Words I never thought I’d write, and perhaps a good sign…

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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31 Responses

  1. Burt Likko says:

    I don’t see a lot of evidence to support this sentence: “Conservatives have long lamented the buildup of armaments and stockpiling of bullets by the Department of Homeland Security.”

    But other than that, you know, that Erick Erickson fellow is right, at least insofar as excerpted here.Report

  2. Since Erickson posted this before the press conference this morning, I figured I’d check Redstate just now, assuming that the shoplifting allegation was going to result in Erickson backtracking massively on this. While I don’t see that Erickson has posted anything new himself, I’m honestly impressed that the featured post at Redstate right now is this: http://www.redstate.com/2014/08/15/stealing-swisher-sweets-becomes-capital-offense/Report

  3. Saul DeGraw says:

    I am seeing a lot of thought pieces right now but how the Fergusson case is exposing the divide between libertarians and conservatives and the tensions between law and orderism and small government defenses of liberty.

    There was a piece on the Federalist about how the quickest way to determine the difference between a conservative and a libertarian is to ask “How do you feel about the police?”

    Another piece on the Federalist about how many conservatives never see how power corrupts the police because many might live in nice and leafy suburbs.Report

    • Chris in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

      I am seeing a lot of thought pieces right now but how the Fergusson case is exposing the divide between libertarians and conservatives and the tensions between law and orderism and small government defenses of liberty.

      White people…Report

      • j r in reply to Chris says:

        I am not sure that I understand that comment.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

        I think he’s saying it’s a “white people problem” – one that we can get all innalekshul about and talk about at dinner parties! – because we’re fundamentally disconnected from the impact of the issue. So the important thing is having a discussion about the topic and forming a judgment, rather than doing anything about it.Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Precisely. Using the death of a teenager as inspiration for “think pieces” about which political or ideological group cares more about which relatively abstract issues and why is something only people thoroughly disconnected by the shit going down on the ground can do.

        People are dying, 3 in a weekend, many, many more over the years, and some people are playing gotcha with libertarians, too. I find that disgusting.Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Disconnected from, that is.Report

      • j r in reply to Chris says:

        People are dying, 3 in a weekend, many, many more over the years, and some people are playing gotcha with libertarians, too. I find that disgusting.

        I agree with this. What I am having trouble with is the idea that there is an appropriate response; although maybe you’re not implying that.

        There are some basic human emotions that one probably ought to experience at the death of an unarmed man and the overreaction of a militarized police force against the citizens that police force is charged with protecting. And when I see people whose reactions go 180 degrees in the wrong way, it tells me something about those people.

        However, one some level we are all disconnected and getting angry or feeling guilty or yelling about it from the highest hill, or internet point, is one way to react, but it’s not the only way. The doing something about it is the very heart of the issue, though. Different people are going to have different views about what the right thing to do is. And the only way to work through that is to work through that.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Chris says:

        Kind of like how the problem with a lot of judges (up to & including the SCOTUS) is that they have no first, second, or even third hand experience with the abuses of the justice system, so they tend to believe in the “professionalism” of it.Report

    • trizzlor in reply to Saul DeGraw says:

      Keep in mind that there was a sudden dearth of law & order conservatives during the Cliven Bundy standoff, where government over-reaction to a white rancher’s land dispute was the grievance. And, for good measure, there were quite a few liberals saying the federal agents need to go in there and clean house by any means necessary. I think both parties are aware of police corruption when the target is someone they already sympathize with.Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to trizzlor says:

        Well I never said they were consistent.

        Also, Cliven Bundy was a proven instead of alleged law breaker. He had his days in court and lost.

        At worst, Brown shoplifted a box or two of cigars. This is hardly a crime that is worthy of shooting. I think the MO in low theft cases should be to let the suspect go and arrest him later if there is a chance of an altercation.

        I have a friend who tried to shoplift a 3,000 dollar cashmere sweater when he was 19. The cop ended up writing that my friend tried to shop lift a sweater worth a few hundred dollars out of sympathy and so my friend did not get charged with a felony. The difference is that my friend was a white kid and a sophomore at college. The only thing my friend had to do was be honest about this on his moral character application for the California Bar. My friend is licensed to practice law in the state of California.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to trizzlor says:

        This sort of thing happens all the time and shouldn’t. Young white people, especially if they are from middle class or above backgrounds, tend to get slaps on the wrists when they do impulsive, stupid things. Young people of color and to a lesser extent poor whites get hit with the full force of the law. The decision to treat more and more youthful offenders as adults was a big mistake. There should be an assumption that many young people are going to do something impulsive that is technically against the law because of their young age. They should be dealt with as lightly as possible unless their crime involves some form of sexually assault or significant violence.Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to trizzlor says:


        I don’t think anyone under 18 should be charged as an adult for any reason or crime.

