Commentary: Why This Goes Beyond Ferguson and Staten Island

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blacklivesmatter

We have written a lot on the issue of the police and minority relations in the aftermath of Ferguson and Staten Island and the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. But I still think there is a major disconnect going here in the back and forth “dialogue.”

I put “dialogue” in quotes because, to a large extent, I think the two sides are speaking past each other. Specifically, I don’t believe that the more conservative side of the conversation really understands the chief complaint. I see that when counter-incidents where blacks killed whites are cited, and more recently I see that in comments about young men being killed in Chicago and the rejoinder is, “Can’t blame white police officers for those shootings, can we?”

Conservatives, perhaps understandably, want to shift the conversation to “black on black violence,” where I do think they have a point. There are high rates of violence and violent crimes within the African-American community and, yes, that is a problem. I attempted to address that point within the broader context of mass incarceration and the poverty-crime-incarceration cycle which I think is going to be far more difficult to break than it might seem.

The issue of police militarization, where we had a local discussion and debate, enters play here, as well. As the police have become more militarized, as they have utilized military weapons and tactics, they have increased the divide between citizens and police.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in minority communities which have far closer proximity to the show of power by police.

You see, this was never really about Michael Brown, Eric Garner, or really about the killing of young black lives.

Instead, this was about race, power and a system that was affirmed in the eyes of so many as being unjust.

As “Gideon” wrote in her blog, “a public defender,” “It’s about anger at a system which has trained the powerless to accept their lack of power over and over again. It’s about anger at a system, that despite the promises of the civil rights era, has only affirmed the status quo: some lives are worth more than others. Some people will always get punished more harshly than others.

“It’s about anger that those who are the most underprivileged, the most disenfranchised continue to be subjugated under the guise of the best system in the world.

“It’s about anger that the ethnic majority has historically viewed and continues to view minorities as dangerous and frightening. It’s about anger that the majority is doing its best to clutch onto its slipping grasp through intimidation and fear.”

Officer Wilson’s description of Michael Brown confirmed for many what they had already believed, “Wilson shot Brown because of what he believed about black people; what we’ve all read and heard about black people; what we’ve all been conditioned to realize about black people; what popular media regularly portrayed black people as.”

As Officer Wilson testified, “He looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.”

So you have a law enforcement officer, who has de-humanized a young man whom he killed.

Later he would add, “He turns, and when he looked at me, he made like a grunting, like aggravated sound and he starts, he turns and he’s coming back towards me. His first step is coming towards me, he kind of does like a stutter step to start running. When he does that, his left hand goes in a fist and goes to his side, his right one goes under his shirt in his waistband and he starts running at me. At this point it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him. And the face that he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even anything in his way.”

In other words, Michael Brown, at the moment Darren Wilson shot him, looked like an animal to him.

Heated Rhetoric Goes Both Ways

Again, I was disappointed that the conservatives on the Vanguard spent much of the weekend blaming the shooting of two police officers on rhetoric by people like Al Sharpton or Louis Farrakhan. We have no evidence that the individual shooter was listening to either man or even that he was reacting to anything other than the anger of the time.

Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man who killed the two officers, shot his former girlfriend in Maryland before heading up to New York and killing Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos on Saturday.

News accounts show that the 28-year-old, who has been arrested in Ohio for theft and robbery and in Georgia for robbery, shoplifting, carrying a concealed weapon, disorderly conduct and obstruction of a law enforcement officer, served two years in prison in Georgia on weapons charges.

On Saturday morning he went to his ex-girlfriend’s, and attempted to kill himself. When she intervened, he non-fatally shot her and went up to New York to kill the police.

The conservatives on our site have nothing, however, on some of the rhetoric that has come out of the police unions. Mayor Bill de Blasio is under fire by five police unions because he expressed sympathy with the protesters and has called on reform in efforts to ensure that everyone feels like they are getting fair treatment from the police.

Pat Lynch, president of the city’s largest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said on Saturday night: “There’s blood on many hands tonight, that blood on the hands starts at City Hall in the Office of the Mayor.”

The Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted on Saturday night, “The blood of 2 executed police officers is on the hands of Mayor de Blasio. May God bless their families and may they rest in peace.”

On Monday, a New York Congressman accused President Obama and Mayor de Blasio of creating an anti-police atmosphere that encouraged the shooting.

“This climate is attracting the mad men in society and also giving a legitimacy to these violent protesters,” said Congressman King during an interview Monday morning on Fox News, who added that he did not believe they were doing so intentionally.

“Right now I think it’s important for the president and the mayor, if they are serious about healing what they believe is this rift — or this feud if you will, this chasm, in race relations — for them to come out and start giving praise to the police,” he said.

“Much like we shouldn’t be blaming a president for the deaths of soldiers on the battlefield, let’s not point fingers at the mayor for a madman’s actions. It’s ridiculous to believe that if only de Blasio had been more like Rudy Giuliani, Officers Liu and Ramos would be alive,” said NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt in a column. “It’s the same sloppy and dangerous logic in which people tried to blame American foreign policy for the 9/11 attacks, saying the chickens have come home to roost. There are plenty of chickens that fly around on their own.”

