Freddie: C’mon, Guys.

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Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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86 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    The man that calls the municipal government of the City of Baltimore a ‘ruling junta’ is telling people to get perspective? Um, ok, yeah.

    (And you don’t win a revolution, even the Russian one, by outmanning and outgunning the State. You win a revolution by getting the agents of the state with the guns on your side)Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      Considering that the word junta has its roots in the governments of Spain’s semi-autonomous regions and has come to refer to authoritarian systems enforced by the use of violence, it’s not totally misapplied. But yeah, it carries a lot of baggage that should be unpacked before accepting Freddie’s usage.

      For me, the problem comes in the first part of that sentence:

      I don’t judge protesters who push back when getting roughed up in the middle of a rally dedicated to inflaming nativist hatred…

      The idea that the use of violent resistance is perfectly fine when confronting speech and expression that you find abhorrent is not the most liberal of norms to be upholding. I guess it is fine, but it runs into the same problem that Freddie points out in the rest of his post: in the long run, damaging the norms of free speech and expression only serve as a boon to the powerful.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to j r
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        says:

        @j-r

        The part that amused me was:

        And that’s to say nothing of the fact that establishment governments in the developed world can rely on the numbing agents of capitalist luxuries and the American dream to damper revolutionary enthusiasm even among the many millions who have been marginalized and impoverished.

        How perfidious Capitalism is – it gives people things they want to distract them from revolting! Is there no end to its evil?Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to James K
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          says:

          Yeah. Like above, it’s an accurate enough statement, but once you unpack it, I’m not sure it gets you where the anti-capitalist crowd wants to go.Report

          • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to j r
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            says:

            I don’t have much faith in the base capitalist crowd staying distracted with the current state of things. They may not understand what is going on, or what has been built, but that won’t stop a multi factioned revolt.

            Labeling unhappy people as nationalist, tribalist, isolationist, just won’t retain it’s restraints indefinitely

            Freddie appears to think after a revolt things will slip back into a neo-liberal homeostasis. I don’t hold the same view. If personal preference has suffered under the system, people are likely to modify parameters to produce a more desirable system.

            The strange part of this, we may produce a better form of capitalism coming out of the rubble, because the capitalism3 agents of both the corporation and the state tend to screw the pooch repeatedly.

            Of course if we have a pretty ugly revolt, authoritarians vs. anti-authoritarians, we could be involved in brick and mortar projects for a couple decades before a semblance of macro capitalism reappears, if ever.Report

            • Avatar j r in reply to Joe Sal
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              says:

              Not sure why you think that there is going to be some kind of revolt. A revolt against what exactly?

              There is a political faery take that various popular factions like to tell themselves that suggests we are all at the mercy of some elite. Who that elite is varies by faction, but that variance ought to tell us something. We have the system we have because we have chosen and continue to choose it. It’s pretty hard to revolt against ourselves.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to j r
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                says:

                Revolts usually come in two flavors right?
                Economic or Religion.

                “Americans remain much more dissatisfied than satisfied with the state of the nation, and the economy and the way the government is operating are two of the major issues of concern. The economy and the government have consistently been named as the most important problems facing the country over the past five years.”

                http://www.gallup.com/poll/189869/americans-name-economy-government-top-problems.aspxReport

              • Avatar j r in reply to Joe Sal
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                says:

                Americans are dissatisfied with the government that they elect and empower and with the economy that they create through the aggregate of their consumption decisions. You’re making a good case for some sort of collective political neurosis, but it still doesn’t answer my question.

                How do you revolt from yourself?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to j r
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                says:

                Issues:
                1.government they elect and empower.
                2.economy that they create through the aggregate of their consumption decisions

                1a. The presumption is the population of some fraction over 50% views they have choice in the elected representatives to empower government. What if the true number is much less than 50%, and the majority is disenfranchised? This is not even addressing if a government can ever be perfectly representative.

                2a. I have my suspicions whether the base really embraces multi-national corporations running thoroughfares to the cheapest labor pools on the planet. Probably even less so when it impacts local markets. I mean yeah, labor theory of value is a flawed concept, but most folks looking to trade recognize the vacuum this is creating. Usually there is some concept of fairness of effort/exchange when the goods are brought to the table. The local job pools are drying up, the answer ever is retrain for a higher guild, but even the guilds are tightening their belts, and culling in rapid fashion. Hell, even over seas cheap labor pools are having to tamp down their price of labor.

