What Would Sam Fucking Adams Say
December 4, 2014 9:44 AM   Subscribe

The death of Eric Garner is a rare subject that conservatives and liberals seem to agree on. Since the decision not to indict , the conservative blogosphere has been filling with outrage– not at protesting hippies, but at the police. The right-wing site Hot Air described it as a moment that "unites left and right" and collected angry tweets from conservatives, some comparing Garner to the Founding Fathers. National Review, which was unsupportive of the Michael Brown protests, is now running pieces by multiple conservative pundits suggesting an "Enough!" moment. Even torture apologist Andrew McCarthy has ventured to suggest that "I thus cannot in good conscience say there was insufficient probable cause to indict Officer Pantaleo for involuntary manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide." Libertarians have long been active and highly effective critics of police violence, but Reason magazine's support for a federal investigation is unusual.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard (311 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
 
And Paul Rand thinks it's about cigarette taxes, because he is an idiot.
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on December 4, 2014 [64 favorites]


It admittedly is getting more play than Paul Kucinich 2012.
posted by michaelh at 9:50 AM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know why the right is so up in arms over this? It's not because they suddenly care about black people. It's because Garner's alleged crime was selling untaxed cigarettes, and nothing quite gets the right riled up like the prospect of the government collecting taxes. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm glad people are outraged about this, but let's not assume a lot of these people have suddenly grown a conscience. This isn't a "black lives matter" thing. This is a "big government is evil" thing. A broken clock is right twice a day, and that's all this is.
posted by dortmunder at 9:53 AM on December 4, 2014 [125 favorites]


Taxes and lamentations over the "nanny-state," whatever that even means here in our nearly nanny-free culture? This does not strike me as an organic reaction.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:54 AM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


And all it took was another senseless murder.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 9:54 AM on December 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


Conservatives, of course, deny that there is any racial component of the massive numbers of white cops killing innocent black people with impunity.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:55 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


On examination of the links this is indeed all cigarette tax idiocy. Congratulations, Libertarians, you remain useless.
posted by Artw at 9:55 AM on December 4, 2014 [76 favorites]


Even torture apologist Andrew McCarthy has ventured to suggest that

You know, when you recognize a moron's opinion when he has a stopped clock moment you are adding weight to his other opinions . You cannot have it both ways.
posted by any major dude at 9:56 AM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Someone clear something up for me... Charles Krauthammer seems to think that a new grand jury can't be convened because of double jeopardy, but this sounds like nonsense to me. The whole point of these messes is that the decision whether or not to indict is not itself a trial. (Hence the bizarreness of exculpatory defense stuff that went on in the Darren Wilson grand jury.)

Is there really a constitutional barrier to revisiting the decision about whether to indict?
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:57 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Behemoth, while I agree with you, your geographic location choice is unfortunately poor timing.
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:58 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I'm thrilled the right has acknowledged a problem exists, but I'm not singing any hosannas over it. Why should people be praised for recognizing reality? Plus, I'm sure when Fox News decides to use the incident to continue its race-baiting and trots out a Garner tweet that praises a rap song or shows him in his Darth Vader Halloween costume, they'll come along.
posted by touchstone033 at 9:58 AM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


The deleted thread raises a question Libertarians SHOULD ask if they believed in their own alleged philosophy: Why should anyone respect the law?
posted by Artw at 10:00 AM on December 4, 2014 [17 favorites]


That Andrew McCarthy piece is the most qualified, mealy-mouthed criticism imaginable: "I intend to keep an open mind until we learn all the evidence the grand jury relied on they come up with some sort of fig leaf justification for this."
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:00 AM on December 4, 2014


What unity? Today's Post includes an op ed blaming Eric Garner for his own death : Blame only the man who tragically decided to resist
posted by qi at 10:01 AM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.”

– John Adams
posted by clavdivs at 10:02 AM on December 4, 2014 [33 favorites]


The deleted thread raises a question Libertarians SHOULD ask if they believed in their own alleged philosophy: Why should anyone respect the law?

Or maybe that's more of an anarchist thing, the true-libertarian answer would probably be "because it's bought sticks to hit you with".
posted by Artw at 10:02 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Charles Krauthammer seems to think that a new grand jury can't be convened because of double jeopardy, but this sounds like nonsense to me.


It helps if you remember that Charles Krauthammer is a fucking idiot.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:02 AM on December 4, 2014 [66 favorites]


Behemoth, while I agree with you, your geographic location choice is unfortunately poor timing.

Oh, FFS.
posted by Behemoth at 10:02 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


What unity? Today's Post includes an op ed blaming Eric Garner for his own death : Blame only the man who tragically decided to resist


Klaus is a moron who knows only what he reads in the New York Post.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:05 AM on December 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


your geographic location choice is unfortunately poor timing.

The only actual surprising thing in that article is that there are places on earth where the police will actually show up in person when someone makes a noise complaint.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:06 AM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Charles Krauthammer seems to think that a new grand jury can't be convened because of double jeopardy, but this sounds like nonsense to me.
IANAL, but if a grand jury results in a non-indictment I believe there is no jeopardy and therefore a new grand jury that results in an indictment would simply be jeopardy.
posted by linux at 10:06 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, the resident assholes haven't gotten the message.
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:09 AM on December 4, 2014


This demonstrates that even body camera won't be the panacea we'd like them to be.

A New Mexico cop was fired for not having his turned on, but, likely as not, he'll be re-instated on appeal.

In fact, even if the cop is "fired" or otherwise apparently disciplined for having violated procedure, in most cases, it's just for show. They'll be back on the beat as soon as the furor dies down, or on appeal.

And really, that is problem. The worst thing the cop my face is the loss of income for a few months - that they will get back as they are reinstated. A cop is only very rarely indicted for any crime, and even when they are, even more rarely convicted - and if they managed somehow to get to a sentence, they are granted the most lenient of sentences possible.

So, the problem isn't one of having the evidence available to them. Every step of the justice system grants them extraordinary benefits that even the very rich would envy.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:10 AM on December 4, 2014 [18 favorites]


First, while “chokeholds” are banned by NYPD regulation, they’re not illegal under state law when used by a cop during a lawful arrest. So much for criminal charges, given that nobody seriously disputes the legitimacy of the arrest.

Amazing.

I don't know where you guys grew up (I didn't know anything about this growing up in a metropolitan area), but in (my white, damn near the south) college I learned about these nazi assholes who would wear their doc martens with different colored shoelaces to reflect how "experienced" they were in the race war.

Watching the vid again and again, I can't help but be drawn to the emo-looking officer's black shoes with red shoelaces. And then the unarmed black guy died after they all had a turn.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:12 AM on December 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


From the article WidgetAlley linked: "Who's gonna argue with police?" Dickerson said. "He had no death wish yesterday."

I know that this has always happened this often, it's just that we're actually hearing about it now and listening to what is being said, but good god. It's just about every single day now another unarmed black man or child is killed by the police. This relentless tide of killings and the killers not being brought to justice is unbearable.
posted by yasaman at 10:13 AM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ben Shapiro, Breitbart.com:

"When people’s lives are at stake, it is worthwhile to actually examine those facts, rather than pre-conceived narratives constructed for political gain. And it is worthwhile noting that even if the police did use excessive force against Garner – which, of course, is quite possible – that still does not establish that they did so for racial reasons. "

Republican Congressman Peter King Says Eric Garner Is To Blame For His Own Death

Pajamas Media: The Role that Obama’s Runaway Bureaucracy Played in the Death of Eric Garner

Jon Podhoretz "What happened to Eric Garner was certainly not deliberate, but rather the result of a series of horrible choices. First, by Garner, to resist, and then by Officer Daniel Pantaleo to immobilize Garner by using an around-the-neck hold... If you defang cops, you are inviting a return to trouble."

Some outrage from the right.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:16 AM on December 4, 2014 [23 favorites]




I am starting to understand rage comics.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:18 AM on December 4, 2014


Charlie Pierce has a "Five minute rule" for Libertarians, which predicts that some of what they say initially will sound sensible, but by the five minute mark they will have said something either insane or horrific in its obtuseness.

If I may steal his schtick,

"The choking death of Eric Garner was a bad thing."

4:57, 4:58, 4:59,

"So we have to reduce cigarette taxes."

It's pretty reliable.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:20 AM on December 4, 2014 [126 favorites]


Republican Congressman Peter King Says Eric Garner Is To Blame For His Own Death

This was the asshole who said that Obama should invite Wilson to the White House.
Kinda like letting a vampire into your house so he can kill you.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:21 AM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Klaus is a moron who knows only what he reads in the New York Post.

That's the point. The thinkprog link at the top of this page and nbc's Chuck Todd this morning are praising a unity between conservatives and libs about this tragedy that doesn't exist.
posted by qi at 10:22 AM on December 4, 2014


torture apologist Andrew McCarthy

Come, come. Weekend at Bernie's wasn't that bad...
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:23 AM on December 4, 2014 [19 favorites]


As much fun and excitement as a race war can be, not many people in the pundit class actually want to be anywhere near one when it happens.

Some of the conservative pundit outrage may be genuine. Others may be imagining themselves in the Bastille and hearing a banging at the gates and voices yelling "Knock-knock, motherfucker."
posted by delfin at 10:25 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


This was the asshole who said that Obama should invite Wilson to the White House.

Like what if Obama went to shake his hand and moved a little too quickly, Wilson might be seized with overwhelming terror and try to defend himself from the crazed hulking handshaker. I mean even their dog is black, how is Wilson supposed to be able to cope with that?
posted by poffin boffin at 10:25 AM on December 4, 2014 [45 favorites]


Is there really a constitutional barrier to revisiting the decision about whether to indict?

Not according to United States v. Williams (1992).

It helps if you remember that Charles Krauthammer is a fucking idiot.

This is, IMO, one of those cases where it is appropriate to attribute to malice what would otherwise be ascribed to stupidity. Chuckles, especially post 9/11, is the consummate tool.
posted by dhartung at 10:26 AM on December 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


This demonstrates that even body camera won't be the panacea we'd like them to be...the problem isn't one of having the evidence available to them.

I don't think it demonstrates that -- for one thing, there weren't any body cameras in this case; half of the benefit of requiring body cameras is that you can use them to create a culture of openness on the part of the police force -- but I agree that the mere presence of cameras will not end the myriad problems of policing in America.

If you film everything and punish no one, that's little better than leaving it un-filmed in the first place. Body cameras are a tool to promote transparency, and like all transparency tools (requiring public meetings, mandating financial disclosure forms) they function by enabling others to act on the information they uncover; they do nothing much in and of themselves. The failure in the Eric Gardner case is not a failure of evidence: it is a failure of action. We know it is a failure of action precisely because we have the bystander video; having that evidence lets us (tragically) see more clearly where the problem lies.
posted by cjelli at 10:28 AM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Like what if Obama went to shake his hand and moved a little too quickly, Wilson might be seized with overwhelming terror and try to defend himself from the crazed hulking handshaker.

Well come on, even a governor might feel "threatened by his attitude".
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:28 AM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


More in-depth conservative writings gathered here. It does a lot to demonstrate that those saying "Righties are just mad about cigarette taxes" are not paying attention: "No civilized society can view the tape showing Garner’s desperate pleading and not ask some very difficult questions of itself."

You know, when you recognize a moron's opinion when he has a stopped clock moment you are adding weight to his other opinions .


That is exactly how one can fail to build a coalition and ensure political impotence.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:32 AM on December 4, 2014 [16 favorites]


This is, IMO, one of those cases where it is appropriate to attribute to malice what would otherwise be ascribed to stupidity. Chuckles, especially post 9/11, is the consummate tool.


Oh, don't get me wrong- he's a racist shitbag too.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:32 AM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jon Stewart reacts to the Eric Garner verdict.


(Posting this here since it seems to be the Eric Garner thread. Makes me wonder how many more threads we will have to have until the country wakes up and demands accountability from the people they hire to "protect and serve".)
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:33 AM on December 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


Isn't the core problem that the prosecutor has a massive conflict of interest when it comes to prosecuting cops? He depends on cops to bring him cases and winning those cases, with cops as witnesses and evidence collectors, is what makes him a successful prosecutor. Why do you expect him to bite the hands that feed him (apart from, you know, it being the right thing to do)?
posted by goethean at 10:33 AM on December 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


That is exactly how one can fail to build a coalition and ensure political impotence.


