Less Thinking, More Complying

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Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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118 Responses

  1. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    So I’ll just keep on making and selling my raw milk, then? Cool.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

      Gross.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      I’ll drink to that; a big, frothy glass of raw milk.

      I’m a proponent of raw milk, having grown up milking cows. The rules limiting direct sales to customers actually decreased sanitation on dairy farms, creating more entry points for bacterias in milk; why bother putting the extra effort into maintaining sanitary conditions in a barn/milk room/milking parlor when it’s all going to be cooked to kill the germs? It’s expensive in both time and materials; and requires constant attention as your trying to do the thousands of tasks required to successfully run a farm.Report

      • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

        As I’ve gotten older, my lactose tolerance seems to be dipping in grosser and grosser ways. So needless to say, I’ll be passing on your raw milk. Or your pasteurized milk, frankly. Sigh.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        Interesting; you’ve described how producers will cut corners and do the absolute minimum required by law, and yet you *don’t* think the government should ensure food safety by banning practices that can permit dangerous contamination to enter the food supply?

        The point being that one person’s “refusal to comply with unjust police actions” is another person’s “undermining the authority of government and affecting its ability to carry out the tasks that are needed to ensure health and safety”Report

      • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

        Show us the dead raw milk manufacturers Jim.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Jim, you’re presuming I think that anything that is justified as health-and-human-safety-government action is okay; without going through some cost benefit analysis.

        I don’t think that at all. Raw milk standards made a lot of sense in the days before refrigeration. Now, they don’t make as much sense. I do think raw milk should be clearly labeled when sold in stores, and subjected to bacteria testing before sale. I also think any farmer should be allowed to sell their products directly to customers; a direct sale means the customer knows where the food came from, can directly ask the farmer about standards, and there’s no chain-of-custody where potential contaminants can be introduced between the farmer and the customer.

        So I’d really appreciate it if you’d quit presuming I support all government interventions; I don’t. I’m really seriously interested in identifying good government, and getting rid of intrusive government where it’s not a real benefit to people. And if conservatives would get off their high horses about this, they would probably find liberals willing to work on rolling back needless regulation.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        The point being that one person’s “refusal to comply with unjust police actions” is another person’s “undermining the authority of government and affecting its ability to carry out the tasks that are needed to ensure health and safety”.Report

      • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

        Jim, you’re (again) comparing unlike things. Please point us toward the dead raw milk manufacturers. I get that you’re outraged that raw milk is banned but unless there are piles of dead raw milk manufacturers out there, it really isn’t an applicable point here.Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    The real villains in all of this have been athletes who wear t-shirts.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Teach them to comply with police officers, even if they feel it’s unjust.

      I don’t know what to say about that. It’s sorta surreal, actually. Makes my head spin. The cops are actually admitting the very thing they’re being criticized for. Maybe it just shows cops ain’t all that bright????Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Oops, sorry Chris. THis was supposed to be a reply to the OP. But I did wanna mention that Derrick Rose deserves a bunch of credit for starting the t-shirt thing. Dude’s awesome.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        There are actually times when people should have to comply with the cops even if they feel it is unjust. That really is perfectly fine, says me, who was a card carrying member of the ACLU since i was like 19. If a cop has a warrant for your arrest then you really should cooperate. If a cop say there is an emergency going on so you need to move on then you really should cooperate. The big issue is cops declaring people exercising free speech as a public safety emergency and taking lack of compliance to minor infractions as a reason to get physical.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        greg,

        My complaint is that as phrased, the cops are saying that compliance with the cops is of greater importance than justice. So the moral of the Garner story is if you don’t comply with the cops you may get strangled to death!

        I have a hard time reconciling that view with the shooting of Tamir Rice (he had no chance to comply with the cops) or the kid who was shot carrying a BB gun in Walmart, or the guy who was shot at the gas station for actually complying with the cops, or Eric Garner or even Michael Brown. THe whole presupposition is that compliance with the cops full stop (order above all!) is more important than the just administration of cop behavior.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        There’s thinking compliance and there’s unthinking compliance, no?

        And a big part if the OP, I think, is the backlash against protest after the fact. That’s not about compliance; that’s about not questioning the police ever.Report

  3. Avatar zic says:

    Peaceful protests. Ban all peaceful protests, because kids sitting on sidewalks are a huge problem and should be pepper sprayed. Make sure this is coded into the robots; kids sitting on or near sidewalks automatically get pepper sprayed.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      On sidewalks, or also if failing to use sidewalks and walking in the street.

