ChrisMaverick dotcom

Why I haven’t blogged about Eric Garner…


top: Tamir Rice, Micheal Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford III. bottom: Darrien Hunt, Ezell Ford.

You know how I ranted a whole bunch about the Michael Brown incident over the last couple months? And a year ago, I ranted a bunch about Trayvon Martin?

So you’d think I would have done a nice little blog ranting about Eric Garner (warning, do not follow that link if you don’t want to watch a 43-year-old man choked to death) and I thought about it. I was trying to think of what I had to add to the conversation. See, a lot of people think I just rant to rant. I don’t. I actually think about what I rant about very carefully. And in my head, I wanted to talk about the differences or lack thereof between shooting someone and going all Tazmission on you. I saw a few people complaining on the interwebs that Garner wasn’t really choking. Because “When you’re choking you don’t have the air to say ‘Help! I can’t breathe!'” *sigh* Anyone who feels that way, I invite you to come over and let me slap a rear naked choke on your for about ten seconds. If I’m in a good mood, maybe I’ll release it before you incur any permanent damage.

But people have addressed that. And really, it’s sort of beside the point.

Rand Paul in all his infinite wisdom did the pundit circuit the other day and claimed that Garner’s death wasn’t about race but instead was a direct result of New York’s ridiculously high tax on cigarettes. Rand Paul doesn’t understand the basic principles of cause and effect. Here’s the thing, I even kind of actually agree with Paul’s base point. Applying a tax to something that is HIGHER than the actual cost of the item is pretty much government sanctioned robbery. Sure. But, even if that was in some grand cosmic way related to the reason that Garner was selling cigarettes on the street (and that’s a tenuous claim at best), that has nothing to do with why he was killed, unless Rand Paul has access to some stats about bootleg DVD sellers being choked to death on NYC streets as well, and I’m unaware of it. But you know, even if you believe that, if you’re a perennial presidential hopeful, maybe there are better times to address that issue than while you’re literally speaking over video footage of a man being choked to death.

Fuck you, Rand Paul!

So then I decided, maybe I’ll talk about Tamir Rice. Let’s see… 12-year-old boy. Has toy gun. Police pull up next to him and shoot him two seconds later. (warning, do not follow that link if you don’t want to watch a 12-year-old boy shot dead at point blank range on video tape)

Yeah, that kinda sucks…

Yeah, that would have been a great blog. Shooting 12-year-old boys at point blank range sucks. Film at 11.

And then I realized what the problem is. See, I’m a wordy sonuvabitch. I’m currently 30 pages into writing what I thought would be a 10 page term paper. Even here I’m 500 words deep. I get paid to write shit. Hell, I get paid to teach people to write shit. I’m a crazy, curmudgeonly bastard who will rant about TV shows annoying me just as much as I will about social injustices. I compose intricate ten minute skits to make telemarketing scammers question their religion, sexuality and very place on the planet, WHILE I AM TALKING TO THEM. In short, I am a massive asshole. But for anyone who has argued that Brown, Garner and Rice isn’t about race (and I’ve seen a bunch of people in my FB/Twitter streams trying to do just that) remember one thing:

Police are literally killing unarmed black guys faster than *I* can think of anything to say about it. (warning, do not follow that link if you don’t want to read about a whole bunch of people getting killed in the same way in a relatively short amount of time. And yeah, I think its pretty fucked up that we live in a world where I have to make these warnings. )

*sigh* Remember the good old days when being black meant that maybe you got a trumped up speeding ticket or at worst an ass whuppin’?

So yeah… That…


280 comments for “Why I haven’t blogged about Eric Garner…

  1. December 6, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I can barely write about the problems of being a woman. Glad you’re writing.

  2. December 6, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    No mention of John Crawford?

  3. December 6, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Jeff: he’s in the picture. And the article I linked to talks about him.

    That was kinda the point. There’s enough victims that I don’t really have individual stuff to say anymore.

  4. December 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    I see him now. His murder just sticks out in my mind as especially egregious.

  5. December 6, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    That video (SC) was crazy. So glad the poor guy wasn’t mortally wounded.

  6. December 6, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Because Dmitri continues to be magically invisible to my blog, I am reposting his comment in it’s entirety. Mostly because I want to be able to find that article again easily:

    Dmitri Schoeman said:

    Curiously enough, here in my hometown in SC we fire and arrest police when this happens. (in this case, video is perhaps slightly less disturbing to watch since the victim survives the shooting)

    Interestingly from a transparency viewpoint, not only was the footage released, but additional content with him describing his version of events to his supervisor – which did not mesh well with reality.

    Of course none of this means he will (or should) be convicted, but at least there will be an official chance for the citizens formally weigh the complete evidence under the established rule of law with forceful advocates on both sides.

  7. December 6, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    i just don’t know what to say but i feel like i should be buying all the black people i know body armor or some fucking thing for christmas because WHAT. (please note: i cannot afford to actually buy people body armor, sorry)

  8. December 6, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Laura: Should you suddenly come into some money and start feeling generous, just be careful of which black friends you give them to. I’d be fine here in PA, but it’s actually ILLEGAL to own bullet proof vests some places and I totally feel like that’s the kinda thing I might get arrested for.

    you know… or shot…

  9. December 6, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    ok. i would not want anyone to get shot and have crack sprinkled on them because of me. that would defeat the whole purpose.

  10. December 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    really, it just bothers me a lot that it’s illegal to own a bullet proof vest under any circumstances

  11. December 6, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    I suppose the theory is that anyone who needs a bulletproof vest must be engaged in some shady doings? I can think of about 50349823 situations where that is untrue but I don’t get to make the laws.

  12. December 6, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    shady…. like their skin

  13. December 7, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Wait…you’re curmudgeonly? Why did I never hit on you? That’s sort of my Kryptonite.

  14. December 7, 2014 at 12:52 am

    It’s not like I hide it.

  15. December 7, 2014 at 7:42 am

    what? bullet proof vests are illegal? but, what are your kids supposed to wear to school in those states? also, agreed on the fuck Rand Paul point.

  16. December 7, 2014 at 8:48 am

    The only reason to bring up race in any of these cases would be to point out the inadequacies of black culture in teaching young men how to exist in society. To claim any of the cases mentioned are primarily motivated by race, ignores the fundamental problem with blacks in our society.

    By ignoring key facts in all of these cases, racists are condoning the self fulfilling prophecy of black victimization.

    By ignoring the key factors that make the stats all wonky when it comes to blacks and crime, or blacks and illegitimate children, blacks and drugs…

    By ignoring fact. Not opinion. Not analysis. But the facts that tell the story of a good bit of black America, the Jessie jacksons, and al sharptons, etc of the world do nothing but profit from the misery of their own people.

    Do you know how many black “teens” killed each other since August? Look it up. Cops are not the primary threat to blacks in the country. The thought process that prompted you to write this post… Yeah.

  17. December 7, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Vic: That’s a bad argument even for you. Usually I defend you on terms of “look, he has his own view. He might be crazy, but he’s honest” but that one is just you TRYING to disagree. It’s not even logical.

    No one is ignoring those facts… Actually EVEN if people are ignoring those facts. They’re a non-sequiter argument. A red herring. Because the police in question are not black teens. What you’re saying, while not as ridiculously crazy sounding as what Rand Paul said, makes even less sense. It’s like saying “the police aren’t being racist because even more black people die of sickle cell anemia.”

    Your argument literally the equivalent of “football players shouldn’t wear helmets because boxing is more dangerous.”

    Ignoring Brown, Campbell, Martin, and any other black guy that’s ever been killed by cops. You cannot blame Garner’s death on victimization complex. He did not victimize himself into a choke hold. It just isn’t the same. Hell, people who usually do… people who usually make the claims of “we are living in a post racial society”… aren’t even trying. When Al Sharpton, Glen Beck and Bill O’Reilly (all of whom are batshit crazy in their own way) literally agree on the specifics of a problem… almost to the word… then it’s time to take stock on the issue and say “ok, maybe we need to think this through.”

    Think about that…. when there’s an issue…. and when the battle line is drawn, you look on one side and see “The liberal media” and the usual Democratic suspects (Sharpton, Jon Stewart, Jesse Jackson, Obama) WITH Bill O’reilly, Glen Beck and President GW Bush, and then on your side, the best you can do is Ann Coulter and Rand Paul making an argument about “its not about race, it’s about cigarettes” and you really think to yourself “ok, this is clearly a bunch of making something out of nothing” then maybe it’s time to reexamine tour position in life…

  18. December 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    “Do you know how many black “teens” killed each other since August? Look it up. Cops are not the primary threat to blacks in the country.”

    And by international law, we can only talk about the single WORST problem. Anything less frequent may not be discussed. This is why nobody talked about anything on Facebook until war and hunger and poverty were fully eradicated.

    Also, yeah, most black people who get murdered get killed by other black people. Just like how most white people who get murdered get murdered by other white people. 84%! Who will rid us of the epidemic of WHITE ON WHITE VIOLENCE?

    Being killed by an agent of the state is fundamentally different from being killed by another citizen. If I killed you, I would reasonably expect to be arrested, be tried, and go to jail. That doesn’t happen in police killings, and no amount of handwaving around specious culture arguments will make that distinction go away.

  19. December 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    the thing that kills me about the act right/black-on-black violence argument is that it’s very much as if such things occur in a vacuum. like those things just MAGICALLY happen in isolation because of Reasons Intrinsic To Blackness that have naaaahhhhhthing to do with racism being embedded in the society in ways that isolate and damage black communities.

  20. December 8, 2014 at 9:47 am

    No Chris Maverick as usual, what you are saying has nothing to do with my point. These cases are only about race because people like you, the media, and the black “community” made them about race. Period. The fact’s, AS PRESENTED, do not support the idea that race was anything but tangential as the cause of the deaths. Making race the focus, only serves to cloud the true issues facing young black men and the black community as a whole. Making race the scapegoat for all events of this nature does nothing to address a black culture where it’s youth are more likely to end up dead or in jail than any other.

    And if you are not intuitive enough to make the connection between poverty and these events, that is a failing caused by an ideological blind spot.

    You want so very hard to disagree with someone like Rand Paul or whomever that you can not see the connection they are making. I mean you are actually blind to it.

    Why was Michael Brown shot? Because he was black? Or because he lived in a lower class area, and by class I mean income level, not making a judgement on character. He was raised in a culture where his size granted him respect. Which he apparently had little issue in using to his advantage. He felt no need to obey the rules, attacked a police officer and got shot. Did being black get him to that point? Or was it because he was poor enough to feel like stealing was ok. Frustrated enough to feel like he doesn’t need to obey the law?