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, the same guy who investigated the UC Davis pepper spray incident in 2011, noted that Mayor De Blasio is not the first mayor to have the unions go after him.

“Can you point out to me one mayor that has not been battling with the police unions in the last 50 years? Name one. Name one. So the experience of this mayor in terms of some cops not liking him — it’s nothing new,” said Commissioner Bratton. “It’s part of life. It’s part of politics. It is what it is. This is New York City; we voice our concerns and our opinions.”

A few key points – it is hard to imagine that the rhetoric of the mayor would inspire the killing by a man not even living in New York at the time. Clearly, the heated atmosphere of the incidents that have gone viral was a contributing factor – but, at the same time, it is clear from his earlier incidents that he was unstable to begin with. The atmosphere may have made police officers targets of opportunity, but again it seems difficult to pin the actions on any one individual.

More importantly, the police unions – who should know better, as law enforcement officers – are throwing fuel on the fire at a time when everyone needs to take a step back and more methodically plot out their next approach.

If we are going to point the fingers at public officials for making irresponsible statements, shouldn’t we start with the police unions, who are hardly helping matters?

I go back to the point I tried to make on Sunday, that we are now truly at a crossroads. The shooting of two police officers in New York is tragic, it is inexcusable and it is counter-productive. There will be plenty of fingers pointed in the aftermath.

We need to remember that this nation remains bitterly divided along racial lines, but we have made progress. What has emerged in the aftermath of Ferguson and Staten Island and others is not something new, it is long-dormant and suppressed anger and frustration in the black community.

I think President Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address embodies the spirit of where we need to go: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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77 thoughts on “Commentary: Why This Goes Beyond Ferguson and Staten Island”

  1. Robb Davis

    The “crossroad” we should be talking about in this case is how we are going to deal with mental illness and mentally ill people’s access to weapons. The combination of these factors is the proximate determinant of the death of the two police officers. Of course dealing with those issues takes a lot of effort, time and money. It’s a lot easier (and so much more entertaining) to sling accusations and counter accusations around motives that, arguably, are little more than convenient or post hoc justifications for the horrible crime committed. (I say this realizing that the shooter himself claimed to be taking revenge. However my point is that the “presenting” rationales rarely get at the depth of the real problem. That is the case here I believe.)

    1. South of Davis

      Robb wrote:

      > we should be talking about in this case is how we are going

      > to deal with mental illness and mentally ill people’s access

      > to weapons

      First we need to get real and admit that since even after a Multi BILLION dollar “war on drugs” a mentally ill homeless guy living next to the railroad tracks in most of America can easily buy drugs.  If we can’t stop the mentally ill from getting drugs (that are gone forever after one use) we have no chance of stopping them from getting the hundreds of MILLIONS of guns in America (that remain functional for over a hundred years with minimal maintenance) and we should focus on locking up more of the violent mentally ill (like the guy that shot the NY cops) rather than playing the “catch and release” game we play now (we can make room for them by letting ALL non violent criminals including ALL people in for drug use/possession out of jail)…

       

      1. DavisBurns

        you can thank Ronald Reagan for closing mental institutions saying they could get better mental health services locally and then never providing money to fund and services.  Putting the mentally ill in jail only makes prison our primary mental holding facility and swells our prison population.  We did not have this homeless problem in the 70’s prior to our ‘Morning in America’ myth maker who believed in the tooth fairy, trickle down economics, transferring jobs out of the country, transferring wealth to the wealthy, a never ending supply of gas, oil and jelly beans and union busting.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      It will be interesting to know if this assassin was also on drugs.

      The officer appeared to be describing a suspect on hard drugs like PCP, and in this case we have video proof of Michael Brown’s state of mind after he tossed around a non-white-male store clerk like a rag doll. We know he was high. Was he also on ADD or ADHD medication? Someone has to be seriously unhinged to grab an officer’s gun in his patrol car, which has attempted murder, mayhem, and all other kinds of serious felonies written ll over it in big bold letters.

      I think tying the Garner case, completely tragic, to an unhinged 300-pound robbery felon who attacks a police officer – incomprehensible. But it fits the liberal narrative, which is where Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, de Blasio and Barack Obama jump on board.

      1. Davis Progressive

        “It will be interesting to know if this assassin was also on drugs.”

        you’re calling him an assassin, but his modus is actually a lot closer to murder-suicide, mass-murder than assassination.  he was distraught – he confronted a recent blow up, threatened suicide, and when she stopped him, he shot her and went on his rampage, in this case choosing his target more carefully.  that’s not really assassination.

        1. hpierce

          that’s not really assassination.  

           ‘A distinction without a difference’?

           threatened suicide, and when she stopped him, he shot her and went on his rampage.

          Ahh… we know ‘who’s responsible’.  If she had not stopped him, she would not have been shot, two men (“minorities”) would be alive, their families would be sharing the holidays and New Years together, and we would not continue to be playing with this on the blog.

          If the dude had one scintilla of humanity, he would have done the murder/suicide in the opposite order.  But, he didn’t… more’s the pity.

          Which begs the question… was Ferguson a case of “suicide by cop”?

  2. Frankly

    “It’s about anger that the ethnic majority has historically viewed and continues to view minorities as dangerous and frightening.

