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dadmonson

What is the Objectivist Answer to Police Brutality?

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I'm not one of those people who think that since some police officers are involved in police brutality that all of them are.  It's clear to me, however, that police brutality is a problem and the policemen who are involved in it aren't always held accountable.  In addition to this, most of the victims of police brutality are black so this just raises questions of racism.  What would an Objectivist tell a person, who says violence and rioting is the only way to get change and eliminate police brutality against blacks?

 

Here is my take on it:

 

"By limiting government and specifically ending the war on drugs you'll subsequently limit police brutality. When you riot you damage property of individuals who have nothing to do with what happened. The best way to convince people to limit government is through persuasion because that's the only way to change a person's mind.  "

 

I can picture someone saying to this:

 

"Oh there you go, with that nonviolence crap... Martin Luther King was nonviolent and look where that got him... How come it's only an issue when black people riot?... you guys don't say anything when white people riot when their favorite sports team loses.  We don't have time to talk it out when our black people are dying, we need change now!"

 

How would someone respond to that? 

 

I might play devil's advocate to some of your replies in this thread, if your posts raises further questions in my mind.

Edited by dadmonson

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Those dead black guys are thugs and savages and non-rational, like primates basically, and they deserved what they got for challenging the sacred authority of our nation's heroic and brave police officers.

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Those dead black guys are thugs and savages and non-rational, like primates basically, and they deserved what they got for challenging the sacred authority of our nation's heroic and brave police officers.

There's irony in using sarcasm against a target audience and yet feeling a need to communicate with that target audience.

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dadmonson,

 These sort of police cases are amplified through the media as part of an agenda. Identity politics are exploited whenever possible. Hyperbole and politics are exploited for the purpose of drawing attention, and thereby ensuring an audience and market share.

 

My response to anyone expressing outrage from either side of the identity-divide would be: Until all of the facts are in, and released to the public, no one can make a conclusive judgement. Another way to answer is: How can you be sure?

 

As for people rioting, they ought to be at their jobs, or tending to the productive aspects of their lives.

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"...we need change now!"

To the extent that the legal system is corrupt, your would-be opponent is right to want it to change "now." But, changing any system is not instantaneous, and since people are fallible, change may take longer yet than what is inherent in the system at its best (ie. what is already *not* "now"). There's really no getting around justice being part of a system. So, change "now" would be ideal, but change "soon" is what's actually realistic.
 

 

None of that is an argument against a system of justice. Any system would face the same basic reality of change taking time.

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These sort of police cases are amplified through the media as part of an agenda. Identity politics are exploited whenever possible. Hyperbole and politics are exploited for the purpose of drawing attention, and thereby ensuring an audience and market share.

 

I don't doubt the media plays a part -- and I'm sure I'm susceptible to it -- but doesn't it seem like there have been a number of troubling cases recently?  Maybe I'm only paying greater attention, or maybe things are being reported on differently.

 

On the other hand, with stops/arrests being recorded more often (both officially and by citizens... when those citizens' recording devices are not being confiscated or destroyed), we're seeing things that we wouldn't necessarily have seen before.  I've heard it said, and it makes sense to me, that the very presence of recording devices has an effect on behavior; it leads me to wonder what's been going on before now, out of the camera's eye, and before this increased media scrutiny and political fallout.

 

My response to anyone expressing outrage from either side of the identity-divide would be: Until all of the facts are in, and released to the public, no one can make a conclusive judgement. Another way to answer is: How can you be sure?

 

With respect to any given case, I'm sure that you're right that we should want to know the facts (or as many of them as we can get) before coming to any "conclusive judgement."  It's hard to imagine what could justify shooting a fleeing suspect in the back (for instance), but generally speaking, yes, I'd like to know more.

 

Yet there is an overall impression being generated by this spate of cases which is feeding this outrage, and I think that it's at least understandable.  Some of this behavior seems quite outrageous.

 

As for people rioting, they ought to be at their jobs, or tending to the productive aspects of their lives.

 

There's no place for rioting.  But whether a person should feel "outrage" at perceived abuses of power or authority, and whether there is any action an individual might take to try to rectify those abuses... I don't know that I'd want to tell people that they should just put their heads down and go back to work, you know?

