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Everything posted by FeatherFall

  1. You don't watch football much, do you? This guy is an offensive tackle, but he isn't that much different from some defensive players I've seen. He was drafted in the first round, meaning that physique of his is earning him millions of dollars despite the video's commentary.
  2. I think your two examples (the wheelchair and walker) show situations where it is easy to choose different acceptable levels of force. But I believe those situations are different enough from the Garner case in degree to be different in kind. Nobody is going to mistake one of those two guys as a cyborg who might be more dangerous than your average person. You seem to suggest that we all have (or at least, every cop should have) the ability to eyeball a man like Garner and, with little else, determine that he is an at-risk asthmatic with possible heart conditions rather than an NFL defensive tackle. I don't have that skill, and I doubt it's an easy one to develop. Edit: As far as the calculus of negligence is concerned, the Garner case is particularly problematic because his size represents an inflated burden of taking precautions.
  3. I've got one last bit on intent. Consider the following: let's say the arresting officers tried to simply drag Garner to the ground by his arms but in the process he smashed his head on a curb, leading to brain swelling and eventual death. Smashing a suspect's head on the curb is prohibited, but we recognize that it was not the intent of the police to do so. We probably wouldn't hold them responsible, given that Garner was resisting. If the officer, in a similar fashion, was attempting a headlock that slipped into a choke hold for a few seconds, I would regard it similarly. The evidence I've seen leads me to conclude that there should be no prosecution under current law. As I said, I may change my mind after seeing more evidence. But I still don't know of any change to arresting procedures that should be put in place. I'm open to them, but the topic is full of considerations above my pay grade. Such procedures are dependent on other factors like the resources of the police department, culture of the area, changing technology, etc. Wouldn't it be great if every police vehicle was also an ambulance? That may have saved Garner's life, but it comes at a huge cost. Restricting police tactics also comes at a cost. If police are not able to use headlocks or choke holds, does the duration of the average episode of resistance increase leading to more severe escalations of force? I have no statistics on that, but I would need to know that to say if we need to change procedures. That and a whole lot more. That's why I'm comfortable focusing on other legal statutes that I know for a fact are flawed. The grand jury's seen a lot of information, and based on that have concluded that no prosecution is warranted. That's a form of legal justice. But I recently saw a piece about the power the prosecutors have in influencing a grand jury. I forget who wrote it or linked to it, maybe it was Diana Hsieh. I'm generally skeptical of police, prosecutors and the relationship the two have. The article made me more skeptical. A big part of me expects to see some kind of pro-LEO prosecutorial mischief in the Garner case. While I refuse to indict them until I have evidence, I can't shake the feeling that sooner or later something damning will surface. If something like that happens perhaps it will expose some needed reforms of the grand jury process. At this point, I have no suggestions. Speaking of the grand jury, I think black people are more familiar with the corruption that exists in the process. I believe that most of the racial incarceration disparity is not a result of racism but rather indicative of a problem in black culture. But because of this, black people are going to be exposed to the grand jury process more often and have a clearer picture of its failures and injustices. When they try to talk about the problems, they encounter whites and Asians who, having little or no familiarity with grand juries, don't understand. Such an encounter makes it easy for blacks to mistakenly conclude that all whites are racists. That conclusion makes communicating the problem a whole lot harder, if not impossible.