    Eric Garner was a career criminal. He too was working in a system where he felt slighted. Where he used small time crime to make a living. He had no faith in a system that had never backed him. His frustration was real, and in a way justified, but that in and of itself did not put him above the law. And for the record, he did not die from being choked. He died from a cardiac arrest AFTER he had left the scene. He died because he was is such poor health the stress of the incident gave him a heart attack. Saying he was choked to death is, wait for it… Disingenuous. And the EXACT circumstances of his death are extremely relevant in regards to the grand jury decision. To indict, it would have been necessary to prove the officer INTENDED to kill him. Not being indicted does not protect the officer from any number of other penalties. So to make this case out to be, “another black man killed by a white cop” is fucking ridiculous and poisonous to society as a whole.

    Tamir Rice purposefully made his toy look like a real weapon, proceeded to a public place and brandished it as such. He was reported, the cop showed up, and fucked up. Fucked up big time. But the officer was called to the scene of a black suspect with a gun. That is what he found. Not hesitating, not taking a second was negligent, but not without some logic considering the events of the past year. That boy did something foolish, and was gunned down because of it.

    Would the officer have hesitated if her were white? Maybe, so what? The vast majority of crime in these areas is committed by blacks, period. No argument, no discussion, it is what it is. Black youth commit a lot of crime, that is at the very least somewhat related to them being in a lower tax bracket than most others. Having less stable family structures. And having their culture centered around entitlement and a cock sure, me against the world ideology.

    I am not here to convince you of anything. I am not here to change your mind. We do not agree on the core problem. And we are not going to. I comment because I, like you, see a big problem. I see the things you post of this nature as a large part of that problem. I see the way you think as the real issue. The generalization of white vs black as a means of pushing an agenda.

    We have no need to debate. These men were killed because they were not fortunate enough to have risen above the circumstances where they would encounter the law. They were killed because they failed to obey the rules of society, and felt justified/entitled to do so. Even if ever cop in question had said, “yeah I shot the dirty little tar babies, one less problem on the street.” Racism would still not be the ROOT cause of their deaths.

    A bullshit mentality like that only has teeth so long as the black people are led to believe they are different. That they ARE inferior. Racism has no affect on me because I choose to move beyond it. Because I have enough MONEY for it to be irrelevant. The solution to black people getting raped and pillaged by society? Elevate them to a level in society where rape and pillage is deemed unacceptable as opposed to part of daily life.

    You lack insight into these things. Not because you lack intelligence, but rather because you value your ideals above that intelligence. You would rather make a wise as remark than even attempt to look at things from another perspective. The real tragedy in that? If all of your bullshit were swept away, and people like you were actually willing to work the problems as opposed to the result, we might actually get somewhere.

  21. December 8, 2014 at 9:58 am

    huh man vic you know you’re right, the whoooole reason my friend O. gets pulled over driving and hassled while walking with my sisters is because he isn’t acting right and doesn’t have enough money. I mean obviously his private school education and PhD and rich suburban neighborhood and high-end suits ought to protect him but if they don’t it’s SURELY because he isn’t acting right and doesn’t know how to not be a victim.

  22. December 8, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Every time I consider unblocking Vic, I see that nothing’s changed.

  23. December 8, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I think I may actually be permanently a tiny bit dumber for having read through Vic’s entire idiotic screed there.

    Wow. Just… wow.

  24. December 8, 2014 at 10:09 am

    And so what about the 10 friends I have who are equally educated, go where they like, do what they like and have no issue with the law? Are you suggesting your anecdotal evidence is better than mine? Do you honestly not understand the irrelevance of your example?

  25. December 8, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Nah I just think you’re hilarious and don’t understand stats or logic

  26. December 8, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Prove me wrong then. Honestly. If you have actual evidence that supports your claim that race was the primary factor in these cases. By all means, present it. No one is stopping you from making that case. But there is not point in having a discussion about such things unless you are actually going to provide evidence. My position is backed by the ACTUAL presented evidence of the cases in question. My OPINION as to the core problem of WHY these men where in the situations they were in is also supported a wide array of crime statistics and data. I stated that I believe the true problem to be caused by poverty, not racism. Unless you have some actual data to back up your opinion, there is nothing to discuss. I am not going to argue ideology with you. We see things differently, case closed. No need for debate. Prove that these deaths were racially motivated. Otherwise. Discussion over.

  27. December 8, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Vic, you’re wrong on the facts of each case, and I don’t have time to teach you trends analysis and statistics. I gotta call my vet about my dog’s ear infection, which is way more entertaining than you are.

  28. December 8, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Vic, no one here is arguing that these cops thought to themselves “I want to shoot a black person today” or “man, I hate those black people so am going to abuse my authority.” What we are arguing is that race is a factor, likely unconscious, and that racial bias is interfering with justice. The racial bias both affects whether a police officer will escalate to deadly force, and affects whether the officer will face penalties (like jail time) for use of that force.

    If we could wave a magic wand and have all of the biases go away, we would, but we can’t. So instead heightened scrutiny of cases like the ones Chris mentioned here are important. Since we know there is bias against the people who died, we should spend more effort, not less, to thoroughly look at each case. So we need actual trials and not bullshit grand jury dismissals.

    And if you persist in thinking that there is no longer any racial bias, that it is all bias based on social class or how one acts/speaks, there are studies that show the bias still exists. The first such academic one I found (though not the only one of this kind I have heard of):
    Where they sent out thousands of resumes that were identical, changing only the name on the application. Applications with white sounding names were 50% more likely to receive callbacks than resumes with traditionally African-American names like Jamal or Lakisha.

  29. December 8, 2014 at 11:31 am

    ” Where they sent out thousands of resumes that were identical, changing only the name on the application. Applications with white sounding names were 50% more likely to receive callbacks than resumes with traditionally African-American names like Jamal or Lakisha. ”

    Let me ask you a question. Who is perpetuating that bias? Who is portraying Jamal and Lakisha as less capable? Biased does not just magically appear. Media? Society in general?

    Here is another study that references the one above:

    This does not disprove or attempt to disprove the idea of bias. What it offers are additional factors to consider when presenting such bias as a direct cause of a particular result.

    There is nothing wrong with scrutiny. There is nothing wrong with questions. But you have to accept the evidence and base those questions on the facts. If you are going to ignore the evidence then there is no point in the scrutiny. No point in looking at the cases at all. Just present and opinion and have at it. No need to tie it to an actual event if the actual circumstances of an event are ignored.

    “So we need actual trials and not bullshit grand jury dismissals. ”

    If there was enough evidence to support a trial, there would be one. After the fact we have all been given a chance to look at the evidence. We all have the ability to look at the law as written. If A + B does not equal C, there is no reason to go to court. If you have evidence showing this to NOT be the case when it comes to the vast majority of cases sent to the grand jury, please present that evidence. Otherwise, your dismissal of the process is without merit.

    ” Vic, you’re wrong on the facts of each case, and I don’t have time to teach you trends analysis and statistics. I gotta call my vet about my dog’s ear infection, which is way more entertaining than you are. ”

    Yeah, that is what I thought.

  30. December 8, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    “Let’s focus on who and what is responsible for this bias, while ignoring the effect its having right now. Maybe in 30 years or so we can begin to fix things.” –People today, and people 30 years or so ago.

  31. December 8, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Vic is right. Nature, in her majestic equality, kills both the black man and the white man when subjected to a hail of bullets.

    But I must disagree that socioeconomic status has much to do with it either: If you prick us, do we not bleed?

  32. December 8, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Unless cocaine is involved, because that shit makes Negroes immune to bullets.

  33. December 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    I heard cocaine makes white people’s faces rot off to show their true skull-like visages

  34. December 8, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    No, that’s Bath Salts

  35. December 8, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    don’t do too much cocaine, white people! or bath salts! drugs are bad!

    Image of actual white person who did way too many drugs

  36. December 8, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Vic says: “as usual, what you are saying has nothing to do with my point. These cases are only about race because people like you, the media, and the black “community” made them about race. Period. The fact’s, AS PRESENTED, do not support the idea that race was anything but tangential as the cause of the deaths.”

    Wrong… USUALLY, you present an alternate point of view, which I humor because I think you are interesting even when I disagree with you. Generally, you have little support for your opinions. They’re simply opinions. And that’s fine. I find the discourse to be important. Actually, I find your opinions invaluable, precisely BECAUSE you generally disagree with me. You provide an honest alternate viewpoint that forces me to think about the issues that I am writing about if only to tell you why I think you’re wrong. I never actually have any intention of changing your mind. I honestly just don’t care that much. But having a conversation with say Nat or Laura about race, class or gender isn’t nearly as useful because since they agree with me, there’s nothing forcing me to do research to back up my points. This is precisely why I never block anyone (you, or anyone else). I fundamentally believe that all *opinions* are valid.

    That said, as in all of these cases, I *CAN’T* miss the point. It’s my forum. The point is by definition, exactly what I make it to be. The only reason anything is ever on point or off point here is because I allow it.

    Generally, what ends up happening with you is that I open a topic of conversation, and you attempt to manipulate the course of it towards some small section of it where you can gain a foothold and base your argument around that. Often, people get frustrated with you because you insist that you’re right and everyone else is missing the point, when in fact, no one is arguing the small detail that you care about. They’re not missing it. They just don’t care. BUT, I consider that valid too. In fact, it’s actually a very smart rhetorical technique. It’s good arguing. At least in theory.

    In this case, though, you’re not even getting that, because fundamentally your small foothold is logically invalid because you don’t understand enough about sociological race or culture and, as Laura pointed out, your understanding of the facts of the cases you are referring to in specific and the manner in which law, medical analysis and sociology work in general is fundamentally flawed.

    So with all that said, since I don’t have a dog to take to the vet, and I feel like taking a break from the paper I’ve been working on, lets walk through it:

    You say: “Why was Michael Brown shot? Because he was black? Or because he lived in a lower class area, and by class I mean income level, not making a judgement on character. He was raised in a culture where his size granted him respect.”

    You’re trying to use the words class and culture in a way that makes sense to you. And by making sense, I mean in a way that supports your argument. But you’re just wrong, because that’s not what those words mean. Class and culture are sociological terms. They describe sociological constructs. So do race, ethnicity and gender. First of all, class and culture are not the same thing. The way you’re using them, you mean class. Culture is something else. In order for your argument to work at all, you have to conflate class with race. And believe it or not, I agree with you there. BUT, the fact that class and race are conflated is specifically indicative of institutionalized racism. Literally, what you’re describing in that paragraph is the definition of institutionalized racism. Following it up with “that’s not racism” doesn’t prove anything. In fact, it’s actually just more evidence of the conflation. This is an argument that you can’t win. It’s not even one that under discussion. The very conversation that you’re having (or that I or anyone else here is having) is evidence of the effect. It’s not even necessarily bad. It’s just just a cultural law. There are literally volumes written about this that go back hundreds if not thousands of years. It’s the fundamental understructure of cultural studies.