Still doesn't mean I have to make common cause with crypto-fascists.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:34 AM on December 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


I was under the impression, and I could very easily be wrong, that double jeopardy doesn't apply to Darren Wilson because he hasn't been tried the first time yet. And the same would go for this case.
posted by chicobangs at 10:34 AM on December 4, 2014


Contraband laws and the criminalization of the nonviolent: There is no reason why a person should be subject to arrest for selling loose cigarettes when that same person would only be subject to a ticket for carrying up to two ounces of marijuana. No law enforcement officer can decline to perform his or her job, which was in this case to execute an arrest on a nonviolent offender that went horribly wrong. But should police have to be put in this position?

But the "no law enforcement officer can decline to perform his or her job" is not in any way true; they decline to enforce laws all the time, and it's one of the best things about having actual humans as police; I've certainly known people who don't get penalized for speeding, who get a "throw the bottle away" for drinking in public, etc. It is not unreasonable to expect a policeman to simply say to Garner "get out of here, man" instead of escalating the encounter.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:34 AM on December 4, 2014 [52 favorites]


There should have been no force used in the Garner case.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:34 AM on December 4, 2014 [30 favorites]


I was under the impression, and I could very easily be wrong, that double jeopardy doesn't apply to Darren Wilson because he hasn't been tried the first time yet. And the same would go for this case.

You are correct. Double jeopardy applies when the jury is seated in a criminal case.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:35 AM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


There should have been no force used in the Garner case.

I was watching the episode of 'The Wire', where Stringer Bell got popped. There had been a white witness, and the cops all laughed at his eyewitness account. They claimed it "BNBG".

The ONLY reason the popo aren't claiming he had a gun is because people were videoing the entire event. But still, even without having a "BIG GUN", he was a "BIG NEGRO", and thats justification enough for some overzealous cops to attack and murder a private citizen who was not engaging in any kind of violence.

Big black guys, watch out for the police.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:40 AM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Very interesting article from the other deleted thread:
The American Justice System Is Not Broken
posted by Greg Nog at 10:40 AM on December 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


You know why the right is so up in arms over this? It's not because they suddenly care about black people. It's because Garner's alleged crime was selling untaxed cigarettes

I don't disagree the post and links cite some morans as right-wingers making common cause, but your broad brush ignores people like Radley Balko who have been banging the drum about police power for a long time.
posted by yerfatma at 10:43 AM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


Conservative perspectives on this seem to be varied. The American Conservative's Rod Dreher was pretty unequivocal.
posted by echocollate at 10:44 AM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Interesting podcast on the origins of organized police.
posted by wuwei at 10:44 AM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


@longdaysjourney

If you're waiting for the country to wake up and demand accountability from the Police, I will advice you not to wait. It WILL NEVER EVER happen. This is what the citizens of the country want by and large and it's not helpful to think that this is some aberration. This is business as usual.
posted by RedShrek at 10:45 AM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


People will wake up when given no other option. See LBJ, Civil Rights Act of 1968.
posted by wuwei at 10:46 AM on December 4, 2014


Knox County [Tenn] cop fired immediately after photos show brutal choking of student

Am I too cynical in assuming he stands a good chance of being reinstated if he chooses to fight his firing.
posted by rtha at 10:47 AM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]



You know why the right is so up in arms over this? It's not because they suddenly care about black people. It's because Garner's alleged crime was selling untaxed cigarettes


It's a bit more nuanced than that. From Balko:

Even seemingly innocuous laws are enforced with violence

Sen. Rand Paul took some heat this week for pointing out that Eric Garner was essentially executed for selling untaxed cigarettes. I’m not sure why this is a controversial thing to say (especially since Paul also explicitly said the video itself was “horrifying”). Every law, no matter how seemingly innocuous, is enforced with the threat of violence: If you fail to follow it, the state is saying it reserves the right to use violence to force you to comply and/or force you to submit to a penalty for violating the law. Every law passed also creates more opportunities for interaction with police officers, the people entrusted to use the violence necessary to enforce the laws. How a proposed law will be enforced, and potentially abused, ought to be considered in addition to the content of the law itself.


We even had this same point made on Metafilter, albeit for a different crime.
posted by zabuni at 10:48 AM on December 4, 2014 [11 favorites]


Well come on, even a governor might feel "threatened by his attitude".

BNBG.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:48 AM on December 4, 2014


Interesting podcast on the origins of organized police.

Another podcast on the history of policing in the US, from Backstory.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:49 AM on December 4, 2014


Cops give a damn about a negro? Pull the trigger, kill a nigga, he's a hero.
Sixteen years ago this line was written. Sixteen motherfucking years ago.

Still I see no motherfucking changes.
posted by Talez at 10:50 AM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Well yeah, it's not really a case of "my god, if only we'd known that the cops were murderous, racist, roided out monsters with military weaponry and every shred of human decency ground out of their blighted souls!"

As usual, the Onion nails it.
posted by Naberius at 10:52 AM on December 4, 2014 [19 favorites]


Conservatives will never be allies in this because conservatives believe white people are not racist at all. Therefore they will never do anything to attack the root cause of the problem: racism. They may, however, be useful idiots in beneficial reforms like getting cameras on cops and reforming the grand jury system.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:53 AM on December 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


If you're waiting for the country to wake up and demand accountability from the Police, I will advice you not to wait. It WILL NEVER EVER happen. This is what the citizens of the country want by and large and it's not helpful to think that this is some aberration. This is business as usual.

If people in the civil rights movement believed as you do, we would not have a black president right now. So I'm going to chose to believe in and work toward a country where the police are held accountable (as the rest of us are) for their actions. I will probably not see it in my lifetime, but I'm not going to throw up my hands and say never.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:57 AM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Radley Balko is a right wing libertarian shitbag who is covered in right wing libertarian shit, and it's a shame he's used a phony 'critique' of police power to convince liberals he's an ally of vaguely 'left' causes re: police.

Eric Garner should be alive right now. I abhor prisons and jails, and would love them to all vanish into thin air this very minute, but if Rikers opens its doors for but one more body, I pray for it to belong to the little Napoleon cop fuck who killed Garner over something like $4 in lost tax revenue.
posted by still bill at 11:01 AM on December 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


Conservatives will never be allies in this because conservatives believe white people are not racist at all.

This is so manifestly untrue it makes my brain bleed. It's one of those statements I look at and wince. It's as cartoonish and grossly inaccurate an overgeneralization as any of the "Liberals are all like this" statements you'd hear on Fox News.

Moments of genuine consensus, even with qualifications, between left and right in this country are agonizingly rare, but please, take a huge shit all over this one, because that will certainly advance your cause.
posted by echocollate at 11:02 AM on December 4, 2014 [31 favorites]


Still doesn't mean I have to make common cause with crypto-fascists.

What does that actually mean? If a crypto-fascist is against burning down orphanages does that mean you have to be for it or you're one of him?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:02 AM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


I was curious what, if anything, people were saying about Critical Race Theory in regards to recent events. I was a little surprised to see that a lot of the results were from conservative publications condemning it as reverse racism etc. as well as some older pieces blasting Obama for his connection to Derrick Bell.

If there is substantive engagement from a popular conservative viewpoint with critiques of systemic racism, I'd genuinely like to see it.
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:02 AM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Radley Balko is a right wing libertarian shitbag who is covered in right wing libertarian shit, and it's a shame he's used a phony 'critique' of police power to convince liberals he's an ally of vaguely 'left' causes re: police.

Balko has gotten actual black people out of actual jail for actual unjust convictions. Have you?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:04 AM on December 4, 2014 [31 favorites]


American police are authorized and empowered to use force, within some very specific constraints which have evolved through legislation and legal precedent over the decades. These constraints are generally captured under a principal called the "Use of Force Continuum." a national set of standards which dictate how legal police force may be initiated and escalated, up to use of lethal force. The Continuum was developed in response to court cases setting a general standard that force muse be used in a manner consistent with professional police practices AND the officer's own departmental policies.

The Garner case is a clear an unequivocal case of a police officer acting OUTSIDE the legal protections of these standards, on two levels:
1) It was a clear, stipulated, unargued departure from NYPD's own policies on use of force. This alone legally transforms the act of choking a man into unlawful assault under color of authority.
2) It was a clear escalation of the use of force from mere restraint (empty hand control) to deadly force. Even striking a subject in the head with your flashlight constitutes an escalation to deadly force because it is likely to kill the subject - an officer is called upon to defend/explain that escalation after it occurs, and is accountable under the law if he fails to justify his/her decision. This escalation was almost certainly inappropriate for dealing with a man who was uncooperative struggling but NOT assaulting the several officers present.

The fact that this clear departure from the Use of Force Continuum resulted in the man's death is a clear case of negligent homicide or manslaughter. How the prosecutor running that Grand Jury talked them into no bill given the clear facts is beyond me.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 11:05 AM on December 4, 2014 [24 favorites]


Ok he became President and yet look at what has happened since then. Shoot, I'm still waiting for the tapes evidencing Michelle Obama saying bad things about Caucasians. The President and his Wife, the ultimate in respectability politics, occupying some of the most privileged positions in the land still can't escape the bullshit. This about the rest of us peons. Think about what MLK stood for and the fact that he still earned a bullet for his troubles and that a significant part of the population celebrated his death. I am under no illusions of where I live and who I am surrounded by. You may call what I have a fatalistic attitude but I like to deal with the reality of people as they are. Yes, non-blacks are less shitty than they were 50 years ago but the spectrum of shittiness is pretty long.
posted by RedShrek at 11:05 AM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


It should be a felony for a police officer to shoot or kill an unarmed person, regardless of whether the officer was subjectively afraid or not. I realize that systemic racism is much much bigger than that issue but it's still unfathomable to me that a fully armed agent of the state killing a barehanded person is seen as anything but an unnecessary loss of life, regardless of how big and scary the "suspect" might appear. The police have options other than guns, and they should be required to use them. It wouldn't solve police culture but it'd at least cut down on the number of pointless deaths while society gets its shit together.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:07 AM on December 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


Moments of genuine consensus, even with qualifications, between left and right in this country are agonizingly rare, but please, take a huge shit all over this one, because that will certainly advance your cause.

God, this is one of the other reasons I stopped organizing. It doesn't matter if your enemy helps you win or you win all by yourself! YOU ARE STILL WINNING!
posted by corb at 11:08 AM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is so manifestly untrue it makes my brain bleed. It's one of those statements I look at and wince. It's as cartoonish and grossly inaccurate an overgeneralization as any of the "Liberals are all like this" statements you'd hear on Fox News.

Go look at the right-wing commentary on Garner's death. Do any prominent conservatives acknowledge that the system is racist?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:08 AM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


the act of choking a man into unlawful assault under color of authority.

The irony of the legal wording quoted here. It burns.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:08 AM on December 4, 2014


Go look at the right-wing commentary on Garner's death. Do any prominent conservatives acknowledge that the system is racist?

The insistence on having everyone acknowledge things, rather than agreeing to disagree while pushing for specific policy solutions, is precisely the problem. Anyone who's ever negotiated knows that's not how you make progress.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:11 AM on December 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


The insistence on having everyone acknowledge things, rather than agreeing to disagree while pushing for specific policy solutions, is precisely the problem. Anyone who's ever negotiated knows that's not how you make progress.

This isn't a negotiation. It's an ongoing lynching.
posted by qi at 11:14 AM on December 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


rather than agreeing to disagree

It's not an either/or proposition. There can be pragmatic compromise on policy and education/advocacy about remaining problems at the same time. Also, some specific policy solutions will need to be joined with more systemic reforms in order to resolve a problem.
posted by audi alteram partem at 11:15 AM on December 4, 2014


God, this is one of the other reasons I stopped organizing. It doesn't matter if your enemy helps you win or you win all by yourself! YOU ARE STILL WINNING!

Sorry, what have these guys helped who win?
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on December 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


Balko has gotten actual black people out of actual jail for actual unjust convictions. Have you?