    Does the writer even get the irony in this statement?  You want to be seen as peaceful and kind, then don’t act out in anger.

    In other words, Michael Brown, at the moment Darren Wilson shot him, looked like an animal to him.

    Great artistic liberty liberty is being taken here.  I find this conclusion much more inflammatory and hurtful than I do the words of Officer Wilson.  And there is nothing racial here, so why connect it with race?

    Here is what liberals are missing in this “dialog” and frankly it is a primary flaw in their worldview.  “Government is not a loving institution.”   This quote was from George Bush, a president that liberals despise.  But it is absolutely the key to understanding the futility of liberal pursuits.   Liberals are forever trying to make government into a loving institution.  It is their relentless and futile obsession.

    David and others focus on statistic of racial representation in crime and punishment, complain about the disparity, and then offer absolutely zero workable solutions to the problems they claim exist.   Read this article again and you will see that the general suggestion is that law enforcement become the missing father.  Instead of enforcing the law, the suggestion is to transform them into some weird matriarchal model of touchy, feely, empathetic enforcement of the law that incorporates hugs instead of guns.

    Frankly, (because I am) this is just plain stupid.  Law enforcement is law enforcement.  The type of people that are drawn to that profession… and thank God there are those that are… don’t generally belong to that demographic owning the touchy-feely mindset.  And it would not matter if they did, because soon after working on the job dealing with the worst of the worst of humanity, they would become hardened to just deal with the law enforcement aspect of their job.

    Government is not, and never will be, a loving institution.   The problem here is that liberals will not stop demanding that it become something that it will never be.  And in doing so liberals deflect the dialog away from where it needs to be.   We are just spinning our wheels with this continued claim that the solution to what troubles the black community is contained in the way we police.   Cops are becoming the scapegoat for the more difficult and direct problems we face… one of them being a history of failed liberal policies that really favor segregation and prioritize things like environmental concerns over the true welfare of the underclass.   And unfortunately this scapegoating is starting to become very, very dangerous for law enforcement.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “Does the writer even get the irony in this statement?  You want to be seen as peaceful and kind, then don’t act out in anger.”

      of course, the problem is that even peaceful black men are seen as a threat and that’s a kind of collective guilt that you’re assigning.

      ” I find this conclusion much more inflammatory and hurtful than I do the words of Officer Wilson”

      he described brown as a “demon” and a “bull” or an “animal” and you find it hurtful to the officer?  really?

      “Read this article again and you will see that the general suggestion is that law enforcement become the missing father.  Instead of enforcing the law, the suggestion is to transform them into some weird matriarchal model of touchy, feely, empathetic enforcement of the law that incorporates hugs instead of guns.”

      i see no such suggestion here, you seem to be reading into things.

      1. Frankly

        Of course you see no such suggestion here.

        A “demon” is not an “animal”.  From the quotes I have read from Officer Wilson, he never said Michael Brown as a “bull” or any other type of animal.  That is your and David’s fertile imagination at work.

        And your inference is that Officer Wilson’s statements where evidence that he dehumanized Michael Brown because he was black, you would have to look in the mirror for that racism, because any white 6′ 4″ near 400 lb suspect behaving the same way would get the same statement.

        So, let’s cut the crap and get to a useful dialog.

        What are the problems and what solutions do you propose?

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      Frankly, do you notice the lack of logic?

      Are Americans fearful of Japanese Americans? No, we admire their determination, values and success. Are we worried about Ethiopian- or Nigerian-Americans? Nope, they are model citizens. Is there some distrust towards Chilean- or Chinese-Americans? Zero that I know of. This is the strategy of lump all of the non-white people together as victims to make European Americans look bad.

      In a previous thread on the same general topic, Tia described a situation in which she was speeding at 85 MPH, and the highway patrol officer let her off with a warning. She seems to believe this was white privilege, thought it could have easily been white female privilege, doctor privilege, or just an officer’s decision based on numerous factors. She then posed the question of what would happen to a black American, implying that he / she would not get the same pass (warning). This was her hypothesis, her assumption of white bias.

      Of coarse, I don’t have to hypothesize, I’ve been around. (Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman.) I was in a car driven by my friend, an African American male, late at night, who crossed the middle line numerous times, and who had his blinker on for 2 miles before we were pulled over. He had been drinking, and his speed was up and down. The police officer had six different reasons to pull him over. My friend was let off with a warning.

      As Frankly noted, it was David who read into the officer’s description that he was describing someone like an animal. I immediately felt he was describing someone under the influence of strong drugs, either PCP, sherm, or other hard substance.

      1. Davis Progressive

        “Are Americans fearful of Japanese Americans? No, we admire their determination, values and success. Are we worried about Ethiopian- or Nigerian-Americans? Nope, they are model citizens. Is there some distrust towards Chilean- or Chinese-Americans? Zero that I know of. This is the strategy of lump all of the non-white people together as victims to make European Americans look bad.”

        what’s interesting to me is that you are taking a whole class of different people and assigning a cultural stereotype to each of them.  you admire “their” determination, as though “they” were a group rather than a diverse group of individuals.  in protesting, you protest too much and show your card.  no matter how you see them, you see them as different.