    I will ignore the beginning of your argument against Garner, because it is essentially the same as the Brown one, so I will pick up here: “And for the record, he did not die from being choked. He died from a cardiac arrest AFTER he had left the scene. He died because he was is such poor health the stress of the incident gave him a heart attack. Saying he was choked to death is, wait for it… Disingenuous.”

    Wrong. You don’t understand how coroners work. On a BASE technical level you are correct. He died of cardiac arrest. But, that doesn’t make it disingenuous. That’s just the medical definition of death. TECHNICALLY, no one dies of choking. No one dies of cancer either. Or drug overdoses. Or gunshot wounds. Medically speaking, death involves the ceasing of functioning of the cardiopulmonary system (cardiac arrest) or the cerebral cortex (brain dead). Like 90% of the time, it’s the former. In fact, in the cases where it’s the latter, is when we get into the legal questions of whether or not it’s ok to “pull the plug” on someone.

    (To be continued…)

  37. December 8, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    You continue: “And the EXACT circumstances of his death are extremely relevant in regards to the grand jury decision. To indict, it would have been necessary to prove the officer INTENDED to kill him.”

    Wrong again. You don’t understand how grand juries work. In point of fact, they’re intended to do the exact opposite. In a criminal trial, preponderance of evidence, case law, reasonable doubt, motive, etc. all come into play. In a grand jury, they aren’t supposed to. The defense doesn’t even get to present in a grand jury, it’s all prosecution. This is why 99.9% of grand juries end in indictment. The question before a jury is “are you sure beyond a reasonable doubt that _____ is guilty of ______?” The question before a grand jury is “given these facts are you at least unsure enough that we should look into _____ further and have a trial?” The results of a GJ are non-binding, and in fact the process is entirely optional. The prosecutor has the right to bring charges regardless of what they say, and in fact can just bring charges without doing it in the first place. Lots legal professionals argue that we should just get rid of the GJ entirely because it’s a waste of time. The reason it continues to exist is that its supposed to be a way for the prosecutor to say “I think I want to charge this person. I can’t decide if I want to go for Murder II or manslaughter. Let me put this in front of a dozen or so people (16-23 in New York, 12 in Missouri. Since it’s not an official step in the legal system, size isn’t constitutionally mandated. In PA, it’s always 23 people. In Ohio, it’s always 9. Virginia uses 5 people. Wyoming uses 2.) so I can gauge the room and decide what to charge him with. Lack of intent doesn’t mean innocence. (in fact, the GJ doesn’t deal in guilt, innocence or acquittal, the actual thing they release is called a Bill of No Truth). What it is SUPPOSED to mean is that they GJ makes a recommendation for a Manslaughter charge. This is literally, the only reason the crime of Manslaughter even exists.

    As for Tamir Rice. I even agree with you on the issue of police training. Police are trained to use their judgement and shoot when they feel they are at risk. By that token, they did the “right” thing. But no one is actually arguing that. The question at hand (and remember, I get to set the agenda) is whether or not sociocultural attitudes on race (i’m using the terms correctly) play into the use of that judgement. As I said before, there are volumes written that show they almost have to. But let’s look specifically at this incident. Here is footage of the 2 seconds it took a police officer to make the decision to evaluate Tamir Rice as a threat and shoot him:

    here is the footage that Dmitri alluded to earlier if the two seconds that it took a police officer to evaluate Lavar Jones as a threat and shoot him (relevant time signature begins at 35 seconds in)

    Here is the last 8 minutes of John Crawford’s life, where he picks up a BB gun that was on sale in Walmart, and is shot while having a cellphone conversation with his girlfriend:

    And for fairness, here is Eric Garner actively “resisting arrest” before being choked to death (or in your view, choked and then having a completely unrelated heart attack later):

    Now, here is an unnamed white man who has been stopped for legally carrying a handgun by the police and refusing to identify himself or present his carry credentials:

    Now here is another one, this time illegally carrying a handgun:

    And here is a third, this time carrying an MP5 semi auto in full view:

    Note how in all three white cases (including the illegal case) NO ONE GOT KILLED. In the first case, the suspect is certainly hostile towards the officer. He refuses compliance. In the second case, where the suspect was clearly breaking the law, he is let off with a warning and an offer of assistance to make him legal. In the third case, despite the cops suspicion that the guns were illegal (which ended up being incorrect, but so did Tamir Rice’s which wasn’t actually a gun) and the suspects’ clear intention to cause disharmony by expressing their 2nd ammendment rights and waiting for people to make an issue of it, and their open contempt for the officers, as with the first suspect, the officer not only points declines asking for identification or to see the carry permit, as the gun is semi-auto and not full-auto, but he politely encourages the suspects to come down to the training program so they can get a chance to fire actual automatic weapons, commends them on their 2nd amendment rights and says the neighborhood is much safer because of them.

    You said you wanted proof. Those seven examples are illustrations of the fundamental difference in police behavior towards black and white suspects. This is how we make these claims through cultureal analysis. I know you will reject the proof. You’ll explain that they’re isolated. But this is how cultural analysis works. We look for evidence and then we analyze it using clear, repeatable and tested critical theory.

    By the way, I didn’t even have to look hard fro any of those cases. I am not stacking the deck. I literally went to youtube and typed “white man stopped by police for carrying gun” and those are the first three links. Yes, you could argue that its an unfair representation because the media (and I’ll even grant you that random youtube people are the media) is creating a cultural expectation of racism… BUT, the fact that that can even happen is literally proof of different cultural expectations towards alternate races. THAT is what institutionalized racism is.

  38. December 8, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Reposting Dmitri again, because I want a copy of his link on my blog:

    Vic: you asked for facts on routine bias by police (which is a bit different from the issue of how the legal system reacts not in the heat of the moment – which was the start of this discussion)

    ProPublica is a decent and reputable organization. Their source for the data is over 12,000 “police homicides” as reported in FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report.

    Rather than try to summarize with a less than accurate summary of their research, I’d encourage you to look at it yourself… but I’ll stick to harder data in the first footnote:

    “ProPublica calculated a statistical figure called a risk ratio by dividing the rate of black homicide victims by the rate of white
    victims. This ratio, commonly used in epidemiology, gives an estimate for how much more at risk black teenagers were to be killed by police officers. Risk ratios can have varying levels of precision, depending on a variety of mathematical factors. In this case, because such shootings are rare from a statistical perspective, a 95 percent confidence interval indicates that black teenagers are at between 10 and 40 times greater risk of being killed by a police officer.”

    I would rather they do a county by county race analysis to try to tease apart some issues of wealth, and if you would like to do that yourself, I imagine you could… but no matter how you slice the numbers, the difference is statistically not deniable.

  39. December 8, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Way way more patient than I am.

  40. December 8, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Mav has an advantage: he actually enjoys arguing.

  41. December 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Jameel: yes and no. Actually, I enjoy arguing along very specific topical lines. My chosen research areas just happen to be ones that play well on Facebook. Everyone has a gender. Everyone has a race. And, the nice thing about popular culture is that its… you know… popular.

    For the record, Brenadine is capable of making similar arguments. I know her from my CMU undergrad program, so she has the same base training. She can correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect she’d say she has no patience in this specific case because the foundation of Vic’s initial argument was too flawed to bother with.

    I tend to like correcting flawed arguments, because I think that being able to do so is an important step in creating a more literate public. Pushing people’s ability to do rhetorical analysis. All that jazz.

    I mean, it’s kinda my job and stuff.

  42. December 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I like arguing as much as anyone, I also like being challenged and usually enjoy defending my position because I love research (ok, I love being right too) but this was just too much. I mean he basically said it’s not racism because hey, it’s institutional racism. This was like listening to one of my undergraduate students explain why he didn’t like World Literature, it was full of stories about other people he didnt “get”. I’m just tired of people who seem to be purposefully stupid.

  43. December 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    see… told you.

  44. December 8, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Somewhere in here I saw the statement that “cops are not teens”, which did not trigger what I thought would be the likely follow-up question: who is it that kills cops? I couldn’t find demographic data on assaults against cops, but I did find demographic data for a smaller data set – killings of cops. Now, granted, white offenders kill more cops (in most years) than black offenders, but the numbers are shockingly close, considering there are 6x more whites in the country than blacks. It does seem a fairly straightforward relation – you take fewer chances with people 5-6x more likely to kill you. (If my math is poor here, let me know.) Now I’m not suggesting this justified what happend to Eric Garner (I can’t believe they let someone in custody repeatedly complain of being unable to breathe without turning him over or investigating the complaint), but I do think it suggests a necessary baseline concession in discussions of uses of deadly force.

  45. December 8, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Your math there assumes that white people and black people have proportionally about the same number of encounters with law enforcement. I don’t think that’s a particularly well-founded assumption.

    In other words, you’re doing the math based on killings per capita, when you really ought to be looking into killings per police/citizen encounter.

    And even once you do that, you get into issues of proportionality. I’m more likely to be bitten when I walk past a person with a dog than when I walk past a person without a dog. Am I therefore justified in preemptively shooting dogs?

    It’s really tempting, especially for people with an engineering bent, to try and do back-of-the-envelope calculations to explain and justify things like this. I totally understand that temptation. But if it was *really* that simple, do you think it’d be such a thorny issue?

  46. December 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Note that this is all ignoring the ethical / moral issues of profiling, and the fact that our risk assessment abilities are *rarely* quite as fine-tuned as we think they are.

  47. December 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Actually my math doesn’t make any assumptions about proportionality of encounters, because I’m not making any statements about norms. At the end of the day, police duty is a lived experience of constant interactions. The decisions they make are based on their interactions. If black teen violence is a problem for black teens, it’s probably also a felt problem for police. You can’t just brush away the background levels of violence with a “but cops aren’t teens” magic wand.

  48. December 8, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    That’s the point. It needs to.

  49. December 8, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    It doesn’t need to. If you think it does, you don’t understand the point.

  50. December 8, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    No, I understand the point just fine. I’m saying your analysis is bad, because you can’t reduce a sociological issue down to simple math. There are more variables at play than just numbers.

    Here, I’ll try to do it with just science and leave culture out of it.

    Let’s say that “Chemodrug” which is used to treat lymphoma has a 1% chance of killing any person person who takes it.

    Now let’s say that “Aspirnol” an over the counter painkiller has a .01% chance of killing anyone who takes it.

    Now, lets say the FDA releases numbers that say last year 50 americans died of Chemodrug overdoses. They also say that 10,000 people died of Aspirnol overdoses.

