Some thoughts on the Ferguson case

Tomas asked my thoughts on the Ferguson case and I replied that I hadn’t followed it all that closely. Mainly because I’ve been too busy to watch much of the news these last few weeks. However, I’m on a mailing list where it was discussed in great detail and read some of those posts.

Right now, my opinion is that it is one big mess, just like the Zimmerman case was a mess. For some of my thoughts in general on these kinds of incidents, try these posts:

https://www.wimsblog.com/2013/12/police-vs-drunks-youre-idiot/

https://www.wimsblog.com/2013/07/george-zimmerman-and-the-future-of-self-defense-laws/

https://www.wimsblog.com/2013/08/self-righteous-entitlement/

 

There are a couple things I’d like to add to that:

  •  If you weren’t there, can you accept that everything you say is based on incomplete or even erroneous information? If so, can you then accept the mere fact that you might be wrong when you say “Hang that cop!” or “That cop did nothing wrong!” When it turns out you were wrong, can you then admit it and accept that reality is not always what you think it is?
  • It will take a while before all the details are given: http://online.wsj.com/articles/ferguson-investigation-expected-to-take-weeks-1408395054 If you think an investigation isn’t necessary and you already know all the facts, then please understand that you are making a case for a banana republic justice system. If you think an investigation doesn’t need to take that long, go ask a homicide police officer how long a typical investigation takes, regardless if the victim is black, white, green or blue.
  • If you think all cops are vicious killers, then I’d like to point you to two resources. First, read “Force Decisions: A Citizen’s Guide” by Rory Miller: http://amzn.to/1rADi23 Unless you have law enforcement training, you *have no clue* how an officer thinks, what he is required to do and when he is out of line. Not. A. Clue. Read this book and get a clue. Then, go talk to officers about how their job works and ask for a ride along. It’ll open your eyes. But until you do that, can you accept that you only have an opinion about how cops do their jobs. You’re entitled to it, by all means, but that doesn’t mean it’s an informed or even a remotely accurate opinion.
  • Second, last week, I asked here on my page if anybody had an answer to these questions: “How many arrests do the combined law enforcement agencies of the US do per year. What percentage of them end up with the arrested person dead? “ Jose (Thanks!) came through with a source http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ard0309st.pdf and this is his reply:

“From data collected between 2003-2009, there were 97.9 million arrests made and 4,813 arrest-related deaths were reported.”

  • Let’s assume that these numbers are more or less accurate (I know not all agencies cooperate, don’t bother mentioning it because the sample size is more than large enough IMO). Even if you think they’re not, they have to be 200x bigger before the deaths amount to 1% of all arrests. Think about that for a minute: if I inflate the official number of deaths *200 times*, you still had a 99% chance of surviving an arrest. Some thoughts on that:

1) Even by wildly inflating the numbers, we still aren’t *anywhere close* to the “All cops are killers and they shoot first” comments I’ve seen used all over the internet these days. Can you please stop spreading that bullshit?

2) If you want to argue that fictitious 1%, let me say this: If I’m in a confrontation with a person armed with a firearm, a baton, pepper spray, a taser and perhaps even more and I have a 99% chance of coming out alive, those are some pretty frikkin’ awesome odds. In fact, give those same weapons to any other person who isn’t a cop (or perhaps a soldier) and I’m confident the survival rate would drop like a brick. If you think 99% survival in a conflict situation against an armed person is not all that great odds, then I have a bridge to sell you because you’ll obviously buy anything…

Again, remember that I inflated the death toll 200 times. Let the reality of that sink in a bit too before you shout “Killer pigs!” again.

Ferguson

In closing

There is a lot of emotion and political nonsense from both sides in this discussion. Most people only seem interested in the information that confirms their bias. That includes me, by the way. I’m a law and order kind of guy, which you already know if you’ve read my blog for a while. But I can completely accept the idea that maybe that police officer fucked up. If that’s what the investigation turns up, I’ll accept that willingly. Here’s my question to those of you who think that cop was wrong in shooting Michael Brown:

Are you willing to do the same and accept his innocence if the investigation turns up it was a righteous shoot?

 

As always, comments are more than welcome but I’ll crack down on any trolling and immature crap. If you can’t argue like a grown up, don’t argue here at all.

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Comments

  1. The odds seem very favourable to someone being arrested: 1 death in 20,340 arrests which would go up to 1 in 33,073 which is directly attributable to homicide by cops and other persons (ie 20,340/0.615). The mortality rate for shark attacks is 1.6 for every hundred in the US (3/179 from the following article for perspective) and are very rare occurrences in themselves: http://oceana.org/en/our-work/protect-marine-wildlife/sharks/learn-act/shark-attack-statistics

    The officer involved seems to have a good record but does not by implication mean that Michael Brown is bad: http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-police-officer-darren-wilson

    Also the officer may have acted entirely reasonably based on this article: http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/was-it-legal-for-officer-darren-wilson-to-shoot-michael-brown

    I think also the protests are a sign of frustration which we can all feel sometimes: http://www.vox.com/2014/8/21/6053281/the-real-cost-of-for-profit-policing-in-ferguson

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