        1. Matt Williams

          Good poing DP. I would add that TBD’s use of the term “Americans” in “Are Americans fearful …” falls into the same category. My wife and I have a very good redneck friend from South Carolina, and based on what he/she has share about both personal fears and the fears of his/her good friends in South Carolina, for the most part they definitely fear Japanese Americans, Ethiopian Americans, Nigerian Americans, Chilean Americans, Chinese Americans, and a whole raft of Americans practicing religious beliefs other than the Christian faith as practiced in their South Carolina Church.

          TBD has a tendency to paint with a very broad brush.

        2. hpierce

          Yeah, we don’t want to lump people together, except “white police”.  Your point is clear, don’t ‘profile’ anyone, except for those who truly deserve to be ‘profiled’, like cops.

          1. Matt Williams

            You have a very short memory TBD. One needs go no further than the most recent Presidential Campaign (Primaries and Election) season to see how one group of Christians supporting Pat Roberson, and others, excoriated Mitt Romney, with plenty of accusations that “Mormons don’t have the right to call themselves Christians.” Very similar slurs were directed at Roman Catholics, with the apex being the 1960 Presidential Campaign.

            While two-thirds of Ethiopians are Christian, one third are Muslim. When an Ethiopian American approaches you on the street, what tells you what the religious heritage is of that Ethiopian American?

        3. Rich RifkinWDE 73

          Matt, my understanding is that most Ethiopian-Americans are in fact Christian. 

          This is the religious composition of Ethiopia, which may be different from their expats: Ethiopian Orthodox 43.5%, Muslim 33.9%, Protestant 18.5%, traditional 2.7%, Catholic 0.7%, other 0.6% (2007 est.)

          Source: The CIA.

          Footnote: There used to be a sect of black Jews in Ethiopia, which dated back either 400 years, according to one theory, or more than 2,500, according to another (with DNA tests suggesting the latter theory is right). In the last 30 or so years, all of the Jews of Ethiopia, willingly or by force, have migrated to Israel. They have had mixed success integrating into Israeli society and faced some discrimination.

      2. Tia Will

        TBD

        She seems to believe this was white privilege, thought it could have easily been white female privilege, doctor privilege, or just an officer’s decision based on numerous factors. She then posed the question of what would happen to a black American, implying that he / she would not get the same pass (warning). This was her hypothesis, her assumption of white bias.”

        I said absolutely nothing, nor was I implying anything about racial bias. You chose to read that into my comments. I even made it clear that I was wearing my badge at the time. I am also known to the readers of this blog to be female and at the time was in my forties. I also stated that the officer through our conversation learned quickly that I was a mother. You also neglected to take into account that I asked if any of you felt that you would have been given a pass ,and I know that a number of your happen to be white males.

        I also made specific reference to a male youth of color wearing certain clothing or body art which tend to trigger suspicion on the part of the police ( in their own words at Citizens Academy ). I do not believe that race was the key issue nor did I ever say so. Had you read carefully you would have seen that what my point  was about  differential treatment based on perception of status.

        1. DavisBurns

          I understand why people remain anonymous on this blog. The information that you are a doctor and work at Kaiser is used like a club that needs exercise. Meanwhile, the posters who repeatedly ascribe your motivations to your profession and expect you to be accountable for your employer, other doctors and wealthy people remain anonymous.  I think the editorial board should consider requiring posters speak for themselves and state their options and refrain from telling others what they think.

    3. Tia Will

      Frankly

      “Government is not a loving institution.” “

      This is correct. It is your interpretation of what “liberals ” want that is mistaken. The idea that liberals want the “government to be loving” is a ridiculous dodge of personal, individual responsibility. What most liberals that I know personally want is for individuals to act in a loving manner to each other. “The government” is not an entity separate from individual human actions. It is the summation of public actions taken by those whom we chose to represent us. It is a compilation of individual actions codified and enforced. To pretend that the “government” is an entity separate from individual human intention and actions is a complete abrogation of responsibility.

  3. Rich RifkinWDE 73

    As Officer Wilson testified, “He looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.” So you have a law enforcement officer, who has de-humanized a young man whom he killed.

    It’s not unlikely that a theoretical Officer David Greenwald would have felt exactly the same as Wilson in the same circumstances. Certainly, the little guy who Brown strong-armed when robbing his convenience store minutes before Brown’s fatal encounter with Wilson, felt Brown was aggressive and demonic. The difference, of course, is you have never been attacked by the 6-foot 4-inch 292 pound Brown. So you sit back in comfort and moralize against those two, acting as if you are somehow better.

    One thing which is eminently clear in watching the strong-arm robbery video of Mr. Brown: He felt no fear in that encounter. He was perfectly at ease taking property which was not his and using violence against the store owner who was half his size. It’s almost as if Brown was raised in an environment in which using violence and committing crimes of this sort was the norm and Brown had plenty of experience in these crimes.

    Rather than belittling the views of those who this 292 pound man threatened or attacked, you should put yourself in their shoes. Unfortunately, because you are terribly prejudiced, you are unable or unwilling to do so. You come at cases like this with too much bias, and it clouds your mind completely.

      1. Matt Williams

        TBD, you are practicing selective listening/reading. The issue of “What do we want?” has not only been addressed in the dialogue here on the Vanguard, it has been actively engaged. In case you missed it, here is one of the prior comments.