  4. Too many people have run away with a narrative that is not fully supported by the one sentence quote I've been able to mine from the coroner's report via the media. 2046, for instance, even went as far as to say this: Even though the very wiki article he quoted had this to say: I don't disagree with the medical examiner. I would expect if we could see the full report he'd fill in some much needed details. What I've seen doesn't point to someone establishing a choke hold with the intent to render a victim unconscious - the kind of hold that seems to carry significant additional risk of death. The officer appeared to be controlling the body by controlling the head. Controlling the head happens to be an easy way to manipulate the body; something that might make taking down a guy who has 6 inches and 100 pounds on you a little easier. The hold was released as soon as its purpose was achieved (if you believe that narrative). I don't presume to know all of the possible implications that the coroner's report might contain, but I can think of at least two. A crushed windpipe would undermine the previous narrative. On the other hand, It isn't clear that the medical examiner is up to date on his mixed martial arts studies. More details might emerge that bruising of the neck (or some other indicator) was minimal, indicating that a "headlock" might have been a more accurate term, and that the main contribution of that headlock to Garner's death was primarily additional emotional stress - the kind that we wouldn't normally expect to induce cardiac arrest. Hopefully this helps explain how I believe I can both agree with the medical examiner and hold the position I hold. I don't think I want to delve deeply into that awful case to parse the specifics, so forgive me if I suggest something that didn't happen. If I do, it is only by way of answering your question and not meant to be commentary on what occurred there. Those parents didn't appear to intentionally want to kill their child, so I suspect they were over charged and plead because they had a shit legal team and wanted to avoid a greater sentence. The other possibility is that felony murder rule we discussed, and that the forced consumption was part of some sort of disgusting felony child abuse regimen. Again, I'm not going to read much about that case, but I hope that clarifies where I stand. I think we agree more than you're able to see. But I will say that I don't think resisting arrest is an innocent activity when the arresting officer is investigating a legitimate crime. PS: I hope we're not losing sight of the possibility that chokeholds were banned because police were actually trying to choke people out.
  5. I'm sure the arterial choke kills faster. As you said, the brain is deprived of oxygen much sooner. When you deprive the lungs of air there is still a fair amount in the bloodstream. I can personally remain conscious for at least two minutes (probably longer) with a lungful of air, but nobody lasts more than several seconds if their brain is deprived of blood. Either way, neither of these things happened, which is why I maintain that it is flat wrong to say Garner was choked to death. I've heard it reported that the coroner referenced the pressure to the neck. I didn't mean to dodge your question. I can't know if the coroner's report was a misrepresentation without access to it, which I don't have. I assume it was quoted accurately, but that people conclude things that don't follow from it. I'd like to see the report if and when it comes out to see exactly how relevant the choke hold was, but I don't think I'll get that opportunity. If it revealed that Garner's windpipe was crushed and could not reopen, that would change the matter. But such an event seems close to impossible given how clearly he can be heard after the choke hold was removed. Either way, the risks that make choke holds more dangerous than other means apparently didn't occur. Garner's brain seemingly was not deprived of blood or his lungs deprived of air, leading to cardiac arrest. It seems that it was the other way around; cardiac arrest leading to blood loss to the brain. More likely what killed him was the extra 200 some pounds on his back that compressed his chest and lungs and put stress on his heart. Either way, let's drop this talk of trying the officer for murder. Murder is intentional, and at worst what we have is a case of manslaughter... Unless you want to do the felony murder rule thing, in which case you've got several officers up for trial, every one of them culpable for murder and racketeering. But again, I don't understand how people who know nothing about the aftermath could watch that video up to the point Garner was released from the hold and conclude that he was about to die. Knowing what I know at the moment, I'd acquit the officer of a manslaughter charge. Arrest should be withheld for the most serious of offenses. Most property crimes can probably be resolved without arrest. Just let the person know he'll be tried, give him the opportunity to appear and if he doesn't then you can take restitution when he isn't near his stuff. If a person's crime (including property crime) becomes so serious that he needs to be arrested, he's already assumed all of the risk himself. If resistance is then offered, I don't think I care if choke holds are used. The state is a deadly thing; all laws come with a death threat. If you resist, your only escape is to escalate force up to the point of lethal force. The best we can do is to make sure the laws we enforce are worthy of such an escalation. This case isn't a tragedy because a criminal died; it's a tragedy because an innocent man died.
  6. This CNN article explains that the tracheal choke is banned, and that the officer apparently used one. Look under the heading, "Forensic Expert: Chokeholds can be deadly." But they also say that the risk of using the arterial choke is that you accidentally apply the tracheal, so the officer's intent is unclear. Furthermore, they say the risk of the tracheal choke is that you cut off the airway and choke the victim to death. Which isn't what happened. It may also be useful to consider that the chokehold was seemingly not applied with the intent to choke Garner out, but rather to get him to the ground so he could be cuffed. My layman's understanding is that most of the risks are associated with prolonged application. With regard to the last couple of questions, I don't know. I encounter the same question with regard to the immigration debate and I came to the conclusion that I simply don't care if people immigrate illegally. What prevents me from coming to a similar conclusion here is that I don't see any way that the law allows for prosecution. This situation is sort of a mirror, where the specifics are reversed. It's easy to ignore a law and not to prosecute; not so easy to imagine a law where none exists.
