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AvatarComments by Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner*

On “The Turning of the Narrative

OK, so we are all in agreement, that police unions should be limited to bargaining over pay and benefits.

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What's the logic of how collective bargaining over pay and vacations (which you support) helps maintain toxicity?

I'm looking for a explanation of how you get from one to the other.

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I don't why the number of shootings is even relevant here.

The number of unjustified shootings is the point.

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Well, if you want to strip police unions of the ability to defend their officers in criminal cases, I could probably agree with that.

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What it would take, is for you to present an argument with a line of logic that we can all understand.

First of all, what exactly is your argument?
Because what has become clear is that "police unions" covers a couple separate things:
1. Collective bargaining over pay and working conditions;
2. Criminal defense of accused officers;

Which of these things do you want to argue against, and why?

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You realize that a police report is, quite literally, just a story, a story that the officer makes up.

Even when he gets the facts right, its still just his personal eyewitness account of what happened.

"I saw the suspect reach towards his pocket" is just an opinion, and no more reliable than the other eyewitnesses who said he didn't.

But one of these opinions becomes the Official Record- a "justified shooting" instead of a murder.

It isn't a matter of counting corpses; Its a matter of counting how many of those corpses were killed justly, versus unjustly.

And again, the claim that millions and millions of eyewitness accounts over decades are just people seeing what they think is happening but isn't, is itself a preposterous story that demands evidence.

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You are asking me to do some research then draw conclusions on the credentials of the authors of an academic study in a field in which I have no expertise?
Oh, and this research and resulting conclusion would come about after a few minutes of Googling?

This doesn't sound silly to you?

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You can take the boy out of Creationism, but can't take the Creationism out of the boy.

"I can speak with authority about this academic study because I spent a few minutes Googling the subject" is the very essence of Creationist thinking.

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Lets apply the Chip Criteria:

A single counterintuitive study;
Mysterious logic;
At odds with the main body of knowledge;

Manmade climate change is supported by thousands of studies and conclusions by the vast majority of climate scientists. The logic is clear and understandable and is in line with the main body of scientific knowledge.

By contrast, the claims of deniers are exactly the sort of cherry picked factoids and appeals to authority that should rightly spark skepticism- e.g. "Dr. Smart E Pantz proves that there are more polar bears today than ten years ago!"

You of all people should remember that conspiracy theorists and creationists are the foremost proponents of Appeal To Authority, except they are careful to vet which authority they appeal to.

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And FWIW, the longer I comment and argue with people online, the more my skepticism of appeals to studies and online statistics has grown.

You can see it in my comments to Dark and Swami about their reliance on statistics as the definitive measure of reality.

I'm not rejecting data and studies; Its just that they can only be one part of how we perceive the world and explain human behavior.
When they seem wildly out of sync with other data or perceptions or have a logic that is opaque then I think skepticism is warranted.

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My level of skepticism is raised when a study seems counterintuitive or fails to have some explanatory logic;
E.g. "New Study Confirms- Chocolate Makes You Lose Weight!!"

In this case the claim was that somehow police unions increase violence or something like that. As if there is some magic sauce in collective bargaining that turns people racist.

There wasn't a line of clear logic presented, and it wasn't in line with some larger body of understanding.
It was just presented raw, as if the sheer appeal to authority would be persuasive.

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That's not what I said.
I said I have no way of independently assessing the study and I still don't. Because, y'know, I'm not a sociologist and don't have the expertise to dig into the weeds of the study.
And I doubt anyone else here does either.
So I could just as easily post a link and say "This study by Professor Smart E. Pantz says the first study is bogus" and no one here would have any way to refute it.

But look, if you want to say that the strength of police unions gives a tremendous boost to the legal defense of police officers, sure that's a valid point.

So if someone wants to restrict police unions to just bargaining over pay and conditions, I wouldn't have much problem with that.

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This demonstrates how structural injustice is always perpetuated by individuals making choices.

This prosecutor has the power to prosecute, or not. He isn't constrained by capitalism, or union rules, or government bureaucracy or any of the other mechanisms that people offer up.

There isn't some One Weird Trick or legal procedure that would compel him to prosecute, without seriously warping the entire system and creating even more injustice.

But this person and his choices ARE the result of a culture that produced his biases, and reinforce them. He circulates among family and friends and a community that agree with him and inculcated his values.

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History IS anecdotes.

Seriously, talk to any historian or social scientist and they will tell you that any history is partly statistical analysis, combined with personal reminiscences, diaries, letters, and stories that people tell of their experiences.

And no historian will accept a variance between data and stories without a valid explanation.