      Basically, all kids should be pepper-sprayed wherever they may be found, is what I am getting at.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Wait, I think we are in the wrong post. Pretend these were posted in the robot cops post.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Yes, let’s pretend this is on the robocop post, @glyph in glorious celebration of backward day posting.

        Perhaps a tradition of posting on the wrong thread is in order, with bonus points (in the form of imaginary crowns of glory and thorns) to anyone who can identify the correct place for the backward-posted comment.

        I hope you like your crown. Tomorrow, it will disappear, and you’ll no longer be king of your own little town.Report

  4. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    Or hey, here’s another example of what it looks like when a principled citizen refuses to comply with unjust law enforcement action.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

      He lives to tell the tale? And also, the law enforcement action isn’t unjust?Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        Plenty of people think that what Wilson did was not unjust.Report

      • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

        One of those two is dead Jim. If you’re that interested in equivocating unlike things, then get back to me when Bundy’s unarmed body is left to bake in the sun.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        A bunch of white people with guns is not as scary to cops as one black 12-year old with an air pistol is what that teaches me.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Plenty of people think that what Wilson did was not unjust.

        “Well, you gotta be clear about this stuff. Some things are just, some are unjust, and some are not unjust without being all the way to just. A cop blowin the head off an unarmed black man is an example of that latter.”Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @chris when I was just learning to do photography, I spent an afternoon in the Boston Common with a 12-year old black boy with a pop gun. We had a lot of fun ‘shooting each other.’

        I was working on an assignment for a class. When I showed my slides, the class loved them. But most agreed, they didn’t come across as a boy with a toy, they looked frightening. I never tried to publish them; I never showed them, now, 30 years later, I’m not sure if I still even own the slides.

        Our failure to see children when we’re dealing with children is disturbing. For girls, who are developing secondary sexual characteristics as early as eight now, too.

        We have two Americas here; one where young adults are still considered children well into and even beyond their college years. And real children who are considered adult by adults when they do troublesome things.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        zic,
        ” For girls, who are developing secondary sexual characteristics as early as eight now, too.”
        … as early as 5-6 yrs old, actually.
        ain’t pollution fun? ;-PReport

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “One of those two is dead Jim. If you’re that interested in equivocating unlike things, then get back to me when Bundy’s unarmed body is left to bake in the sun.”

        So if Bundy had been shot then it would have been unjust?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        So Bundy’s your defense here? Someone who was overgrazing land he didn’t own? Somebody who was encouraging people to tempt and taunt law officers and threatening them, willing to put women and children in harms way as they set about provoking a confrontation with the law?

        I’m not big on much of policing; I think there’s a lot of abuse of citizens. But Bundy doesn’t rise to the top as an example of that; he’d be a prime exhibit of the law’s restraint.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I think it’s totally unfair that the law is restrained when it comes to treating people who are very well armed.

        This is why we should support gun control.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        I saw someone somewhere quite seriously argue that Rice shouldn’t have even been out there with an air gun. This was someone who I’ve heard argue quite vociferously that open carry is an absolute right. So… yea… I don’t know how to square that circle…

        Also, @zic , excellent comment re: our perception of children/childhood.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “Bundy’s your defense here? ”

        That was just the second example that came to mind. I could pick others, if you’d rather, from both sides of the fence.

        The point being, as I said earlier, is that the OP presents us with “Stop thinking so much, even if you perceive injustice. Just comply.” as though it were obviously stupid, something that we obviously should have no expectation that anyone would ever agree with. It’s just thrown out there as though injustice is something easy to perceive and simple to decide on. I’m arguing against that idea and trying to illustrate it with examples of Obviously Not Unjust things that some people decided were actually unjust after all.

        And, as I expected, what I’m hearing in response is “oh well that only happens because other people are bad” or “well that wasn’t unjust, that guy was wrong“.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @jim-heffman

        Some people are just wrong. Nothing Bundy did strikes me as legitimate; he didn’t pay his lease, he grazed more cattle on the land than his lease allowed, and he encouraged armed rebellion which had the potential to put a lot of people’s lives in danger; something in my book that’s closer to terrorism than it is to democratic process.

        What he might have done right is to speak publicly; he had a right to talk about how he felt federal land ownership was a problem; he had a right to publicly debate lease prices and grazing restrictions, to use the political system to advocate change. Just because his speech was acceptable and protected, his terrorism was not.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        It’s like the argument about jury nullificiation.

        If your association with jury nullification is with white juries finding white racists innocent of killing minorities, you’re probably against it.