                A big problem has arose. People are upset but they can’t figure out what it is or how to address the problems because the system is overly complex. There is a constant drum from various establishments that preach each holder has a stake in this game but the proof is weakening.

                So to the question of how does one revolt with thyself. The simple answer is to identify the source/force of despair/oppression and target that source. As you have said, each faction will often have different targets. This is also part of the game, keep the factions pointed at arbitrary ‘other’ factions.

                In a repressed economy what will eventually happen is the grey-black economy will grow to a point the state/government and corporations will try to ban them under full authority. At that point factions will consolidate to the two sides required.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Joe Sal
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                says:

                I have my suspicions whether the base really embraces multi-national corporations running thoroughfares to the cheapest labor pools on the planet.

                What people embrace in theory doesn’t matter. Those same people still buy Chinese goods on Amazon. They still shop at Walmart. And they still drive imported cars and wear shoes made in Vietnam.

                Again, how exactly can people revolt against themselves, against their own revealed preference? Give me specifics.

                Let’s say for arguments sake that 99% of the population does unite against the wealthiest top 1%. Forget that 99% has such a broad range of preferences and interests that there’s no real incentive for them to And forget that the 1% is actually largely made up of doctors, lawyers and small business owners. We’ll pretend that the Occupy crowd is right. Down with the banksters!

                What does that revolt look like? Are the masses going to storm the gates of Goldman Sachs and take their… 1s and 0s? Is a torch-wielding mob going to show up at Mike Bloomberg’s house and make off with the stash of gold bars that he keeps in his basement?

                I suppose a revolt could just be the refusal to honor debts, so everyone defaults on their mortgages and student loans and rips up their credit card statements. Now the banks go under and everyone’s deposits go up in smoke. Great. The banks are dead, but we’re all reduced to hoarding what little cash we could get out and bartering for most of life’s necessities.

                This goes back to Freddie’s point that we’re not in 1950s Cuba. You can’t chase off the oligarchy and expropriate their industries, because that’s not how the economy of the information age is set up.

                Your last paragraph may be right. Maybe the organs of state capital will steadily grow heavier while the foundations erode to the point that the whole edifice tumbles over into irrelevance. That, however, is not a revolt. That’s just decay.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to j r
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                says:

                I didn’t really want to unpack that last part, but revolt is different than decay when the authorities use force to maintain these bans and enforcement of impossible fees and tax rates.

                Eventually their is an intolerable conflict with the agents of enforcement. It snowballs from there.

                The details and targeting are pretty obvious.

                There is a pretty strong authoritative state and tech makes it easier to kill, plus there are more folks on each side than the last time. Chaos changes things also, the US is usually a stabilizing force. Probably not many countries going to step in to save us from ourselves.

                Maybe that is decay, but it will look a lot like a revolt.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to James K
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          says:

          This was actually a big argument between the Anarchists and Socialists during the 19th century. Most Socialists had no theoretical problem with the goods and services offered by capitalism. They just thought that state or worker control of the means of production could provide these goods and services in fairer and more equitable manner. Anarchists thought that the goods and services would distract people from the goals of the revolution and turn them into little capitalists.Report

      • Avatar Guy in reply to j r
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        says:

        That part actually seemed fine to me; he claims them to be “getting roughed up”; using violence to defend yourself from current, active violence is pretty widely accepted.

        It’s the equivocation with throwing molotov cocktails into storefronts that breaks it.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to Guy
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          says:

          The first part is only fine if you ignore how the roughing up comes to be in the first place. If you go into a situation looking for confrontation, then confrontation just may be what you get. And that’s not to say that the people who confront you aren’t a**holes. But then the question becomes: what are you?Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Guy
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          says:

          Those grenades rarely wind up hitting the local police station or other government buildings.Report

          • Avatar Guy in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            says:

            Yes? I’m pretty sure we’re in agreement. I was trying to say that the ok-ness of punching the guy trying to punch you does not make throwing grenades at miscellaneous buildings ok (but Freddie seems to think it does if you’re sufficiently oppressed). Sorry if that wasn’t clear.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Guy
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          says:

          “using violence to defend yourself from current, active violence is pretty widely accepted.”