        Tia and zaqzaq, for the purposes of discussion I’m going to propose another view of the chant … specifically that it was a soundbyte. We need go no further than the recently concluded Ami Bera – Doug Ose Congressional campaign to see just how pervasive soundbyte thinking and soundbyte communication has become in our society. Further, if a mainstream, societally-sanctioned activity like a Congressional election can produce negative soundbyte rhetoric like Ose and Bera individually and collectively bombarded us with, is it any surprise that an immensely more intense interaction like Ferguson (and is aftermath) would prompt/merit an even more negative soundbyte than Bera/Ose produced?

        Rhetoric in our society undergoes a continual evolution. New swear words and prejorative expressions come, as others evolve into mainstream communication. We need go no further than the Will We See a Fourth Gang Trial Involving Woodland Co-Defendants? thread to find an example. There Sisterhood, whom I have come to know as a lady in the old fashioned sense of that term, posting the following expression, “Unbefuc**inglievable.”

    1. Tia Will

      Rich

      Sorry but I really have to step in one this one. I suspect that neither of us know whether David has ever been threatened or attacked physically or not. So while it is true that he was not attacked by this individual, we are unaware of whether he has ever been in a similar situation.

      You may wonder why I am making a point of this. I have been very nearly attacked by an over six foot, over 250 lb male, drunk, dripping blood from multiple stab wounds who immediately upon my entry into the ER to take care of his wounds, pulled out his IV, and lunged towards me shouting “get out of my way”. Needless to say, I did and was quick enough to avoid injury. However, I never saw him as a “demon” or an animal or as less than human. I saw him for what he was, a very drunk, out of control and dangerous human being. One does not have to lose either one’s own humanity or one’s acceptance of the humanity of another because of fear. There are many ways to experience fear that do not entail dehumanization.

      1. Rich RifkinWDE 73

        Your story fails to disprove my point because, while you were in a precarious situation, you were not attacked. You said only that you were “very nearly attacked.”** It is certainly the case that the two men who Brown violently attacked–we know for a fact that the store clerk was; and there seems to be some dispute whether the cop was or at least how much damage Brown did to Wilson in his attack on him–had a very different point of view than Greenwald, as a consequence of their experience. So it is rather pathetic of Greenwald to sit on his couch and cast bromides at Wilson for his feelings about Brown, as Greenwald does in this piece.

        Perhaps as a feminist, you can relate better to this: If a man is a rapist, who nonetheless maintains solid friendships with various women he has never once harmed or threatened, the women in his life he has never hurt would not demonize him and might think those that do are full of ess. But the women that guy has actually raped would very likely think him demonic and animalistic.  Yet I suspect that a self-righteous person like David Greenwald would not ever condemn the rape victims the way he has condemned this police officer, if they perceived their rapist as an animal or a demon.

        Feel free then to apologize.

        ** Encountering violent and psychotic patients in an ER is a common experience, a current Sutter Davis ER doctor (with whom I have gone on some Davis Bike Club rides with in the past) tells me. I think he said half of the regular admits to the ER are psychiatric patients. An ER nurse I know (who works at a Sacramento hospital) told me that the “one-half” figure is not right, that in her ER it is about one in five. What I am not sure of is what a “regular admit” is. I might have misunderstood. Nonetheless, your experience is one that many other ER workers have had, in the same respect that every veterinarian has been bit by an aggressive dog or scratched by a cat. It goes along with the job. It’s a risk. But it does not stick with you too much unless you are actually hurt. And that did not happen to you.

  4. Frankly

    The Ferguson-Florissant school district tends to suspend (i.e. punish) about 15 percent of its black students and only 3.3 percent of the white student population.

    A black child attending Ferguson-Florissant schools is more likely to be subjected to harsh forms of school discipline than be affected by violent crime in their neighborhoods.

    A black child attending Ferguson-Florissant schools is more likely to be subjected to harsh forms of school discipline than will be the total black population of the same area to be arrested and convicted of a crime.

    SO WHY ISN’T THE LEFT AND MEDIA RAISING HELL ABOUT ALL THE RACIST TEACHERS AND EDUCATORS?!

    1. Robb Davis

      Well, I will not try to speak for the “left” (honestly (or should I say “frankly”), I find your binary “left/right” rhetoric extremely tiresome and unproductive), but I will say that there are MANY efforts afoot to provide alternatives to suspension.  NPR had an example of this in Oakland last week.  Davis schools are beginning to considering how to implement such practices, which are built on restorative justice principles.  The point is, your lack of awareness of such approaches does not mean they are not happening.  Indeed they seem to be taking root, in particular, in poorer school districts around the nation.

        1. Frankly

          But then Paula Dean must be crucified for something she said over 20 years ago?

          Just trying to understand where your tolerance ends and begins.

          Personally, I think theft of private property is generally not a good restorative justice candidate.  Clearly this guy has a moral compass that is low enough to justify stealing Christmas lights from someone’s private home.  Stealing is wrong… period.   Urinating in public.  Disorderly conduct.  Drinking in public.  There are a number of petty crimes that are clearly just someone making a bad decision.  But stealing is something else.  A guy like this will likely steal again and again and again until and unless he is caught and punished.

