Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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38 Responses

  1. Patrick says:

    On the other hand, the comments on the RedState post linked to by RTod are heartening.Report

  2. Saul DeGraw says:

    To quote Bartleby:

    I’d rather not.Report

  3. dexter says:

    If you need a giant case of wtf try American Renaissance.Report

  4. greginak says:

    Has it ever really been a question why conservatives get accused of having a significant number of virulent racists in their coalition. No it really hasn’t been a question since it’s been pretty darn obvious. If Erick E is more than just a blind squirrel finding a nut, even as clumsy as his column was, then that is great start to moving forward.Report

  5. zic says:

    Talk about ughs:

    Later, however, at an afternoon news conference, the police chief in Ferguson, Thomas Jackson, said the officer involved in the shooting, Darren Wilson, had not been aware that Mr. Brown “was a suspect in the case” when he stopped Mr. Brown and a companion “because they were walking down the street blocking traffic.”
    Source: NYT, also on VOX

    This is really twisted; he’s really saying that the cop didn’t know Michael’s was a suspect?

    Is he a suspect? Ugh that the press did not ask. Did Michaels become a suspect after he was shot, and the found another crime in the area to link this potential a crime to? Is there any earthly reason to think the man in the photos is the same person shot?

    I haven’t seen any reporting building a factual case to that end; only causal linkage based on police press reports.

    Yet the words above suggest, that though the officer didn’t know Michaels was a suspect, he was, in fact, alleged to have stolen a box of cigars, so that somehow makes his being shot ok, excuses the officer?


    • Vikram Bath in reply to zic says:

      Is there any earthly reason to think the man in the photos is the same person shot?

      To my eyes, the clothing in the video stills looks similar to the clothing on Brown’s body. In particular, the shoes seemed distinctive.

      I do find it odd that they just chose to release video stills rather than the actual video.

      The robbery, shouldn’t have any influence on the shooting, but it means the victim wasn’t perfect in his victimhood.Report

      • zic in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        The clothing is similar; the facial rounding, too.

        But the man in the still photos seems larger; but I’ll grant that an 18 year-old boy can grow really fast, too.

        Still, these details should be relatively easy to work out somewhat definitively; before linking the one to the other, and making it clear that a robbery and assault do not justify lethal force when you’ve got your hands up in the air.Report

      • Fwiw, there is actually not a dispute that Brown shoplifted – I refuse to call it a robbery- those cigars, as his friend has said as much. But it’s completely irrelevant. As I said in one of the other threads, it actually makes the claim that Brown assaulted the officer a lot less plausible. And fer chrissakes, if every kid I knew who shoplifted in high school was killed, the honors and AP classes in my high school would have had 50 percent fewer students.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        The robbery, shouldn’t have any influence on the shooting, but it means the victim wasn’t perfect in his victimhood.

        That’s a bit too quick for my tastes, Vik. It confuses the character of the person with the specific crime which ostensibly justifies a particular punishment. I’ve heard there are old ladies who gossip like fiends, destroying the lives of others. If the cops were to gun them down because they didn’t walk where they were told, would we think their victimhood was diminished in any way?

        Well, maybe that’s a question I’ll be disappointed in even asking…Report

      • LWA (Liberal With Attitude) in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        “the victim wasn’t perfect in his victimhood.”
        This makes me think of Chris Rock’s observation about how black people have to be twice as good to get half as much credit. Like how in his neighborhood, the black people are at the pinnacle of their field, while his white neighbor is a dentist. “You know how good a black dentist would have to be to live in my nieghborhood? He’d have to invent teeth!”

        I’m trying to imagine if a white teenager would be subject to such scrutiny, or if, rather, he would be the subject of endless weepy memorials and furious vigilante proposals, even if there existed video of him shoplifting.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        And Martin Luther King was a plagiarist, though it’s not clear whether James Earl Ray was aware of that at the time.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        I agree that the robbery aspect of what happens in the video is pretty minor. But it’s a video of a pretty rough battery of a store proprietor, as far as I can see. And that battery apparently happened in the course of stealing something, albeit of pretty small monetary value. I can’t agree think that what seen in the video is a negligible criminal act in any way (because it’s a pretty rough battery; if he had slipped out of the store with the dollar cigarillos then I think it’s quite a bit more negligible, though obviously not completely).

        But to whatever extent it’s a crime of significance versus a negligible action, the video remains equally irrelevant. Even murderers have the right not to be killed in the course of arrest or interaction with police absent the presentation of a serious threat to someone’s life or safety.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        Whoa. I thought I had read that the cigars were a dollar (which did sound fishy, but hey, I read it on the internet!).