        If your association with jury nullification is with white juries finding white medicinal marijuana farmers who grew for LBGT couples with cancer guilty, you’re probably for it.

        The main thing we have to keep in mind is that if you want to do whatever you want, you should move to Somalia, otherwise, shut up.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Heffman,

        What’s weird here is that in your example the guy didn’t just comply, and yet he’s still alive. Never even got roughed up, did he?

        The overriding issue is the racial disparity in police violence, and your example only reinforces that.

        I really have no idea what point you think you’re making.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I don’t know that the Bundy case communicates a racial disparity as much as a rifle disparity.

        Here’s a Solzhenitsyn quote (From Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich) that encapsulates what I see as the underlying dynamic here:

        And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?

        Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        If the residents of Leningrad had been black, the cops would have shot half of them instead of arresting them.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Ummm yeah Jay great quote….He is a great man after all but he can go fish with the didn’t love freedom enough. The Jews tossed in gas chambers didn’t love freedom enough i guess. Gypsies/Roma and gays didn’t love freedom enough. If those stupid people hadn’t been so milquetoast then they wouldn’t’ have been genocided.

        We interned Japanese americans in ww2…bad thing…right? What would have happened if the Japenese americans had fought back, if they showed us how much they loved freedom? Why i bet the gov would have said that is just ducky and let them go about their business. Or they would have shot all the people that fought back and jailed all the rest in even worse conditions.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Obey. Trust the system. Obey. Trust the system. Obey. Trust the system.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Whose post are you failing to respond to?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Your argument is that the Japanese did the smart thing by obeying the authorities and going along with them, if I’m not misunderstanding it. That they did the pragmatic thing by not fighting back. That it would have been worse for them if they didn’t go along.

        Am I misunderstanding or misstating your argument?Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “What’s weird here is that in your example the guy didn’t just comply, and yet he’s still alive. Never even got roughed up, did he?”

        If it’s dead people you want, we’ve got Waco, Ruby Ridge, and MOVE.

        More and more I’m left wondering what the point of the OP was. I assumed it was about the idiocy of “comply with the police even when it’s unjust”, but now I wonder if it wasn’t just a listicle. You Won’t Believe What These 25 Cops Did.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Jay, I’m asking what would have happened to the J-A’s if they had fought back if they, you know, loved freedom enough? Would the police and army have killed a whole bunch of them and thrown the rest in prison or even worse camps. Yup, they would have been shot down and jailed and forgotten. Was it better to comply with an unjust law then be killed? Well you have to ask them if they wished they had started firefights in honolulu or la.

        Blaming the victims of genocide or atrocity for their own suffering is bull.

        It’s nice to believe that righteous violence is the answer but it does always work out that way.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Well, Heff, it could have been “how surprising that cops don’t think they every do anything wrong and that no decent citizen would ever fail to comply instantly and completely,” but given your commenting history that might have been a little subtle for your grasp.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “given your commenting history that might have been a little subtle for your grasp.”

        Wow, just wow.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Yep. On rare occasions I agree with you, much more often I think you’re repeating something you heard on talk radio, and much more often than that I think you’re just trolling.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar says:

        @jaybird : I think it’s totally unfair that the law is restrained when it comes to treating people who are very well armed.

        This is why we should support gun control.

        You’ve been making this argument lately (in your own weird quasi-Socratic fashion) and I have to call bullshit. Do I need to do the Google thing and pull up a list of all the unarmed people (mostly minority, natch) who have been killed by cops (and vigilantes like Zimmerman) specifically because someone thought they might be carrying? Would that guy in Wal-Mart have ended up any less dead if he’d been carrying a real gun rather than an air rifle? How about that kid in Cleveland?

        I’m sorry man, but if you really insist on taking these discussions down that road then I can make a pretty decent argument that maybe some of these cops wouldn’t be so damn paranoid and trigger-happy with a few million fewer guns floating around our society. Mind you, I’m not making that argument, nor has anyone else here to my recollection, at least not lately, but if you insist upon going there don’t assume you know exactly how the conversation is gonna go. Know what I mean?Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        Actually @jaybird, you know where the law is most restrained? In places like Germany or Japan, where nobody, including the police has guns.Report

      • Avatar kenB says:

        Per Wikipedia, Germany ranks 15th in gun ownership — average of 30 guns per 100 residents.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Road Scholar, the cops went after one person who may have been armed. They weren’t going after one person who may have been armed in the middle of a crowd of people that they damn well knew *WERE*.