No, other than posting bail. I've also not done other things, like taken years and years worth of Koch money, argued against affirmative action and health care, worked closely with Karl Rove, defended SYG laws in the wake of the killing of Trayvon Martin, marketed CATO, called for privatizing social security and education, defended openly racist organizations, lobbied for big tobacco, or any number of other hideous things marking the highlights of Balko's disgusting career.

I have, though, given an awful lot of time, effort and attention to abolitionist causes. I will sleep just fine.

Also, gimme a fucking break with that silly kind of argument. I'm not required to match the resume of anyone I criticize. That's a fucking run around.
posted by still bill at 11:17 AM on December 4, 2014 [59 favorites]


It should absolutely not be flatly illegal for police to shoot unarmed persons. There are numerous stories and a lot of science studying how dangerous a unarmed person can be, even to a trained gunman. It's not a myth that Cops (and others) get killed with their own guns every year. People get beaten to death All. The. Time. These sorts of complexities are why the use of force is regulated and why each police use of force case needs to be examined on its own merits.

This last year Americans are paying new attention to the flaws in that examination process and the murderous outcomes of the resulting lack of accountability. The recent popular interest in this topic is a positive step forward in what has been and will continue to be a horrid, blood-soaked road towards better policing and (please God) a major change in White cultural outlook towards black people.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 11:17 AM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Go look at the right-wing commentary on Garner's death. Do any prominent conservatives acknowledge that the system is racist?

The insistence on having everyone acknowledge things, rather than agreeing to disagree while pushing for specific policy solutions, is precisely the problem.


I think maybe the question was raised because of the somewhat disingenuous framing of the post, with the whole "The death of Eric Garner is a rare subject that conservatives and liberals seem to agree on" thing. One side saying it's a bad thing because of systemic racism which results in the death of thousands of people per year and the other saying it's a bad thing because of taxes because they want to take a shot at the current administration kind of stretches the bounds of "agreement".
posted by poffin boffin at 11:19 AM on December 4, 2014 [23 favorites]


American politics is pretty much founded upon strange bedfellows and temporary alliances. You change the system with the forces of power you have, not the forces you wish you had.

And yes, Krauthammer is mendacious and likely knows that it's settled law that jeopardy doesn't attach at the grand jury.
posted by rhizome at 11:21 AM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Go look at the right-wing commentary on Garner's death. Do any prominent conservatives acknowledge that the system is racist?

Well, you could read the link I posted earlier. Your insistence on "prominent" conservatives seems kind of silly to me. You mean the right-wing talking heads whose livelihoods depend on shit stirring? Are those the only real conservatives, or just the conservatives with whom you're familiar?

A bunch of conservatives looked at a video of cops killing an unarmed black man and said woa this is fucked up, and if progressives were serious about changing the status quo they would see this as a rare opportunity to engage the other side to deepen the conversation and find some allies, rather than piss all over their adversaries legs for not throwing themselves on their knees and begging your pardon for being so wrong about so much for so long.
posted by echocollate at 11:24 AM on December 4, 2014 [20 favorites]


The ACLU has a brilliant pamphlet, What to Do If You Are Pulled Over, What to Do If You Are Arrested. Every high school kid, every college age kid should know this material. The teacher asked me to teach this, subbing in an English class one day. When I rotated out to the next class, the students asked me to teach it. It is annoying in some ways, but if it teaches kids to be polite at the time, it is good, if it will save lives, even better.

When armed people are fearful, bad things can happen.
posted by Oyéah at 11:27 AM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


if only we'd known that the cops were murderous, racist, roided out monsters

Here in Seattle we have a "low T" clinic advertising special discounts for cops on all the sports stations.
posted by jamjam at 11:29 AM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


You know, when you recognize a moron's opinion when he has a stopped clock moment you are adding weight to his other opinions. You cannot have it both ways.

Hitler liked dogs so I guess I want to kill jews? Come on. This purity brigade nonsense is embarrassing. Nobody's asking you to sign their manifesto, just use their willingness to work on the issue to get something we all want. Treating it like zero-sum because they have different motivations or major drivers is counter-productive insanity.
posted by phearlez at 11:31 AM on December 4, 2014 [26 favorites]


It should absolutely not be flatly illegal for police to shoot unarmed persons. There are numerous stories and a lot of science studying how dangerous a unarmed person can be, even to a trained gunman. It's not a myth that Cops (and others) get killed with their own guns every year. People get beaten to death All. The. Time. These sorts of complexities are why the use of force is regulated and why each police use of force case needs to be examined on its own merits.

Yes, that's why nonlethal/less-lethal equipment exists. It's designed to incapacitate someone who could hit you but not shoot you. Which is another reason Wilson should have been guilty of negligent homicide at minimum - solely for his decision not to carry a taser because he didn't feel like it, even if his testimony about Brown's actions were true.

If such a law would lead to more police deaths and fewer civilian deaths, I'll take that trade. Valuing police more than the people they're supposed to protect is part of the reason we're in this mess.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:37 AM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm glad a lot of conservatives recognize that a bad thing has happened, and I hope this represents an opportunity to reform American policing, but that reform effort is an enormous job, and I fear that conservatives and liberals have too different ideas of what the underlying problem is to agree on a practical solution.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:37 AM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


What exactly is the common goal supposed to be here? It appears to me that most of the conservatives in this post are trying to use Garner's death as an excuse to lower cigarette taxes. I'm not on board with that.
posted by burden at 11:37 AM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


Conservatives looked at a video of cops killing an unarmed black man and said woa this is fucked up, and if progressives were serious about changing the status quo they would see this as a rare opportunity to engage the other side to deepen the conversation and find some allies, rather than piss all over their adversaries legs for not throwing themselves on their knees and begging your pardon for being so wrong about so much for so long.


From the Podhoretz article:

Hence the brilliance of the notion that the first act of a functioning law-and-order system should be the reimposition of order not by arresting major criminals but by stopping low-level crime.

The theory, and it proved to be correct, was that there weren’t really two classes of criminal—the bad ones and the petty ones—but rather that criminality was a consistent kind of behavior.




The "Broken Window" theory of policing has in no way been proved to be correct.



What happened to Eric Garner was certainly not deliberate, but rather the result of a series of horrible choices. First, by Garner, to resist, and then by Officer Daniel Pantaleo to immobilize Garner by using an around-the-neck hold, which New York City cops are trained not to use (but which is not in fact illegal).


Aside from the weasel words around the restrictions on neck-holds, let's look at the actual incident. Garner, at the time of his death, was not actually selling loosies. In fact, police attention had been drawn to the fact that he had just broken up a fight. Furthermore, at no time is it explained to him why he is being questioned or arrested. Consider Eric Garner's final words:


"Get away [garbled] for what? Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I'm tired of it. It stops today. Why would you...? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn't do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because everytime you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me [garbled] Selling cigarettes. I'm minding my business, officer, I'm minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. please please, don't touch me. Do not touch me. [garbled] I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe."


Now I would think that the question for the Podhoretz is, "Does a citizen have the right to resist an unlawful arrest?"

But yeah, with friends like these...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:40 AM on December 4, 2014 [22 favorites]


I think maybe the question was raised because of the somewhat disingenuous framing of the post, with the whole "The death of Eric Garner is a rare subject that conservatives and liberals seem to agree on" thing. One side saying it's a bad thing because of systemic racism which results in the death of thousands of people per year and the other saying it's a bad thing because of taxes because they want to take a shot at the current administration kind of stretches the bounds of "agreement".

Precisely, but given the scale of this crisis, the left should call their bluff. More passengers on the social justice train is a good thing, even if they're certain to jump off later when they don't agree with the remedy. The left and the libertarian-leaning portion of the right have a shared interest in reining in the police state, so let's make tangible progress there. When it becomes about cigarette taxes or whatever, we tell them to piss up a rope.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:41 AM on December 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


I'm not a liberal. I'm not a conservative. I don't want what the liberal voices talking about this stuff want, and I damn sure don't want what conservative/right wing commentators discussed in the thread want. They are not allies, on this or nearly any other issue. At best, they want mild reforms of police tactics and procedures. That's not what I want, so they are not allies of mine. When they speak as allies, I will welcome them as allies, but until then they are opposition.
posted by still bill at 11:42 AM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Conservatives will never be allies in this because conservatives believe white people are not racist at all.

We've already lost the battle if we accept this. Which I don't. I know too many racist liberals, and too many honest conservatives, to accept it.
posted by kanewai at 11:43 AM on December 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


Ultimately this will lead to some new class of weapons, in fact, they are coming right up. After all, they just found the electrical off switch for human consciousness. I am sure product will soon leap off shelves.
posted by Oyéah at 11:43 AM on December 4, 2014


At best, they want mild reforms of police tactics and procedures. That's not what I want, so they are not allies of mine.

I'm actually kind of curious about this - can you expand? I mean, I completely understand thinking that mild reforms of police tactics and procedures wouldn't go far enough, but do you actually not want those reforms? Why?
posted by corb at 11:48 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


If such a law would lead to more police deaths and fewer civilian deaths, I'll take that trade.

More than 4,000 police officers have been killed in the line of duty since 1792. As of September 2012, 256 had been shot since 1945.

In the UK.

USA: 338 police officers were killed in last 3 years
107 in 2014
105 in 2013
126 in 2012

Ban guns. Fewer deaths all around.
posted by qi at 11:49 AM on December 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


Given that effective gun control is impossible, the best bang for the buck would likely be a law that compels prosecutors to yield to special prosecutors when they're investigating members of the law enforcement apparatus that they have cultural/social ties to. This could happen at the state level in some cases, but a federal law would be the only way to ensure it applies nationwide, and I suspect that would mean GOP support disappearing, even from purported critics of the police state like Sen. Paul.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:53 AM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Not him, but if we're assuming a condition along the lines of Krehbiel's "pivotal politics" model, slight reforms in the right direction might actually make it harder to make substantial reforms, because they create a new, apathy-promoting mediocrity. (An outcome in the "gridlock range", in Krehbiel's terms.)

Of course, this is assuming a system where preferences are directly reflected in 'keep or change' votes until an equilibrium is reached; the actual situation involves a more complicated system of entrenched, suppressed, or unacknowledged biases and factions.
posted by fifthrider at 11:54 AM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Now I would think that the question for the Podhoretz is, "Does a citizen have the right to resist an unlawful arrest?"

Representative persons among your ideological opposites will always have opinions and positions with which you disagree. What I'm saying is that there are conservatives who looked at that video and saw injustice and didn't immediately qualify that feeling in predictable terms of ahhh big gummint. These are the people progressives should be engaging, cautiously, generously, and making cause. Why would you even focus on the rest? They're not going to help you.
posted by echocollate at 11:56 AM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


the best bang for the buck would likely be a law that compels prosecutors to yield to special prosecutors when they're investigating members of the law enforcement apparatus that they have cultural/social ties to.

Why any caveats at all for fatalities? With a number of under 500 a year the cost of special prosecutors isn't onerous.

Why would you even focus on the rest? They're not going to help you.

Nobody's asking you to carry them across the river on your back. But if they can signal boost the issue and provide some votes why would you want to bloody their nose in the moment when they're standing on your side?

What's the overlap between this belief and folks who wish we'd gotten nothing rather than a reform that didn't include a public option? I'm guessing sizable.
posted by phearlez at 11:59 AM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


USA: 338 police officers were killed in last 3 years [...] Ban guns. Fewer deaths all around.

I mean, you're probably right. But that list includes everyone who died for any reason. Reasons like heart attacks and drowning.
posted by Justinian at 12:00 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm actually kind of curious about this - can you expand? I mean, I completely understand thinking that mild reforms of police tactics and procedures wouldn't go far enough, but do you actually not want those reforms? Why?

This shouldn't be about my personal politics, so I'll keep brief, and you basically already indicated that you understand my position; reform is not enough. On a practical level, I welcome reforms that ease the struggles of life for real people. Too often, though, reform serves to strengthen the legitimacy of the state, increase police power, and allow liberals and conservatives alike to walk away from tough problems feeling like they've solved them. In this particular conversation, the right seems to want to call reformist attention to tax issues, not the power of police to murder the poor and POC, while the liberal left wants to reform the chains of procedure that 'lead' to these police killings without ever considering the broader problem of Police. Not enough, from either direction, to speak to me personally.
posted by still bill at 12:01 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


qi: Ban guns

Actually, looking at those lists of line-of-duty deaths, a surprising number of them are heart attacks on duty and automobile accidents. I wish I had it in a spreadsheet so I could run the numbers.
posted by dis_integration at 12:02 PM on December 4, 2014


Nobody's asking you to carry them across the river on your back. But if they can signal boost the issue and provide some votes why would you want to bloody their nose in the moment when they're standing on your side?