 

If we have a problem with the culture of our police force (a big and important "if," I grant), then some kind of action seems in order, whether that be protests, campaigns, policy, or etc.  If something is broken, it makes sense to try to fix it.

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Agreed: "If something is broken, it makes sense to try to fix it." I can't help noticing how these cases are exploited. We have so many more image-recording devices at large today, than a generation ago. But long before Rodney King, these things were going on, and the violent blow-back was much more infrequent. Along with this increase of video devices, reforms are much more likely. In the meantime, emotions take over and increase the animosity every time the riots begin. Proceed with Caution. Making reforms will not be done with violent agitation, and if people really cared, they could form committees for the reform of police procedures. They may even get results. But you can bet the media will not lead the nightly report with the successful processing of violent criminals, unless it is a sensational crime.

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I'm not one of those people who think that since some police officers are involved in police brutality that all of them are.  It's clear to me, however, that police brutality is a problem and the policemen who are involved in it aren't always held accountable.

That's true for criminals in general. They're not always held accountable, because the justice system requires proof beyond reasonable doubt, to find someone guilty of a crime. That's not always available.

 

That is most certainly not a problem. Can you cite recent cases (last decade or so) where the so called problem goes beyond that (where there is definitive proof that a major crime has been committed and the perpetrator wasn't held accountable because he's a cop)?

 

(it's also true that minor crimes are not thoroughly investigated, so sometimes there may be proof available but it isn't uncovered - I don't see that as a problem either, that's why I said "major crime")

In addition to this, most of the victims of police brutality are black

Are you basing that on some kind of fact, or just guessing? I consider myself fairly informed on this subject, and I'm not aware of any evidence to support that statement.

In fact I don't think that's true. While blacks commit most homicides (52%), they don't commit most crimes in general (the prison population in the US is only 40% black). Abusive cops victimize the people they deal with, they don't go around picking out people based on race. Since cops deal with blacks at most 40% of the time, I have no reason to think that the victims of abusive cops are blacks more often than that. This is just an educated guess, but it still beats a regular guess.

 

Here is my take on it:

 

"By limiting government and specifically ending the war on drugs you'll subsequently limit police brutality. When you riot you damage property of individuals who have nothing to do with what happened. The best way to convince people to limit government is through persuasion because that's the only way to change a person's mind.  "

 

I can picture someone saying to this:

 

"Oh there you go, with that nonviolence crap... Martin Luther King was nonviolent and look where that got him... How come it's only an issue when black people riot?... you guys don't say anything when white people riot when their favorite sports team loses.  We don't have time to talk it out when our black people are dying, we need change now!"

 

How would someone respond to that?

I wouldn't respond. I would turn and walk the other way. Or run, depending on how many of them there are.

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"It's a fact that blacks are targeted more and stopped by the police more often than any other race in the U.S.

http://baystatebanner.com/news/2014/oct/08/aclu-study-finds-blacks-disproportionately-targete/

That's why I don't see why people get so bent out of shape when blacks say "black lives matter". Black lives is what the focus should be on right now since blacks are the ones who are targeted and killed by the police. Why would any other race want to be included? They aren't the ones being targeted unfairly and killed by trigger happy cops. Blacks are the ones and this is what the protest is all about. It is not saying that other races don't matter, it's just saying that in this protest, black lives is what the focus is on since blacks are the ones being killed by police.

Also America wasn't talking about Baltimore when they were peacefully protesting... Why does it take burning down buildings in order for America to hear their cry?"

Edited by dadmonson

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What would an Objectivist tell a person, who says violence and rioting is the only way to get change and eliminate police brutality against blacks?

What would be the sequence of events, from acts to violence to getting change? The best way to answer that is not to speculate, but to consider similar acts of violence and whether they led to change. Specifically, one should ask: have black folk rioted in a major way in the U.S.? Have they done so more than once, and across different decades? And, if so... what type of change has this triggered?

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"It's a fact that blacks are targeted more and stopped by the police more often than any other race in the U.S.

http://baystatebanner.com/news/2014/oct/08/aclu-study-finds-blacks-disproportionately-targete/

That's why I don't see why people get so bent out of shape when blacks say "black lives matter". Black lives is what the focus should be on right now since blacks are the ones who are targeted and killed by the police.