          Unless you’re George Zimmerman in which case you deserve all the violence that happens to you because you went around sticking your nose into other people’s business.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to j r
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        says:

        “The idea that the use of violent resistance is perfectly fine when confronting speech and expression that you find abhorrent is not the most liberal of norms to be upholding. ”

        Yeah.

        “I abhor violence!”
        “What about (incident)”
        “Oh, well, they started it.”Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to j r
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        says:

        I agree with your underlying point, but is that a fair reading of Freddie? If the protesters are getting roughed up, that implies that they are responding to physical violence directed against them, no?Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      The best part I thought was that the people doing the rioting and the people doing the oppressing are of the same race and were elected by the rioters. That’s so rich.

      Fred also doesn’t really understand insurrection tactics either. Unless you’re going all out genocide, your likely not going to bomb whole cities with bunker busters, cluster bombs, etc. And it’s unlikely that that will happen if the opposition forces are mixing it up with you in an urban environment. But whateves….Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      Did he somehow mistake Baltimore for Alburqueque?Report

  2. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
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    says:

    That essay represents a lot of what I admire about Freddie and a lot about which I’m critical. Inasmuch as he’s reminding his fellow lefties that violent revolution can’t work in the US, he shows a very good realism I can endorse.

    But the “capitalist luxuries” numbing the masses argument, which James K. cites, strikes me as much as (or more) an argument in favor of the current system than it is against the system. It smacks of the “they’re really oppressed, but they just have a false consciousness about their oppression.”

    More to the point at hand, there’s little recognition in Freddie’s essay that there are other reasons to eschew political violence in addition to the fact that it might not get you what you want it to. People get hurt. Sometimes it’s collateral damage. Sometimes its members of the oppressor class (or whatever) who while they may be oppressors, can’t be reduced to their role in oppressing. Even cops do nice things once in a while. And they have families, too. And most of us, I’m sure Freddie would admit, are part of the problem (as he defines the problem) as part of the solution. Maybe the violence could come to those people as much as it can come to the obvious targets.

    Freddie points out that even mustering “as many people as the Bolsheviks had at their revolutionary peak” could not counter the might of US military and intelligence. What’s so great about the Bolsheviks in the first place?

    I do realize that just because Freddie is making a utilitarian argument doesn’t mean that’s his full view on the matter. Maybe he has other objections to political violence. And to be clear, I don’t believe political violence is categorically unacceptable, although I’m hard pressed to find a good reason most of the time to justify it.Report

  3. Avatar Art Deco
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    says:

    Ah, Freddie. Another letter to a region in his mind, for the most part. Oh, he finds the utter humbug of #BlackLivesMatter to be ‘inspiring’, so the sender is innumerate as well as disoriented.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Art Deco
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      says:

      Oh, he finds the utter humbug of #BlackLivesMatter to be ‘inspiring’, so the sender is innumerate as well as disoriented.

      Can you write that again, in English?Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to j r
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        says:

        If I unpack Art’s statement it means that Freddie is full of liberal BS.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to j r
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        says:

        What are the chances, if you’re black, of being killed by a police officer in circumstances you could not avoid and which did not incorporate bad behavior on your part? The correct answer is ‘close to nil’. The notion that trigger-happy cops make for a large and systematic problem is nonsense, and there isn’t much excuse for Freddie to think otherwise bar that he’s someone who digests narratives and not statistics.

        However, the narratives should give even Freddie a clue. Of the exemplars flogged by characters like Ryan Julison, one was a petty criminal practicing his MMA moves on the local neighborhood watch captain; one was another petty thug who committed a strong-arm robbery, sauntered down the middle of a public street like he owned it, disregarded an instruction from a police officer to use the sidewalk, then attacked him and tried to take his service weapon away, then ran away, then turned around and charged him; another was a morbidly obese diabetic asthmatic who was contumacious with officers and then had a heart attack when he was subjected to an ordinary tackle; and one was another contumacious fellow (drug dealer who ran away when officers approached) who had to be restrained by officers and housed on the floor of a paddy wagon, who then stood up while the wagon was in motion and toppled over backward into a metal protrusion; show trials for the officers who’d crossed paths with him at various points are ongoing as we speak.