        But generally you are right. My friend comes from a working class background. His dad worked in construction. But I am sure the arresting officer just saw him as a college kid doing something impulsive and stupid and who realized it at the time of arrest and thought a slap on the wrist would suffice.

        I think there are studies that show we treat black male children and teens as being older than they really are.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to trizzlor says:

        And, for good measure, there were quite a few liberals saying the federal agents need to go in there and clean house by any means necessary.

        Uh, no.

        I am someone on the left that thought the Bundy standoff was completely unacceptable behavior for the government, in the sense that the government is the only entity with the right to threaten force, and that if an armed insurrection shows up doing that, the proper responses is to *push back*.

        …but even I didn’t say ‘Just shoot them’. I said ‘arrest them all’, or at least ‘Arrest the ones blatantly breaking the law, disperse the rest, remove the cattle as ordered by the legal system. You’re the damn government, act like it.’. Whether or not those protesters would have *allowed* themselves to be arrested is another matter, but that would be on them. If people *choose* to enter combat with the government (And instantly lose), that’s their own business.

        The Bundy ranch was a massive *underreaction* to a group of armed and threatening people. This shooting was a massive *overreaction* to someone who doesn’t appear to be threatening at all(1), and then, on top of that, a completely crazy overreaction to the peaceful protests that followed.

        I wonder what the difference between those two groups could possibly be. Some sort of identifying trait the latter group might have, that causes massive overreaction by the police if a person has it, but no reaction by the police at even in the fact of outright felonious behavior if the person doesn’t. Hint: Rhymes with ‘lark skin’.

        Anyway, it is possible to believe both those things at the same time and be perfectly consistent. Randomly killing unarmed people is incorrect behavior for the government. Not reacting to armed people flaunting the rule of law and threatening police (Because they might actually start shooting) is *also* incorrect behavior for the government.

        The government is not a light switch, where the only two possibilities are ‘Murder whoever they feel like’ or ‘Do nothing, ever’. There really is a middle ground.

        1) Now that they’ve had a week to get their story straight, of course, it’s the classic ‘He was going for my gun, so I shot him’. Of course, the victim was shot in the back, from a least a few feet away, which means he couldn’t have possibly been doing that. But let’s not let the facts get in the way of the police story.Report

  4. And from the realm of the truly amazing, Mark Steyn has a shockingly insightful take on this: http://www.steynonline.com/6524/cigars-but-not-closeReport

    • Glyph in reply to Mark Thompson says:

      The whole thing is pretty good, but the part that hit me hardest was the observation that Ferguson police apparently:

      Can afford: riot gear, helicopters, tanks, etc., etc.

      Cannot afford: dash cams (which my very quick look on Amazon tell me cost anywhere from say twenty bucks, to maybe around three hundred for the nice models.)

      Let’s assume the cops need special ones at $500 per cruiser.

      There’s no way in the freaking world that they can’t afford that, if they can afford all this other crap.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Glyph says:

        They can’t afford dashcams, but they prolly oslo prohibit citizens from recording cop-interactions too. Which, if they allowed it, would be even cheaper than getting their own!Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Glyph says:

        That’s not exactly true though. The reason they can “afford” all of those things is that they get them for free from the military.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        @tod-kelly – it’s been a while since I read the Balko pieces, but I was under the impression that though the police did indeed get deep discounts, the surplus military equipment was still purchased.

        Ain’t no way even the *gas* for a Bearcat is less than $500 bucks/year, let alone the vehicle.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson says:

      Thanks for the linky, Mark. I liked this bit quite a lot:

      So, when the police are dressed like combat troops, it’s not a fashion faux pas, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of who they are. [snippy] You’re a constable. You may be carrying on like the military commander of an occupying army faced with a rabble of revolting natives, but in the end you’re a constable.Report

      • Yeah, you and glyph hit on the two parts that most struck me as well, although I thought the entire piece (with the very notable exceptions of the second paragraph and the gratuitous Travon Martin reference) was excellent.Report

  5. Stillwater says:

    Wow, even the conservative Redstate has had it with this [redacted]!

    Tod, I agree with your agreement with EE, except for a handful of words: The police bungled their handling of the matter,. To say the police bungled this is to attribute to them a well intentioned set of procedures which weren’t followed due to incompetent execution. The way I’m seeing it, the police didn’t bungle anything – they were acting on a different set of priorities and intended outcomes than we can politely attribute to them in civilized company.Report

  6. Brandon Berg says:

    [Michael Brown] defied the odds of many young black men, graduated from high school, and would have started college last week had he been alive.

    Describing this as “defying the odds” sells black men short. Of black men ages 25-29, 87% have high school degrees and 49% have attended college, with 25% having at least an associate’s degree. By their early 40s, 35% of black men have at least an associate’s degree. For black women, the numbers are 92%, 61%, and 34% for 25-29, and 40% of black women in their 30s have at least an associate’s degree.