Open Thread Thurdsay II

    It's been a long while since my last open-thread Thursday, but here's another.

    Some thoughts I've had while reading the news this morning:

    1. Many white people just don't understand the initial reaction of the black man in this story: Police smash glass, taser man The simple (and I mean simple) reaction from us is, why didn't he just get out of the car when he was asked? Of course, anyone with empathy and following the news should be able to answer that question: many black people, rightly or wrongly, are legitimately afraid of what the police will do to them. After all a black man was recently shot for getting his ID out of the car after the police officer explicitly asked him to do just that. So, my thought was that since many white people seem to have no problem understanding the fears of cops who have pulled over motorists that there might be a gun in the car, what are the relative numbers of unarmed/innocent blacks who have been shot by police verse the numbers of cops who have been shot during a routine traffic stop?
    2. Maybe it's time for another open-thread Thursday.
    3. I'm sure I had other thoughts, but they're gone now.
    4. I need more caffeine.


    5. Where does one draw the line between blaming the victim and providing advice to help prevent future victims, or at least prevent those you know from being victims? In this case, I'm thinking of the Hannah Graham case (which happened here in Charlottesville). If I had a child, I would be using this example as an object lesson in the dangers of irresponsible drinking, as well as how you should generally not be alone late at night (especially if you're female). Obviously (I hope), that's not suggesting that Hannah deserved what she got, but it seems that some people might misconstrue such advice as suggesting just that. By all accounts, Hannah was a sweet young woman who has most likely suffered a horrible death.

    There are predators in our midst, and women are vulnerable. A real estate agent was murdered in Arkansas while merely doing her job. A supposed buyer attacked her after posing as a potential buyer of an isolated piece of is possible that devices like the Fitbit could be tailored to signal distress.

    Getting out of the car only makes you a better target for the police. I would be fearing for my life too if cops were getting this aggressive about a seatbelt violation. Any movement made could be interpreted as going for a gun. When bad cops are prosecuted, the media always emphasizes that there are many more good cops then bad. This is a meaningless statement since no rational person believes that a good cop partnered with a bad cop will take any significant action to stop the bad cop from assaulting a civilian. The good cop will back the bad cop. I understand the Black man's fear. The woman in the car was calling 911 because she was vainly trying to find a good cop.

    While I can intellectually understand the black man's fear, I can't really understand it in my gut, if you get the difference. That's not to say it's unwarranted, just that my life experiences make it difficult to truly understand.

    That the woman was calling 911 demonstrates very well her frame of mind, and that they had no intention of trying to escape. The man was clearly trying to give the police the only ID he had (which also underscores voter ID issues), and they would not take it.

    Now, while I have a hard time truly understanding (in my gut) the man's resistance to getting out of the car, I have an even harder time understanding (in my gut or my brain) why the cop thought it was appropriate to smash the window. Even if one thought it was appropriate as a last resort to smash the window (and to be clear here, I don't), one should communicate very clearly (and repeatedly) that if he didn't get out of the window they were going to smash the window.

    A man complying with a SC state trooper's request to show his license was shot with the officer vowing the man as a threat. The reason for the stop was a seat belt violation. The Black man knew that he had better respond rapidly to any request, when he dutifully went rapidly to retrieve his license, he was shot. You are a threat if you comply. You are a threat if you don't comply. Your life depends on your realizing that you may not be interacting with a good cop. There is absolutely no reason to trust law enforcement. The White experience is totally different. We don't expect White Grand Juries to find fault with much of what police do to Black citizens.

    Ohio is an open carry state. It is legal from the local standpoint for a Black man carrying a toy gun in an Ohio Walmart to be gunned down by police. Blacks often have to wait for Federal Civil Rights violation trials to get prosecutions of police officers.


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