No, I agree with you. That's kind of my point.
posted by echocollate at 12:03 PM on December 4, 2014


You are right - I saw that last sentence in the madness of my "why do we eat our own?!?" shirt-rending and lumped it in with other folks' jumping to distance themselves from allies with the wrong pedigree. Sorry!
posted by phearlez at 12:05 PM on December 4, 2014


I wish I had it in a spreadsheet so I could run the numbers.

Wikipedia has a (possibly incomplete) list in spreadsheet format
posted by bradf at 12:06 PM on December 4, 2014


Now I would think that the question for the Podhoretz is, "Does a citizen have the right to resist an unlawful arrest?"

The Garner case is a clear an unequivocal case of a police officer acting OUTSIDE the legal protections of these standards, on two levels:
1) It was a clear, stipulated, unargued departure from NYPD's own policies on use of force. This alone legally transforms the act of choking a man into unlawful assault under color of authority.


Given that, I think a more interesting question would be whether in this case (or presumably similar ones) a passerby would have been justified under Section 35.15 of the New York Penal Code in using deadly force against the officers to save Mr. Garner's life.
posted by Naberius at 12:06 PM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


The only thing you can be certain of there is that the answer would be determined posthumously.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:08 PM on December 4, 2014 [21 favorites]


Actually, looking at those lists of line-of-duty deaths, a surprising number of them are heart attacks on duty and automobile accidents. I wish I had it in a spreadsheet so I could run the numbers.

I worked with the Baltimore numbers for the last 10 years over in this thread (see also subsequent comments). Interesting stuff. Mostly automotive, not always even on-duty (so might not have been in official stats vs the police tribute thing I pulled the list from) and of the 3 shootings one of them was "friendly fire."
posted by phearlez at 12:10 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


No law enforcement officer can decline to perform his or her job...

Well, unless your boss is running for the US Senate.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:11 PM on December 4, 2014


Actually, looking at those lists of line-of-duty deaths, a surprising number of them are heart attacks on duty and automobile accidents.

Then Ban Doughnuts?

The 'Shot to death' category would still be exponentially higher for teh USA than UK since 1945.
posted by qi at 12:11 PM on December 4, 2014


Those police-officer-only forums...I know I pound on about a "sane society" but in a sane society, posting bullshit about "thugs" someplace like that would be instant firing. many police seem an awful lot like a bunch of cowards strapping on a uniform to compensate for their weaknesses when they're not just outright thugs themselves.
posted by maxwelton at 12:12 PM on December 4, 2014 [13 favorites]


The left-libertarian coalition is like fusion power or "The Year of Linux on the Desktop". I would love it to happen, and it is something that looks like it should be possible on paper, but it just never materializes.
posted by charred husk at 12:13 PM on December 4, 2014 [9 favorites]


These are the people progressives should be engaging, cautiously, generously, and making cause. Why would you even focus on the rest? They're not going to help you.


I seriously doubt that water-carrier for the establishment, former Reagan/Bush (Sr.) staffer, and shill for the Iraq war John Podhoretz is going to help me, either.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:15 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think there's something to be said for this being in NYC. The only thing libertarians hate more than they love cops is New York City.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:19 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Logging is the most dangerous profession in the US, on a list where policing doesn't even make the top ten. If we are to hold police to a lower standard in justifying homicides because of the inherent risk of their profession, then we should stay the fuck away from lumberjacks.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:19 PM on December 4, 2014 [14 favorites]


The left-libertarian coalition is like fusion power or "The Year of Linux on the Desktop". I would love it to happen, and it is something that looks like it should be possible on paper, but it just never materializes.

Yeah, and this thread helps explain why.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:26 PM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


So let's say that left-wing social justice activists and right-Libertarian types get together to resist the increased militarization of police forces, and the out-of-control behaviors of their officers. Then what? Where to from there?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:30 PM on December 4, 2014


The U.S. Justice Department and Cleveland reached an agreement Thursday to overhaul the city’s police department after federal investigators concluded that officers use excessive and unnecessary force far too often and have endangered the public and their fellow officers with their recklessness.

The report says specially trained officers assigned to investigate those cases “admitted to us that they conduct their investigations with the goal of casting the accused officer in the most positive light possible.”

The investigation also found that officers are suspended for use of force “at an unreasonably low frequency.” The Justice Department said only six officers had been suspended for improper uses of force in three years.

posted by parallellines at 12:31 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Where to from there?

End the drug war.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:32 PM on December 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull:
"So let's say that left-wing social justice activists and right-Libertarian types get together to resist the increased militarization of police forces, and the out-of-control behaviors of their officers? Then what? Where to from there?"
Part of the problem is all we can really hope for is signal boosting. Once it gets time for actual legislative work you're not dealing with libertarians anymore, you're dealing with Republicans. Actual, "we have common ground" libertarians don't really have any power anywhere.
posted by charred husk at 12:33 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


You mean the right-wing talking heads whose livelihoods depend on shit stirring? Are those the only real conservatives, or just the conservatives with whom you're familiar?

You forgot to mention a representative and a senator. You know, actual conservatives who have some power.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:37 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Charles Pierce: The Eric Garner Case And Police Lawlessness
posted by homunculus at 12:41 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


But the "no law enforcement officer can decline to perform his or her job" is not in any way true;

No duty to protect, not even if you're being murdered.
posted by phearlez at 12:45 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Where to from there?

End the drug war.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:32 PM on December 4 [1 favorite +] [!]


Stop unnecessary foreign wars.
Stop incarcerating people for non-violent crimes.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:46 PM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


End any restrictions on reproductive and abortion rights?

Remove all references to religion from any instruments of the state?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:49 PM on December 4, 2014


Now you're just talking crazy talk.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:53 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Close libraries!
posted by Artw at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2014


Once it gets time for actual legislative work you're not dealing with libertarians anymore, you're dealing with Republicans. Actual, "we have common ground" libertarians don't really have any power anywhere.

They may not have power, but they have access, and sometimes the difference between those two is vanishingly small.
posted by corb at 12:57 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Or to make it more clear: Republicans who may want to do the right thing or could be persuaded to do the right thing aren't going to do it if the only people asking from it are from the left. They'd get gutted in primaries. But if libertarians or libertarian-leaning Republicans are asking for it, they can sell it at home - and possibly gain the support of libertarian leaning Republicans, who show up to primaries like gangbusters.
posted by corb at 12:58 PM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


No duty to protect, not even if you're being murdered.

I would also politely suggest that, if the police are not there to serve the purpose we've all been told they're there to serve, it might behoove us to put a little thought into just what purpose they are there to serve...
posted by Naberius at 12:59 PM on December 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


Republicans who may want to do the right thing or could be persuaded to do the right thing aren't going to do it if the only people asking from it are from the left.

To add to this, how many conservatives would want to lower the huge numbers of white cops shooting unarmed black kids, but then don't want to because liberals are mean about it?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:04 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Republicans who may want to do the right thing or could be persuaded to do the right thing aren't going to do it if the only people asking from it are from the left.

If it's the right thing to do, then that doesn't change depending on who's asking.
posted by qi at 1:17 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Knox County [Tenn] cop fired immediately after photos show brutal choking of student

As a Knox County citizen, I can confidently say that the reason this officer was fired immediately was because the person being choked was a white young adult male.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 1:22 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


As a Knox County citizen, I can confidently say that the reason this officer was fired immediately was because the person being choked was a white young adult male.

I was JUST coming in to say, "As someone who grew up in Knox County....." Jinx, SkylitDrawl.
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:34 PM on December 4, 2014


Was Pantaleo Just Not Violent Enough for Right-Wingers?
These guys sound serious about this.

But I'm going to engage in some irresponsible speculation and argue that what they're reacting to is not excessive force on the part of Officer Pantaleo but inadequate force. I think if Officer Pantaleo had pulled out his gun and shot Eric Garner, right-wingers would be defending the cop -- even if we had a videotape that was essentially identical apart from the cause of death, with Garner clearly not engaging in violent resistance.

Think about it. What would have happened if Pantaleo had shot Garner and the whole incident had been captured on video? He and his lawyer would have cooked up a cockamamie story about Garner faking his breathlessness while furtively reaching for a weapon, or seeming to, a gesture that might have been invisible on the videotape but was obvious to the cop, who simply had to respond with lethal force.

What right-wing pundit would question that story?

Pantaleo didn't give these guys enough violence. He wasn't the cultural avenger they crave, the warrior they worship. Perhaps more important, unlike Darren Wilson or George Zimmermanm, Pantaleo didn't try to portray himself as Garner's victim. Right-wing pundits crave victimhood, too. He didn't deliver.

Watch what happens when there's no indictment of the cop who shot twelve-year-old Tamir Rice for playing with a toy gun -- there'll be no right-wing outrage, even though that incident is, if anything, more horrifying than this one, and was caught on video as well. A cop claimed to be in fear. He did the manly thing and shot to kill. And right-wing pundits have expressed no qualms whatsoever.

posted by tonycpsu at 1:35 PM on December 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


The appropriate time for compromise with the enemy is during negotiations, not protests.
posted by LogicalDash at 2:18 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Knox County [Tenn] cop fired immediately after photos show brutal choking of student

Am I too cynical in assuming he stands a good chance of being reinstated if he chooses to fight his firing.


I don't see how, as long as they gave him the right to respond to the termination. Would be really hard for any judge or arbitrator to rule for the officer.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:31 PM on December 4, 2014


About that cop fired for choking a student...
posted by hades at 2:31 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


About that cop fired for choking a student...

The agency settled. They do in 90% of cases of all public employees. He's off the street, their job is done. Its actually not much of a settlement because there is usually no grounds to deny a pension in public service.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:42 PM on December 4, 2014


Nice, instead of having to work for his pay, he can just get paid to not work anymore.

Maybe we should just do that with the rest of the police? Pay them to stop killing folks?
posted by rustcrumb at 2:43 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nice, instead of having to work for his pay, he can just get paid to not work anymore.

Maybe we should just do that with the rest of the police? Pay them to stop killing folks?


You can't deny a public employee his or her pension because they already did the work that entitles them to the pension. Its taking away something already earned. Same as the pension plans others pay into. Its payment for current service in the form of deferred payments.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:45 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


He's off the street, their job is done.

I don't mind him drawing a pension; I do kind of mind him being able to say he wasn't dismissed for cause, when he was.
posted by hades at 2:47 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Turns out that there is a Get Out of Jail, Free card - it's called a badge.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:47 PM on December 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


Can we get some police down on the floor of the nyse to choke some white tax-evaders to death - on video? Ya' know - just to demonstrate equal protection.</rageOfImpotenceThoughtsSpiral>
posted by j_curiouser at 2:49 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


How the prosecutor running that Grand Jury talked them into no bill given the clear facts is beyond me.

Also, that the prosecutor talked a jury into exonerating the prosecuted.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:51 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm trying and failing to understand the mind of someone who watches a video of a 43 year old father having the life choked out of him and concludes that the real issue is that cigarette taxes are too high. Who's brain thinks that way?
posted by octothorpe at 2:54 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ideology first, octothorpe. Then facts, as long as they don't show the ideology for the craven fuck-you that it is.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:56 PM on December 4, 2014


If my experience as a public employee is any indication, the state can come and steal your pension whenever they feel like it.
posted by aaronetc at 3:14 PM on December 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


You can't deny a public employee his or her pension because they already did the work that entitles them to the pension.

City and state governments do this all the time.
posted by rtha at 3:20 PM on December 4, 2014 [10 favorites]


Yeah, and it's bullshit when they do it as well. He was a bad cop, but he did the work, he shouldn't have his pension taken away from him.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:24 PM on December 4, 2014 [2 favorites]


Pensions for all civil servants should be prorated based on years served--they are in some places. He should (be tried on criminal charges and sent to jail) only be eligible for the amount of pension earned up until the day he murdered an unarmed man.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:37 PM on December 4, 2014 [3 favorites]


Granted this is sourced from 5 seconds of googling, but it looks like being discharged from military service under anything other than honorable circumstances disqualifies one from most veterans benefits (source).