        Look at Bundy again. Now look at Mike Brown. The various numbers for the various witnesses went up into the 40s. I don’t know for sure that that means that there were 40 witnesses… but we know that there were… what? 2 witnesses who said that Mike Brown charged the cop and 16 that said that he didn’t? That’s 18 witnesses. Would Darren Wilson have acted the way he did had he known that all 18 people had rifles?

        I think that there’s more to what happened at Bundy than the simple fact that Bundy was white.

        As for the argument that real gun control would mean that cops wouldn’t carry guns either, I appreciate that I’ve heard two or three of the people on this board make the argument that cops shouldn’t carry firearms. For what it’s worth, I’d be willing to explore that option.

        I reckon that it’s not on the table, though. The second that that option becomes part of the national debate, even to the point where the three cable news networks have talking heads talking about how stupid of an idea it is to disarm police officers, let me know… but I honestly expect that we’re not even to the “first they ignore you” step.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        kenb,
        note that germany peace-binds all firearms in public places.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        @jim-heffman
        If it’s dead people you want, we’ve got Waco, Ruby Ridge, and MOVE.

        It’s things like this that causes people to think you are just trolling. Let’s actually compare those to what has happened recently, shall we? (Waco and Ruby Ridge, that is. I have no idea what ‘MOVE’ is supposed to reference.)

        Firstly, in the Waco siege, as pretty much everyone knows, there is absolutely no doubt that Davidians fired on the FBI, as several FBI agents were killed by their gunfire. We’re not sure who fired *first*, but we’re absolutely sure a gun battle happened…

        …which *by itself* makes any deaths a bit more justified than the killings of completely innocent black people that have been happening recently. We really could stop the discussion right there.

        Likewise, *after* the gunfight, they failed to surrender, which eventually resulted in the compound catching fire. We could try to figure out who started it, but under the new rules law enforcement apparently operates under, it scarcely matters, does it?

        Waco was a fiasco under *sane* rules of engagement, and how much a fiasco depends on what exactly you think happened there, which is up for debate. But under the new rules, hell, *they had guns and fired at police*, and that makes any killing of them well past ‘justified’, because we’re now (And you appear to have no problem with) in a new world where shooting black people carrying around a toy gun in an open carry state is justified.

        Ruby Right is slightly less obvious, but easily justified under the new rules. They certainly thought Randy Weaver was a threat, and he was armed. If that was enough to kill Andy Lopez, it was enough to kill Randy Weaver. Q.E.D.

        And, of course, in reality, after both of those, we had *investigations* and *lawsuits*, and actual procedural changes to fix things.

        Actually, Jim, I’d like to thank you for pointing out this very interesting hypocrisy. We all saw the difference in how the right thought (the lawbreaker and insurrectionist) Brudy should be treated and how (completely innocent or trivial offender) recent killed black people should be treated, but most of us had completely forgotten their complete freakout when, two decades ago, the government screwed up and got a small amount of white criminals killed.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        I’d like to clarify that by ‘the right’ in my posts, I mean the talking heads on TV and radio, and politicians. I suspect they haven’t quite noticed the base isn’t following along as easy on this one. At least, not the people on the right I’m seeing.

        There are actually plenty of normal people on the right who are somewhat confused by the results of these killings, and don’t actually understand how the police keep getting away with them. They followed along with the Brown shooting, and were ‘relieved’ (Which says more than they think.) when they ‘learned’ it was justified…but other shootings are a bit harder to justify in their mind.

        And a few of them seemed to have noticed that the police, in Ohio, just shot someone in an open-carry state for apparently carrying a gun. This is, indeed, an interesting thing I’ve discovered to poke people on the right with…either the police think it’s acceptable to just shoot people carrying guns (And if they believe that they should be out protesting) or the police are racist. Pick one, there aren’t a lot of other options.

        There are, of course, still some people on the right who seem to think that the government requiring people to buy health insurance is some sort of horrible violation of people’s rights, but somehow also think what is going on is a non-issue. But those people seem to be making themselves known in their *absence*, or careful complaining about edge issues (How dare those protesters mess up traffic) instead of just coming out and saying ‘It’s okay for police to just shoot black people for no reason’.