    Your math will find that Aspirnol is 200x more deadly than Chemodrug. BUT, we know that in actuality, it’s 100 times less deadly. You just didn’t take into account that WAY more people get headaches than cancer.

  51. December 8, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    No you didn’t understand the point. I was not making a statement about inherent violent propensity.

  52. December 8, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    No, you weren’t. No one said you were. You’re making a statement about risk assessment. But you can’t do that with simple long division. If you could investment firms would recruit 3rd graders.

  53. December 8, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    But these numbers are historical, fact – it’s post hoc risk assessment – no guessing is needed. They are there – recorded, as facts. It is a fact that black offenders are disproportionately lethal to police officers. Would an investment firm counsel ignoring the known risks?

  54. December 8, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    An investment firm that measured profit by investment type without considering the number of transactions of each type would go out of business pretty quickly, John.

    This is not complicated.

  55. December 8, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    right… but you’re only looking at one variable to a multivariable problem, hence my chemistry example.

    I mean, yes, if your argument is of the 30 million black people in this country 30,000 (your link is broken, so I’m using numbers out of my ass rather than the FBI ones) are likely to be violent to the police at some point in their life. And of the 240,000,000 white people 30,000 of them are also likely to be violent towards the police at some point in their life, and I did the math and .1% is 8x higher than .0125%. Then sure… I guess, congratulations, you can do long division.

    But the problem is, you ignored the fact black people might be 100x more likely to be encounter a policeman in the first place, so in actuality, even ignoring cultural prejudices that might come into play, the number would really be .001% vs .0125% thus making white people 12.5x more violent.

    And even that’s flawed because the entire point is that you can’t just ignore the cultural prejudices that come into play.

  56. December 8, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    You’re still talking about inherent violent tendency, which I have repeatedly said is irrelevant to my point. Rhinos may be the deadliest African land animal, but most lion tamer deaths to animals are probably from lions, hence they would probably have more reason to fear lions. It doesn’t matter what the relative stats are, what matters is the stats that actually happen.

  57. December 8, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    … because lion tamers interact with lions far more often. That is precisely the point Mav and I are making.

  58. December 8, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    And that is fully understood. And why I’ve been repeatedly saying it’s irrelevant. What you’re arguing is not and never has been part of my point. Perhaps the lion tamer analogy can bring you in closer to my point. One way or another, lions kill lion tamers. One way or another, black offenders kill policemen at disproportionate numbers. There may well be a flurry of socioeconomic and causal factors that create our “destinies”, but what happens happens. That’s reality. You have to speak to reality.

  59. December 8, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Right… in some cosmic sense, I am not afraid of being killed in a nuclear reactor accident, because I never go there. That does not make nuclear reactors safer than my kitchen stove, which I use every day.

  60. December 8, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    we get that… we’re saying that YOUR point doesn’t do anything. It’s just showing your ability to do math on numbers that don’t ultimately mean anything.

  61. December 8, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Great. Now that you agree with that, let’s go one step further.

    A lion tamer fears lions because she interacts with them often. That does not mean each individual encounter with a lion is more dangerous than an encounter with another type of animal, yes?

  62. December 8, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    And it does mean that if the lion tamer said “You know, I’ve been scratched by lions so many times, I’ve every reason to whip them first and ask questions later”, one might recommend a profession other than lion taming.

  63. December 8, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Of course, but I said long ago this wasn’t about inherent propensities.

  64. December 8, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    So, the disproportionate numbers of violent crimes among black teens is a number “that doesn’t mean anything”. The disproprotionate number of killings of police by black offenders is a number “that doesn’t mean anything”. Perhaps not to you … but perhaps to the police, these numbers mean something. Those numbers certainly make their job more dangerous. And that’s my whole point. You can’t expect people to ignore danger. Perhaps I just wanted to rehabilitate Vic here – but I think his argument got short schrift and he’s a smart guy.

  65. December 8, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    they don’t mean anything because you’re not plugging all the variables into the equation. It’s like you’re saying E=M^2… Fuck the speed of light!

  66. December 8, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Who cares about inherent propensities? We’re talking risk analysis here.

    Now, we’ve agreed that (1) a lion tamer is more likely to be killed by a lion than other types of animals and (2) this does not imply that each encounter with a lion is more dangerous than other animal encounters.

    We started with you claiming that the math backed up “taking fewer chances” with people more likely to kill you. How does that actually play out? You can’t “take fewer chances” in any meaningful broad holistic sense — it plays out in individual choices made in individual encounters.

    But we’ve already agreed that the individual encounters with lions *aren’t* more dangerous than the individual encounters with other animals. So how is it rational to approach them more cautiously than other encounters? If I’m a lion tamer and I don’t take precautions with a rhino (using your example) that I would with a lion because of the aggregate stats, I have made a very foolish choice for that particular encounter.

  67. December 8, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    You can’t expect people to ignore danger, but you *can* expect trained professionals to handle it rationally.

    As Dominic points out, if we’re talking about police officers who are so overcome with fear that they do irrational things, perhaps they and the public would be better served by choosing a different occupation entirely.

  68. December 8, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    “perhaps they and the public would be better served by choosing a different occupation entirely.” Well I do note that neither you nor Mav chose that occupation.

  69. December 8, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    How’s that relevant?

  70. December 8, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Well if you have strong feelings about shortcomings in police work, you are always free to improve it yourself by signing up. I don’t expect you to do it, of course, but I do think it’s fair to note that you haven’t.

  71. December 8, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    That’s certainly an odd digression. A less charitable man than myself might assume that you were attempting to rhetorically back away from a previous unsupportable claim, but surely that’s not what’s happening.

  72. December 8, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Police work is dangerous work. We are discussing the dangers. Dangers that NONE of us have volunteered for or experienced. It is perhaps easy to armchair quaterback how we think police should react in the face of danger, but we are all content that we will never have to do that,and certainly never have to do it day after day.

  73. December 8, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    I think it’s too easy of a copout (ooops no pun intended) to say that you shouldn’t criticize a job you’re not trying to do. If a politician acting on my behalf is corrupt, I should complain, even if I’m not running for a place in City Hall myself. If a mechanic ruined your car, “well, you should have become a mechanic yourself” would be just silly. We live in a complex society with division of labor.

  74. December 8, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Honestly your reply re: the lion tamer example went over my head. Whatever you were trying to say there – is lost on me. I’ve tried to parse it, but I can’t. Lions ARE more dangerous than other animals. They’re a dangerous animal. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. There are other dangerous animals, for sure. At the end of the day, the lion tamer knows he works in a dangerous environment. He knows he is not the juggling clown, for instance.

  75. December 8, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    John, you’re armchair quarterbacking (armchair patrolling?) here too.

    You’re just doing it from a different and shakier perspective.

  76. December 8, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    It’s not just a job, though. It’s a job wherein one exposes oneself to heightened levels of danger for the welfare of others. My point isn’t just that we don’t do the job,it’s that we don’t expose ourselves to those kind of dangers. We just don’t. I’m guessing Nat, that you work a job that has essentially no danger involved (like me). For us to discuss a job that has real, known, dangers, is pretty presumptuous.

  77. December 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I feel like maybe the US Gov’t can help John out here. In fact, they even discuss dangerous animal training in their document on dangerous professions, which, incidentally, contains some very nice summarizing information on why John’s long division is dumbfuckery:

    “Using this method of analysis, one could in fact identify
    even more dangerous occupations like elephant trainers who
    in some years have had 2 work fatalities. Based on employ-
    ment figures of about 600 known elephant trainers in the
    United States, this would produce a fatality rate of 333 per
    100,000 workers and a relative risk that is 68 times greater
    than for the typical worker. Clearly, in this analysis an el-
    ephant trainer has the highest risk of a fatal work injury even
    though the frequency is low or nonexistent in some years.
    The purpose of this example is to illustrate the importance
    of viewing frequency counts, fatality rates, and indexes of
    relative risk to discern dangerous jobs.”

  78. December 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    John Sorry, didn’t mean to be obscure. Let’s say the chances of being hurt by a lion are roughly the chances of encountering a lion multiplied by the chance that any given lion is aggressive. If I’ve picked a profession that increasing my chances of encountering a lion, and I do get hurt by one, I might be tempted to form a distorted view of the average aggressiveness of lions. Instead it might be more rational of me to decide to stop being a lion tamer. That’s what I meant.

  79. December 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm


  80. December 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Police work actually isn’t uniquely dangerous. As a society we make a lot of noise about heroes and in-the-line-of-fire and all that, but it’s actually comparable in risk to delivering pizza.

    Somehow pizza delivery dudes manage to get through the day without a trail of corpses in their wake. Perhaps the police can one day learn their secrets.

  81. December 8, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    So how does that undermine what I said Laura? If anything, it validates my guess that circus professions with wild animals might be exceedingly dangerous careers.

  82. December 8, 2014 at 7:25 pm


    “For us to discuss a job that has real, known, dangers, is pretty presumptuous.”

    This is no more supportable than when people yell at sports commentators about how they can’t discuss sports unless they PLAYED THE GAME.

    An argument either stands up or it doesn’t. The validity does not depend on what hat the speaker puts on at work.

  83. December 8, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Pizza delivery involves bring people something delicious that they want. Police work almost always involves bringing people something they don’t want. Funny, but ridiculous comparison.

  84. December 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    John, that publication explains very clearly why your math is wrong.

  85. December 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Not clear enough for me.

  86. December 8, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    uh… Pizza delivery is extremely dangerous. Dominos does not discriminate against crack houses

  87. December 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    OK…so…uh…I guess you don’t understand pre-algebra?

  88. December 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    And I guess, because we went there, what do you think the demographics of pizza delivery deaths is?

  89. December 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    John, if you can’t understand the excerpt Laura quoted you may not actually be equipped to have this conversation in any serious sense.

    I know that sounds rude, but if you can’t parse that you are not actually informed enough to say anything relevant.

  90. December 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Yeah, all those statistics classes I had at CMU probably wiped out my basic math skills.

  91. December 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I don’t actually know what the demographics of pizza delivery deaths is. I’m guessing you have some suspicions, though.

  92. December 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    That certainly appears to be the case.

  93. December 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I mean, you clearly didn’t learn any stats from them, either.

  94. December 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    If it’s so clear, you could explain it easily.

  95. December 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    you’ve had it explained to you by Nat, Mav, and the US Gov’t.

  96. December 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    All of whom seem to be unable to understand what I said in post #2?

  97. December 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    the question isn’t how many pizza delivery guys get killed (which is way higher than the general population). The question is how many people do pizza guys kill?

    We have explained it. Several times. I think the lion tamer and cancer drug explanations were pretty clear.