  7. It's not 100% clear that he was aiming at the hand - tunnel vision and focus are euphemisms for attention as well as being literal references to line of sight. I'd ask a clarifying question if I was interviewing him, but for now it seems safe to argue as if he was aiming for the hand. So yes, he was a bit closer to his target (the waistband, where the hand was). But he still missed his target - assuming that Brown's hand was shot during the struggle in the car, which is my understanding. Regardless, if he was aiming for the hand to disable and not kill Brown, he got the result he could have expected. That is, he failed spectacularly and killed his target anyway.
  8. It's common. I'm sure you've heard it in a military context. Now I'm speculating here, but you may not hear it in everyday language because, like me, people don't commonly attack each other in front of you. But I role play quite a bit and in just about every game I've ever played there are special rules for what happens when one character "charges" another. It's common to hear the word about 10 times a session. I'll admit that is not a normal context, but it worked it's way into role playing through the vernacular. I'm not sure what your point is here. Garner wasn't choked to death, which is the narrative so many people seem determined to spread. He was asthmatic and probably panicking due to the physical assault by armed men. Garner didn't begin to complain about not being able to breathe until the choke hold was released. I'm sure the choke hold played a role in his death, but a normal person in that situation doesn't die. It isn't clear that the result would be any different if Garner was pulled to the ground by his arms. The officer obviously didn't intend to choke him to death, so a murder charge is inappropriate. It looks like he wasn't even trying to choke Garner to unconsciousness, so he couldn't have predicted that heart failure would be the likely result of his action, which means a manslaughter charge is probably not warranted. He was engaged in a legal activity (arrest). Because choke holds are not prohibited to police by statute, it appears that he committed no crime whatsoever.
  9. I'll look into it. Can you tell me which page of the transcript to start on?
  10. The Garner case seems much more difficult to me. Here are a few issues to consider: 1) Yes, the definition of choke. If police banned the "choke hold" what kind did they ban? Was it the tracheal choke, which crushes the windpipe and interferes with verbal communication? Or was it the carotid choke ("sleeper hold") which restricts blood flow to the brain? The offending officer didn't appear to have Garner in a tracheal choke. Thanks to anyone who provides a clarifying link. 2) Garner's health. Despite what many articles were clearly written to convey, Garner was not choked to death. He reportedly suffered heart failure in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. It was reported that one of the reasons he was not given CPR by the police was that he was still breathing while he lay there. I don't know how believable I find this, but I understand this to be the official record. 3) The felony murder rule is a tradition that holds criminal actors culpable for deaths that happen as a result of the commission serious crimes. New York has such a rule, and I think it is a sound principle. Is the use of a banned (by department standards, not statute) choke hold a serious crime? Probably not. Seeing as how Garner's death was more influenced by his poor health than by unsafe tactics, I don't think this even amounts to a manslaughter charge. I don't think a reasonable person can look at the 13 seconds Garner was in the hold and conclude, "Oh, that's likely to result in his death." 4) Moral law. Garner was being arrested for selling untaxed "loosies." A pretty sound case could be made that enforcing such a regulatory code is a moral crime similar to racketeering in severity. If you want moral laws to govern, you want these officers prosecuted by way of that felony murder rule described above. I do. But I would not feel the same way if Garner had committed a real (moral) crime. So I - tentatively - conclude that we shouldn't see these officers prosecuted. But I remain open to contrary persuasion. Edit: Isn't it a bitch that when we invoke the "rule of law" we're often protecting codified law at the expense of moral law?
  11. I'm not sure if you're being facetious. "Charging" is a pretty common way to describe any animal (or group of animals) that rapidly advance to attack.
