woods, are a different sort. Some of those people may be ex-service members with genuine military experience from which to draw. Others never served are simply acting out their unrealized military fantasies. And there are people in between, along a continuum.

    I just figure that people gotta decide for themselves the level of paranoia to which they will subscribe. For some, that paranoia level is very high.
  2. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Everyone has their own beliefs and good luck to them, as long as they can articulate and defend them based on facts.

    From an outside perspective I'd make a couple of observations;
    1. A police force decked out in military surplus doesn't make for an approachable group designed to protect and serve.
    2. The people who believe they need guns to avoid tyrannical government seem unmoved by African-American folks getting shot, but march on their local town hall at the first hint of trouble for themselves, loaded for bear and happily intimidating LEOs.

    America is in a difficult place, and hyperbole from either side isn't going to solve it, but you can be absolutely sure that pretending there isn't an issue with racism will only make it worse.
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  3. Morik

    Morik Well-Known Member Supporter MAP 2017 Gold Award

    One consequence of having regular citizens armed with firearms on a regular basis is that police necessarily have to interact differently with the public. There is less leeway for mistakes or misunderstandings.
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  4. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    The thing is, that would make sense if that seemed like the only thing causing issues. If US police had a spate of killings where people were hiding their hands or constantly fiddling with their belt or something and being shot then fair enough.

    But the issues around use of force and the attitude/culture of US police doesn't neatly tie into issues of an armed citizenry. There being a heightened risk of guns doesn't explain why police are so quick to shoot when guns clearly aren't involved, why they're needlessly aggressive with people already detained, why they have such callous disregard for anyone thought to be a lawbreaker (although that seems to be a wider American problem, not just a police one), or why police forces have such a horrible lack of oversight or consequence for misconduct.

    Wider availability of guns doesn't change whether cops 'remember' to turn on their cameras or not, and it doesn't make cops suddenly start creating and joining police gangs complete with ink.

    I absolutely understand that police need to have the 2nd amendment in mind compared to European cops, but I can't see a link between guns and the wider issues the US police have. Unless its all tied into wider American culture and has links with why America also has such a unique problem with mass shootings which also can't be very neatly tied to just wider availability either.
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  5. Morik

    Morik Well-Known Member Supporter MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I didn't mean to imply that this was the only issue; just that reasonable police behavior will necessarily be different in a society with an armed populace.

    I agree that there are a wide variety of issues that are affecting police interactions with the populace in the US, among them: insufficient training, a culture of protecting officers who behave incorrectly or illegally, cultural issues where some sub-cultures in the US have (justifiably, IMO) ingrained an innate lack of trust in police, etc.

    Is racial bias a big factor? I'm fairly convinced that it is a factor, though I'm not sure direct racism by police officers is the biggest issue right now:
    - Poverty is associated with higher crime rates. Blacks are disproportionately (by % of population) poorer, and so completely ignoring bias due to skin color, should be expected to statistically commit more crime. (I do believe the reason blacks are disproportionately poorer is due to racism/legacy of slavery/etc giving them a massive disadvantage in starting wealth & ability to generate wealth at the population level.)
    - The war on drugs specifically targeted drugs that were more popular in black subcultures, and furthermore tended to be selectively enforced. So not only did they target drugs that tended to be used more frequently in black subcultures, but they also tended to enforce those laws disproportionately against blacks, leading to a double whammy of increasing the criminality of blacks vs other segments of the population.

    So even if every single cop in the US were completely unbiased, we would still be seeing issues with blacks being disproportionately (compared to % of total population) involved in crime/being policed more heavily.

    I did find Sam Harris's podcast on BLM & policing to be an interesting listen: (transcript: Can We Pull Back From The Brink? | Sam Harris).
    (I think some of his conclusions are suspect, and that he didn't analyze some of the statistics deeply enough, but I found it interesting to listen to anyway.)

    He talks about how blacks are responsible for 50% of violent crimes, but are only 13% of the population. Some of that discrepency can be traced to socio-economic factors that disproportionately affect blacks (the two bullet points above about poverty & the war on drugs, for instance). But I bet that number is off. Why? What is that number measuring? If it is breaking down crimes by the race of the perpetrator, it can only be looking at crimes where someone was arrested for it. I'm not sure if the statistic is looking at arrests, charges, or convictions. But regardless, it cannot be including crimes that go unsolved. Further, I wouldn't find it at all hard to believe that blacks are disproportionately convicted when innocent.
    If you have 3 kids and one of them is always causing trouble, you are likely to jump to the conclusion that it is the troublesome kid who is responsible for some misdeed. So when the various factors (poverty, war on drugs, etc) cause a disproportionate amount of crime from some group, that group gets more scrutiny. That would also contribute towards that 50% number.