        You can find examples of police behaving in ways which merit the attention of prosecutors (there have been a couple of prominent cases in the last few years). However, police deal with difficult people, some of whom behave like idiots when collared. The BlackLivesMatter schmucks are not attacking an important problem and not advocating anything the least bit congruent with public order or justice. The only likely effect will be to increase the risk aversion of police officers, which means more crime in the slums, and that does no one any good but criminals themselves. Freddie, of course, doesn’t have to live in a ruined neighborhood (though he might just anyway in a curious sort of penance).Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to Art Deco
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          says:

          What are the chances, if you’re black, of being killed by a police officer in circumstances you could not avoid and which did not incorporate bad behavior on your part? The correct answer is ‘close to nil’.

          So, you’re going to do that thing where you quantify something in the absence of actual numbers? That’s about what I’d expect.

          As for the rest, I appreciate reactionary fan fiction as much as the next guy, but you really need to work on your descriptiveness. You’re not really capturing the fear that I ought to feel at the mention of these antagonists. Of course, maybe I’m just not scared of my own shadow the way some y’all are.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to j r
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            says:

            Police killings vary from year to year but are generally around about 260 per annum. A large share of those killed are not black and few of these killings are demonstrably dubious. If they’ve got a quiver full of egregious cases, why was the Michael Brown case such a cause celebre? The only fan fiction here is the horsepucky you’re promoting.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Art Deco
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              says:

              The problem is the question of evidence.

              If there’s no videotape, you’ve got a he-said/they-said situation between the cop and his/her partner and the dead guy.

              Since the way that the law ought to work in theory actually does work that way in practice for police officers, prosecutors figure out that there’s no way that they can overcome reasonable doubt in the absence of any evidence that contradicts the police testimony and therefore nothing happens.

              It’s when videotape arises that the cops plant a taser or the cops shot the guy within a second of arrival or that they just choked the guy out even though he did nothing at all to merit being detained… that’s when people say “what the hell is going on here?”

              And, of course, even then nothing happens.

              But it does bring up questions about all those other shootings when it comes to light that these cops who did those things also happened to seriously misremember things under oath that turned out to not be the case when videotape surfaced.

              You find one cop who beats the shit out of a defendant on camera and, for some reason, it calls into question all of the previous “he beat himself up to make me look bad, like in the Dirty Harry movie” stories.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                We had an… issue… where the police executed a guy for killing a police dog. It’s pretty clear that there are some issues in this… (I’m certain an active investigation is going on somewhere…)Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                You have (I re-checked) about 450 LE homicides in a given year per the Bureau of Justice Statistics. About 32% of the deceased are black, so that amounts to about 150 blacks killed by law enforcement in a year, against a backdrop of 8.000 blacks dying due to homicide in a given year.

                f there’s no videotape, you’ve got a he-said/they-said situation between the cop and his/her partner and the dead guy.

                Darren Wilson was cleared by forensic evidence. There were also eyewitnesses. He was the only police officer present.Report

              • Avatar David Parsons in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                about 450 LE homicides in a given year per the Bureau of Justice Statistics. About 32% of the deceased are black,

                The black population of the United States is (at least according to the net of a million lies) 12.2%. An almost 20% excess mortality should raise eyebrows.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to David Parsons
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                says:

                Except when you consider the population of those places where most crime and therefore most policing takes place.Report

              • Avatar David Parsons in reply to notme
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                says:

                Can you expand on your comment, please?Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to David Parsons
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                says:

                Most crime is in places with a majority minority population, therefore the folks that cops interact with are more likely to be minorities.

                We had almost this exact same discussion not to long ago about such numbers.

                https://ordinary-times.com/2016/03/13/drinking-coffee-while-black-ohio-cop-stops-black-man-strolling-down-the-street-then-slams-him-into-wall/Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to notme
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                says:

                To the extent “most arrests and convictions” is the same as “most crime,” you are right. But if “crime” is the commission of crimes, not the enforcement of criminal law, you are not especially right.

                See for example http://boingboing.net/2014/02/25/chicago-pds-big-data-using.html

                TL:DR – Garbage In, Garbage Out. If your input data is hopelessly entwined with centuries of systemic racism, then you can’t just say “but look, a computer did this” and take action as though the output data were a totally unbiased representation of reality – the resulting decisions will just let you be as racist as you always were, with greater scientific precision.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to dragonfrog
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                Your input data is intertwined with the present tense features of certain neighborhoods. No point in pretending otherwise.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                Didja read the article?