You still haven't made any attempts to present evidence of that claim. In fact you have proven that you don't have any real evidence, by attempting to present an unrelated fact as evidence.

 

Why would any other race want to be included? They aren't the ones being targeted unfairly and killed by trigger happy cops. Blacks are the ones and this is what the protest is all about. It is not saying that other races don't matter, it's just saying that in this protest, black lives is what the focus is on since blacks are the ones being killed by police.

Now you're not even bothering with "most", and are claiming that American cops only kill blacks?

Also America wasn't talking about Baltimore when they were peacefully protesting... Why does it take burning down buildings in order for America to hear their cry?"

Everyone's familiar with the long list of lies, fabrications, and incitement to violence coming from racist black activists like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the NAACP, the Black Panthers, etc.. That's why "America" no longer pays much attention to them, and why they've been relegated to expressing their "cries" on far left news outlets. Because they have discredited themselves many times over.

 

As long as Al Sharpton or the NAACP are standing next to the alleged victim's family, at the press conference, "America" will turn the TV off assuming it's a lie. Why? Because Al Sharpton and the NAACP have stood next to false victims at press conferences way too many times already. It got old.

And I seriously doubt upping the ante, and adding a campaign of murder, assault and looting to the campaign of lies is going to make people "hear their cry" any better.

 

If there really was a racist targeting of blacks in the US (there isn't, but if there was), the only way America could be made to listen to any evidence of it would be if those discredited liars were first marginalized, and other people would take their places as leaders of black communities and the civil rights movement.

 

But if the kind of people who used to lead the civil rights movement led these protests, and made the kind of reasonable and credible statements that were made during the real civil rights movement, America would listen, just like it has listened in the past. There would be no need for thugs burning down the city they live in, to make the American people listen to legitimate complaints.

 

P.S. As for the specific case in Baltimore, there are two active investigations into the case: one by the city, under the supervision of the black mayor, and one by the Justice Department, under the supervision of the black AG and the black President. So what exactly is the purpose of the rioting? What more are they hoping to achieve in this case?

Edited by Nicky

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Also America wasn't talking about Baltimore when they were peacefully protesting... Why does it take burning down buildings in order for America to hear their cry?"

 

Whoa! Hold on there. What is lacking here is good epistemology. We do not know the details of this case at this point. I'm not sure that even peaceful protests are justified yet, much less violence. We now know that Treyvon Martin's death (not police caused) was fully justified. Michael Brown's death was fully justified. We don't know about the current case yet. I recommend caution until good information is known.

 

The utter lack of restraint demonstrated by our leaders shows just how poor our leaders' judgments are. Those who stoke the flames of violence by rushing to judgment should be treated with scorn. They demonstrate the effective use of poor epistemology.

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Dadmonson, no need to bother looking for that evidence. I'm just gonna go ahead and disprove your claims myself.

 

Turns out there are stats kept on the race of people killed by police in the US (I admit, I originally fell for the "we don't keep track of police killings" claim from the hands up don't shoot crowds; my mistake). The ones I found come from the CDC of all places, via Bill O'Reilly:  they state that In 2012 American cops killed 123 blacks, and 326 whites. CNN confirmed the accuracy of the claim in a related article.

 

The vast majority of those killed had a history of criminal offenses and/or were suspects in a crime. If you look at the races of criminals in the US, blacks account for over 50% of murders and over 40% of all crime.

 

So, if anything, a shallow observer should be accusing cops of disproportionately targeting white criminals. A more astute observer should realize that racism has nothing to do with it, since the vast majority of deaths by cop are simply unavoidable, and certainly not the result of any choice the cops who pulled the trigger made.

Edited by Nicky

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Only missing one for "But the media has an agenda"

2046, maybe you could rule out the possibility that the media have an agenda, if you could explain why it is that people are left to the conclusions held by Dadmonson, ("It's a fact that blacks are targeted more and stopped by the police more often than any other race in the U.S."), while ignoring the statistical facts sited in Nicky's post #14. Any story or set of stories has related facts; the members of the fourth estate pick and choose the facts they use. Without an expanded view of the full range of facts, people are receiving a distorted view. Controversy fuels more and greater controversy.