        This has actually turned into one of those perfect ‘is this person, politically, a hypocrite?’ test. (Or even ‘is this person racist?’.)Report

  5. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    I have to admit, the utter tone deafness of the police unions further convinces me that they are a significant part of the problem.Report

  6. Avatar Damon says:

    And these 13 people:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/18/drug-war-deaths_n_5162673.html

    and this guy: http://www.13wmaz.com/story/news/local/dublin/2014/12/10/david-hooks-shot-twice-in-back/20213383/

    and this guy: http://ericpetersautos.com/2014/12/13/ny-hero-administers-wood-shampoo/

    and this guy: http://ericpetersautos.com/2014/12/13/hero-cops-kill-man-asthma-attack/

    and this guy: http://ericpetersautos.com/2012/10/31/hero-cop-tazes-ten-year-old/

    and this guy: http://ericpetersautos.com/2014/04/02/tx-hero-beats-pedestrian/

    Funny, everyone’s talking about push back over aggressive cops and yet there’s a lot of folks on this site that support “just complying” about other contested issues: like the ACA, smoking, guns, SSM, food choices, I could go on and on…..Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      What the hell is “Just Comply” about guns?
      Do you mean running like fucking hell on wheels if someone comes out and starts firing a rifle at you???

      Because, guys, he’s got a gun. Don’t be a fucking hero.

      I think you mean something having to do with the government, though. Not the poachers walking around with rifles on parkland before hunting season starts.

      I’d rather have ACA than risk a pregnancy making me ineligible for health insurance for the rest of my life. But, if you’re going to be that much of a dick that you don’t care about Idiotic problems for 10+% of the American population, well… that’s your business. Go elect someone, or pay the fine, or whatever. Or leave.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        @kimmi

        Re guns. It was a reference about gun control. You didn’t seem to understand my point. A lot of the reaction to anyone voicing any dissent against liberal/statist policies is to attack the dissenter. That was what the “just comply” reference was about. I choose those topics because, as I said above, it’s those topics have been discussed on these forums.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Awful.

      The last one made me want to throw something.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      I think the pushback against cops telling citizens to “just comply” is that they think a lack of compliance is a sufficient justification for killing or otherwise assaulting people. So do DAs around the country, for that matter. I think compliance drops right outa the equation, tho, and their claim actually expresses exactly what people are so incensed about: that they place compliance higher on the list of priorities than justice. So it’s interesting that *that’s* what they’re hanging their hat on.Report

  7. Avatar LWA says:

    “OP presents us with “Stop thinking so much, even if you perceive injustice. Just comply.” as though it were obviously stupid, something that we obviously should have no expectation that anyone would ever agree with. It’s just thrown out there as though injustice is something easy to perceive and simple to decide on.”

    I’m agreeing with this.
    We can criticize overzealous police, overly stringent regulation, absurd enforcement of same, without resorting to a polar world of anarchy versus robotic tyranny.

    Mr. Jones and the State assert that he owns that property- should I comply, even though I perceive it as unjust?

    My point (which may or may not be Jim Heffman’s point) is that we all on this blog have areas where we agree that coercive compliance with authority is warranted, even when those on the receiving end perceive it as unjust.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

      “My point (which may or may not be Jim Heffman’s point) is that we all on this blog have areas where we agree that coercive compliance with authority is warranted, even when those on the receiving end perceive it as unjust.”

      That is exactly my point.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Well yeah, we have to deal with compliance we feel is unjust. But cops shouldn’t be killing people because they don’t comply unless it was a life and death matter BEFORE the cops show up. The cops response should be proportional to the offense. Violence in reaction to a misdemeanor or lesser offense is a failure by the cops.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Neither Crawford nor Rice had an opportunity to comply. They were both shot within seconds of the cops showing up. In Crawford’s case, the cop yelled then shot almost in the same instant, and in Rice’s the cop basically jumped out of the car shooting.

        But you know, extended standoffs, same thing.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        And the unarmed black guy who was cop-shot at the gas station for actually complying???Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        When dealing with the police, try to be as white as possible.

        If that fails, attempt to be in a coma or otherwise unconscious. While this will not always prevent you from being beaten and/or shot for ‘failure to comply’ (see taser use and abuse), you probably won’t feel it.

        So that’s something.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      “We all on this blog have areas where we agree that coercive compliance with authority is warranted, even when those on the receiving end perceive it as unjust.”

      I think this misses the point badly. First, it treats unjustness merely as a “perception,” of the person on the receiving end. Second, it treats coercion as coercion as coercion, without recognizing that the concerns focus primarily on excesses of coercion.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        “Tamir Rice’s family perceived that a policeman shooting him dead, without warning, for no action other than having a toy gun, was unjust.”