                The input data itself is based on several years of arrest data.

                The arrest data is based on the actions of cops.

                The actions of cops are based in part on their own racial prejudices, as well as the deployment orders they were given that day, in turn based in part on the racial prejudices of their commanding officers.

                Using big data analytics in the middle is just a responsibility-evading magic black box that lets the PD say effectively “Police must do this because it is what police do” but disguise the second clause as “because science.”

                That is all the energy I will give to this discussion, until there is reason to believe you have read my link, and the article on which it comments, with a truly open and searching mind.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to dragonfrog
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                says:

                The issue you’ve raised has been bruited about for decades. Crime reports, arrest data, incarcerations rates, and victimization surveys tell a similar story, which is that perpetration and victimization is not evenly distributed throughout neighborhoods or communities. This issue was settled 30 years ago. Baltimore has a homicide rate of 37 per 100,000. New York has a homicide rate of 5 per 100,000. Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York has a homicide rate which bounces around 22 per 100,000. The Upper East Side has a homicide rate which bounces around nil. That’s not because the police have it in for blacks.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                Oh, so racism in policing is solved, as demonstrated by the fact that rich neighbourhoods have less violent crime than poor ones.

                Thanks, I guess we can all go home now.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to dragonfrog
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                says:

                Well, it’s an interesting metric. The idea is that communities that engage in more violent crime will experience more lethal-force interactions with the cops. And I’ll concede the point, as far as it goes.

                But that’s not the point, unfortunately for Art. The data point people are currently arguing about is the degree of lethal-force used by cops against unarmed black folk, not the total lethal-force statistics against individuals in high crime areas.

                What he’s attempting to do (maybe?) is collapse a very reasonable distinction into behavior accounted for under a wider statistical array, as if the available data cannot support the proposed distinction in the first place.

                Which is absurd.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                The data point people are currently arguing about is the degree of lethal-force used by cops against unarmed black folk, not the total lethal-force statistics against individuals in high crime areas.

                I, in fact, gave you a metric, which you seem to have ignored. The metric is that there are 150 police homicides of blacks per annum on average, and that these amount to about a third of all police killings. Given the distribution of violent crime (perpetration and victimization) across different racial categories, that statistics isn’t facially suspicious.

                The concern about ‘unarmed black folk’ is a bit of rhetorical gamesmanship. Trayvon Martin had two arms. He was using them to practice his MMA moves on the neighborhood watch captain (who was flat on his back). Michael Brown was 6’3″ tall and weighed about 300#. The distinction between ‘armed’ and ‘unarmed’ in his case was factitious. You can find a share of those 150 police killings wherein the deceased was not carrying a weapon. That’s a component in the determination of whether or not a killing was a justifiable homicide. It does not make the determination.

                You just don’t have the goods to justify a thesis that you have more than spot problems with police procedure. You’ve got 8,000 blacks dying by homicide each year, which seems not to interest you, but you’re stomping your feet over a single digit population of questionable police killings that are of local significance only. It’s madcap if one were to begin with the assumption that the welfare of blacks was of interest to you.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                but you’re stomping your feet over a single digit population of questionable police killings that are of local significance only

                This is a remarkable thing to say, Art. I hope you reflect on it a bit going forward.

                Btw, I’m not stomping my feet about it. Rather, it seems like (a) those types of murders (that’s what they are) are an obvious example of a particular type of police misconduct and (b) apologetics for those behaviors, especially of the type you’re offering, only reinforces the suggestion that cops and they’re citizen-backers are engaging in some pretty egregious racially motivated behavior. At this point I’m more interested why folk like you continue to deny the evidence.

                It’s Chinatown!Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I’ve not offered any ‘apologetics’. You choose to disregard what I did say and substitute something else for your own reasons.

                My point has been throughout that questionable police shootings are not common, that you cannot demonstrate that they are common, and that they’re local stories, not indicative of a national problem. How come we’ve heard of Ferguson, Mo., a working-class suburb unremarkable in most respects bar that it has a black majority? Because a mess of people (almost certainly from outside town and some on the sorosphere dole) decided to stage a series of riots and demonstrations the most notable consequence of which was economic losses to local merchants and homeowners alike (the latter group being largely black, btw). The supposed issue was a police killing we know perfectly well was a justifiable homicide. What was the point, exactly?