 

On another note, it could be that people of Baltimore have forgotten that they possess free-will. The members of that community that were absent from the rioting, choosing to tend to their own best interests, are suffering the losses of those businesses that might have helped with their needs. You can't blame the police on that, although an argument could be made that they were following their bosses orders to allow the looters to have their moment, and "express themselves."

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Only missing one for "But the media has an agenda"

I only counted 1, maybe 2. Not to say I think the ideas presented are good arguments, or even that mental gymnastics aren't happening in my opinion elsewhere, but there's lots you can say as a counterargument.

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https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CDw6cU-WoAAlXuR.jpg

This thread pretty much gets a Bingo.

Only missing one for "But the media has an agenda"

I don't know if the media has an agenda, but you obviously do. You just linked to a piece of propaganda titled "racial incident bingo", in a thread prompted by an incident/subsequent riots mostly involving people of the same race.

 

Baltimore is a city controlled by black politicians, the alleged murdering cops are black, the alleged victim is black, the rioters are black, most of the businesses they destroyed are owned by blacks... only thing racial about this is your desperate desire to make it racial. (and some of the media's too, probably...I'm sure you didn't just get the idea that this is a racial incident on your own).

Edited by Nicky

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Dadmonson, no need to bother looking for that evidence. I'm just gonna go ahead and disprove your claims myself.

 

Turns out there are stats kept on the race of people killed by police in the US (I admit, I originally fell for the "we don't keep track of police killings" claim from the hands up don't shoot crowds; my mistake). The ones I found come from the CDC of all places, via Bill O'Reilly:  they state that In 2012 American cops killed 123 blacks, and 326 whites. CNN confirmed the accuracy of the claim in a related article.

 

 

Does the CDC make the distinction between just killings and unjust killings or take into consideration the context of the cop killings?

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That's why I don't see why people get so bent out of shape when blacks say "black lives matter". Black lives is what the focus should be on right now since blacks are the ones who are targeted and killed by the police. Why would any other race want to be included? 

I haven't seen evidence that police are targeting people by race. There is evidence that they are targeting poor people in black communities, but race doesn't appear to me to be a primary factor. I think the real issue is what I'll call, "Blue Culture." It involves an incestuous relationship between prosecutors, judges and police departments. It encourages police to get involved where they don't belong, in many cases simply to generate revenue, and to protect their own at the cost of public safety and the rule of law. Here are some examples of "Blue Culture" causing the death of white people:

 

May 5th Edit: Cameron Redus
Edited by FeatherFall

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Does the CDC make the distinction between just killings and unjust killings or take into consideration the context of the cop killings?

No, that stat is for all killings. I don't think the CDC would be interested in the political side of the issue. They're just counting deaths (most likely for the purpose of ruling out disease as the cause, or something like that).

 

But we do know some things about how these cases usually end. We know that cops who kill someone in the line of duty are very rarely charged with manslaughter or murder. The exact number is 41, over the course of seven years ending in 2011. That's less than 2% of cases.

 

We also know that when cops ARE charged, they are found not guilty at a higher rate than average. The study I've seen, by CATO, is about cops who are charged with any felony, not just killing related, but the disparity is striking: only 33% of cops who are charged are found guilty. In contrast, 66% of non-cops charged are found guilty.

 

That disproves the claim that the justified police killing stats are influenced by prosecutors who are in collusion with cops, and allow them to get away with crimes. Prosecutors (on average) are actually willing to take a bigger twice as bi a chance of losing, when deciding whether to charge a cop, than they are when charging other suspected killers. I say on average, because the possibility is still there that some prosecutors ARE in collusion with cops. But the stats show that most are actually biased against cops (likely for political reasons).

 

We also know that guilt or innocence is usually determined by a jury, not by the government. So there is a strong case to be made that the government does not protect cops (on average), it's the American people who are protecting the cops, and they are doing so because they deem shootings just based on carefully weighed evidence.

 

So the stats on "unjust police killings" can be taken at face value. Those stats say that cops almost never kill people unjustly while on-duty. I'm sure they kill people for personal reasons, while off-duty, just like people in other professions, but they almost never go around hunting strangers to kill for sport while on-duty.