  12. I may be beating a dead horse here, but anyone who may think it a good idea to shoot the leg should try the following exercise. Go back to the autopsy sketch of Michael Brown. Realize that Darren Wilson was aiming for center mass (the chest/upper torso). Picture the center mass of the sketch as a kneecap sized circle (actual center mass is either a bit bigger or a single fixed point, but kneecap diameter will work for this exercise). Now imagine that the location of the bullet wounds are fixed relative to that circle. Now move the circle to Brown's right knee. Note that one of the bullets might now be in Brown's arm (if he were charging, that arm is actually closer to center mass and doesn't get hit). Now, move that circle to Brown's left knee. Notice that one of the bullets hit's Brown's hip. Neither of these hits results in certain incapacitation - only the kill shot that resulted from aiming center mass does. I realize that bodies in motion offer different pictures than the autopsy sketch. Brown was reported to be falling forward when he was hit on the top of the head, meaning that the killing shot was probably much closer to where Wilson was aiming than the sketch suggests. But I believe the exercise should have some value regardless.
  13. I'd challenge this last point. I believe I have the right to protect the product of my labor. But I'll table the moral question for a moment and look at our current laws. Something we learned in the Martin/Zimmerman case, and something we continue to learn in similar cases, is this; whether or not you are engaging in lawful activity often determines whether your involvement in subsequent violence is legal or illegal. Protecting your store (and arming yourself appropriately) are lawful (and moral) activities. If you want to persuade me to the contrary I'll have to know exactly when my action becomes immoral or unlawful. Can a violent aggressor change the moral status of my actions, or are my choices and actions my own responsibility?
  14. Nicky, either the cop who "did his job" followed his training or he didn't. If he didn't, he was mistrained. If he did, the rest were mistrained... So try to square that.
  15. Eiuol, I don't see logic of "intended to be retaliatory." Defending property is not retaliatory, as I understand it. Could you elaborate? Nicky, you appear to have identified an area of poor training (or worse). This speaks to the point I made in response to Eiuol, but it also addresses some questions you had of others. You asked them if they could identify a place were police were poorly trained or acted improperly. Sitting idly by while rioters loot stores could be seen as a failure of training or policy. It could also simply be the type of rare emergency that, from time to time, overwhelms rational training and policy. Either way, the owners are justified in defending themselves - especially if the police can't or won't.
  16. And willing to do that job, which was not the case in Ferguson.
  17. Kate, if the police are overwhelmed, you're in an emergency. Nevertheless, in America the police are never held responsible for failing to protect you. I'd be surprised to hear it is different where you are, but I'm willing to look at contrary evidence if you provide it. Nicky, Al-Jazeera could have been dealt with differently. Tear gas was an unnecessary escalation in my opinion. They could have saved the canister for use in an actual riot zone, like in front of those businesses that were burned down.
  18. Kate, nobody here justified it, but you might recall that I mentioned encountering one such person elsewhere. Plus, the looters themselves may believe it. I'm surprised to hear you call those guys morons. They are the only people who don't have to sweep up glass and restock their shelves. They are the only people who won't have to suspend revenue-generating business activities in the mean time. Or fight with their insurance companies over the payout. Sounds like they're the smartest business owners in the area. Courageous, too. You're mistaken about the role of government in a free society. It isn't to monopolize force, but rather to monopolize retaliatory force and the initiation of force. Defensive force can rarely be delegated to an agent; if the government were to try to do that it would have to plant armed guards for every citizen, which is an impossibility. Defensive force will always remain a valid response to the initiation of force.