                Now we turn to Baltimore, where we have six police officers on trial because a prisoner in custody stood up while a paddy wagon was in motion and toppled over backwards into a metal protrusion which pierced his neck and damaged his spinal cord. Does the black life of Ofc. Caesar Goodson, who has been charged with depraved heart murder because a passenger in his van generated a freak accident out of serial disobedience and deficits of sense, matter to anyone?

                Meanwhile, the everyday mayhem in Baltimore continues. The homicide rate in that town is more than three times what a comparable swatch of territory in Giuliani’s New York would experience, but the local prosecutor isn’t much concerned with proper staffing and tactics by the city’s police. Instead, she’s in the business of promoting herself by filing bogus charges against police officers and playing craps with jury trials, figuring she’ll find enough marks on each jury to avoid an outright acquittal. The only Black Lives which matter right now are the political lives of Marilyn Mosby and her husband. I’m sure it’ll do morale on the police force a world of good.

                Another time, another place, the two of you may utter something which would persuade an ordinary person that the purpose of your ‘concern’ is something other than worthless preening. Not today.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to dragonfrog
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                says:

                Your contention if you recall is that geographic and communal variation in the incidence in crime is a statistical mirage explained by police viciousness. That’s perfectly fantastical, and no one with any common sense derived from living in cities or with a cursory familiarity with crime statistics would trade in that notion.

                And what’s this about ‘rich neighborhoods’ and ‘poor neighborhoods’? Non-metropolitan counties in New York have homicide rates that average 1.14 per 100,000 per annum. They are not affluent (and non-metropolitan zones generally have levels of personal income per capita 15-20% lower than national means). The blue collar suburbs on Rochester’s west side are perfectly average. They have homicide rates around 2-3 per 100,000. On the other hand, the complex of neighborhoods in central Rochester have homicide rates of 35 per 100,000 (and that’s perfectly normal for a complex of slums and adjacent areas). That is not some invention of the police department and not some artifact of ‘poverty’. That’s indicative of social problems. You can address that social problem with policy measures and the tools that you have or you can engage in an elaborate self-congratulation game in tandem with Mr. Electronic Frontier Foundation in which you fancy yourselves paladins of justice contra vicious police racists.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to dragonfrog
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                says:

                until there is reason to believe you have read my link,

                Your link is to a blog post by an ignorant opinion journalist. Why would anyone take it seriously?Report

              • Avatar David Parsons in reply to notme
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                says:

                “most crime” != “most arrests”; the lesson of Ferguson is that arrests are very profitable for a corrupt government, particularly one that’s supported by people who are willing, if not eager, to blame black people for the crime of being black.

                Personally, I believe that any argument that distills down to “around blacks[1] never relax” should be taken with a platterful of salt.

                [1: When I was growing up in Western Wisconsin, I could substitute “indian” for “black” for my more bigoted classmates; You can also subsitute “queers” for “black” if you’re old enough to remember when gaybashing was a routine thing.]Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to David Parsons
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                the lesson of Ferguson is that arrests are very profitable for a corrupt government,

                The lesson of reports on Ferguson is that its pretty easy for Eric Holder’s Justice Department to save face because there are lots of people who want to be conned. The fines assessed by the municipal court in Ferguson come from traffic tickets. Now look at the map, and what do you see. You see I-270, a beltway which is a crucial artery in greater St. Louis and passes through just 12 of the more than 90 municipalities in which greater St. Louis is divided. You’ve got Alex Tabarrok huffing and puffing about 3 traffic tickets per household per year in Ferguson when hundreds of thousands of vehicles will travel on that beltway in a metropolis which has over 600,000 households in it.Report

              • Avatar David Parsons in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                The state is always right when it comes to blacks? I’ll yield the stage to you.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to David Parsons
                Ignored
                says:

                If you wish to answer my points, do so. If you wish to misrepresent my points in order to play games, it’s a waste of my time and everyone else’s.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to David Parsons
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s actually lower than the share of ordinary homicide victims who are black.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Since the way that the law ought to work in theory actually does work that way in practice for police officers,

                Uh huh. Years ago, Alan Dershowitz had this to say about criminal practice: “Every once in a while you get an innocent client, but the vast majority of your clients are guilty as hell”. The Catholic blawger Donald McClarey described the clients of his criminal practice thus, “guilty, guilty, guilty’. Years ago, I was offered a precis by a general practice lawyer in Rochester on trying criminal cases, “don’t ever put your client on the stand. They lie.” His son, who had tried criminal cases as well, chimed in, “yeah, and really stupid lies”.