  98. December 8, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Oh my god, my dog’s ear infection is so bad, you guys, I have GOT to go watch hockey and drink beer to cope with my emotions about it.

  99. December 8, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Actually, I went back and read John’s post #2, because I’m a glutton for punishment. Well, John, you’re right, police officers ARE making risk assessments based on stuff they feel. The trouble is that a lot of what they feel is rooted in racism and the general inability of humans to do rational risk assessment, and math has nothing to do with it.

    And also your math is still wrong.

  100. December 8, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    John, it’s not that we don’t understand you. We do. We just think your argument is deeply flawed and doesn’t demonstrate what you think it does.

  101. December 8, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Or more clear…. your argument is:

    Hey, there’s a formula for risk assessment. It probably looks something like: (A*(B+C)/D)^E/F = X

    only, I don’t now what F is… I don’t know how to find E, and I don’t really know what C means… so I’m just going to go with (A*B)/D = X. That’s the same thing, right?

  102. December 8, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    You assume its rooted in racism. We have no racial data for their daily experiences. We do not know how many, say, assaults on police officers are committed by race. We do not have any data. For you to say that it is “racism’ when there is no data, is, actually, kind of racist. What little data we do have – that black offenders disproportionately kill police officers, suggests they do face much greater dangers from black offenders. That we do have data on black teen crime, which we know police officers are in the middle of trying to police, should give you pause on leaping to those kinds of assumptions – based on what I can only presume are not scientific/logical thinking patterns, but simply kneejerk PC liberalism. Vic made the point quite clear that the background level of violence that the police are in the thick of is higher in these black communities, the dangers are higher – you dismissed his well-reasoned observations quickly and callously. If you are in a war zone, safety tends to teach you to act like you’re in one.

  103. December 8, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    see!!!! perfect…. you just said “We have no racial data for their daily experiences.” in my equation, “racial experiences” is E.

    That’s why your math is bad.

  104. December 8, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Laura, I think I love you for the best and most appropriate use of dumbfuckery This month.

  105. December 8, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    “For you to say that it is “racism’ when there is no data, is, actually, kind of racist.”

    Time to check off the “people who notice racism are the REAL racists” square on the bingo card.

  106. December 8, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    why thank you, Brenadine!

  107. December 8, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    “Since the early 1990s, arrests of black juveniles have plunged by more than half. In New York City, where Eric Garner was killed by police, the rate of homicides by blacks is down by 80 percent. In Chicago, where most murders are committed by African Americans, the number last year was the lowest since 1965—and this year’s could be lower yet.

    What is also easy to forget in the denunciation of black crime is that the vast majority of blacks are not criminals. In any given year, less than 5 percent of African Americans are involved in violent crime as perpetrators or victims. The fact that blacks make up a large share of the violent criminal population gives many whites the impression that violent criminals make up a large share of the black population. They don’t.”

  108. December 8, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    “We have no racial data for their daily experiences.” Well, *you* don’t. That does not mean such data does not exist. There is, in fact, a lot of such data. There are data for, oh, say, stop & frisks. There’s data on average number of police contacts, broken down in all kinds of ways, including by race.

    You decided, for some reason, that there wasn’t data. I don’t know why. This data is publicly available and easy to find.

  109. December 8, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    “This data is publicly available and easy to find.”

    yep…. in fact, if you want to use Ferguson specifically as a case study, I even link to it in my blog.

  110. December 8, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    So your argument Nat, must be that police officers exercising extra caution and evidencing extra fear when dealing with minorities in crime-ridden neighborhoods is because of racial prejudices exclusively, and not at all due to disproportionate violence of those minorities and communities.

  111. December 8, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I don’t believe I said anything of the sort.

  112. December 8, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I’m simply pointing out that your analysis is flawed, and that it’s far more complicated than you were assuming with your math.

  113. December 8, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    But its implicit in your rejection of what I’m saying, because all I’m saying is that disproportionate violence of minorities is a factor.

  114. December 8, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    you didn’t. But it’s also true. Mostly because as Brandy pointed out, there isn’t actually a disproportionate amount of crime in those neighborhoods…

  115. December 8, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    From the beginning I think you and Laura took my math to mean something I didn’t intend. And I haven’t been able to back you away from it because you’re so excited y ou think you found some error with it.

  116. December 8, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    No, it’s really not.

    You presented an argument. I dismissed it. That doesn’t mean you get to conjure a strawman argument and assign it to me.

    But Mav is also right — your assumptions about “disproportionate violence of minorities” are also flawed.

  117. December 8, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    which goes back to the lion tamer example. You’re more cautious in the lion cage because you think that lions are dangerous. But you’re less cautious the one time you go into the rhino cage, because you don’t realize that a rhino will fucking kill you!!!

  118. December 8, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    You’re not making much sense here, John.

  119. December 8, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Then let’s restart this. My argument, from the beginning, has been that police officers exercising extra caution and evidencing extra fear with minorities in crime-ridden neighborhoods is not exclusively due to racial prejudices, and is surely due in part to disproprtionate violence and danger from those minorities and communities. And this parallels Vic’s argument.

  120. December 8, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I’m not making much sense because you wish my argument was a strawman that you imagined it to be.

  121. December 8, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    we get that… and the response, as clearly and simply as possible is:

    you don’t know how to do stats and if you did you’d see that there’s actually NOT a disproportionate amount of violence and danger there.

  122. December 8, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    If that’s your argument, your initial example was remarkably poorly chosen.

    Also, it’s *still* wrong for the reasons Brenadine, Mav, and Laura point out.

  123. December 8, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    So black teen violence is not disporportionately high? So the cops killed by black offenders faked their deaths/never really existed?

  124. December 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    no, its not. Far more cops are killed by white people than black people.

  125. December 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    “So the cops killed by black offenders weren’t actually killed?”

    Yes, John, that’s exactly what people are saying. Well spotted.

  126. December 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Actually, “far more” is disputable given the numbers on the FBI site. Some years it’s reversed.

  127. December 8, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    This has been fun, but I gotta run for now.

  128. December 8, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    My take-away from this thread is a) no one understands John b) this is because we are all in a heightened state of arousal due to math errors

  129. December 8, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Dumbfuckery, math arousal and white elephants, this is the single best thing I could be doing at 2:34am.

  130. December 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Brenadine: Would the second best thing be beginning be giving me feedback on a draft of a paper analyzing cultural constructions of female virginity loss in teen cinema based on the post I made about that a while back which you commented on? Because if it would, that would be awesome.

  131. December 8, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    That would be perfect for my todo list at work this week! Seriously, would love to read and comment. Want my email?

  132. December 8, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    yeah, you can DM me.

  133. December 8, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Of course, if my math is bad, you can always tell me what the “correct” mathematical figure is. As Mav’s Propublica article tells us, young black males are 21x at greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white male counterparts. A natural follow-up question is the one I asked – what is the risk of a police officer being shot dead by a black offender? I came up with the mathematical answer that it was somewhere in the ballpark of 6x that of a white offender. Nat Lanza and Laura Valentine rushed in to criticize my math, yet declined to offer their own “correct” calculation. It is a simple mathematical issue. If you have the “correct” answer, it is a number that you can provide. I’m eagerly awaiting their wisdom…Call me cynical but I’m guessing it’s mathematically acceptable to calculate a risk for young black males being shot, but politically inco…errr mathematically impossible to calculate the risk of police officers being shot by black offenders. Funny that.

  134. December 8, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    John, my whole point was that it *isn’t* a simple mathematical issue.

    Here, I’ll quote myself:

    “It’s really tempting, especially for people with an engineering bent, to try and do back-of-the-envelope calculations to explain and justify things like this. I totally understand that temptation. But if it was *really* that simple, do you think it’d be such a thorny issue?”

    How on earth would you read that and come away thinking that I’ll offer you a more correct simple mathematical calculation?

  135. December 8, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    But you raised that objection only to me, not to Mav when he quoted a similar analysis. To which I conclude you are hopelessly biased.

  136. December 8, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Aaaaand… flounce

  137. December 8, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    and to quote myself earlier: “I’m saying your analysis is bad, because you can’t reduce a sociological issue down to simple math. ”

    we can’t give you the equation because there is one. You’re only assuming there is because you made that up.

  138. December 8, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    what similar analysis did I quote?

  139. December 8, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Did you raise that objection to Mav’s data Nat or not? If you did not, then you are holding contrary data to a higher standard than data that you like.

  140. December 8, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I thought you said “Good day”, dude.

  141. December 8, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    no one raised an objection to your data (other than me saying you never actually posted it. you posted a broken link). We object to your analysis.

  142. December 8, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Also, whether or not any data or analysis of Mav’s is wrong has absolutely nothing to do with whether John’s analysis is valid.

    We’ve gone from “LOOK MATH” to “I don’t understand math” now to “Mooooooom, he isn’t being FAIR”.

    Which, well, okay. If that’s what you have to fall back on, that’s cool. You do you.

  143. December 8, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Frankly I did little in the way of “analysis”. I merely noted that black offenders kill almost as many police officers as white offenders, despite having 1/6 of the population. I suggested that this could be crudely conceived as black offenders being 6x more dangerous to white officers than white offenders. It’s not exactly tricky statistical manipulation.

  144. December 8, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    > Frankly I did little in the way of “analysis”

    and therein lies the problem…

  145. December 8, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Well, obviously you want to analyze the numbers away, but those numbers are deaths of people, no less than the 21x numbers are deaths of black males.

  146. December 8, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    John, did you seriously edit the “Good day” out of your comment after I teased you about it? That’s hilarious.

  147. December 8, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I edited it out before you teased me about it. I was going to go to bed, but then thought I could steal a few more minutes – that’s all.

  148. December 8, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    ok…. so looking at the chart you linked to in 6 out of the 10 years reported whites killed more police officer than blacks. So you’re not even doing basic math right

  149. December 8, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    What fraction of officer/subject encounters are with black subjects vs. white subjects? Isn’t that a more relevant number than the fraction of African-Americans in the US population?

  150. December 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    You’re forgetting the part where you claimed that that ratio justified taking “fewer chances” and suggested a “a necessary baseline concession in discussions of uses of deadly force”.

    We responded explaining why your numbers don’t actually suggest anything of the sort, and then things got weird.

  151. December 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Marc: yes… which is exactly what we said when he brought it up the first time

  152. December 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Marc: That’s precisely the objection I raised, actually.

  153. December 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Sorry, I didn’t bother to read all 155 comments before responding…

  154. December 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    How dare you, sir.

  155. December 8, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    and yet, even without reading them, you were able to deduce that in approximately 10 seconds…

  156. December 8, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    “What fraction of officer/subject encounters are with black subjects vs. white subjects? Isn’t that a more relevant number…” Is it a more relevant number? I can certainly think of reasons why it might not be.