 

Fact is that Americans, when placed on a jury and presented with the facts of a cop's work conditions, and with the rationale they give for using deadly force in specific incidents, rather than with cheap propaganda from activists and sloppy media reporting, tend to side with the cop. That's what real #justice is supposed to be. It's not about burning down cities and throwing your urine at cops, it's about sitting in a room weighing the evidence.

 

So this Baltimore prosecutor better have one hell of a case, if she wishes to win (I doubt she has it, she just seems way to politically vested to do her job properly), because the jury, unlike the rioters, are going to be looking to deliver some real #justice, based on real facts.

Edited by Nicky

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. There is evidence that they are targeting poor people in black communities, but race doesn't appear to me to be a primary factor.

It is my experience that police ignore petty crimes by the poor since there is no hope of collecting the fines, while focusing on enforcing fines against the middle class. What is more, I have witnessed an hispanic cop cover for an illegal alien at my expense. (The cop was hispanic. The cop let the car that hit mine be towed and then left the scene without taking a report from me, leaving no evidence of an accident.) Cops targeting poor people in black communities seems implausible to me without more evidence.

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But we do know some things about how these cases usually end. We know that cops who kill someone in the line of duty are very rarely charged with manslaughter or murder. The exact number is 41, over the course of seven years ending in 2011. That's less than 2% of cases.

 

We also know that when cops ARE charged, they are found not guilty at a higher rate than average. The study I've seen, by CATO, is about cops who are charged with any felony, not just killing related, but the disparity is striking: only 33% of cops who are charged are found guilty. In contrast, 66% of non-cops charged are found guilty.

 

That disproves the claim that the justified police killing stats are influenced by prosecutors who are in collusion with cops, and allow them to get away with crimes. Prosecutors (on average) are actually willing to take a bigger twice as bi a chance of losing, when deciding whether to charge a cop, than they are when charging other suspected killers. I say on average, because the possibility is still there that some prosecutors ARE in collusion with cops. But the stats show that most are actually biased against cops (likely for political reasons).

 

It may be the case that "[most prosecutors] are actually biased against cops (likely for political reasons)" but I don't see how that conclusion follows from the statistics you've provided.

 

I also don't know how to assess your statement that this "disproves the claim that the justified police killing stats are influenced by prosecutors who are in collusion with cops, and allow them to get away with crimes."  I don't know who has made that claim, or again, how the statistics you've provided would "disprove" it.

 

We also know that guilt or innocence is usually determined by a jury, not by the government. So there is a strong case to be made that the government does not protect cops (on average), it's the American people who are protecting the cops, and they are doing so because they deem shootings just based on carefully weighed evidence.

 

I'm sure that someone could make the case that juries find the way that they do based on "carefully weighed evidence."  I'm equally sure that someone else could claim that juries are provided the evidence that they are (and the instruction) due to biases among prosecutors, judges, and so forth.  Furthermore, that juries decide a thing does not necessarily mean that they did so properly, even given the evidence that they have.

 

If police officers are given a stronger "benefit of the doubt" than other suspected criminals, we can argue whether that's proper or not (generally speaking or in any individual case), but it might not alone be the case of prosecutors, judges, or etc. -- it could be a more widespread phenomenon than that, and also reflected in juries and their decisions.

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The recent exchange reminds me of the attempt by the Prez to use the CDC to research gun control. That reminded me of the testimony of Baltimore Police chief Johnson at hearings on gun control in 2013. He stated that the notion that the founding fathers wanted an armed people to be able to defend against their own government was "scary creepy"

I find it to be scary, creepy. And it’s simply just not based on logic. Certainly, law enforcement across this nation is well-prepared to deal with any natural or man-made disaster that will occur. And, frankly, I just — I can’t relate to that kind of thinking".

http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/28/flashback-baltimore-police-chief-calls-for-more-gun-control-wayne-lapierre-predicts-government-will-fail-to-protect-citizens-in-time-of-need/

Johnson answered two questions in that response. See link for details. I saw it on tv when it happened.

A slight drift but it relates to the current issue of how the local police chief sees the role of Police in America.

Edited by Plasmatic

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