Seems like it would be very common-sense for police employment contracts to include similar terms.

Even lacking such terms, it's outrageous that this officer can end his employment as if he has simply elected to take early retirement, and not because he assaulted a handcuffed citizen.
posted by rustcrumb at 3:51 PM on December 4, 2014 [8 favorites]


...multiple conservative pundits suggesting an "Enough!" moment. Even torture apologist Andrew McCarthy has ventured to suggest that "I thus cannot in good conscience say there was insufficient probable cause to indict Officer Pantaleo for involuntary manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide." Libertarians have long been active and highly effective critics of police violence, but Reason magazine's support for a federal investigation is unusual.

Sokath, his eyes uncovered.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:56 PM on December 4, 2014 [6 favorites]


Since cigarette taxes don't actually decrease smoking, and the funds aren't redistributed to anti-smoking programs aimed directly at the lower-income people they disproportionately affect, they end up as regressive taxes. Because of that, if we can move toward a policy shift where we simultaneously decrease the taxes on cigarettes along with changes in the law that increase the threshold for turning summons offenses into criminal offenses and put a higher burden on police to justify their use of force, including increased penalties for unjustified use of force and a diminishment of the qualified immunity, I'd be entirely willing to take that trade.

That's one of the things that seems to be lacking from this discussion's thesis: If this is an opportunity to unite the right and left against police and governmental overreach, what are the specific policy proposals that will do that? Because otherwise, if there's no goal to work toward and the reasons for opposing this lack of indictment seem so ephemerally aligned and leading toward different intended outcomes, I don't think that this nominal coalition will amount to much.
posted by klangklangston at 4:04 PM on December 4, 2014 [5 favorites]


Now I would think that the question for the Podhoretz is, "Does a citizen have the right to resist an unlawful arrest?"

And it should be pointed out, Eric Garner did not resist arrest. He resisted being choked to death. He resisted being murdered in cold blood, in broad daylight, on camera, on the streets of the most populous city in the United States of America.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:08 PM on December 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


Pensions for all civil servants should be prorated based on years served--they are in some places. He should (be tried on criminal charges and sent to jail) only be eligible for the amount of pension earned up until the day he murdered an unarmed man.

Pensions are collectively-bargained benefits often taken in lieu of salary or other benefits. If management agrees to award them in full after a short vesting period, that's the deal. What is the justification for applying this limitation on the scope of the labor agreement for municipal employees but not other unions? Or do you think pensions should always be pro-rated, and that no union should ever be allowed to negotiate other vesting schedules?
posted by tonycpsu at 4:16 PM on December 4, 2014


I think if you abrogate your duty to protect your fellow citizens you lose some of the benefits accrued from the special position in society you have been given. He should absolutely get the pension he earned up until the day he murdered an unarmed man. What rankles is that even if Pantoleo loses his job now, he's going to walk away with the same money as if he retired. That's horseshit.

Note that I would only endorse this in a narrow range of situations--like murdering unarmed civilians. Part of the problem is that are basically no consequences at all for malfeasance by cops. I'm happy by now to start getting draconian until they get the point.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:29 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Eric Garner’s Death Won’t Even Show Up in FBI Stats on Police Homicides" from the now-they're-on-our-side Reason.

But then... (yes, I've linked this before, but it is SO relevant)
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:32 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is there anything to be gained by using deliberately inflammatory language to describe the police and prosecutors? That is, if enough people said that Bob McCulloch or the prosecutor in this case is an accessory to murder and guilty of criminal conspiracy, could they be provoked into filing suit for slander? Then they'd have to prove they weren't corrupt in a court. I guess that's pretty far fetched now I see it written down.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:44 PM on December 4, 2014


Is there anything to be gained by using deliberately inflammatory language to describe the police and prosecutors?

To do otherwise would be to hide the truth.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:52 PM on December 4, 2014 [15 favorites]


The facts are inflammatory.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:36 PM on December 4, 2014 [12 favorites]


BigLankyBastard: This escalation was almost certainly inappropriate for dealing with a man who was uncooperative struggling but NOT assaulting the several officers present.
I keep seeing this and words like it. "Garner was resisting." I don't know what video everybody else watched, but what I saw was a little cop who tried to perform a take-down of a big dude and failed. Calling it resistance after the cop started choking him to death and he tried to pry the cop's arm lose is pretty goddamned thin.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:59 PM on December 4, 2014 [7 favorites]


There is literally no action a black man can take that will not be called "resisting arrest" by the police.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:10 PM on December 4, 2014 [25 favorites]


Before the choking started, and the cops are advancing on him and he's just saying "Don't touch me. Please don't touch me." The ability to control who touches your body, to have agency over who is allowed to touch you, and the fact that his ability to say no is stripped (because POLICE) made me sick. I mean, it's one thing if someone is physically coming at a police officer and needs to be restrained, but he was just standing there saying "Please don't touch me."
posted by Weeping_angel at 6:19 PM on December 4, 2014 [24 favorites]


Garner's "resistance" was to put his hands above his head. The exact thing we all (even cop supporters!) agreed was the opposite of resistance in Ferguson.

(Okay, he also turned around. That's not resisting arrest, that's the hokey pokey.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:31 PM on December 4, 2014 [4 favorites]


Here's another choking incident with a different result. (white victim, survived, cop IMMEDIATELY fired)
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:42 PM on December 4, 2014


the reasons for opposing this lack of indictment seem so ephemerally aligned

This is always my concern about left-libertarian coalition pushes. There are libertarians out there in the trenches long-term on police brutality (Radley Balko is one) but I never expect lasting alliance on even those narrow issues beyond those few folks. And I say that as a person with "you don't make peace with your allies" expectations for coalition-building.
posted by immlass at 6:47 PM on December 4, 2014


Timothy Loehmann, the "rookie" Cleveland cop who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice, had previously resigned from the City of Independence Police Department (for personal reasons) after the Deputy Chief recommended he be released due to a pattern emotional immaturity and circumventing direction. .pdf
posted by The Hamms Bear at 7:13 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Stopped Clock Coalition: leftists and libertarians.
posted by telstar at 7:19 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Shoot a little girl asleep on her couch to death with an SMG, get off scott-free! Guess what color her skin is before you click.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:54 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]




Downtown Seattle, earlier
posted by Artw at 8:08 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also:

Fuck Giuliani.

Fuck Peter King.

And Rand Paul's hairpiece is probably smarter than he is.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:12 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, it's clearly got a mind of its own.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:23 PM on December 4, 2014


Here's the NYT's summary / thin live blog of the protests.

I'd be interested to know if anyone has run across a better comprehensive summary of the protests, either from tonight or from the past several days...
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:30 PM on December 4, 2014


Rand Pauls' campaign tour:
"The Trouble with Quibbles"
will be cancelled due to higher gasoline taxes that help fix the roads that transports the ciggerettes.
posted by clavdivs at 9:12 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


I've been trying to think of ways to discuss race with other (white) people in a way that doesn't cause them to immediately shut down. I'm talking about the ones who imo are not racist out of maliciousness, but out of ignorance. The ones that think we live in a post-racial society because Obama and Oprah, the ones who are into the #alllivesmatter bullshit, the ones who maybe might think that reverse racism is a thing. Because I know people like this and I am positive that they would never think of themselves as being racist. Because they don't actually recognize modern day racism. Racism doesn't go away, it just changes. Modern day racism isn't slavery, it's voter ID laws. It isn't calling people "savages" or the n-word, it's calling people "thugs". It's government-sanctioned housing segregation, redlining, the school-to-prison pipeline, the war on drugs and a bunch of other things. If you can't legally own and enslave another human being, you can indirectly hurt them economically, educationally and through the justice system. I think a hell of a lot of people don't understand this institutionalized racism - they only understand it in the abstract, historical sense.

So I'm trying to kind of organize my own thoughts around this because I want to be able to talk to people I know about it in an effective way. So that when someone says something along the lines of - it's terrible he died, but he shouldn't have been resisting arrest/stealing/wearing a hoodie, I can say in a coherent way why I think that's a problematic statement in a way that makes sense to them. I have a couple links that I've gathered so far which I'll leave here for now and when I'm less tired than I am right now I'll try to put together a better dialogue around this.

8 Things White People Really Need to Understand About Race

18 Things White People Should Know/Do Before Discussing Racism

What White People Need to Know and Do After Ferguson

Jay Smooth on Ferguson, Riots and Human Limits

Nicholas Kristof on what ‘whites just don’t get’ about racial inequality
posted by triggerfinger at 9:27 PM on December 4, 2014 [22 favorites]


There was someone on NPR who literally said approximately "I know police officers without a racist bone in their body, but they are afraid of large black men."

Uhh, I dunno, that sounds pretty racist to me?
posted by BungaDunga at 9:33 PM on December 4, 2014 [13 favorites]



Since I can't erase my quibble skit.
given a literal approximation of the NPR qoute, in what context was it given.
posted by clavdivs at 10:05 PM on December 4, 2014


The Stages of What Happens When There’s Injustice Against Black People, "Luvvie", Awesomely Luvvie, 04 December 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 11:15 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


If It Happened There: Courts Sanction Killings by U.S. Security Forces - Slate piece that's bleakly, very bleakly, wry and sad.
posted by viggorlijah at 12:35 AM on December 5, 2014




We've enough non-lethal technology that it's not unreasonable to say :

No one may hold office in law enforcement, including cops, prosecutors, judges, and their staff, nor receive a full pension associated with pervious work in said capacity, if their actions have resulted in the death of another person.

No worries about justifiable homicide, etc. If you've ever killed anyone in any circumstances, including war, then you may not be a cop or other officer of the court, period end of discussion.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:51 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]




["Italian name = mafia" derail deleted.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:33 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know why the right is so up in arms over this? It's not because they suddenly care about black people. It's because Garner's alleged crime was selling untaxed cigarettes, and nothing quite gets the right riled up like the prospect of the government collecting taxes. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm glad people are outraged about this, but let's not assume a lot of these people have suddenly grown a conscience. This isn't a "black lives matter" thing. This is a "big government is evil" thing. A broken clock is right twice a day, and that's all this is.
posted by dortmunder at 9:53 AM on December 4 [115 favorites +] [!]


The quote above, which was the second one posted in this thread, is pretty indicative of why liberal lamentations fall on deaf ears everywhere except here on the blue.

As much as blaming Garner's death on racism, either perceived or real, satiates the assumptions of a liberal's worldview, the narrowness of the racism charge has no real practical application towards serving justice towards Garner's killers and preventing the police from killing innocent people (black, white, or other) in the future.

When I read Mefi, and other liberal writings, it is clear that most view racism as an endemic and entrenched mindset of the 50% of the population that regularly votes Republican. To the extent this is true, calling racists out on their racism would seem to me to be an obviously wasted effort. If half the population is racist, whether that populations knows it or not, and they are happy to go through life thinking possibly racist thoughts, then the practical effect of liberals accusing racists of racism is going to be close to nil.

Given the entrenched racism in this country, it is paradoxical to believe that calling contented racists, "racists", is going to eliminate racism.

Conservatives, while possibly blind to the overt racism liberals seem to see, believe the killing of innocents by the state (black, white, other) is the natural inclination of the state, at the extreme, but avoidable in the interim. Even for the most racist conservatives, there is a general level of acceptance that taking away the power of the state to kill innocents is going to benefit the black community, despite not likely caring either way since they hate black people as everyone here knows.

The liberal's belief that racists can be reformed, despite no apparent progress in the effort to reform contented racists by calling them racists, doesn't have any real world benefit to the innocents that are supposed to be the recipients of their good intentions. There can be no progress because the racism is a core component of the non-liberal soul, or so it appears from reading the blue.