        Brian Beutler (whom I pretty much trust as a reporter) says it was $49 dollars worth of cigars:

        Also, I meant to include in my previous comment that I have no strong sense that the person committing the battery in the video is or is not Michael Brown, nor that the video is authentic in any particular sense (i.e. I don’t really doubt that it’s video of a real event, but that I can see there’s no reason for me not to doubt whether it occurred that day, in Ferguson, in Missouri, or any other detail about it not contained in the frame of the video).Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        The robbery, shouldn’t have any influence on the shooting, but it means the victim wasn’t perfect in his victimhood.

        It makes the officers’ account of the shooting—that he was trying to take an officer’s gun and therefore posed a threat—more plausible. If we had a perfect record of the shooting, nothing else would matter. But we don’t. So the history of the individuals involved matters.

        To turn this around, if the officer involved had a history of inappropriate use of force, would that make his story less plausible? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most people here would probably say yes. So why shouldn’t it work in the other direction?Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        I can’t fully disagree with @brandon-berg here, but the issue is that it was not the time for such efforts to define the character of the people involved. The police had withheld basic facts about the incident up until today. When they finally released some of them, it came along with the release of a video whose relevance only goes to the establishment of credibility of varying accounts of the incident via character establishment – not to the actual course of events itself. That process should be delayed until the public has been given all the basic information about the incident itself that it can have, and that information shouldn’t be muddled with information stipulated to be not directly related to the incident that is released to establish character. Further, such character questions shouldn’t necessarily be litigated in public, at least not eagerly by officials, in the way the department clearly meant to do today. The intention to do so is, in fact, what the community and critics of the police department now charge the department with having had, with the effect that it has actually re-stoked unrest in Ferguson even as we speak tonight. And they’re right to be angry about it, providing that the department’s claim that they had no choice about whether/when to release the video due to FOIA or other media requests doesn’t hold up, which it could, though I doubt it will.Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        But the man in the still photos seems larger; but I’ll grant that an 18 year-old boy can grow really fast, too.

        @zic , I had reached my full adult height of 6’3″ by the time I was 16. Granted, I was skinny as a rail and didn’t really fill out my frame until I was in my thirties. There are exceptions, one of my best friends being an example, but it’s a fairly normal pattern for boys.Report

  6. Burt Likko says:

    Let’s say Michael Brown indeed robbed a liquor store.

    So what?

    Robbing a liquor store is not a capital offense. Even if it were, he ought to get a trial before he gets executed.

    Either the officer who shot him was reasonably in fear that Mr. Brown was an immediate threat to the safety and life of someone, or he was not.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Or he was not.Report

    • zic in reply to Burt Likko says:


      It doesn’t seem that simple to me. If the officer feared for his life with the first shot; but kept shooting after the suspect was down, is that a problem? The basic civil-rights question here would seem to be his order; is it shoot to kill? I’ve heard repeatedly that this is how cops are trained. If you miss the first time (meaning a non-lethal shot) does that training mean unload until they stop twitching? Is that what we want? Once someone has their hands up and is backing away — even if they provoked — does the officer have some obligation to stop pulling the trigger short of death?Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to zic says:

        Well, the bullets don’t do the officer any good while they’re still in the chamber. Which is to say, although you’ve phrased it in a gruesome way, @zic , this is not that far from the truth as I have been given to understand it. Once an a cop has made a decision to subdue with lethal force (stereotypically a decision she makes quickly and under intense stress, although that may not be the case in every incident), she’s going to see it through. She doesn’t get a “free first shot,” and multiple shots thereafter are held to the same standard. An officer involved shooting inquiry views the incident as a whole, not on a shot-by-shot basis, and so does a civil rights lawsuit.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to zic says:

        I don’t find @zic’s phrasing particularly gruesome – and I think she’s asking exactly the right question. Though in this case, there is also the question of the initial provocation, if indeed there was one. There seems to be consensus among the witnesses that there was a scuffle between Wilson and Brown through the cruiser window. Did Brown give Wilson reason to reasonably fear for his life or at least safety? It’s hard to see how we’ll ever know that with ny satisfaction (and if we don’t that could be trouble, as Wilson and likely the Force will likely maintain the claim regardless of a lack of evidence or testimony to it). Time will tell.

        But that’s fairly likely to settle into something of a he-says, no-one-clearly-contradicts-him situation wrt that initial provocation based on an initial look at the witness testimony that there is. So I expect the pressure from those seeking accountability to eventually move to the issue of how Officer Wilson then proceeded to pursue Wilson until he was dead. And on that issue, it seems to me that @zic is posing exactly the right questions. Indeed, I think this comment will be one worth referring back to as the case progresses.Report

      • Patrick in reply to zic says:

        The typical training here in Los Angeles was basically centered on the idea that if you thought you had to draw your weapon, you were at one level of engagement, and if you thought you needed to pull the trigger, you emptied your weapon.