          1. Don Shor

            But then Paula Dean must be crucified for something she said over 20 years ago?

            Who brought up Paula Dean? How do you come up with this stuff?

        2. wdf1

          Frankly: But then Paula Dean must be crucified for something she said over 20 years ago?

          Just trying to understand where your tolerance ends and begins.

          Frankly, I don’t remember saying anything about Paula Dean, but please remind me if I did, if you’re keeping track.  Clearly you think I might oughta be crucified if I did say something about her, whenever that was.

          I just posed an observation that interested me, in response to Robb’s comment about restorative justice.  The victims don’t seem to be excessively bothered.  Were I in their shoes, candidly I don’t think I’d react with as much humor and poise.

          1. Don Shor

            According to the great search feature on the Vanguard, Frankly has brought up the terrible case of Paula Dean in July 2013, August 2013, October 2014, and now in December 2014. He is deeply concerned about her. I suggest he show his support by going and buying some of her cookware. I have one of her saucepans, and it is very good.

        3. Frankly

          The point is that some of the same people demanding RJ for a thief… basically a facility to dialog about the harm caused and to verbally atone for it and get the crime expunged from their record… were gleeful in support of Paula Deen losing her show and being persecuted by the media for, during her testimony in a frivolous workplace discrimination and sexual harassment claim by a fired employee,  admitting she had used the N word decades ago.

          Just pointing out the absurd moral equivalency at work.

          – Let the thief go after materially harming a real victim.

          – Persecute the person having spoken words in the past that would hurt the feelings of someone in a victim class.

           

          1. Don Shor

            some of the same people demanding RJ for a thief… basically a facility to dialog about the harm caused and to verbally atone for it and get the crime expunged from their record… were gleeful in support of Paula Deen losing her show

            I got your point, and was having fun with it. You see, it’s part of the ongoing “liberals are hypocrites” theme that you and TBD and BP and others of the conservative posters here like to reiterate endlessly. It’s tedious, and it’s usually not even really relevant to the topic at hand. For example, I don’t know if “some of the same people” are demanding anything or stated opinions about Paula Deen previously. It’s really an irrelevancy in support of a pointless and repetitive theme. You know, there are hypocrites on the left, and hypocrites on the right, and hypocrites in the middle of the political spectrum.
            With a $75 million investment in her brand and product line as of February 2014, Paula Deen is doing just fine.

      1. Frankly

        Robb – This sounds like great progress; but it fails to answer the question and in failing to answer the question you should see the point of my binary left/right rhetoric that you find so tiresome and unproductive.

        I have a family member that participates in the Yolo County restorative justice program that Jeff Reisig and others started.  I was also a certified mediator at one point (certification lapsed).  So I completely understand and agree with the principles of restorative justice for developing understanding and resolving conflict.

        But you just glossed over the main question of the attacks on law enforcement claiming racism and too harsh punishment in light of the statistics for education.  Why don’t we see Al Sharpton marching on these education statistics?  Why not a national call to action on them?  Why are we not hearing theories that teachers and educators are racist due to the gross over representation of black students being punished over white students?

        Maybe the challenge is just making you uncomfortable and driving your irritation with my left/right comparison.  If so, then you understand why I go there.

        Lastly, I think we need to keep it real with respect to law enforcement.  Their job is to enforce the law.  I have yet to hear a single suggestion from those on this crusade against cops for changes we should make so that law enforcement does a better job enforcing the law.  Restorative justice is a judicial-layer change.  For law enforcement, I say draw a perimeter around the high-crime areas and reduce the amount of policing done in these areas.   However, a 20+ year old study done by the US Justice Department determined that greater policing in these areas would lead to general better outcomes for the residents, so federal money to local law enforcement had new public policy requirements attached.  So for local law enforcement to pull back from high crime areas, we would need federal policy changes.

        1. Robb Davis

          “Maybe the challenge is just making you uncomfortable and driving your irritation with my left/right comparison.”

          No, it is not. Since I cannot get inside Sharpton’s head I will not speculate on what drives him.  MANY people dealing with these issues see them for what they are: complex systems in which race is one issue–but far from the only one–that must be acknowledged and dealt with.

          “Restorative justice is a judicial-layer change.”

          No, it is not. It is an alternate theory of justice that includes all elements of the justice system including the police.

          “So I completely understand and agree with the principles of restorative justice for developing understanding and resolving conflict.”

          This is not what RJ is about so I am thinking you do not understand.  RJ is about naming harms, holding people accountable for harms, understanding how crime hurts people, communities and relationships, and making things right as much as possible.  It is a system of justice that creates accountability and places the needs of victims explicitly within the process. It is not analogous to conflict resolution and goes way beyond “developing understanding.”

           

        2. Don Shor

          “Why don’t they protest this? Why don’t they protest that?”
          This comes up constantly. What would motivate you to get out and protest about something?
          Something visceral, that affects you emotionally, and that has a significant symbolic component. Hence, something visual, that epitomizes a building or festering source of anger. This is always true. The Arab Spring started when a man set himself afire in Tunisia, and the image spread throughout the Mideast. The images from the Civil Rights era motivated people.
          So nobody is going to get thousands of people into the streets by showing them statistics or describing trends. Since I assume you know this, I am curious why you keep asking about it.