  19. My neighborhood association "fun night" saw a few emergency service vehicles parked for display. The dive team and fire truck were neat. The armadillo was creepy, but I guess that's the point. They roll it out in problem neighborhoods and leave it there to be conspicuous and to let everyone know that they're being watched. The thing that creeped me out wasn't the cameras, but what appeared to be an armored swiveling gun mount on the top. No gun was mounted, but a couple of guys with tools and a little time to kill could fix that. I understand in some places over equipped police are tearing up the pavement with hardened vehicles that are inappropriate for continual urban use. Ultimately, whether or not I'm creeped out is irrelevant. These are jurisdictional/fiscal decisions, and the training that goes with such equipment is far more important. Firing tear gas at Al-Jazeera is a poor decision. Longer video of Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson robbing Ferguson Market and Liquor can be seen here, starting at about 1:50. Many people say that it was base character assassination for the police to have released this video. But I can think of two reasons to do so. One is that it clearly establishes Michael Brown's willingness to openly commit criminal acts. Proof of this willingness lends credibility to Darren Wilson's (the cop's) story that he was charged by Brown. The theory that ties these two events together posits that Brown thought that the criminal justice system was too overcrowded to lock him up for a significant length of time. Another explanation (my own conjecture) is that Brown didn't want to go to college and was hoping he could get the criminal justice system to do what a simple withdrawal notice could do (he obviously wasn't a smart guy). The second reason to release the video may be that the local cops started to feel the pressure of Eric Holder's justice department. They feared Holder would try to railroad Wilson both legally and publicly, and they wanted to get the video out before it was squelched. Normally I wouldn't want the cops airing the evidence of an investigation. But these types of crimes are pounced on by political opportunists to foment division for political gain, Holder specifically, so it may be justified. It's a sad state of affairs. There were two autopsies. The county examiner believes that all bullets entered from the front. That doesn't mean the cop didn't start to shoot when Brown had his back to him, but it does dispel Dorian Johnson's claim that Brown was hit while facing away and only turned around once he was hit. On the other hand, the family's investigator believes one of the bullets entered the front of the forearm just below the elbow. Which could corroborate Johnson's claim, or indicate that Brown had his arms up in surrender. It's also a part of the body that gets exposed when running forward, so it doesn't really definitively help one way or the other. The family's investigator believes that, because two bullets entered near the top of Browns head, he may have been on his knees in surrender with the cop above him, execution style. Or (again, my own conjecture), he could have been falling forward. A third autopsy ordered by Holder is pending or hasn't been released. None of these would have been necessary if Wilson had a lapel camera and microphone. They save money and time, people! Eyewitness accounts are conflicting. Reporters erroneously reported (presumably based on witness accounts) that Brown was gunned down from behind. That is not the case, according to both autopsies. Nevertheless, some witnesses still claim Brown was surrendering. Dorian Johnson claims that the shooting was precipitated by a struggle in which Darren Wilson tried to slam Brown with the door of his truck, later reaching through the truck window to grab Brown by the neck and pull him into the truck (through the window, on top of him!? Not very believable). Johnson claims it was during this struggle when Brown was first shot. Wilson's story as recounted by a family friend (the cops later confirmed that this is indeed Wilson's story) claims that when Wilson tried to get out of the vehicle the door was pushed back on him and Brown punched him through the window. The gun went off during this struggle as Brown tried to wrest control of Wilson's gun. Medical reports confirm an orbital blowout fracture of Wilson's eye socket. Police claim that more than a dozen witnesses corroborate Wilson's story. Many are critical that the police haven't released their names, or that the witnesses haven't come forward publicly. But considering the danger level in Ferguson, I would regard it as recklessly irresponsible to release the names of those witnesses. At least one such witness was unwittingly caught on camera recounting Wilson's version of events in the minutes that followed the shooting. Based on this, it appears to me that Wilson acted correctly. At the very least, rioting surely isn't justified. While the police were out there firing tear gas at reporters, businesses were left undefended. At least, the police didn't defend them. Kate will be excited to learn that businesses that took up arms on their own behalf did just fine without killing anyone.
  20. I waded into this debate on facebook with someone who actually tried to defend the looting. I'd like to weigh in here but someone organized a local screening of Citizen Koch. I'll check back here after I wash myself. Before I go I'll just say that I was initially very suspicious of the officer, but I now believe he probably acted correctly. Regardless, we could have avoided a riot if he had a lapel camera.
  21. RobertBaratheon, I think the damage is done when two incompatible people have a child. Staying together is best only when people are compatible. People need to do the work to ensure they won't break up before having kids. But if they find out they failed, breaking up is usually better for the kids.