        There are legitimate reasons for this. “Shot 17 times” or “shot 2 times” is about the same degree of certainty for “dead perp”.

        But if you shoot somebody *once*, and stop, and they get away and retreat and you then empty your mag at them, that’s broken.

        Particularly if you shoot them in the back.

        We don’t have access to the autopsy report yet so we don’t know where the bullets landed.

        Also, for the record: given what I’ve read of the stress lit, there’s reasonable doubt that the officer was going to make calm, cool, and collected decisions after the initial engagement, even if he wasn’t following training protocol (which, at this stage, I think he probably wasn’t).

        So dereliction of duty and a loss of the badge is probably the most extreme possible criminal outcome.

        But I’ll go on the books right now to say that the wrongful death lawsuit is going to cost a lot.Report

  7. Tod Kelly says:

    Actually, I kind of think the one a bit blow this on Conservative Daily about Texas Open Carry and the New Black Panthers is worse — and kind of answers Ia question I’ve had ever since TOC has been in the news: How would the 2nd Amendment/Don’t Tread On Me crowd that so supports them react if those guys were black?Report

    • Anderson in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      That thread is also horrifying. This comment jumped out at me: “Who cares what the racist blank panthers think….they want white people to lose all guns so they can rob us at will and we can’t fight back. They are fools.”

      Reminded me…I read this article a few years ago: Basically about how federal gun control legislation stemmed from from conservative fears of armed blacks in the 60s. This dude’s comment adds an odd twist on the logic from 50 years ago: since they’re black, they will inevitably be armed and dangerous (?). Ergo, arming ourselves is the only recourse….A shift from believing that government will protect against the Other to believing that government protects the Other. Racist, kind of libertarian, populism, I guess?Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Anderson says:

        A shift from believing that government will protect against the Other to believing that government protects the Other.

        This is an important observation of a change that is behind some of what might be seen as a partial libertarian shift within conservatism over the last, oh, thirty-five years.Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to Anderson says:

        It’s part and parcel with Reagan’s famous quote about the scariest nine words in the English language being, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” [emphasis mine]

        To the conservative, the proper role of government is to be the protector, enforcer, and punisher. To be the daddy-figure for society, and in particular for the established order of society. So to Reagan, the government taking on the role of mother-figure, by nurturing and helping, was indeed scary and beyond its natural function. Even worse, to then have government applying its energies to nurturing and protecting minorities, women, and other misfits, rather than the established patriarchal, propertied order was an active betrayal. Now the government, which had heretofore been firmly in their control was threatening that control and came to be seen as the enemy to be drowned in a bathtub.

        And while libertarians, bless their hearts, have no particular love for the established order, they have a ready-to-eat menu of anti-government memes at their disposal and so became natural allies of convenience. Useful tools providing pseudo-intellectual cover basically. But take notice my libertarian friends, how very selectively they’ve adopted your priorities and the course of civil liberties since the Reagan Revolution. You’ve been played and all you’ve got for your troubles is gay marriage and some really pricey, sorta kinda legal weed in a couple of states.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Anderson says:

        You’ve been played and all you’ve got for your troubles is gay marriage and some really pricey, sorta kinda legal weed in a couple of states.

        What did we get from the Republicans, again?

        Of the top of my head, I’m counting the TSA, Patriot, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something else.

        Enlighten me.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Anderson says:

        I’m confused about which “libertarian friends” Road Scholar is talking to. Did he mean to post that on some other blog? 😉Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Anderson says:


        I think @road-scholar is asking the same question: what did you get? Not much, you would both agree.

        The implied and more relevant question, it seems to me, though, is what did you (or more specifically libertarians who were responsible for that alliance, who mostly came before you) give up, either contemporaneously or on behalf of future libertarians, in pursuing that path, if anything? I’m not sure what @road-scholar ‘s or his friends’, or anyone else’s answers to that would be, exactly.Report

  8. DavidTC says:

    I think it’s worth remembering that a lot of the reason people are looking at Ferguson is not, in fact, the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, something that happens all too often.

    It’s the absolutely insane police response to fairly justifiable slight civic unrest.Report

  9. Jaybird says:

    The dynamic that irritates me the freaking most when I argue about this with co-workers is that the police officer gets every single freakin’ benefit of the doubt. “Hey, we can’t know this. Hey, we can’t know that. Hey, innocent until proven guilty. Hey, that’s why we have trials. Hey, even if police who weren’t there testify on his behalf, he’s entitled to that.”

    “What was the guy shot in the head entitled to?”

    “Hey, man, you weren’t there.”Report