        3. Davis Progressive

          “So nobody is going to get thousands of people into the streets by showing them statistics or describing trends. Since I assume you know this, I am curious why you keep asking about it.”

          and that’s not a good thing.  i think frankly has a point here – but the problem is that the bigger problems are intractable.  people get angry when the government appears to shoot unarmed citizens, people don’t know what to do about the cycle of poverty and violence.  so we are where we are.

      2. zaqzaq

        The school district is all talk on RJ practices.  Just look at the soccer fiasco where they suspended the students instead of using restorative practices.  Students should not be missing class for conduct on a sports field.

    2. Tia Will

      Frankly

      SO WHY ISN’T THE LEFT AND MEDIA RAISING HELL ABOUT ALL THE RACIST TEACHERS AND EDUCATORS?!”

      Perhaps this is because, at least some of us on your mythical “left” do not choose to see the world in terms of simplistic labels such as “racist”. Some of us are able to see beyond a label with which to vilify an individual or group, and focus on the specific action in question to determine whether that action is the optimal alternative to take in any given circumstance.

      You have frequently noted that people can be motivated by “tribalism” often without even being aware that this human tendency is operative in their decision making. You have said that this ,being an inherent human trait, will always be with us. Why then do you not appreciate that those humans who happen to be teachers and educators may also tend to act in accordance with “tribalism” and see the actions of those of the different “tribe” as more worthy of punishment, while those of the in group seem less threatening and there fore less worthy of punishment.

      We have examples of this in gender as well as in race. It has been traditional in our society to view females as more delicate and in need of protection. When I was in school it was the common practice for girls to receive lesser punishment than boys even for the same infraction. Is it really so difficult to imagine that someone might act on their ‘tribally” based preconceptions out of ingrained ideas that they may have simply absorbed while growing up ?

  5. Frankly

    naming harms, holding people accountable for harms, understanding how crime hurts people, communities and relationships, and making things right as much as possible.

    These are are similar to principles used in mediation… just replace “crime” with “words and actions”.

      1. hpierce

        Suspect it is an awareness that they might be placed under a different magnifying glass, and want to instill a “Caesar’s wife” criteria for what is expected of the student body.

    1. Frankly

      I still haven’t read anything that explains what role the cops have in it.  From my relative’s explanation it does not change the law enforcement end a bit other than the cops suggesting the RJ alternative route is available for certain crimes.

  6. LadyNewkBahm

    “The issue of police militarization, where we had a local discussion and debate, enters play here, as well. As the police have become more militarized, as they have utilized military weapons and tactics, they have increased the divide between citizens and police.”

    unsubstantiated drive by rhetoric. It can stand in line for a list of vanguard claims where as someone else put it “feeling-expression masquerades as fact.”

  7. Barack Palin

    Belmar says police were called about a theft and as the officer questioned two men, one pointed a gun at him. The officer fired three shots. One hit the gunman.
    A violent protest broke out. Two officers were injured, police cars were damaged and fire was set at a QuikTrip store. Four people were arrested.

    Was this the officer’s fault?  Should he have wrestled the guy to the ground who was pointing the gun at him?  Why the protesting and the rioting?  Anytime that a cop defends himself from now on is going to lead to these types of reactions?

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      First, if the guy is pointing a gun at a police officer, the officer is likely justified in shooting the police. However, what you see now is that the atmosphere is such that protests are going to break out for anything. We need to find a way to repair the damage that has been done.

        1. Barack Palin

          And who is inflaming those passions?  It’s to the point where even when a shooting looks like it was totally justified we have violent protests.  My daughter has two cop friends, great guys, who are now thinking of getting out of the profession.  They feel they are now more in danger for their lives than ever before and they can’t do their jobs without feeling they might end up in a Michael Brown situation and be vilified.  This is all creating a state of coming lawless civil unrest.  Is that what the race baiters want?

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            At this point, it’s not being inflamed by anyone. Most of the people impassioned aren’t ready or watching the news anyway. One interesting irony is that the only reason I heard about for example Farrakhan’s comments was someone on here posted them. So I wonder how influential they really are.

        2. Tia Will

          BP

          We need to make many steps to keep this from being the norm. I would make some modest suggestions about a start in the right direction.

          1. Both sides take responsibility for their own actions.

          2. Police admit publicly that there are times when excessive force is used.

          3. Protestors take steps to ensure that protests, to which we are entitled, remain peaceful and specifically call out and aide police in apprehending those who are looting and destroying property.

          4. Police stand with, not against peaceful protestors thus reaching out to acknowledge existing problems and make a symbolic stand with, not against their community.

          5. Police should not make this a them vs us ( good guy vs bad guy issue) as was done with the “blood on his hands” comments about Mayor de Blasio. Whether you like or dislike his politics, this is as inflammatory in its own way as any derogatory statement made about the police and does much to provoke and nothing to heal.

          6. Politicians should take care in their choice of framing of the issues and it should be remembered that they are also just people and subject to making comments that others may misinterpret just as my post about being given a warning instead of a ticket, was misinterpreted by another poster as being about race when it was actually about perceived status and differential treatment.