Because stories ARE data, every bit as valid as measurements.

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No, you haven't even begun to explain the wild disparity between the millions of eyewitness testimony and your statistics.

Millions of white people report that police are generally fair, and mistreatment is rare.

Millions of black people report that police are unfair, and mistreatment is commonplace.

Remember, these aren't millions of black people saying they saw stuff on the internet;

These are millions of people saying it happened personally to them or someone they know.

Millions and millions of people, across all demographic groups and regions, and across decades, all tell the same story of abuse and mistreatment.

So are all these millions of black people lying about what happened to them? And they all coordinate their stories to say the same thing?

Decade after decade?

You haven't even begun to put forward a theory for how this could be happening.

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So events like this, where white people unjustly accuse black people, are a freakish Powerball type event?

And this freakish event just happened to be caught on camera?

And all the others that circulate, those are also freakish Powerball events?

And somehow, all the other events like this that happen to white people, just somehow are missed by cameras, or not posted online?

This doesn't strike you as a preposterous claim?

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You guys keep circling back to this same spectacular claim, that the reality of the world is wildly at odds with the testimony of millions of people.

So you are telling us that millions of people who all testify to first or second hand experience with police brutality are simply wrong? A bunch of liars?

How can you explain all this?

And your reliance on statistics is even more bizarre considering the Central Park incident.

Had there been no video, and had this man ended up being shot or beaten, it would have been logged into the statistics as "violent black man subdued by police" and supported by a hysterical 911 call.

So this incident would be part of your statistic you so confidently put forward, when the reality showed nothing of the kind.
Not to mention we have ample cases of police lying on the stand, falsifying records and otherwise manipulating data.

No study is any more reliable than its raw data, and we know for certainty that the raw data of police departments is highly suspect.

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You know that history, the stuff you read in books as the Official Record Of What Happened, is largely comprised of the same anecdotes that you deride as BS.

No historian would ever accept mere statistics unless they were supported by personal recollections, anecdotes, and stories.

Because statistics are no more reliable than the people who gather the data and massage it into its final form.

Not to mention the absurdity of "The police told me that 93.76 % of police shootings are justified!"

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But this is another spectacular claim.

Like, do most white people, or everyone here at OT have personal or secondhand experience with police brutality- stuff like being stopped and frisked at random, tased, pepper sprayed, beaten without cause?

And white people, including the commenters here at OT are all just stoically shrugging off our experiences with police brutality like hey no big deal?

Really?

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The important thing is how white people will react to these riots.

After some riots like the 1992 LA riots after the Rodney King verdict, the city reacted with a lot of positive measures like police reform and community investment. Some were followed through, others were quietly dropped after the heat died down.

But other times the white community reacts by doubling down on the police violence that created the riots in the first place. More police patrols, disinvestment, and more willingness of white juries to accept police version of events.

The point being, ball is in the court of white people and whether we are willing to listen honestly to what black people are telling us and change the way police interact with them.

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"...it doesn't get picked up."

This is a spectacular claim!

Walk us through how this happens. Start with the fact that there are an equal number of videos of white people being mistreated by the police, then explain how it is that they don't go viral.

Is there some conspiracy at work? Or is it that a video of a white person being suffocated by a cop is just not interesting to anyone?

Virtually every black person has a story to tell of mistreatment by police; Either they themselves, or a friend or family member.
How many people here at OT have a story like that? How many white people have a story like that?

You need to come up with some plausible theory to explain the yawning gap between your narrative and everyone else's.

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First, why do you accept that "90-95% of them will be in the process of killing or trying to kill people"?
Who told you that, and what makes you think this source was reliable?

Second, if your argument is that the number of outrageous police misconduct isn't unevenly distributed among black people then logically we should be seeing a lot more viral videos of white people being similarly treated.

Yet we aren't. How do you explain this discrepancy between your theory and the evidence in front of us?

Third, how to explain that Central Park woman's taunt that she was going to tell the 911 operator that a "black man was threatening" her?
If your theory is true, this shouldn't happen because it wouldn't hold any force or effect.

How do you explain this?

You keep advancing a theory that is contradicted by evidence.

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Statistics alone can't accurately explain the reality.

Consider the Central Park incident, and imagine if there was no video.

It very likely would have become a statistic of "Violent Black Man subdued, shot by police."

In almost all police encounters with civilians, it is the police who frame and shape the story of who did what.

It isn't that statistics are useless. Its that they need to be matched by people's eyewitness stories and other data before we can make accurate claims about history.

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Roger was no angel, he hung with a bad crowd.

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Oh, a famous person, you say?

Well then, let the squealing continue.

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