  157. December 8, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    oh, by all means then… go on…

  158. December 8, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    OK, John, here’s some math for you. Mind, these are based on 1995 figures because I didn’t feel like looking up anything more recent. I could, but since the problem seems to be the math perhaps this will show you how to do it on your own.

    In 1995, police officers had a LOWER risk of death by homicide than the general population of the US. I used the figures from the document I linked above:

    Now, the number of police fatalities in 1995 was 174. 47% of these were homicides, which is about 82. 1051 is the employment-in-thousands of police in that year; the homicide rate of police is therefore 82/1051 * 100,000 = 7.8. Out of every 100,000 cops (including supervisors and others not usually in direct contact with criminals), 7.8 died of homicide on the job. This is homicide from all job-related causes — white people, black people, white guys in clocktowers, black guys in — wait, black dudes don’t usually shoot up whole towns from clocktowers, that’s pretty white.

    In the 1990s, the US had quite a high homicide rate. In 1995, we had a very nice almost 9% drop over 1994’s rates, and came down to a lovely 8.2/100,000.

    So in 1995, your average Joe was more likely to be killed just walkin’ around than a cop doing his job was.

  159. December 8, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    OK that’s the 1990s – 20 years ago. What is it today? Obviously cops are being killed. You and Nat disputed my calculation. So what is yours? What is the risk of a police officer being killed by a black offender? As they say – shit or get off the pot. You were at great pains to tell me 6x was incorrect. So by all means – what is the correct rate?

  160. December 8, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Seriously, dude?

  161. December 8, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Yes. If you have a better answer, provide it. If you don’t, honestly admit you don’t.

  162. December 8, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    That’s… really not how arguments work.


    “No, I don’t think that’s true.”


  163. December 8, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    “Mind, these are based on 1995 figures because I didn’t feel like looking up anything more recent. I could, but since the problem seems to be the math perhaps this will show you how to do it on your own. “

  164. December 8, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    That’s how mathematical arguments work.

  165. December 8, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    A) you’re making something a mathematical argument that actually shouldn’t be B) I told you how to do the math. It’s your “argument”

  166. December 8, 2014 at 11:03 pm


  167. December 8, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    No, it’s really not.

    You provide a theorem with a proof. I explain that your proof is wrong.

    I am not therefore obligated to find ANOTHER proof or ANOTHER theorem.

  168. December 8, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    I made an assertion about a rate. You two told me how wrong it is., but will not go on record with a better figure. And you let a similar rate fly by unnoticed in Mav’s post.

  169. December 8, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    umm… because I can google things… this took exactly 3 seconds… and I’m reading something else while I do it.

    89 in 2013, 114 projected for 2014

    so the incidence of cop deaths is so low compared to the national average that it doesn’t actually even make sense to designate them by race or any other category for that matter

  170. December 8, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    That’s right, because I think the analysis you built on top of the rate was simplistic, and that the rate itself doesn’t answer any useful questions about the issue.

    You have picked a spectacularly stupid hill to die on.

  171. December 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Do you think the subject of officer deaths is useful to the issue? Perhaps it is not the math you object to, but the interposition of officer lives as a meaningful variable in the consideration – as I note it was not part of the discussion until I raised it.

  172. December 8, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    I don’t even know what you’re asking there. What do you mean by subject?

  173. December 8, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Well the conversation is about deaths, but it is not only black teens who die in these exchanges, but officers as well.

  174. December 8, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Perceived risk of officers is relevant, but as we’ve previously discussed police work is not more dangerous than other professions which don’t tend to involve jobholders choking people to death.

  175. December 8, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    How is it relevant? it hadn’t come up in the discussion, so I’m not sure where you see it fitting in.

  176. December 8, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    This is like having a conversation with Eliza.

  177. December 8, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    “Choking to death” is a anecdotal reference. Does Eliza frown on anecdotal references in conversations attempting to explain general phenomena?

  178. December 8, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    there are approximately 600,000 police officers in the US. 114 of them were killed this year. A police officer is .019% likely to be killed in the line of duty. They’re also .5% likely to be killed by the flu.

  179. December 8, 2014 at 11:10 pm


  180. December 8, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    just black people who sneeze. because that .019% includes both white and black cop killers

  181. December 8, 2014 at 11:11 pm


    MAYBE YOU PLUG IN FIGURES FROM 2013 if you are feeling SUPER INTO IT but as it turns out you don’t need to

    BECAUSE although John’s initial math is wrong, it doesn’t matter! Because this is not actually a math argument!

    His argument is “because [WRONG MATH], police might be making a rational considered math decision about how black people are likely to shoot them”


    this is an argument from FANTASY LAND, because as it turns out, this is not how human beings do risk assessment! Humans actually are TERRIBLE at many kinds of risk assessment (which is probably good because otherwise none of us would ever get into a car, holy fuckballs have you looked at how dangerous that is, you are better off running naked through Larimer at 2am waving a gun and a bag of crack than you are driving anywhere ever. There is awesome research on this. LOTS OF IT. Look it up, IANYITG)! Humans are good at lumping things (like other humans) into categories and also being dumb panicky stupid animals and you know it! That is how we do risk assessment. We put other humans into categories, not even necessarily consciously (in fact it’s more likely to be a problem if it’s NOT conscious, there’s awesome research on this, too! HANG ON I WILL TELL YOU THE CONCLUSIONS OF SOME OF THIS RESEARCH WHICH IS: overt racism among white cops does NOT predict violent encounters with black people. Subconscious dehumanization of black people by white cops — even white cops who would swear up & down they aren’t racist — DOES predict violent encounters with black people.)

    So basically what is going on here is that sure, cops might be doing risk assessment on black people and coming up THAT DUDE GONNA SHOOT ME LOOK AT HIS SKIN, but that doesn’t mean that their risk assessment is based on



  182. December 8, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    That’s a long screed, but it’s not a rate.

  183. December 8, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    It’s also not a ham sandwich, John.

  184. December 8, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    It’s got the mustard.

  185. December 8, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    you guys, there’s a white elephant in the room, and it’s called JOHN.

  186. December 8, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Let’s face a few facts. One Michael Brown could have gotten himself or others killed when he robbed that convenience store and threw around that clerk. And he didn’t care. A whole crew of police officers held Eric Garner to the ground – is it your contention that they were all racist?

  187. December 8, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    You said ‘facts’ but then you presented some weirdly shaky suppositions and a straw man argument. Did you edit out the facts?

  188. December 8, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    1) But Brown DIDN’T get anyone killed. You could get me killed when I choke to death on a chip laughing while reading your logic. That doesn’t mean you killed me.

    2) on Eric Garner… yes, that is our contention. That they are all guilty of institutional racism.

    Are you really trying to argue that Brown is culpable for his own death by NOT having killed anyone when robbing a store which Wilson was unaware of, and that the cops are NOT culpable of Garner’s death by actively choking the life out of him in the same sentence… SERIOUSLY?!?!

    And you don’t see how that’s a racist argument?

  189. December 8, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Also weren’t you complaining about anecdotes just a couple comments ago?

  190. December 8, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Anyway since John likes rates:

    Mav notes that 114 police officers were killed in the line of duty this year. We don’t actually know how many civilians the police killed for various reasons ( goes into this), but reasonable estimates suggest that it’s about 1000.

    So. This suggests that in an encounter between a civilian and a cop, the civilian is about 9x more likely to die.

    Why is it the cop whose fears we’re supposed to be coddling here?

  191. December 8, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Since John is sooooo keen on murder rates, I went and looked them up.

    2013 murder rate, US as a whole: 4.5
    2014 murder rate of police officers, estimated from preliminary data in the link Mav posted above: 3.6

  192. December 8, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Oh hey. John notes that there were a “whole crew of police officers” involved in the Eric Garner killing. Garner was unarmed, and appears to mostly have offended by talking back to a cop.

    How are fears of being killed by a civilian relevant there?

  193. December 8, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    So now, if you were going to need to estimate the homicide risks to police from black people, you would need the following pieces of information:

    – rates of contact between black people and police
    – rates of contact between white people and police
    – police homicides by white people
    – police homicides by black people

    at the very least. Do you see how ill-informed your argument gets, how quickly, based SOLELY on the math? This is what people have been criticizing. The math you offered up is shoddy and incomplete at BEST, and as it turns out, not even relevant to the question at hand BECAUSE THAT IS NOT HOW HUMANS DO RISK ASSESSMENT.

  194. December 8, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Let’s also not forget that black males are 31x more likely to be killed by the police than whites. So if anything they’re the ones who should be more careful in their police interactions. (And what do you know, that’s apparently what a lot of black parents tell their kids, because they DO understand math.)

  195. December 8, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    For the horrific crime of selling loosies, which I’m gonna go out on a limb and say is a term 99% of white people never heard before last week and would have no idea was illegal anyway.

  196. December 8, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Since we’re just sharing random anecdotes now, and I (for a few more months) live in Alaska, I want to talk about moose and bears.

    Which is more deadly, moose or bears?

    Moose, and this might surprise you, kill more people. But Moose walk through my yard and it’s no big deal. (I’m lying, it’s always a big deal, I’m a kid on Christmas and taking non-stop photos of it every time.) But there are fewer bears and they mostly stay away from houses, and when they don’t we relocated or kill them. Which is to say, we encounter bears less often than moose, and while a higher proportion of bear encounters result in death, moose still kill more people.

    Which is more deadly, moose or bears?

    You could make an argument for either one, but either way, you’re still racist.

  197. December 8, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    And Marc has once again independently posted evidence already cited. Thus showing that it’s really not hard to find this stuff

  198. December 8, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    From that ProPublica link:

    The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.

    SO look I can do some MORE MATH! 31.17/10000000 * 100000 = 3.1 = death rate of black (male) teenagers from police.

    SO black male teenagers are almost as likely to be killed by police as police are to die by homicide *at all*.

  199. December 8, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    B-b-but I don’t understand. Because everyone knows 84% of blacks are killed by other blacks. I mean they said so on TV and everything.

  200. December 8, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Mav, I’m pretty sure you’ve been letting down the side by not killing your fair share.

  201. December 8, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Goddammit I typed so much I got un-drunk. What the fuck.

  202. December 8, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Let’s step back from Garner and Brown for a minute. What about a man who is shot in the back by police while shopping at Wal-Mart and doing absolutely nothing that could be considered criminal at the moment? Is there any reason why the police should not be indicted in that situation?