          7. Both sides should stop making the assumption that if someone in a given group is identified as doing something wrong, it is an attack on all members of that group. I find it quite ironic that those who claim that racism is no longer a factor in our society  while defending such policing strategies as racial profiling are very quick to accuse others of blaming all police for the actions of a few. If you are a policeman who is not guilty of the use of excessive force, perhaps you should not interpret these comments as targeted at you.  The idea of not adopting a “victim mentality” cuts both ways.

        3. Barack Palin

          One interesting irony is that the only reason I heard about for example Farrakhan’s comments was someone on here posted them.

          David, didn’t you say you don’t own a TV?  So if that’s the case you not hearing Farrakhan’s or other race baiter’s comments wouldn’t be such a big surprise.

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            No, in fact I just got a brand new Ultra High Definition TV. I don’t watch a lot of TV, mainly because I work long hours, but I definitely own one.

        4. Rich RifkinWDE 73

          Greenwald: Most of the people impassioned aren’t read(ing) or watching the news anyway.

          I love the way you feel so free to just make up sh*t like that. You really have no idea whether “the impassioned” are watching the news or not.

        5. TrueBlueDevil

          I think with the Left vastly overplaying their hand in Ferguson, the 2 officers being assassinated in New York, and apparently a black suspect walking up on a police officer before pulling his gun on him in Berkeley, Mo. (the officer defended himself, and the suspect is dead), much of the public sees what is going on. Few outlets have reported that the murder rate in New York City has gone from 2,000 per year, to under 400 per year, an overwhelmingly positive achievement.

          There are cases like Garner in Staten Island where police procedures need to be thoroughly reviewed, but no evidence suggests that this tragic event had a racial component.

          Liberal polices have turned many big cities into killing zones, but liberals fail to take responsibility for the intended and unintended consequences of their actions.

  8. Anon

    David Greenwald: “At this point, it’s not being inflamed by anyone. Most of the people impassioned aren’t ready or watching the news anyway. One interesting irony is that the only reason I heard about for example Farrakhan’s comments was someone on here posted them. So I wonder how influential they really are.”

    And yet if I remember correctly, you yourself insisted that blacks look to leaders like Al Sharpton et al. for direction.  You cannot have it both ways, blacks look to Al Sharpton et al as leaders of the black community, but somehow blacks don’t pay attention to these “leaders” when they are in the news.  Secondly, Al Sharpton was more than in the news, he was in St. Louis, MO!

    1. Davis Progressive

      iirc, david cited a poll that showed that about 24% of the black population considers sharpton the most influential.  i would point out that sharpton made critical comments about ferguson and staten island, but not anything that could be construed as an incitement to riot or violence.  again, blame is being pointed without any kind of empirical evidence that the people causing the problems are even listening to the people supposedly inciting them.

  9. TrueBlueDevil

    Another sad shooting and death in Berkeley, Mo, near St. Louis. An 18-year-old black male reportedly pulls a gun on a white police officer. It is caught on video tape. Alleged suspect with gun can be seen raising his arm, object in arm unclear. Sad, sad, sad.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      The Mayor has proactively made sure to state that this case is not like Staten Island or Ferguson.

      Berkeley, Mo., a city which is 80% African American, has a large number of black officers on the force, and the mayor is black. The two suspects (one fled) approached the officer, and the gun recovered at the scene had the serial numbers crossed out. I guess a check on twitter or Instagram may show his thoughts.

  10. Davis Progressive

    the statistics cited here may be drastically understating black/ white discrepency in police shootings.  pro public excluded hispanics from the white count and found ” that from 2010 to 2012, African-American teenage men age 15–19 were at 21 times as great a risk of being killed by police officers as white teenage men.”

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Anon, notice how DP passes right over the latest shooting (and loss of life) when we have a black young man, apparently unprovoked, drawing a 9mm on a white police officer? A 9mm, I might add, which had its ID scratched off. I wonder if this was another assassination attempt of a police officer?

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          I / we need more facts, but given what is caught on tape, it was the two young men who approached the officer. It was the suspect (dead young man) who raised his hand up, with an object in it. And there was a 9mm gun at the scene… hard to fabricate that at the drop of a hat.

          People like DP would seem just a touch more credible if they had dinner or took a stroll at night in Oak Park, West Oakland, Hunter’s Point, Watts, or Bedford-Styveston, and reported to us what a peaceful and enjoyable time he had. I have spent time in some of these areas, I try to avoid them at night but I have been there in my youthful days, and believe me they are no picnic. The theoretical liberal utopia goes out the window when confronted with stark reality.

          Anyone who hasn’t watched the excellent movie Training Day with Denzel Washington, do yourself a favor and watch that movie for just a glimpse of what many urban areas look like.

  11. Tia Will

    TBD and BP

    The theoretical liberal utopia goes out the window when confronted with stark reality.”

    it doesn’t fit the storyline that the left is trying to force on everyone.”

    I would like some examples of the “theoretical liberal utopia” and the “storyline that the left is trying to force on everyone”.

    So far all I am seeing is claims from you that some “deluded liberal “somewhere believes there is a utopia and a seeming “victim mentality” that some leftist is trying to force everyone to believe the same thing.  Your evidence for these claims please ?

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