Since there is little apparent hope of reforming the racist mind, and attempts to do so have not worked and presumably won't going forward, the conservatives attempts to limit the states ability to kill people might have the practical, if unintended effect, of reducing the white cop on black person death rate. The only way to do this is to limit the contact between racist white cops and innocent black people. The state should stop giving the police more excuses to confront innocent blacks because the ingrained racism of the police results in violence against blacks.
posted by otto42 at 6:08 AM on December 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Have you ever heard of the Overton Window?
posted by wuwei at 6:18 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


So I'm trying to kind of organize my own thoughts around this because I want to be able to talk to people I know about it in an effective way.

my only thought so far has been that if we, as a culture, can find resting bitch face a concept that is all LOL TRUE which has hilarious real effects in terms of how people react to your fucking face then can we not just make another tiny leap and see that there is also a resting thug/crime/threat face (life??) assigned to non-white people? and that this also has real effects?
posted by skrozidile at 6:22 AM on December 5, 2014


The only way to do this is to limit the contact between racist white cops and innocent black people.

We don't live in a system where there are "innocent" black people. Black people, especially men, are criminalized from practically the moment they can walk; this is one way a police officer can characterize a 12-year-old as a 20-year-old and shoot him in literally two seconds.

Since there is little apparent hope of reforming the racist mind, and attempts to do so have not worked

We obviously still have a ton of work to do, but have you paid attention to the last 50 years? To say there has been no progress is so flatly and obviously untrue that I wonder what the what. (Usually when I hear something like this, the not-very-sub subtext is that we should stop talking about racism already and just implement technical means that will of course "fix" racism by outlawing it. For the record, I think that some technical fixes are absolutely required, especially when it comes to people who carry guns and are charged with enforcing The Law, but it's laughable to me that that would be the sole or best solution.)
posted by rtha at 6:29 AM on December 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yelling at people to make them feel ashamed when they say or do something bad is in fact a tried and true way of affecting change.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:53 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yelling at people to make them feel ashamed when they say or do something bad is in fact a tried and true way of affecting change.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:53 AM on December 5 [+] [!]


No doubt, but only for people that have something to be ashamed of. When you yell at people who do not have anything to be ashamed of, the small group of ashamed and the larger group of not ashamed stop listening to the yelling.
posted by otto42 at 8:10 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


You're not aiming for the unrepentant dead-ender bigots, you're aiming for the ones at the margin who engage in bigotry because it's "part of their culture", or because they just haven't learned any other way to be. When you get them, suddenly the dead-enders are a bit lonelier. You keep picking people off from the moderate side until the dead-enders are all alone.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:15 AM on December 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


I'm not an activist, affecting change isn't my goal, telling the truth is. If someone is acting like a racist fuckwit, I'll tell them.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:16 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


When I read Mefi, and other liberal writings, it is clear that most view racism as an endemic and entrenched mindset of the 50% of the population that regularly votes Republican.

I don't think this part is true at all, though. Sure, Republicans are racist, but so are Democrats and libertarians and Green party members and basically every white person in America. I have unconscious racist biases, I'm blinded by my privilege constantly, and it's a constant project to identify racist tropes I've taken on board just from living in American culture and try to eliminate them from my thinking. I try hard, and the last few weeks have been really eye-opening about how much work we all still have left to do, but I am definitely still racist just like basically every white person in the US, if for no other reason but that I grew up in a racist culture. I work hard to be as unracist as possible but it would be absolutely dishonest for me or basically any other white person in the US to pretend that they are totally, 100% not racist. It's kind of a weird contradiction - in my experience, the less racist a person is, the more likely they are to know and admit that they're still racist because they've critically examined their beliefs and subconscious biases and they know there's always more work to do.

So maybe there's a misunderstanding happening; when most white liberals I know talk about racism at a personal level, they're talking about it like it's something we all partake of and something that we each have to work on, not just some intrinsic property of Republicans or anything as you assert. It's not a fundamental thing that's totally immutable for any given person, it's a pattern of thinking and a series of poor heuristic shortcuts that we all have to deal with living in a racist society (that is, at the very least, a society that was built on slavery and still hasn't fully recovered from that legacy).

Then there's racism as a structural construct, which doesn't pertain to any individual person but rather to our system as a whole. Republicans tend to uphold structurally racist laws (like being in favor of 3-strikes-style punishment or the drug war) but so do Democrats (again, they've been hugely supportive of the drug war), so it doesn't break down that easily here either.

Anyway, I just think if you're casting racism or anti-racism in strictly political terms, it isn't going to make a lot of sense because both parties support structural racism in some fashion and both parties are made up largely of people who harbor some degree of racism in their thinking, since it's basically unavoidable as a white person in America. For the most part, liberals who talk about racism are talking about it like it's something that applies to all of us.

One result of this difference in how one sees racism (as something that pertains to everyone vs. something that only pertains to Bad People) is how people react to being called out on that racism; some people say "Oh my gosh, I did say something inadvertently racist, I'm so sorry and I had no intention of hurting you!" while others respond "fuck you for calling me a racist, that's a personal attack." Obviously I think one approach is more constructive than the other but seeing racism as something we all partake of living in a racist society makes it much easier to respond to a callout gracefully, because you don't have so much invested in seeing yourself as 100% not racist.
posted by dialetheia at 8:36 AM on December 5, 2014 [15 favorites]


I'm not an activist, affecting change isn't my goal, telling the truth is. If someone is acting like a racist fuckwit, I'll tell them.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:16 AM on December 5 [1 favorite +] [!]


Am I a racist fuckwit?
posted by otto42 at 8:37 AM on December 5, 2014


affecting change isn't my goal,

That explains a lot.

Conservatives, while possibly blind to the overt racism liberals seem to see, believe the killing of innocents by the state (black, white, other) is the natural inclination of the state, at the extreme, but avoidable in the interim. Even for the most racist conservatives, there is a general level of acceptance that taking away the power of the state to kill innocents is going to benefit the black community, despite not likely caring either way since they hate black people as everyone here knows.


A thousand times, yes. Where the liberaltarian alliance has tremendous potential is the enacting of systemic changes that can reduce cop deaths whether or not the system, or the individual officer, is racist. Independent prosecutors, body cameras, prohibitions on physical contact outside of a felony in progress, all these are changes that can save people's lives whatever the motivation for implementing them.

But so many would-be progressive activists refuse to talk about what changes can be made until everyone agrees with their analysis of why change is needed, and therefore never get anything done. Libertarians, by contrast, are cheerfully willing to team up with people they otherwise disagree with in order to get specific policies changed, which is what makes them able to punch above their weight politically (that and the usefulness of their anti-regulatory stance to rich polluters). Of course, this approach also means their desired policies often get watered way down, sometimes to the point of being counterproductive. But it beats the total impotence of leftist coalition-breaking.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:41 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


otto42: Am I a racist fuckwit?

In addition to needlessly personalizing the discussion, your response alters MisantropicPainForest's statement from the original "if someone is acting like a racist fuckwit" to "if someone is a racist fuckwit."
posted by tonycpsu at 8:43 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Libertarians, by contrast, are cheerfully willing to team up with people they otherwise disagree with in order to get specific policies changed, which is what makes them able to punch above their weight politically (that and the usefulness of their anti-regulatory stance to rich polluters).

OK but again, which policies? Cigarette taxes? Accountability for police shootings? Use of force regulations? We have to be more specific.
posted by dialetheia at 8:50 AM on December 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


"No worries about justifiable homicide, etc. If you've ever killed anyone in any circumstances, including war, then you may not be a cop or other officer of the court, period end of discussion."

That's a totally unworkable and terrible idea.

"Even for the most racist conservatives, there is a general level of acceptance that taking away the power of the state to kill innocents is going to benefit the black community, despite not likely caring either way since they hate black people as everyone here knows."

Except for two things: First, your description more closely matches libertarians than conservatives. There's a strong authoritarian streak in conservatism, especially as practiced by the GOP, the "party of law and order." Within that, there's a strong assumption that the actions of the state are justified to enforce order, even if it ends up killing innocent people. See: Debates on the death penalty.

Second, getting white people to see black people as innocent is not a given. For example, there's a classic psychology experiment that shows two people fighting, one white and one black, one of them with a knife. Regardless of who is actually holding the knife, people tend to remember the black person having it. The racist presumption of guilt can be also seen in a lot of rhetoric around the Garner case, the Brown case, the Martin case, etc.

So on both counts, you're reasoning from dubious assumptions.
posted by klangklangston at 8:56 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


"But it beats the total impotence of leftist coalition-breaking."

This is worth addressing too: The coalitions on the left/liberal end actually have gotten quite a bit done. It's just that there's so much left to do. One big example over the last decade or so? Marriage for same-sex couples. What left/liberals have been less effective at is addressing the underlying economic issues that synergize with racism (and sexism, etc.) and leave people like Eric Garner out on the corner selling loosies.
posted by klangklangston at 9:00 AM on December 5, 2014


All the above said, this is promising.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:02 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


The coalitions on the left/liberal end actually have gotten quite a bit done. It's just that there's so much left to do. One big example over the last decade or so? Marriage for same-sex couples

That's a rather poor example, though. Gay marriage was something that liberals wanted, libertarians could get behind, conservatives hated, and leftists loathed. Recall that "The Case For Gay Marriage" was written and published by Metafilter bete noir Andrew Sullivan, and the whole idea of gay marriage was despised by gay leftists, who saw it as assimilationist. The success of gay marriage is a strike against the left, not a credit.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:04 AM on December 5, 2014


and leftists loathed. Recall that "The Case For Gay Marriage" was written and published by Metafilter bete noir Andrew Sullivan, and the whole idea of gay marriage was despised by gay leftists, who saw it as assimilationist.

Holy shit. You're seriously using Andrew fucking Sullivan as your stand-in to try to make it look like a significant number of conservatives favored gay marriage, and unnamed "gay leftists" to make it look like a significant number of liberals opposed it.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:08 AM on December 5, 2014 [12 favorites]


"That's a rather poor example, though. Gay marriage was something that liberals wanted, libertarians could get behind, conservatives hated, and leftists loathed. Recall that "The Case For Gay Marriage" was written and published by Metafilter bete noir Andrew Sullivan, and the whole idea of gay marriage was despised by gay leftists, who saw it as assimilationist. The success of gay marriage is a strike against the left, not a credit."

No, a majority of libertarians oppose marriage for same-sex couples even in 2013. And leftists were mixed on gay marriage; it's a lot more complicated than describing them as hating it unless you're trying to win by definition. Queer theorists generally oppose it, but plenty of leftists support it, it's just never been their top priority. Sullivan supports it, but his support was idiosyncratic from the right and he was basically alone for years on it (as one of the few gay conservatives who were out).
posted by klangklangston at 9:16 AM on December 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


This has devolved into the realm of the absurd. Left/liberals greatest civil rights achievement in decades is actually an achievement by conservatives? What next? pointing out that Lincoln was a republican and that Byrd was a KKK member? Give me a break.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:53 AM on December 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also Andrew Sullivan is a conservative, unless he stands to personally benefit from a liberal policy, then he's totes liberal. Which in a way makes him a platonic ideal of a conservative.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:54 AM on December 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


A couple of things that to me introduce clear conflicts of interest:

* the state benefiting financially from property seizures and various types of tickets other than parking tickets
* quotas for police (arrests, whatever)

Here's a crazy dream: What if police departments did CUSTOMER SATISFACTION surveys and the cops were assessed based on how citizens in their beat areas viewed them?
posted by freecellwizard at 10:12 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Not sure where you're getting "conservative achievement," when what I said was:

liberals wanted, libertarians could get behind, conservatives hated, and leftists loathed.

As for libertarians, a quick scan of Reason magazine shows articles that just assume gay marriage is the right position.

Gay marriage was a liberal achievement, hated by conservatives and leftists. Thanks to some very smart organizing and coalition building, it rolled over conservatives. Leftists, as usual, broke their own coalition and got nothing.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:54 AM on December 5, 2014


This thread is why we can't have nice things.
posted by ocschwar at 11:01 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's a rather poor example, though. Gay marriage was something that liberals wanted, libertarians could get behind, conservatives hated, and leftists loathed. Recall that "The Case For Gay Marriage" was written and published by Metafilter bete noir Andrew Sullivan, and the whole idea of gay marriage was despised by gay leftists, who saw it as assimilationist. The success of gay marriage is a strike against the left, not a credit.


This is just so totally absurd I can't believe I'm actually responding to it. You either have no idea what you're talking about, or are simply talking out of the side of your neck for the sake of whatever position you have in this.

