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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rounding out a high school education

(Why this post is titled this way may not be apparent at first, but be patient.)

Just to be clear what the Ferguson protesters are protesting, and in some cases, rioting, about:

Michael Brown, when asked to stop walking in the middle of the road by Darren Wilson, taunted him and told him he was too much of a pussy to fire his gun. When Brown approached the car and Wilson tried to get out, Brown blocked the car door and punched Wilson twice (photographs showed the bruise). Then Brown reached for his gun, trying to get his finger on the trigger (forensic evidence showed that the gun went off twice inside the car). When Brown walked away, Wilson followed and told him to stop. Brown then turned around and charged Wilson, who then shot the 6' 4", 295 pound Brown. Although a few witnesses claimed that Wilson shot Brown while his back was turned, three separate autopsies, including one commissioned by the Brown family, proved that this was not true. (Over half a dozen other witnesses confirmed Wilson's account.)

This is the case about whose grand jury decision Americans held their collective breath for last night.

This past summer, three days after Brown was killed, a black Salt Lake City police officer shot and killed a 20-year-old white, Dillon Taylor, because he did not get down on the ground when was asked to. Taylor was not in any way threatening the police officer, and according to all accounts, didn't obey simply because he couldn't hear him because of the earphones he was wearing.

(Where is the media outrage about this? Where are the white rioters?)

The hypocrisy of the media, and of Eric Holder, and the lies told by the agitators are so blatant that it hardly seems worthwhile for me to belabor them here.

Anyway, all of this is not to say that there are never unjustified shootings of blacks. This past Thursday two rookie police officers were patrolling the darkened stairwells of the Pink Houses project in East New York, a particularly crime-ridden building in a high crime area. One of the rookies, Peter Liang, had his gun drawn and his finger on the trigger while he patrolled, a violation of NYPD policy. Akai Gurley and his girlfriend happened to open the door to the stairwell right when Liang and his partner were there, and Liang pulled the trigger and killed Gurley.

Liang claims it was an accident. My guess is that he simply panicked, even though Gurley was doing nothing wrong. (Of course, that's pure speculation.) Gurley's relatives will undoubtedly get a nice fat settlement from the city -- which they deserve.

This, not Ferguson, is the case that blacks should be upset about.

That said, it's also easy to see why a rookie cop would be on edge in that particular housing project. There have been multiple murders committed there over the years, and the stairwell's lights were broken (drug dealers and other criminals prefer it that way). That doesn't excuse Liang's actions; but it does make them more understandable.

In the past 24 hours there has been a lot of talk about the need to preserve peace, talk that of course has been ignored by the Ferguson arsonists. But peace can only come about through understanding, which seems to be in short supply.

Here'a an idea to counteract that: every senior in high school should be required, before he graduates, to spend three days at a police station, part of which should consist of riding around in a patrol car, preferably in a high crime neighborhood. The senior would find out what it's like to have to patrol a high crime area, and what it's like to deal with real criminals and a hostile populace.

All the white liberals from the suburbs (the types who join in Ferguson protests in relatively safe places like Times Square or on college campuses) would gain some perspective. All the spoiled rich kids would get some (minimal) sense of life in a poor community. And blacks from poor areas, many of whom are reflexively leery of authority, would at least see how things look from the other side.

It's possible that some students would come away from that experience feeling even more anti-police.  But I suspect that for the vast majority, three days of being slapped in the face with reality would be a real education, and they'd get a sense of how difficult that job can be.

I don't think for a moment that such a proposal would have the slightest chance of being enacted. Most parents would be up in arms about their little dears going into a high crime neighborhood. And the first time a high schooler was killed in such circumstances would result in all sorts of repercussions. Plus, the police wouldn't want to be saddled with a useless third person they'd have to protect.

Still, it's unfortunate that such a requirement will never be put in place, because it would promote understanding, which is what's needed at the moment.


bluffcreek1967 said...