        Let’s just ponder that for a moment.Report

      • Avatar LWA says:

        Don’t confuse my agreeing with Heffman’s point about coercion being justified in some circumstances to condone excessive coercion or coercion in all circumstances.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Coercion being sometimes justified is a point that nobody’s arguing against, right? It’s not in dispute, so I don’t think it’s actually a point in response to the OP as much as it’s something of a strawman. You can hitch a ride on it if you want, but it’s not going to get you out of the middle of the cornfield.Report

      • Avatar LWA says:

        So what do you take away from the OP?
        “Unjustified police shootings are unjustified”?

        If so, we are in complete accord.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        What I take away from the OP is very very different than what you take away from it. What I take away is that the police think the victim is always wrong, as is anyone who dares to protest or criticize police actions.

        I really do think that’s a better takeaway, more in keeping with the spirit of the OP.

        But then, I’m trying to read Sam generously enough to assume he’s not just being circular. Call me crazy.Report

      • Avatar kenB says:

        The OP is just a rant, not something to inspire reflection. If we bother to take it seriously, though, then I’d say that Jim’s objection, supported by LWA, is a bit unfair since the negation of “always comply” is not “never comply” but just “don’t always comply” — not a particularly revolutionary (or particularly interesting) statement, as of course there are some cases where the justness of a given action isn’t really in question.

        On the other hand, identifying where the line for compliance should be drawn when the justness of the action is in question would be a much more interesting discussion.Report

      • Avatar Sam says:

        KenB,

        You’re welcome to whatever interpretation you’d like of what I’d written, but for the sake of briefly chiming in, I don’t think that I’d describe this as a rant, at least in the sense that I’d understand it. It’s a genuine communication of what the speakers represented here apparently want to be communicated: that any objection at all to what they’ve done is tantamount to traitorous disloyalty. In other words, if you have a problem with a cop shooting blindly into a dark stairwell for no (good) reason, then you MUST have a problem with all cops everywhere, full stop.

        The very kindest interpretation that I can muster is that this is an absurd negotiating tactic within the court of public opinion, and perhaps eventually we’ll come to a point wherein police acknowledge that they’re either occasionally, impossible though it might seem, capable of making mistakes or that it is at least possible that there are bad actors amongst them. But that’s my kindest interpretation. And that’s me doing their work for them. A less kind interpretation is that they actually believe that policing requires killing the occasional innocent. That’s the hill they’re choosing to defend. Nobody is forcing them up there.Report

      • Avatar LWA says:

        @james-hanley
        Hey, you know what, I agree with you here.
        Especially given Sam’s clarification.

        At first reading I got a strong whiff of anarchism from the OP. The tone, the phrasing, the familiar posture that I have seen a dozen times in various left-anarchist writing triggered my suspicion that this was a sideswipe at the entirety of state legitimacy.

        If we are all in agreement that automatic compliance with the police is unjust, hey, this could be a rare sliver of overlapping opinion.

        Just so that this doesn’t slide too far into kumbaya, I will say that it is probably only us in the dominant white middle class culture who can parse the distinction between compliance or not, and have a realistic imagining of not complying.

        For too many Americans, the vision of standing up proudly and demanding equality with a police officer could only have one conceivable outcome, a tragic one.Report

      • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

        Two things:

        1. I edited my comment to close a tag, because it’s only 2014 and I haven’t fully figured out HTML yet. Soon though!

        2. If you’re getting anarchy from my writing, I need to go back to the drawing board. Err, writing board? Some sort of board. There’s definitely going to be a board involved.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Just so that this doesn’t slide too far into kumbaya, I will say that it is probably only us in the dominant white middle class culture who can parse the distinction between compliance or not, and have a realistic imagining of not complying.

        For too many Americans, the vision of standing up proudly and demanding equality with a police officer could only have one conceivable outcome, a tragic one.

        What are all those black folks in the streets doing then, having a block party?Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        If there is a “sideswipe at state legitimacy,” it is cops killing 12 year olds and guys standing around at Walmart and guys screaming “I can’t breathe” and not just getting away with it without any consequences whatsoever, but seeing it as their duty as the coercive arm of the state.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        @chris
        Are you as unfazed by the idea that the OP could have been a sidewipe at state legitimacy as I am?

        @lwa
        I know your views on the state are vastly different than my own, but do you see questions about/critiques of state legitimacy as essentially illegitimate in themselves?Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I am completely unfazed.

        I thought the OP was pretty clearly a comment on the cop reaction to athletes, and perhaps protests in general, which has amounted to “Shut up, it’s their fault they’re dead; who are you to question us, you little children?!” To the extent that highlighting this is a commentary on the state, it is an extremely apt one.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Anarchy on the OP
        It’s coming some time, maybe
        Report

  8. Avatar LWA says:

    @greginak
    I’m still thinking though Lee-esq’s comment on another thread about how mayhem and disorder are shunned by Jews since for them, those things have never turned out well.