  203. December 8, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    durrr jeff that dude was totally shopping while black

  204. December 8, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Jeff: John Crawford III. He’s the dude on the right in the photo. I didn’t mention him specifically in the post, but he is mentioned explicitly in the article I linked to, and his shooting (which is pretty ridiculous and sad) is one of the 7 videos I linked to when I was showing the difference between how police treat black and white suspects.

  205. December 8, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    I think Jeff was asking John. Or maybe Vic. Because Mr Crawford was not acting right, what with his reckless shopping

  206. December 8, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Chris Maverick: What Laura said.

  207. December 8, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    well, he was totally holding a BB gun… you know, which he picked up an aisle over

  208. December 9, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Their prices are insane, Laura. It was only a matter of time.

  209. December 9, 2014 at 12:00 am


  210. December 9, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Nat might have given me more beer.

  211. December 9, 2014 at 12:01 am

    I had this ludicrously long comment, then I lost focus and it took what is an ambiguous topic for me (my husband is Federal law enforcement) and smeared it around into a blur. I will try again tomorrow.

  212. December 9, 2014 at 12:01 am

    I’m an enabler.

  213. December 9, 2014 at 12:02 am

    You’re right, Mav. Just like those Open Carry advocates who get shot every day for walking down the street or through airports with loaded AR-15s.

  214. December 9, 2014 at 12:02 am

    also, he wasn’t actively shopping when he was shot. He was totally standing there talking on the phone for like 6 minutes. Which is clearly loitering and a shootable offense.

  215. December 9, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Jeff: yeah, I also linked to a couple of those. One guy had a semi-auto rifle. The cop invited him down to the precinct to train with actual automatic weapons and said that he was happy that there were concerned citizens exercising their 2nd amendment rights and that the streets are much safer with them around.

  216. December 9, 2014 at 9:33 am

    I wake up and look and just see a slew of bad arguments. You’re dogpiling me. You never refuted Vic’s original post, you just dogpiled him too with SJW irrelevance. Do me a favor – live like Michael Brown for 15 minutes of your life – literally go to your nearest convenience store – take something without paying, and push a stranger over. Have that experience and reflect on that mindset. Then tell me your feelings. Until you’ve walked an inch in Michael Brown’s shoes, I’m not interested in your opinions or martyrdom of him. Consider – if you’re not willing to push a stranger over in a convenience store, you may have social inhibitions that Michael Brown did not. Loose those inhibitions, do what Michael Brown did, and then I’ll talk with you about this. But for now, I’m done.

  217. December 9, 2014 at 10:09 am

    John: Ok, two things… first off, people did refute Vic’s original post. You might not understand how, but it’s been done several times here. And in fact, my long two comment are very clear about it. In fact, the actual post pretty much refute his original claim. So that if that is your response to this argument, you’re pretty much losing. Aren’t you like supposed to be a lawyer or something?

    Two… Til I’ve walked an inch in Michael Brown’s shoes? Dude, you said on another post that you wanted to say something, but you were afraid because you didn’t want to come off sounding like a racist… well… that’s some ignorant ass racist shit right there. Let me clue you in…. you’re a white guy, who clearly has no ability to step outside of his own world view even a little bit. I’m a black man who grew up on welfare and in the ghetto. I walked seventeen fucking years in Michael Brown’s shoes, bitch!!! You have NO idea what you’re talking about.

    Furthermore, the 23 years since then, of being a highly-educated, upper middle class black man, married to a white woman no less, have not exactly been a picnic of racial tolerance.

    Let me ask you something: When is the last time you were questioned by the police for having a car that was too nice? When is the last time you were followed around a store from the second you walked in the door til the second you left? When is the last time you saw someone of your skin color murdered LIVE ON CAMERA and then got to see a whole news network devote a week of 24/7 round the clock coverage to explaining how it was the dead guy’s fault? When is the last time you were questioned by the police for eating a cookie in the wrong neighborhood? When is the last time you called the police for help and they questioned YOU when they arrived. Because that shit happens to me, and about 10% of the population of this country, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    Think about it… you, a white man, with clearly no background in race relations at all… are convinced that in 5 minutes, without even trying, solved the entire problem of racial tension between blacks and law enforcement by looking at ONE website, reading the chart WRONG, and FAILING to do math correctly. You are so sure this is the case that you’ve been arguing about it, not just to me, a black man who has lived it. A black man who literally studies this shit for a living.

    And the best argument you have come up with…. is “have you tried walking ab inch in Michael Brown’s shoes.” As ignorant as that sounds, it is literally the best you’ve done.

    And as massively ignorant and blatantly racist as that is… people are still engaging you in conversation.

    That, is the point…

  218. December 9, 2014 at 10:12 am

    “You never refuted Vic’s original post, you just dogpiled him too with SJW irrelevance.”

    SJW. Aaaaand that’s the point where I tell you to go fuck yourself.

  219. December 9, 2014 at 10:15 am

    oh man john hates my math doesn’t he? so now he’s moved the goalposts (again), this time to “act like a criminal or you don’t get to say anything about this” WAIT john is acting like an expert on this topic does this mean HE is a criminal?

  220. December 9, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Your math is a double standard Laura. The 21x rate was not calculated with any calculation for “rates of contact”. It was just a straight mathematical ratio. You’re imposing all sorts of bizarre constraints on risk assessments of police officers that you would never require for calculations of risks of black victims. Your purpose here is neither scientific nor objective, it’s to manipulate numbers so they are more to your liking. Where was your call to take into account “rates of contact” when throwing out numbers for black deaths from police? Meanwhile, “rates of contact” is not exactly an independent variable.

  221. December 9, 2014 at 10:20 am

  222. December 9, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I double-classed into Social Justice Sorcerer a while ago, though.

  223. December 9, 2014 at 10:28 am

    I’m a Social Justice Barbarian, but I didn’t have an image for that one.

    I wish John had dropped that conversational nugget about “SJW irrelevance” in his first reply. I would’ve stopped paying attention to him earlier.

  224. December 9, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Police violence is a real problem. Race is a problem. But Brown and Garner are not good examples of these problems – and trying to make those cases to be what they’re not is not healthy.

  225. December 9, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Wow… her math is a double standard… Laura is the real racist. Because she is…. uh… because she is applying math correctly in each case and then even acknowledging that it isn’t a simple math problem…. Uh…. yeah… YOU RACIST LAURA!!!!!

    So in the beginning John seemed unsure about his math. Now he’s sticking to his guns despite it having been pointed out very clearly to him, where is mathematical errors were, and why the math wasn’t a valid tactic for what he was doing in the first place. And despite having that little cred with his statistical abilities, he has now turned that around to “YEAH, WELL SHE’S DOING MATH WRONG (she’s not) SO SHE’S THE REAL RACIST!”

    I can’t decide if he is really ignorant, really racist, really an asshole or all three.

  226. December 9, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Or live in Tamir Rice’s shoes.

  227. December 9, 2014 at 10:30 am

    “Police violence is a real problem. Race is a problem. But Brown and Garner are not good examples of these problems.”

    and you say that with the conviction of someone who just really wants to be right…

  228. December 9, 2014 at 10:31 am

    That’s my assessment. I am hardly alone in that assessment.

  229. December 9, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Ok…. I need to go shower and then go and teach a room full of 18 and 19 year olds to be less stupid than this….

  230. December 9, 2014 at 10:32 am

    You don’t rob convenience stores and fight with police, you tend to minimize your risk of being shot by police. Just a thought. You do know that white offenders that fight with police get shot too, don’t you?

  231. December 9, 2014 at 10:33 am

    and we have mathematically proven to you that that isn’t the case… garner is video footage of that not being the case. John Crawford is absolutely proof of that not being the case, as Lavar Jones ad Dmitri just said…. You are really good at ignoring stuff that doesn’t fit into your world view… so its not just that you can’t do math. you can’t read

  232. December 9, 2014 at 10:35 am

    ” Ok…. I need to go shower and then go and teach a room full of 18 and 19 year olds to be less stupid than this…. ”

    Sadly, I do not think your way of thinking is going to help with that.

    Man, step away for an evening to do some work and all hell breaks loose. I am going to need a study guide for the slew of comments since yesterday…

  233. December 9, 2014 at 10:38 am

    An infection is a passive thing. It’s not an active person trying to kill you. I’m pretty sure a doctor isn’t obligated to help someone trying to kill them.

  234. December 9, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Vic: I know you don’t… and that’s why it’s a good thing that they pay me for it and not you….

    That said, I will say this, Vic may be wrong… but honestly, he’s way better at defending his wrong views than John is… Like there’s actually logic behind Vic’s arguments. It is often based on faulty understandings of shit, whether ignorant or willful, but there is clearly critical thought applied. John, not so much…. Like really, I don’t see how you’re a lawyer at all… Vic is a computer programmer… you should really be better than him at this.

  235. December 9, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Well the only “logic” I’m seeing from you Mav is the “character attack”/ad hominem fallacy, which you repeated again in that post (and is the only thing in that post). At any rate, when you’re dogpiled on with fallacies, it’s a little tiresome to point them out – and you never respond to the substance of what I say anyway. At the end of the day, if you rob convenience stores and fight with police, your risk of being shot by them increases. Factor that “variable” into your risk assessments idjits. Perhaps Michael Brown would have had less “contact” with police, had he, well, decided not to commit many crimes that day. You certainly don’t decrease your “rate of contact” with police by committing crimes.

  236. December 9, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Why compare policemen to doctors who rarely deal with violence? That’s a bizarre comparison. Even doctors who contract ebola do so peacefully, with the knowledge that there is medical treatment. It’s not “threatening” or “violent” in any way. Ebola is not going to cut your throat with your own scalpel to get away. A better comparison would be soldiers, who actually deal with violence. I think when you acknowledged that a doctor would need a policeman to deal with a violent patient, you implicitly acknowledged that your own comparison was not meaningful.

  237. December 9, 2014 at 11:23 am

    you guys, you guys, I wrote a theme song for John. He can sing it to me.

    This is where the party ends
    I can’t stand here listening to you
    And your racist math
    You social justice whore you
    And I move all my goalposts talking to you
    And your racist math

  238. December 9, 2014 at 11:24 am

    It’s ironic that you would accuse someone of moving goalposts. The reason I didn’t reply to your line of argument Laura was because it wasn’t even on the same field and I simply didn’t know where to begin with it. You were talking about the 1990s, murder rates in general, god knows what, everything but what I was talking about.

  239. December 9, 2014 at 11:28 am


    Well, no, it’s not wrong, it’s just that in one sandwich you already have the bread made (it’s incorporated by the nature of the statistic) and in another you have to make the bread first because racism tastes best freshly baked.

  240. December 9, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Now you’re talking about sandwiches. At least you are consistently obfuscatory.