It's not a bad idea at all, John. I think it would teach white kids who've never had much contact with blacks to see what they're really like in their ghetto environment. None of it would comport with image presented on TV. It may also start the process of inoculating themselves from the poison of multiculturalism that they've been fed since kindergarten.

For black kids, it may give them a new respect for the kind of societal dysfunction they must endure each and every day. It might show them that the police have sound reasons for what they do, and that they are most often the good guys rather than the bad guys.

John Craig said...

Ambrose --
Thank you. Yes, I think it would be culturally broadening for both sides.

One of the problems with cops in the ghetto, as you alluded to with your "most often the good guys" comment is that all it takes is one bad guy to give the force a bad reputation. Even if nine out of ten officers on patrol in an area are good, decent guys just trying to do their jobs -- and I think that's usually the case -- if the tenth guy is a cowboy who likes to push people around, unfortunately, he's the one who will be remembered.

But, that said, I think such a program would help on both sides. When I thought of it, though, I was thinking mostly in terms of the white liberals who have no inkling of what it's like to be a cop and who instinctively think of them as being the enemy.

Glen Filthie said...

Well John you are making a mistake here.

There's two kinds of stupid. There is the stupidity of the ill informed, the ignorant and the folks that don't know any better. Then there is willful and deliberate stupidity that is the basis and core of victim politics.

You can't fix stupid. Back in the 60's men like Alex Hailey thought you could do it with education but as Obama and his liberals demonstrate - all you end up with are idiots that have been educated beyond their intellects.

Stupid people only learn one way.

Anonymous said...

Great post, it would be a highly educational process for both sides. My dad used to tell me everyone should spend a year away in another country to see how blessed they are in America. I guess it goes back to the old adage "put yourself in my shoes". Have a great thanksgiving, and get ready for the snow....

Mad Dog

John Craig said...

Glen --
You're right about there being different kinds of stupid, and the willfully obtuse kind of stupid is really more a matter of dishonesty, and that can't be fixed. IS's can't be raised, either. However, naiveté can be cured, through exposure to reality, and that would be the kind of "stupid" that would be helped by three days in a police department.

John Craig said...

Mad Dog --
Thank you, and have a great Thanksgiving yourself.

Steven said...

There are presumably a lot more high school students than police patrols in bad neighborhoods. Would the police be taking a different kid every 3 days?

Cheaper option, have more tv shows following police in bad neighborhoods. Maybe show them in schools.

Louis Theroux, the BBC documentary maker/interviewer did a great show called 'law and disorder in Philadelphia' that is on daily motion and might be on Netflix. He rode around with the police in Philly and witnessed everything, interviewed them, spoke to black locals who were invovled. He has a very disarming personality but is very prying and dry. He's geeky but brave.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I was actually thinking the same thing, more cop shows. But the problem with those are, they're heavily edited, and that diminishes their reality.

Steven said...

Watch the Louis Theroux one. They would have to be made to show the realities on purpose.

btw Jesse Jackson has an article in the Guardian that would probably piss you off.

I left a comment that is getting upvoted. I hope your info about the Brown shooting is spot on because I'm using it in strongly worded comments!


John Craig said...

Steven --
Just read the article and your comment (as Stevie Mac, I assume). Yes, those facts are correct, I've read them in several places.

I saw that even a comment just approving your comment got a bunch of likes.

Steven said...

As you know more about this than me and I'm sort of trusting your research, how would you reply to the following:

'Then Michael Brown started to walk away and the police officer called him back. He turned and charged at the officer, head down, like a bull.'

That's the officer's claim, but there's no evidence for that whatsoever. In fact, Brown was killed quite a bit away from the car, and the medical examiner had to do without plenty of information he usually receives for such cases. Now I'm waiting for you to suggest a reason why the prosecution withheld that information."


John Craig said...

Steven --
What Wilson said was that he followed Brown in order to keep him in sight until reinforcements arrived. (That's why the shooting took place away from the car.) And it wasn't all that far away from the car, something like 50 yards. And why would the medical examiner have to do without the "information he usually receives" when there are three separate autopsies?