    I had to admit that as much as I want to valorize political uprising, to stand on the barricades with clenched fist facing down The Man, that’s the sort of romantic vision that only a very privileged member of the dominant class can have.

    I notice that Occupy and the Bundy Militia both were primarily white middle class Americans, the sort who have never personally felt the sting of oppression.

    And by “personally” I don’t mean to provoke a “but I got beaten up once!” sort of objection. I mean the deep entrenched understanding of structural and institutional injustice that minorities have, where everyone knows of someone who was beaten or arrested or killed unjustly.

    The positing of this dichotomy- tyranny versus anarchy- is an absurdity to the people who actually suffered under tyranny; its not overly dramatic to say that for many black people, the only thing standing between them an a lynching was the heavy hand of the federal government coercing the white majority to comply.
    Even though they believed it was tyranny.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Adding to this, the Jews that did embrace revolution in late Tsarist Russia were also least attached to their Jewishness like Trotsky. The Jews most attached to their Jewishness either endured the Tsarist persecution or left Russia for elsewhere.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      @lwa

      That is not completely true. There were plenty of examples of passive and active resistance during the Shoah including Jewish partisan groups and uprisings in Death Camps. The problem is that those uprisings were often not successful except for momentary damage and there were issues of collective bargaining.

      Jews also revolted in the British Mandate in Palestine after the end of WWII with groups like Irgun refusing to comply with British rules and orders.Report

      • Avatar LWA says:

        What do you think about the larger point that the romanticization of mob violence or anarchy a is viewed with skepticism by marginalized minorities?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @saul-degraw, there is a difference between rebellion and revolution. The Jews in the Shoah had their backs against the wall. Practically anybody would fight in that situation with the exception of the most sincere pacifists.

        @lwa, some of the more clueless anarchists sometimes make a rhetorical point how the Jews during the Holocaust would have preferred if there was no state because only a state could pull off something like the Holocaust. Besides being very insensitive, Jews knew plenty of violence under weak states as well and would probably thing the existence of the state as irrelevant to what they were going through.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Well Jews and Palestinians have been engaging in some righteous violence for a few decades now which isn’t getting them any place good.

        Violence against occupying powers, like the jews in the British mandates, can sometimes work in the right circumstances. In late 40’s British mandate the jews had the incredible advantage of trying to get rid of a power, the brits, who didn’t want to be there nor could they afford to stay there. Most groups trying to get rid of outside powers don’t have those advantages.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        For white people, the occupying power is more like FDR. For non-whites, it’s more like… well, it’s less like FDR.

        If there is a point at which it ceases to be particularly risible to put a name in the latter, I imagine that quite a few white people will continue to support the occupying powers. Why wouldn’t they? It’s like FDR for them.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      The positing of this dichotomy- tyranny versus anarchy-

      I think only you here are positing this fallacy of the excluded middle.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

      “as I want to valorize political uprising, to stand on the barricades with clenched fist facing down The Man, that’s the sort of romantic vision that only a very privileged member of the dominant class can have.”

      Yes; people who are genuinely oppressed can stand on the barricades if they like, but the oppressors will shoot the lot of them and then tell the state-controlled press whatever story they like.

      http://mystupiddog.blogspot.com/2003_06_08_archive.html (and scroll down to “Mohandas And Me”.)Report

  9. Avatar Stillwater says:

    We have to teach our children to respect police officers. Teach them to comply with police officers, even if they feel it’s unjust.

    Let’s just start a list:

    1. Tamir Rice, never had a chance to comply, shot dead by cops.
    2. John Crawford, never had a chance to comply, shot dead by cops.
    3. Levar Jones, complied, shot but not killed by cops.
    4. Eric Garner, didn’t comply, choked to death by cops.
    5. Michael Brown, didn’t comply, shot dead by cops.

    Who am I missing?

    Like that old song told us: “What’s compliance got to do with it?”Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      “Who am I missing?”

      No one. You just listed everyone who’s ever had an encounter with a police officer.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Whew. Thanks, I was getting worn out by worry.

        So can we agree that placing compliance before justice as not the solution to our problem with cops and is in fact indicative of that problem?