                Dershowitz has suggested in the past that the fact finding methods of the courts do not distinguish the apparently guilty from the actually guilty very well. However, the notion that the courts are processing truckloads of innocent slumdwellers to prison is a fantasy.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Smart criminals don’t get caught by the fucking police

                Smarter criminals create entire enterprises, and then stick someone else with dealing with Legal.

                I can cite sources for both of these, but I shan’t bother for the likes of someone who has little more to say than “Kim’s smoking pot”Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Art Deco
          Ignored
          says:

          Good to see some things never change.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Chris
            Ignored
            says:

            What never changes?

            If black lives actually mattered, these people would be concerned with strategies to reduce the homicide rate in slum neighborhoods. The Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations presided over a 75% reduction in the homicide rate in New York City over a 20 year period; that amounts to 1,200 fewer people a year not dying in bed. The successor administration wants to throw that away because ‘social justice’. Black lives don’t matter to these poseurs.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              Art Deco:
              If black lives actually mattered, these people would be concerned with strategies to reduce the homicide rate in slum neighborhoods.

              The most effective of which involve building trust between those police and the communities living in them. Shooting people randomly–for, say, opening the door to let cops into the building when someone else called them for help–tends to conflict with that.

              That being said, it’s rather bracing to bring up a grievous failure of law enforcement as a defense of law enforcement organizations.

              The Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations presided over a 75% reduction in the homicide rate in New York City over a 20 year period; that amounts to 1,200 fewer people a year not dying in bed.The successor administration wants to throw that away because ‘social justice’.Black lives don’t matter to these poseurs.

              The argument that changing policies of prior administrations that began after homicide rates in NYC started declining is tantamount to throwing away those gains… isn’t terribly persuasive.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                Homicide rates in a given locality will fluctuate from year to year. There was no decline in homicide rates in New York City sustained over any length of time prior to the Giuliani administration. Nationally, there was a 50% decline in homicide rates over that 20 year period. In New York City, the decline was 75%. The decline registered in Rochester and in Buffalo was 0%. Local policy matters.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                In other words, you have no way of distinguishing between a trend that started at the end of Dinkins’ term and the beginning of Giuliani, such a trend would have been in keeping with broader national trends, and you’ve provided no evidence whatsoever that the specific policies in question that de Blasio has ended were responsible for NYC’s decline in homicide rates.

                Which is about what I expected.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                The notion that any ‘trend’ started during Dinkins’ years in office is a fantasy. In any case, Dinkins was in office for four years and Giuliani and Bloomberg for 20 years.Report

            • Avatar Hoosegow Flask in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              War. War never changes.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Art Deco
          Ignored
          says:

          Art Deco:
          What are the chances, if you’re black, of being killed by a police officer in circumstances you could not avoid and which did not incorporate bad behavior on your part?

          Emphasis mine. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised to see you suggest that it’s no big deal if the cops, say, strangle someone for maybe selling loose cigarettes or carrying a knife that kinda sorta looks like it might be illegal.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to pillsy
            Ignored
            says:

            It does not surprise me that you lie, and lie brazenly. The video has been available online. He was subdued by an ordinary police tackle. He was not strangled, and that’s perfectly obvious. The heart attack he suffered was due to extant medical problems the officers at the scene would have no reason to know anything about.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              Freedom of speech does not apply to mooning police dogs.
              Ya might remember that if you ever decided ta visit.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              Oh, I’m so very, very sorry that I said “strangle” when I meant “choke”. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that “imprecision” and “l[ying] brazenly” are exactly the same thing.

              Of course, it’s not like the medical examiner’s report supports your claims in the slightest, since it attributes Garner’s death to the chokehold he was placed in, not an unrelated medical condition.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                It takes someone several minutes to strangle someone to death, not the nine seconds he was in a chokehold, and killing someone is the object. He was not rendered unconscious and was complaining loudly after being subdued. You weren’t being ‘imprecise’. You were lying for effect.