There never was a "prosecution" because the case never went to trial, and grand jury proceedings are never publicized until after they reach a decision, if then.

Steven said...

Thanks John, perfect.

Anonymous said...

John Craig for President!

I hadn't heard of the project shooting. Here is the NY Times account. Note that it is very sympathetic to the cop.

Read the part about the mechanics doing work in public housing - it must be an absolutely terrifying experience to have to work in one of these places, and to end up on the wrong side of a police gun.

This brings up the big picture: why does NYC still have 334 public housing projects? I think Don Trump offered to buy them outright from the city for some billions of dollars, and Bloomberg wanted to take him up on it, but it was a political impossibility. Maybe that is an urban myth, but it was floating around.

The fact is that NYC liberals would be very happy to get rid of these sores.

The name Liang is Chinese. There has been a big push in NYC to diversify the police force. I'm not sure whether this is the kind of diversity the diversicrats meant.

I'm in a sour mood. I feel that the US is being sucked dry by idiots and scoundrels.


John Craig said...

Coco --
You better stop saying that or I'm going to run again.

(But thanks.)

I hadn't heard that about Trump, it may be a myth, I don't know.

When I first heard the name of the rookie who killed Gurley, I thought to myself, that must be the rarest flavor of killing in the US, yellow-on-black.

Hate to tell you, but if idiots and scoundrels sucking this country dry puts you in a bad mood, don't expect to cheer up any time soon.

Anonymous said...

"don't expect to cheer up any time soon."

LOL. Well, at least my stock portfolio is doing OK, and I expect it to do really well in the next month. :) But yes, the state of the nation doth bring me down.....

Reading further, I saw that Liang's partner was named Shaun Landau. What happened to the poor victim was absolutely awful, and drenched in irony: a Chinese/Jewish cop partnership, and a black victim.

This article has something about the Trump rumors:

It's long. I haven't read it yet. I hate NY Mag (liberal twats) but they run a lot of good articles. I read them on an as-needed basis.


John Craig said...

Coco --
Glad to hear your portfolio is doing well, that makes one of us.

Took a look at the first page of the article, but didn't want to wade through the entire thing. I'll take your word (parents just arrived, I have to attend to them).

Lucian Lafayette said...

I'll give one more endorsement to the idea. Knowing what the police go through, and letting them know you, humanizes both sides.

I have one more suggestion: get to know some of the members of your local law enforcement. All stereotypes of doughnut - sucking tubs of goo aside, some cops are gym rats. Most of them work out at the same gym. If you can find the gym, if it is convenient and you are so inclined, join that gym. Work out there and at least let these guys recognize you. If you can't do that, contribute to some charity that is associated with the police. Go to some pancake dinner they put on. Try to get some face - to - face recognition with at least a few of the local LEOs. I have never had to count on it but when this was recommended to me, it certainly seemed like a good idea.


John Craig said...

Luke --
(I'll go with the informal version; great name, by the way, alliterative names are always more memorable, especially when they have historical significance.)

Thank you. Yes, that's a good idea. I think more people of all types would get to know each other, especially people on the different sides of various (and seemingly high) fences.

The cops who are gym rats, by the way, are often not averse to juicing up. My son competed in the CT SWAT Team challenge this past summer (as a representative of the National Guard, which sends a team). This is basically a competition where all the various SWAT teams send a bunch of guys to compete in contests like running and then shooting, or carrying a heavy weight for 100 yards and then shooting, that kind of stuff. He said it was a lot of fun, and that these are some various serious guys, you could see that at a distance. But he also said that it was pretty obvious that a good 20 to 25% of them were on the juice. (He said he was tempted to go into one of their tents and ask, "Hey, do you guys ever arrest people for steroids?")

Steven said...

Steven said...

btw I sent that to you for the first part about police violence and why the black protesters were angry. Interesting conclusion; seems plausible.

John Craig said...

Steven --
That link actually just leads to today's Financial Times headlines, after you click on the "x" to get rid of the superimposed sign in page.