  22. I think the same. Atlas fits his own definition of epic. I'm not sure what he's on about.
  23. I was trying to be generous to your position when offering 10. The outer bounds of some of the temperature data I've seen is even larger than this. But averages are closer to five, and if you want to use that, then I've got no problem with it. I'm not sure why you thought an explanation of ECS was warranted. I don't see anything I've written that contradicts what you wrote below, or anything contradicting the info on arctic ice to which you linked. Perhaps you could quote something of mine that is at odds with your explanation? Otherwise it seems like you're wasting quite a bit of energy with long-winded explanations where none are needed. Let me be clear that my purpose was to define the consensus science regarding climate change. When a scientific organization sees fit to issue a public statement on the matter, I take them at their word. That means that if they choose to omit cost and impact estimates, I trust that they do so because they don't feel confident enough in the science or economics to say one way or the other. You, however, are reading far more into that consensus than their statements warrant. The statements you quoted are very much in line with the IPCC's working group 1. But you're trying to paint a picture that blurs the lines between the science of working group 1, which seems to be widely accepted, and the conclusions of working groups 2 and 3. These sections are where I believe the IPCC needs a reality check; I say this only partly because no human institution has yet proved itself capable of such precise predictions about economic impacts. But also because my own folksy, pedestrian ideologically-driven common sense tells me that the best way to keep humans safe is by exploiting cheap energy rather than as-yet unproven energy sources. And also because a 5.7 degree increase by 2100 would be truly unprecidented. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and if the CMIP5 models on which the assumptions of WGs 2&3 are based are disproved in 10 or 20 years, we've flushed a lot of time, money and lives down the shitter for nothing. ​Anyway, you are right about how your speech affects me. Specifically with regards to your accusation of paranoia. Where are you getting this junk?
  24. I think he's asking you to spell out why you think the political implications are at odds with Objectivist ideology.
  25. Waxliberty, thanks for the detailed reply. I didn't read the entirety of Pierrehumbert's article because I'm not willing to entertain discussions of Intelligent Design any longer than I have to. But I did read his definition and skim the rest. Here's his definition: This is one specialist's explanation of the issue, in a nutshell. The first half of it seems to represent the broad consensus as I understand it, but the second half deserves scrutiny. He described climate sensitivity in terms of comparability to glacial/interglacial differences. That's about 10 degrees Celsius, right? Now he's probably not saying that ECS is 10 degrees. So what does comparable mean? Orders of magnitude don't strike me as comparable, so I would think 1.5 is about as low as you could get and still be comparable. This isn't anything controversial unless he means that he expects a 10 degree (or more) increase per doubling of CO2. The last sentence is where I think the "consensus opinion" is overextended, and he acknowledges as much later in the article. He also explicitly states that the costs and the behavior those costs imply are outside of the scope of his definition. As far as I can tell this is just a more detailed restatement of the one I gave, with the exception that he doesn't mention the human contribution at all. So I'll reiterate; you're imagining disagreement where there is none. Your link to Schmidt's article redirected here, so I couldn't read it. I doubt it offers a meaningful refutation of the fact that the mainstream view includes all scenarios with ECS between 1.5 and 4.5. For the record, I haven't assumed ECS is 1.5. On the other hand, you seem to assume ECS is at the high end. Your 6th paragraph in post #61, as well as your entire history on this thread, imply as much. I merely pointed out the broad scope of consensus science. I did so to counter the picture you're painting that the scientific consensus is that humans are causing bad juju and we must act to stop it. So I thank you for your advice cautioning me against cognitive bias, but I suggest you take it to heart first. You said 1.5 ECS is the extreme low end (actually it's the likely low end, the extreme would be below 1.5 and above 4.5). You said assuming 1.5 ECS is "dubious." I hope you recognize that your appeal to James Hansen in the same paragraph is even more dubious, as any opinion which holds likely ECS to be higher than 4.5 is outside the scope of consensus science. You offered a couple of quotes to illustrate where you think climate science is at odds with my definition. They are: The first is completely in line with my definition. I might also agree with the second statement, depending on definitions for climate change, major influence and societal response. You're reading something into them that isn't there. Your link to the bit on interglacial cycles is interesting, particularly because the graph it uses is visually similar to the one in the reblogged Cato article. I'm not too concerned with the arctic Ice; antarctic ice is far more important because it tends not to displace as much water. And antarctic ice doesn't seem to be going anywhere, at least not quickly or not yet. I appreciate that you recognized your ad hominem dismissal of the Cato article, by the way. Unfortunately, recognizing that wrong doesn't make it any more right. Even if the expected El Nino brings record high temps, it is unlikely to force the trend of the next couple of decades higher than that observed between '77 and '98. In short, I say, "Cool it. consensus science doesn't really know if ECS is low or high, and a wide range of scenarios are possible. Let's wait for more evidence and see where our understanding takes us." You say, "You're only looking at the good stuff; you shouldn't do that. You should only look at the bad stuff. #Kochmachine."
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