I'm a leftist, and a radical. I don't know a single person in my (large and communicative) political community who 'loathes' gay marriage, or hated the various bills that legalized gay marriage; quite contrary to that, the passage of those bills was routinely celebrated on the left as something finally going right. There are various philosophical critiques of marriage (usually based on various issues of the state, patriarchy, chattel, etc.) writ large on the left, and some critiques from the radical queer community about assimilation, but to say that 'leftists loathe' gay marriage is just dim. In your continuum, we have liberals as most supportive of gay marriage, and leftists most adversarial to it (even more opposed than conservatives!). That is just dishonest and foolish beyond belief.
posted by still bill at 11:05 AM on December 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


Balko has gotten actual black people out of actual jail for actual unjust convictions. Have you?

And for the record, one of those people was on death row, FFS
posted by ocschwar at 11:09 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


But in this example you're either using a definition of leftists that is so vanishingly small as to not be worth identifying as a group or you're assuming a definition of loathed that isn't useful for determining political help/opposition. Yeah, there's some factions that weren't excited about the idea of gays joining in an orthodoxy/institution they found questionably useful or a sign of assimilation. But I would be shocked if you could find a handful in any activist group and will eat my shoe* if you can find some in those institutions that would work against it.

You can always find some outliers/academics who will write you a crazed screed, regardless of affiliation. That's really only worth nothing when the larger "tribe" is still willing to put them up next to them on a podium or send their writings on to the faithful. But "loathed" as a word in something like this implies these are people who'd work against something or sabotage it and i just don't think that's demonstrable. Maybe you can find some who don't really give a crap but that's hardly the same thing.

*I will not actually eat a shoe
posted by phearlez at 11:11 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


So first the argument hinges on the conflation of some gay leftists with all gay leftists, then, not content with that hasty generalization, it becomes "leftists." Why stop there?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:19 AM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]




And for the record, one of those people was on death row, FFS


This is a derail, just as it was before, and you can look upthread for a comprehensive response. But since you insist...

Throughout his career, Radley Balko has consistently been employed by, supported, and argued on behalf of a host of various institutions and causes that put people in prison. And he's done it all for either a paycheck, or out of adherence to a gross ideology. He can't wash that shit off his hands.
posted by still bill at 11:22 AM on December 5, 2014


Not exactly a derail, as it throws into sharp relief the ability of the Mefite crowd to descend to a tribalism almost as rank and senseless as that of the Tea Party, and that is the most useful thing showin in this thread.

And while Balko has collected money from Freres Koch, a detail you find risible and which I find to be a delicious nugget of absurdity, and while he (and Reason) oppose the welfare safety net, it's absurd to claim he or his employers at Reason have supported causes that put people in prison.
posted by ocschwar at 11:29 AM on December 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think we really are reaching some kind of moment here where sentiment is uniting against the police. The chair of the police services board in Toronto apparently posted an Eric Garner related image on his Facebook wall and the police union has gone crazy. The comments section of the article in the Toronto Star however is pretty uniformly with him on this.

(commenters are still busy pinning all the world's failings on the left in every other article however)
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:35 AM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


CATO and Rove, to whom Balko owes his career, are huge contributors both materially and philosophically to the expansion of the carceral state.
posted by still bill at 12:06 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think we really are reaching some kind of moment here where sentiment is uniting against the police. The chair of the police services board in Toronto apparently posted an Eric Garner related image on his Facebook wall and the police union has gone crazy. The comments section of the article in the Toronto Star however is pretty uniformly with him on this.

(commenters are still busy pinning all the world's failings on the left in every other article however)
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:35 AM on December 5 [+] [!]


I remain sentimental to the police and hostile to the state. The police didn't use their own money to buy their body armor and army surplus trucks. They also didn't give themselves the authority to arrest or detain people who are engaging in amoral activities, like selling single cigarettes.
posted by otto42 at 12:15 PM on December 5, 2014


The police didn't use their own money to buy their body armor and army surplus trucks.

They use(d), in part, money they steal from 'criminals'. So yeah, I guess it's not strictly their own money. But the surplus gear doesn't just arrive on the precinct doorstep unannounced, with the cops just saying "Huh, I'll be damned! Another case of grenades! Where do these things keep coming from? Welp, better get to tossin'!" You best believe there's a cop at a computer in the department basement tracking the shit out of those shipments while licking their lips.

That said, the cop who murdered Eric Garner wasn't wearing any military gear. Garner wasn't shot with an AR. Nor was Mike Brown, or Tamir Rice.
posted by still bill at 12:32 PM on December 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yeah, Daniel Pantaleo is not an instance of militarization, he's one of bad training, bad attitude, and impunity.
posted by rhizome at 1:54 PM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


CATO and Rove, to whom Balko owes his career, are huge contributors both materially and philosophically to the expansion of the carceral state.

Really? That does not fit philosophically with the CATO I know (though I could be wrong there) and Rove didn't really have outsized national power until the prison state was already well established.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:01 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


homunculus: "Of course they're serving and protecting the fucking bull"

But how will you chokehold a bronze statue to death??? Seems risky.
posted by boo_radley at 2:07 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


This feels like Metafilter's equivalent to "pulling rank" right now.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:09 PM on December 5, 2014


Drinky Die: CATO is in the business of pushing the lines of 'personal responsibility' and 'free markets' which feed the ideologies undergirding carceral expansion. And of course Rove didn't create the carceral state, but he certainly contributed hugely to its advancement and expansion by way of his strategizing and lobbying efforts for the GOP and neocon groups in general.
posted by still bill at 2:20 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


CATO is in the business of pushing the lines of 'personal responsibility' and 'free markets' which feed the ideologies undergirding carceral expansion.

I guess, but they also argue against things like the Drug War...and if anything has expanded the number of people we put in jail it's that. Rove was for the most part working on congressional and gubernatorial campaigns at the time of the major expansion in prison population. He shares in the blame like a lot of people in politics do (including most elected Democrats of the era) but I wouldn't single him out as a major contributor.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:26 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Look, if people want to be cool with orgs like CATO, that's fine by me. I find them substantially less repulsive than the populists that spew mainstream conservative BS. But personally, I'm not prepared to give them a pass and don't like them being sold to the radical left as 'allies', and so I think it's important to always note that these are people who preach and publish against social safety nets. If the police doing the killing were a privatized force 'protecting' an enclave of wealthy white men from dispossessed POC, would CATO scholars bat an eye? I don't think so, and so I find any outrage they muster over Garner to be mostly opportunist.

As for Rove, his political record speaks for itself: he is not an ally to any voices critical of police power based on issues of race and class. I think his substantial contribution to the noxious neocon ideology and the horrors it (along with neoliberal policy) creates is evident.
posted by still bill at 3:01 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lord Chancellor: "This feels like Metafilter's equivalent to "pulling rank" right now."

I feel totally baffled by this comment right now. What do you mean here?
posted by boo_radley at 3:08 PM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is a good article about the (lack) of recourse a criminal defendant has to racially-motivated arrests.

Essentially, the criminal justice system is individual while the problem is statistical, so legislative methods are needed to fix it, not court cases.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:14 PM on December 5, 2014


"As for libertarians, a quick scan of Reason magazine shows articles that just assume gay marriage is the right position."

As for libertarians, when they were asked about it by Pew, a majority opposed it. And Reason Magazine ran articles against it.

Gay marriage was a liberal achievement, hated by conservatives and leftists. Thanks to some very smart organizing and coalition building, it rolled over conservatives. Leftists, as usual, broke their own coalition and got nothing."

This is not accurate. The pushback against marriage came from a very small subset of leftists within the LGBT movement, specifically those advocating under the rubric of queer theory, which is anti-assimilationist. However, many leftists are not supporters of queer theory, including Harry Hay, whom many have called the father of the modern gay rights movement. Hay was at one point a member of the Communist Party and helped form the Mattachine Society. He remained radical in many ways until his death, and was an ardent supporter of marriage for same-sex couples.

The formulation you're arguing is useful only as a super-condensed simplification of the movement for same-sex marriage, and will not support the argument with the strength that you're arguing it, mostly because the categories that you've established (left/liberal/libertarian/conservative) aren't coherent enough to support the thesis except in the broadest of strokes. And specifically, since I was giving it as an example of coalition work between leftists and liberals that succeeded, arguing that it was purely liberals behind it with some libertarians is ignoring the composition of the actual groups that worked to achieve marriage for same-sex couples.

It's predominantly a liberal project, but the working coalition included plenty of leftists — quite a few more than conservatives.
posted by klangklangston at 3:40 PM on December 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


Drinky Die: CATO is in the business of pushing the lines of 'personal responsibility' and 'free markets' which feed the ideologies undergirding carceral expansion.

That's pretty tenuous logic there.

You can make the case that CATO has been advocating for the policies most likely to drive people like the late Eric Garner to the have to resort to selling loosies, but to then say that CATO's line also drives the NYPD to be needlessly brutal in suppressing the loosies trade is just pure unbacked conjecture.
posted by ocschwar at 5:32 PM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think it's absolutely possible to partner with libertarians over select issues like marijuana decriminalization and the demilitarization of the police, but here's the thing:

Those issues are completely irrelevant to the case at hand.

Garner was suspected of selling tobacco cigarettes, not joints. And to its credit, the city hasn't rolled out its military toys in response to the protests.

Meanwhile, I live in a town that desperately needs to improve the relationship between the NYPD and the communities it polices, and address longstanding and specific issues with police corruption and institutional racism. And I don't see libertarians standing up to champion those causes.

Instead, I see them co-opting a man's death in order to make an abstract point about taxation, even as more people die in the streets (and stairwells) of my city.

I'm not really sure how, exactly, I'm supposed to work with that.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:41 PM on December 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


You can make the case that CATO has been advocating for the policies most likely to drive people like the late Eric Garner to the have to resort to selling loosies, but to then say that CATO's line also drives the NYPD to be needlessly brutal in suppressing the loosies trade is just pure unbacked conjecture.

They would oppose the taxes that drive the black market for cigarettes as well as police brutality. For a more general, "Forces people to seek borderline employment." Yes, libertarian economic policies will put you in danger at work and possibly in poverty even if you do work and cause you to do desperate things.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:58 PM on December 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


...but to then say that CATO's line also drives the NYPD to be needlessly brutal in suppressing the loosies trade is just pure unbacked conjecture.

Well then, good thing I didn't say that. I don't blame Libertarianism for these cops being murdering pigs; that's what cops are and what they do, from the start to now. I said that the neoliberal policy and rightist-libertarian philosophy advanced by CATO (and their ilk) is a major contributor to the logics of carceral expansion (particularly when it comes to privatized prisons). Which it is. CATO promotes an economic and social philosophy that increases poverty, inequality and relative deprivation while furthering the idea that those things are individual failures. There's a reason so many are squawking about 'obesity' and 'asthma' and 'responsibility to comply' when they comment on Garner, and it's precisely the philosophy that animates much of right-Libertarian discourse.
posted by still bill at 6:22 PM on December 5, 2014 [2 favorites]












The opening lines from Taibbi's piece:

Nobody's willing to say it yet. But after Ferguson, and especially after the Eric Garner case that exploded in New York yesterday after yet another non-indictment following a minority death-in-custody, the police suddenly have a legitimacy problem in this country.


I know I sound like a broken record when this topic comes up, but I really don't understand the tendency on the liberal 'left'--illustrated perfectly here by Taibbi--to think this is all new, that 'suddenly' there's a problem, or that plenty of people haven't been saying it for as long as American policing has existed. Huey Newton said it in 1967--the police are an 'occupying army'--and he wasn't the first either. There are a lot of voices willing to say it, Matt, you just haven't been listening.
posted by still bill at 3:56 AM on December 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


But isn't that an artifact of journalism narrative style, where you have to present an issue as "topical" to write about it? I'm sure Taibbi knows the long history of policing and its discontents in America, but article logic demands that he present the story as an "emerging" one framed by recent newsworthy events.
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:01 AM on December 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


the police suddenly have a legitimacy problem in this country. among white people.
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:27 AM on December 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


We treat legitimacy as linguistically black and white, because eventually the tied turns once authorities loose too much illegitimacy, but it's actually gradual, not black and white. I felt Taibbi's language adequately acknowledged this, when his line "the police .. have a legitimacy problem" does not claim the police didn't have a legitimacy problem before, certainly they did.