  241. December 9, 2014 at 11:32 am

    John. John. It’s a metaphor. Most people learn about them in 4th grade.

  242. December 9, 2014 at 11:33 am

    It’s obviously a more comfortable bite than acknowledging that “rate of contact” with police increases with commission of crime.

  243. December 9, 2014 at 11:34 am

    No one has denied that, John.

  244. December 9, 2014 at 11:36 am

    But it was not an ingredient in your sandwich. You may not deny it, but you’re not acknowledging it.

  245. December 9, 2014 at 11:43 am

    The sandwich bread already has flour in it, John.

  246. December 9, 2014 at 11:43 am

    What does the flour represent? (This is getting vague). And why wasn’t the flour “already in it” when we were talking about police officer deaths? There was all sorts of stuff that you felt had to be taken into account there.

  247. December 9, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I can’t decide if you’re really this dumb, or if you think you’re going to somehow trap me.

    The flour is contacts with the police, John. The 21x figure already has the flour in it.

  248. John Muir on Facebook
    December 9, 2014 at 11:51 am

    How is “rate of contact’ in there? It’s just the rate of black homicide victims divided by the rate of white homicide victims. There is no measure of “contacts with police” in that formula. What you are peddling is not true and never was true.

  249. December 9, 2014 at 11:53 am

    why am I surprised that, once again, you cannot math?

    I would just like to point out that you have been defeated in BATTLE MATH by an English major. Tschüß!

  250. John Muir on Facebook
    December 9, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I have no ego. By all means celebrate if you best me, but let’s not celebrate prematurely. Where is the measure of contact with police in that calculation? How does knowing the rate of death to something give me information about the rate of contact with said something? A death to something is a contact with something – so it establishes a floor, but it doesn’t tell me if you die 100% of the time you contact that something or .00001% of the time you contact that something. It doesn’t tell me the nature of that contact, etc. If it’s there, than produce it. What is the rate of contact with police for white offenders and black offenders based on a 21x ratio of deaths? You can’t produce it – because it’s not there. Once again, another number you can’t produce. You couldn’t produce the rate of officer deaths, now you can’t produce the rate of contact that you claim you know. That’s mathemagic, not math.

  251. December 9, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Sad Mary Ellen is Sad.

  252. December 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I’ve read all the comments and now my head hurts. But, damn, I am very grateful to know Chris and Laura and Nat.

  253. December 9, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Saying that the problem lies with black people needing to teach their kids better around the police and each other is about equivalent to saying that ancient Christians should have done a better job about warning each other to avoid lions as a way of showing that the Romans really weren’t at fault for the situation.

  254. John Muir on Facebook
    December 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I am grateful I know them too, but disagree with arguments they’ve made here, for what it’s worth. I too am concerned about the militarization of police and racial inequalities, but feel they are better fought with the Vic Carter rationalist approach than what I perceive to be the social justice approach.

  255. December 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    That’s super nice of you, Ann.

  256. December 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    You know, I really tried to read all the way through, but, um yeah…

    All that talk about math and pretty much everyone ignored the only stat relevant to the actual post.

    Blacks are arrested more than whites. For the size of their population, they are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in this country. One random study from the DOJ.

    You can look up any other numbers you like. The results will be similar. Note, those are ARREST rates. So before your panties get up in a bunch, I am also capable of making the ASSUMPTION that blacks getting ARRESTED more does not necessarily disprove the idea that there is a racial bias that creates the disparity.

    However. Looking further into the data, I have not found any indication that the majority of these ARRESTS were unwarranted and proven to be without merit.

    So it is at least plausible to make the statement that police encounter black offenders more than they do white offenders in their day to day.

    Which also makes it plausible to state that LEOs are more wary of black offenders than white because of those encounters. Justifiable or not. It is at least plausible to make that assessment.

    So while race IS a factor. Making it the PRIMARY factor, as was done by the media, and Chris in his original post is DISINGENUOUS as it does not address the increased likelihood of violent offenders to be black. Ignoring that data does not actually address the core issues of lower CLASS blacks who’s CULTURE promotes violence as a solution, mistrust of the police, and a sense of entitlement.

    None of which justifies poor judgement of LEOs, but you cannot have an honest debate about such things without considering ALL of the variables in play. Which was my original point.

    If you want to debate systemic racism, fine. We can debate that topic. But you should not use that as the basis of your analysis and expect everyone to simply ignore the other factors that contribute to the increased chances of blacks to run afoul of the law.

  257. December 9, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    ” Saying that the problem lies with black people needing to teach their kids better around the police and each other is about equivalent to saying that ancient Christians should have done a better job about warning each other to avoid lions as a way of showing that the Romans really weren’t at fault for the situation. ”

    No it isn’t. If the problem truly is the racism of cops, then the easiest way to avoid such conflict, regardless of who is “right”, is to keep them from getting into those situations in the first place.

    Suppose cops started beating speeders, what would be the easiest way to avoid getting a beating? Don’t speed. Saying that does not condone the beatings, nor does it ignore the need for a solution involving punishing the cops. It is simply stating the most obvious and straightforward way to avoid an issue.

  258. December 9, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Vic, part of the issue is that the actual easiest way for people to avoid negative contacts with the police is for them to not be black.

    Sure, being black AND doing illegal things is a higher risk than just being black, but as far as I’m aware most black people are not capable of magically turning not-black.

  259. December 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    VIc, what crime was John Crawford committing?

  260. December 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Shopping While Black

  261. December 9, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    The easiest way for most people to avoid negative contacts with the police is to not do stupid shit. When I was young, I had several encounters with the law. Most of them unpleasant. None of them overtly violent(being dragged out of the passenger seat of a car filled with white people on my 22nd birthday because the cop cut us off, slammed into the hood while the guy gripped his gun being the exception).

    However, I have had just as many encounters(also as a non offender) over the years where I was treated no differently than anyone else. Point being, you can never know how someone will react.

    If I were a robbery suspect, I would not assume anything one way or another. I would however do everything I could to not get my mocha ass shot. As above, there would be no guarantee.

    I do not believe racism is systemic. That’s me. I have my reasons and what I believe to be data that, at the very least, contradicts such a generalization. If that is a debate you want to have. I am all for it.

    @Jeff Mink – how is that relevant? No one is suggesting there aren’t bad/dumbass/racist/gun ho… cops. I do however contend that if that were the rule and not the exception, there would be a lot more black people in cemeteries than prison.

  262. December 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    So, Vic, as of the final year of that chart, the black/white arrest rate was 600/125 (=4.8). But black youths are over 20 times more likely to get killed by police. So even taking into account the differential arrest rates, black youths are still more than 4 times as likely to get killed by police (and that’s assuming they were doing something arrestable; in at least some cases, they’re not).

  263. December 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    So what areas where those arrests in? What is the percentage of arrests involving firearms? How did the offender react to the police?

    There are a lot of factors to consider. Race being ONE of them. That is the point.

  264. December 9, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I am not saying you don’t have a point. Or that your statement is not relevant. Just clarifying my position.

  265. December 9, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    ” Blacks are arrested more than whites. For the size of their population, they are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in this country. ”

    That’s not true. They are arrested disproportionately for the crime they do commit, but that doesn’t show that they commit more crime, rather that white people who commit crime tend to get let off without being arrested (or even checked) much more often.

    Every one of the arrests on record could be warranted, but the bias happens before you even got to that point- in who is investigated for arrest in the first place, and who gets let off with a warning so doesn’t even get counted into the stats to begin with.

    That gets compounded when you add in an ongoing trend of not just disproportionate focus, but of obfuscating the legal process enough such that you’re creating the impression of active, if not intentional bias throughout the system.

    If the cops were routinely penalized for every false arrest and rough treatment of oppressed groups- those that have historically being treated unfairly, then the bias in investigation and arrests might be more readable as aligning to behavioral disparities, but when such go very actively uninvestigated, and are blessed almost exclusively on the grounds of the bias being justifiable in its own right, you end up building antipathy and creating more pushback.

    If the difference in investigation and arrests is warranted, then it is actively incumbent upon the police to make it crystal clear that the bias is justified by not only being exceptionally clear and faithful to legal process, but by showing that they’re doing their utmost to prevent it from growing into prejudiced behavoir instead of protecting those that cross the line as a matter of course. Every small indication of bias should be very clearly and publicly investigated, even if it causes some amount of additional cost and inconvenience for the simple purpose of maintaining community faith in the overall process.

  266. December 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    A couple of things. I stand corrected. They do not commit more crime. The do however commit a disproportionate amount of crime based on their population. I would also be interested in the breakdown of these numbers by region.

  267. December 9, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    And yes I know that was posted earlier.

  268. John Muir on Facebook
    December 9, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Actually, it’s one particular crime that they’re being arrested for disproportionately on those charts – murder (which includes non-negligent manslaughter), of which they have 49% of the arrests. (Well two because robbery is pretty high as well) But a lot of the other crimes aren’t as disproportionate. They only account for 12% of DUI arrests for instance. 24% of sex offenses (which is pretty low). It’s not like they’re outsized across the board in all offenses. Gambling is pretty disproportionate at 67% of arrests, but that’s less directly relevant to the issue of police safety/use of force as restraining murderers.

  269. December 9, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    I can’t keep up with all this, but I will say, that blacks and whites tend to use marijuana at the same rates, but blacks are 4x more likely to be arrested for it. You know, for example.

  270. December 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    You can keep creating explanatory theories and doing complex statistical gymnastics, but at some point, you realize that “racism is prevalent in America” is the simplest explanation for all the facts. Occam’s Razor n’at.

  271. December 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    It’s actually about state’s rights.

  272. December 9, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    It’s actually about ethics in video game journalism.

  273. December 9, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Goddammit I was just in the process of typing that.

  274. December 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    that’s so October… you guys are lame. It’s actually about taxes on tobacco

  275. December 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    you got chocolate in my peanut butter!

  276. December 9, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Mav, I was going to say that, but it was too real.

  277. December 9, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I mean, if race didn’t matter, if racism was all in the past, then breaking things out demographically by race should show no statistical difference between races.

    There is difference, that’s incontrovertible fact. You could argue it’s because of poor education, or poverty, or whatever, but all those things are just the results of racism and racist policies (that you just said were all in the past!) Or I guess you could argue it’s because blacks are more prone to such failings, but that IS racism.

    Republicans like to mumble about “equality of opportunity not equality of outcome,” but with large enough sample sizes, features that shouldn’t matter with respect to outcomes–such as race, unless you’re racist–should show equality of outcome, given equality of opportunity.

    So what’s it gonna be? Are opportunities NOT equal–i.e., racism exists–or do you expect race to have an effect on outcomes–i.e., are YOU a racist?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.