    Anyway, something needs to change. Police in the US need more training. The culture of sweeping police mistakes or maliciousness under the rug needs to change.

    This is getting a bit long and I need to get back to work, so I'll just also say that I find reports from the FBI about white supremacists coordinating to infiltrate law enforcement over the past few decades very concerning. I am not sure what steps need to be taken to fix this, but I am disappointed by the lack of action on it (at least, I'm not aware of any visible action being taken by the US govt about this).
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  6. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Man I used to love Sam Harris....but he's said so many suspect things over the last few years...gone right off him.
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  7. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    I quite liked about half of "god is not great" then it turned into an argument for ethnic cleansing and I thought he may have issues.

    Then he mentioned that he was a Jewish atheist, which is why he's generally against Islam, and it reminded me of the old Irish joke, guy gets stopped by a paramilitary group, are you a proddy or a Catholic..... Guys says.. I'm an atheist, the paramilitary groups says. Yes, but are you a Catholic or proddy atheist.....

    And then I did some more delving, and realised most of these right wing talking heads, are just grifters doing it for the cash, he's just a better presented Tommy Robinson.

    Dawkins is still a good guy, but of the rest, are very intellectually dishonest.

    I do miss Christopher Hitchens.
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  8. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Also Dawkins isn't what you would call right wing in the slightest, sorry that wasn't clear, I meant of the well known atheists people.
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  9. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Nah...gone off him too. His "Dear Muslima" letter was an embarrassment. He's not on board with a lot of social justice causes at all as far as I can see and has been known to favour evangelical groups so long as they too share his views.

    I was well on the new atheist/four horseman train a few years back but have slowly gone off almost all of them. Harris, Dawkins and Hitch have their issues (but all have a knack for compelling writing). Dennett is about the nicest one but is not as charismatic and even he was a fan of that awful "bright" designation.
  10. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Is Stephen Fry still cool in the 'eloquently atheist' camp or has he got a dodgy side I don't know about?
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  11. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Fry's alright as far as I'm concerned. Just listening (again) to his series of autobiographies and they are brilliant.

    The only thing I can remember thinking was a bit off course from him was some comments he made about female sexuality...but then that's not exactly a subject he has much experience with. :)
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  12. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    So I hadn't seen that, that's disappointing.

    But from his viewpoint, I do get how old men get confused about a modern women's experience.

    The brights thing is also embarrassing, but I can see what they were trying to do.

    His recent (ish) autobiography is excellent, you can see why he has some issues relating to modern society seeing how he was brought up.

    I think my favourite atheist author now is Greg Graffin. (Terrible titles for his books though)

    I've been meaning to look more into humanism, it seems to be the church of England compared to the atheist movements Catholic church.

    Although there definitely isn't a god, and people who pander to the religious are just enablers at best, and wanna be authoritarians at worse.

    Greg Graffin - Wikipedia
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  13. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    I heard he sent a squad of men over the top to their death in his youth!

    He also does a lot with the humanist society in the UK.

    It's still atheism, but less stringent, more considered.

    Humanism - Wikipedia
  14. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Thing is though with Dawkins he was a proponent of "consciousness raising". Trying to get people to be aware of knowledge and experience outside of their narrow view of things....and then something that should have been an opportunity to do just that for his own views is dropped in his lap and he decides to totally ignore it, insist his view trumps that of someone more directly effected and go after the person. Although it did become a catalyst for a break up of the atheist movement and expose some of the misogyny that had been bubbling there anyway.
    What I thought was ironic is that Dawkins went to far more effort and trouble than Watson's video bit a few months after the "muslima" letter when he wrote to a newspaper arguing to ban fireworks because it scares his dog. Someone should have written him a "dear doglima' letter pointing out how badly dogs round the world are treated and how his concern about fireworks wasn't needed.
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  15. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Dear doglima, is the funniest thing I've ever read here!!! And I often read my own posts.

    That's the thing about having a well known voice, the more you comment on things, the more likely you are to make a mess of it. Good job my profile on here isn't under my real name;

    A B D P Johnson.

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