                You put an ordinary person in a chokehold, he’s not going to have a heart attack and die on the way to the hospital. Nor would a late-middle aged coot like me die. Eric Garner did die, because he had a mess of underlying medical problems that only a modest minority of men aged 43 suffer.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Art Deco: You weren’t being ‘imprecise’. You were lying for effect.

                What fucking ever, sparky.

                Art Deco:
                You put an ordinary person in a chokehold, he’s not going to have a heart attack and die on the way to the hospital.Nor would a late-middle aged coot like me die.Eric Garner did die, because he had a mess of underlying medical problems that only a modest minority of men aged 43 suffer.

                Well, that and he was actually placed in a chokehold, which were banned by the NYPD because they are known to sometimes result in death or serious injury. But since a cop did that and he was black guy who was maybe doing something kinda bad, his death is all on him and his bum heart.

                Your argument is unassailable. All you had to do was put your goalposts on Ganymede.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                Good morning, @art-deco and @pillsy .

                Please cool it.

                I don’t care who started it.

                I don’t care who did it worse.

                I don’t care who’s right.

                I’m not asking you to make nice with each other. I’m asking that the flame war end, right now.

                If that doesn’t happen, I’m shutting down comments on this thread.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Burt Likko
                Ignored
                says:

                … and blue will come and overtake us all in a tide of destruction…Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Burt Likko
                Ignored
                says:

                There is no flame war.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
                … you never know, he might hellban you.Report

        • Avatar Francis in reply to Art Deco
          Ignored
          says:

          You may want to consider how the police responded to the first night of rioting / public demonstration in Ferguson. Rolling in tanks and snipers and SWAT teams armed with assault rifles (my apologies for any incorrect use of language) is not exactly the best way to build trust between the police and the rest of the community.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to Francis
            Ignored
            says:

            There are also reasons that Ferguson in particular was primed for that kind of explosion in response to even a murky, possibly justified shooting. The policing there, Brown’s death aside, was a horrible, revenue-generating racket.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco in reply to pillsy
              Ignored
              says:

              The policing there, Brown’s death aside, was a horrible, revenue-generating racket.

              Interstate 270, the main beltway around St. Louis, runs through Ferguson and about a dozen other municipalities in metropolitan St. Louis. There are about 90 municipalities in greater St. Louis. Everyone’s speeding tickets on that beltway are being processed in Ferguson’s JP court and those other places where I-270 runs. Alex Tabarrok and others taken in by Eric Holder’s hoo ha seem to fancy that people who live in Ferguson are the only people ever ticketed on that section of I-270.Report

            • Avatar notme in reply to pillsy
              Ignored
              says:

              There are also reasons that Ferguson in particular was primed for that kind of explosion in response to even a murky, possibly justified shooting.

              Where was the a murky, possibly justified shooting? You make it sound as if all the stories about the Brown shooting, i.e. that he was shot in the back with his hands up were even halfway credible.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco in reply to pillsy
              Ignored
              says:

              Nothing murky at all. Brown injured himself trying to take Wilson’ service weapon away (wound was on the flesh adjacent to the right thumb). Then he ran away, turned around and charged Wilson. He took two bullets in his arm and a third in his right deltoid before Wilson shot him in the head.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Francis
            Ignored
            says:

            If you want to suppress a riot, ‘trust’ isn’t going to be of much help. Force is what does it.Report

            • Avatar Francis in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              There are lots of different ways of deploying force. You can roll out a massive police presence (with an assist from neighboring cities / Nat’l Guard) without tanks and men in SWAT gear pointing rifles at people. Billy clubs and shields do just fine. Bringing Iraq to the US is bound to get people more riled up, not less.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    Speaking as someone whose retirement hobby is thinking about (and writing about, slowly) a particular US partition plan, Freddie’s just stating the obvious. Small-scale violence may bring attention, but it’s unlikely to bring permanent changes (eg, it didn’t work for blacks in 1919, or 1943-4, or 1967-8). Overthrowing the federal government, as long as the US military remains loyal, is a silly notion. Heck, a military coup is almost as silly a notion. In my case, a partition will have to be accomplished by political means, with a sufficient majority agreeing that being separate is better than being together.

    For purposes of a political thriller novelization, I suppose violence is useful. The travails of the US Army trying to occupy the LA basin, say.Report

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