        Man I hope so.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        I’d agree with that statement of yours, but only on Opposite Day.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Pinky,

        What does compliance have to do with anything that a) caused the protests or b) applies to the protests? THe specific incident that resulted in the cop union calling for “teaching children to respect police officers” (WTF? what does indoctrinating our kids have to do with the Garner case, or the Brown case, or…???) was the mayor of NY saying he’s given his kids “the talk”. The message conveyed is that cops are above reproach, that they deserve respect, that teaching children to fear the police is wrong (???), and that if anyone fails to express proper respect for cops they’ll suffer consequences. The entire message conveyed is that cops are above reproach – even when criticizing them for killing a man for (ostensibly) selling loosies on the street (tho the REAL reason was that he was resisting arrest).

        Failure to comply with the cops apparently justifies murder. At least in the minds of some cops as well as some citizens. And criticizing them for killing that guy is something we should teach our children to Not Do.

        Bullshit.Report

    • Avatar morat20 says:

      A quick gander at taser use (and abuse) is instructive, I think.

      It highlights the often petty, tyrannical approach some police have taken to ‘maintaining their authority’. The dark irony is, of course, that it is the abuse of power that has led them to lose community respect — which has required them to abuse their power more, to force at least the outward appearance of respect.

      American police often do not see themselves as part of a community, but above it. And when they do not, abuse and corruption quickly follow.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I know a few ex-cops, and talk to one of them pretty frequently. He used to be a cop in San Antonio and later San Marcos, and spent the last part of his career on some sort of drug task force. Anyway, most of our conversations involve him telling me cop stories, and pretty much any of them that involve interacting with non-cops as a cop are dripping with condescension. It’s really strange to hear at times, because he’s a pretty nice (if salty) old guy who gets along just fine with everyone he interacts with as a non-cop. But I’m glad I never ran into him as a cop. And I don’t think he’s an outlier.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar says:

        I’m reminded of the Stanford prison experiment and how quickly the guards got their fascist groove on.Report

  10. Avatar kenB says:

    Just curious — I thought the point of “Opposite Day” was to attempt to make a reasonable argument for a point that you don’t actually agree with, not to just use it as a rhetorical device to promote your own view. Maybe I’m getting this place confused with some other blog?Report

  11. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I took part in this online simulation that attempted to tease out how people perceived people of different races (particularly white and black men) as threats. Images would flash across the screen and then suddenly a figure would appear holding either a weapon (gun) or a non-threatening item (cell phone, wallet, Slurpee). You had less than a second to either “Shoot” or “Don’t Shoot”. The results of the study that the simulation was derived from yielded all sorts of racial bias. But something else stood out to me. The simulation was setup as a game. You won and lost points based on your performance. I found it really interesting that shooting and killing an unarmed person was seen as less bad (-40 points) than not shooting an arm person and being killed yourself (-50 points). I mean, I can see certain gameplay reasons why this might be the case. But if the mindset of cops really is that a dead unarmed person is less bad than a dead cop, I find that really problematic. Am I alone in that regard?Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      I too find it really problematic. Mostly because we give cops protection, and we expect them to be cops, not heroes or assassins. We don’t really pay them to stop crimes in progress. We pay them to enforce the law.Report

  12. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Because we all know that compliance will be rewarded.Report

  13. Avatar Stillwater says:

    From TPM:

    “The video clearly shows, and by the officer’s statement, that they were justified in the deadly force,” [police union president] Follmer said.

    “You’re saying that the video clearly shows that the 12-year-old boy was an imminent lethal threat to the officers?” Melber asked.

    “Oh, absolutely. I don’t know if you didn’t see it, but yeah absolutely,” the officer replied.

    [snip]

    “How about this: Listen to police officers’ commands. Listen to what we tell you, and just stop,” he said. “I think that eliminates a lot of problems.”Report

  14. Avatar Damon says:

    Go to some cop forums. I’ve gone there a few times during controversial actions. Last time, I think, was OWS time frame. What you read can be really disturbing. There’s a lot of attitudes that, a lot of what we would call, the underclass are a bunch of subhuman savages that only lives by the grace of the cops, and glorifying “putting those dirt bags down”.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Right, this is what I see as well, with the boundaries of the underclass in flux as they suit cops.Report

    • Avatar Van_Owen says:

      Police One is a DEPRESSING site.

      Every time there is any sort of national police-related story, it’s always the same. Lot’s of authoritarian “Comply or Die!” chanting and a decent sized minority proposing the police go Galt and let the ingrates see the true savagery of the world.Report

  15. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Well, conservatives were right about witnesses lying at the Officer Wilson grand jury, afterall. Well, sorta right, anyway.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/bob-mcculloch-ferguson-grand-jury-witness-lied

    Unbelievable.Report