There are a bunch of police accountability activists, like Filming Cops and Cop Block, working towards exposing the rampant nature of police malfeasance. I think they mostly started when people really gave up on any meaningful reforms coming from Obama.

African-Americans watched first hand as police abandon any pretension towards legitimacy during the drug war of course, but now they've been seeing individual news items about police abuse across the country, so they know that someone is listening. And they galvanized enough protesters in Ferguson to break into the main stream media.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:10 AM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Copwatch has been operating since 1990
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:46 AM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


There are many local Copwatch groups listed as Copblock affiliated groups, but copwatch.com/org isn't doing too well. Any idea what happened to them?

As an aside, Lucy Steigerwald's Dec 2013 piece This Year in Bad Cops reminded me of Vice's Bad Cop Blotter, which led me to an interesting article :

Anonymous Border Patrol Agents Keep Killing People
posted by jeffburdges at 7:43 AM on December 6, 2014


You should actually read Matt Taibbi's piece The Police in America Are Becoming Illegitimate rather than merely commenting on the first sentence.

He isn't merely saying "the police suddenly have a legitimacy problem" due to Ferguson and Eric Garner. He highlights that broken windows-style policing, which means using police for trivial matters instead of important ones, cost the police much legitimacy :
I met a woman who had to hire a sitter so she could spend all day in court waiting to be fined for drinking wine on her own front porch. And in the case of a Bed-Stuy bus driver named Andrew Brown, it was that old "obstructing traffic" saw: the same "offense" that first flagged Ferguson police to stop Michael Brown.

In Andrew's case, police thought the sight of two black men standing in front of a project tower at 1 a.m. was suspicious and stopped them. In reality, Andrew was listening to music on headphones with a friend on his way home after a long shift driving a casino shuttle. When he balked at being stopped, just like Garner balked, cops wrote him up for "obstructing" a street completely empty of pedestrians, and the court demanded 50 bucks for his crime.

This policy of constantly badgering people for trifles generates bloodcurdling anger in "hot spot" neighborhoods with industrial efficiency. And then something like the Garner case happens and it all comes into relief. Six armed police officers tackling and killing a man for selling a 75-cent cigarette.
Bonus :
- Memo to news networks: don’t bring on Rudy Giuliani to talk about race issues again
- 5 Absurd, deeply racist things Rudy Giuliani said this week
posted by jeffburdges at 7:54 AM on December 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


I read the article before commenting. It's a good piece for the venue, but I don't think his use of the word 'suddenly' in the opener is appropriate, and I think GrammerMoses cut to the heart of the issue in the comment above. Also, I think SunnyJim is correct that a big part of it is likely Taibbi conforming to the style of the discipline, which I guess I can't really fault him for. But, again, I don't think it's historically accurate to frame police legitimacy as slipping away with the advent of widespread adoption of Wilson's batshit broken windows 'theorizing'. For one, broken windows policing had been going on long before Wilson gave it the academic veneer that put it into the official playbook. Before that kind of hyper-policing of indicted neighborhoods went mainstream, police had always focused attention on poor and POC communities.

So yeah, good piece for RS and its readership, but as a criminologist I find it to have some major deficiencies in its historical understanding of American Police.
posted by still bill at 8:56 AM on December 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Those 2 Giuliani links are really good (for some weird value of 'good') reading. I don't know that there's ever been an asshole quite as irredeemable as he is.
posted by still bill at 8:58 AM on December 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Whenever I see Giuliani give an interview these days, I half expect his face to start melting off, Raiders of the Lost Ark-style.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:36 AM on December 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think it should be obvious that there are loopholes in the law that allow cops to act badly, either through nature or nurture. I would like to see a mechanism by which these cops go to jail for killing people for bad reasons. The definition of "bad reason" needs to be expanded, sufficient to eliminate qualified immunity as a barrier to justice.
posted by rhizome at 12:09 PM on December 6, 2014


I think what's happening in Taibbi's article is that Taibbi himself is losing faith in the legitimacy of the police. That's the news here.
posted by wuwei at 12:21 PM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I went to a forum about wrongful convictions a few weeks ago that made me wonder if Chuck Hynes could give Giuliani a run for most loathsome New Yorker. And then Giuliani lurches back into public consciousness as the racist bad penny that he's always been.
posted by Mavri at 7:49 PM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]






‘It’s Past the Point of No Return’: An NYPD Officer Opens Up About What Went Wrong in the Eric Garner Case, Sulome Anderson, New York Daily Intelligencer, 04 December 2014

Cf. How Anonymous Cops Online Are Reacting to the Death of Eric Garner, Joe Coscarelli, Id., 21 July 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 9:37 AM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


klangklangston, ACT UP, the biggest gay left activist organization, was openly contemptuous of the gay marriage movement, as was Larry Kramer, the most famous activist of the period, and many radical left activists today. Many left activists are still against it, and alliances of liberal and libertarian groups are more likely to be pushing it. Harry Hay may have been for, but he and The Mattachine Society were irrelevant by the 80s.

Look, if people want to be cool with orgs like CATO, that's fine by me. I find them substantially less repulsive than the populists that spew mainstream conservative BS. But personally, I'm not prepared to give them a pass and don't like them being sold to the radical left as 'allies',

CATO has some influence, and has been vocally against the drug war and expansion of police power from the beginning. I wouldn't expect anyone on the radical left to want them as allies, because the radical left hates having allies who aren't on the radical left. Which is why the radical left is so terribly impotent.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:59 AM on December 7, 2014


‘It’s Past the Point of No Return’: An NYPD Officer Opens Up About What Went Wrong in the Eric Garner Case, Sulome Anderson, New York Daily Intelligencer, 04 December 2014

That guy may be speaking frankly, but very little he says isn't self serving and TBH a little horrifying.
posted by Artw at 10:05 AM on December 7, 2014




ACT UP, the biggest gay left activist organization

Loudest, maybe.

I would personally appreciate it if you'd stop asserting something that just isn't true. The overwhelming majority of queer folk are and have for a long time been in favour of marriage equality. Yes, there is a radical fringe that is against it, mainly because of anti-assimilationist positions.

It might also be instructive for you to know what klangklangston does: he works for a queer rights org, and thus probably knows a lot more about the history than you do. I am queer, and I have marched and protested and written to politicians and actually spoken to many people in the tiny fringe minority of queer people who are anti-marriage equality. I don't think either of those things applies to you, unless I am sorely mistaken, and would really appreciate it if you'd stop trying to score some obscure political point on the back of things that are a) made up, and b) have basically nothing to do with the subject at hand, that being yet another murder of an unarmed black man by a white cop.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:28 AM on December 7, 2014 [9 favorites]


There is no single ACT UP that speaks for all ACT UPs and any ACT UP that says they do is probably ACT UP NY /checks link / yup. (peace to my friends in ACT UP NY!)
posted by rtha at 11:15 AM on December 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


ThatFuzzyBastard: so the reluctance on the radical left to consider CATO--a Koch funded, free market capitalist, Right-Libertarian organization--a constant ally points to some fundamental problem with radical leftist politics? Does the same problem apply, then, to the political right, since they don't support Anarchist Black Cross or Critical Resistance? The fundamental goal of CATO (free market capitalism) is entirely at odds with the fundamental goal of much of the radical left (the end of--or massive change of--capitalist systems).

And you're still insisting that marriage equality is a triumph of the right and libertarians?

I don't know what you're trying to do or prove here, but it's not really working, and you keep doubling down on it.
posted by still bill at 1:39 PM on December 7, 2014 [2 favorites]




“The Problem with Body Cameras,” Shaun Ossei-Owusu, Jacobin, 07 December 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 4:47 PM on December 7, 2014


Is there an open Eric Garner post? If not, could someone collect some links from here and make a reasonable one?
posted by jeffburdges at 4:54 PM on December 7, 2014




Inquiries Aren’t the Answer to Eric Garner, for something on topic.
posted by Glenn Grothman at 5:04 AM on December 8, 2014


ThatFuzzyBastard: so the reluctance on the radical left to consider CATO--a Koch funded, free market capitalist, Right-Libertarian organization--a constant ally points to some fundamental problem with radical leftist politics?

No, the problem is the quest for "constant allies". That's not how alliances work. You work with certain groups on certain issues, and disagree with them on others (though at times connections made through the collaborative process can lead to better outcomes even when there's disagreement).

In the Bush years, I used to say one of big problems with Bush was his country club view of politics: instead of seeking allies, he looked for friends. That's how we ended up ostensible allies with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and enemies with Iran, when our goal was supposed to be breaking up Sunni terrorist groups; because we kept thinking in terms of sticking by our friends, instead of 'here's something we can work together on, even when we disagree about everything else.' Similarly, a lot of leftists, here and elsewhere, want someone to be a "constant ally" before any collaboration can be considered, which is a recipe for failure.

That's especially relevant here, where we really do seem to have a brief moment where people across the ideological spectrum want something to change. Outreach to libertarian and even conservative groups that agree that the system to prevent police misconduct is broken could produce useful avenues for change (something more effective than endless, pointless street demos that lefties love to waste time on), swell the numbers at street demos, and convince politicians that there's a broad base of voters demanding change, not just a handful of hippie malcontents who always vote Green anyway. But because so many people demand ideological matching before anything can be considered, we get the same old actions with the same old (lack of) results.

And you're still insisting that marriage equality is a triumph of the right and libertarians?

Not only did I never said that, I re-quoted the part where I said exactly the opposite of that. I'm not sure if you're deliberately misreading, or if you just have such tight ideological blinders on that any criticism of the left is heard as praise of the right. Either way, you're kind of exemplifying the problem.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:15 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here's a question: why should anyone committed to leftists causes listen to anyone who clearly does not share their same goals and commitments? Esp when tried and true leftists tactics are disparaged and dismissed.

What's more effective: half-hearted pleas for being nice to others or civil disobedience?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:39 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


They'd come around to your side if you'd just change all your beliefs and goals to be palatable to their pre-existing beliefs, MisanthropicPainforest.
posted by phearlez at 7:43 AM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, I live in a town that desperately needs to improve the relationship between the NYPD and the communities it polices, and address longstanding and specific issues with police corruption and institutional racism. And I don't see libertarians standing up to champion those causes.

To be fair: I will admit that libertarians generally do not, as a political position, try to solve the problems of racism in our society - because libertarians, on the whole, don't deal with trying to change society, but rather, how the state relates to that society.

However, police corruption is absolutely a bugbear of libertarianism and has been for a while - CopBlock and others have been at work in exposing it. The libertarian position has always been that the police are a monopoly of force, enforced by the state, and so it needs to be as light a touch as possible on citizens.

And that's where any alliance could, or should, take place. Libertarians would ally with liberals to say that communities should get to set their own levels of policing - which would have an immediate impact, especially like areas like Brownsville, in NYC. You don't have to have them signed on to anti-racism in order to have them sign on to policies that make the lives of POC better.
posted by corb at 11:25 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


However, police corruption is absolutely a bugbear of libertarianism and has been for a while - CopBlock and others have been at work in exposing it. The libertarian position has always been that the police are a monopoly of force, enforced by the state, and so it needs to be as light a touch as possible on citizens.

I think the dilemma would be coping with the not entirely rare attitude within the CopBlock folks that pretty much any policing is illegitimate. For them everything seems to immediately come down to the absurdum that eventually men with guns will come for you. Never mind that the chain of events for that has to involve you getting a few dozen tickets, never paying your car registration, getting pulled over several times, refusing to pay your taxes, sending boxes of feces to the courthouse, etc etc. If someday somehow you can escalate it to armed enforcement and/or jail then it must be a travesty.

That said, those nutters manage to work within CopBlock side by side with people who are less insane. So this is purely a question of the other side leaning to accept that allies don't have to be allies forever. Personally I think when you get to a condition like the one we have now with policing where pretty much any change would have to be better/more accountable then it's fine to ally with people who just want things different. Whether their preferred change is in line with yours you can sort out later when there's fewer bodies piling up.
posted by phearlez at 11:43 AM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


The endgame for libertarians/Cato is private police. As long as you understand that, you're fine working with them. In their worldview, private military contractors shooting someone: okay. Police shooting someone: not okay.

Here's a bit of satire drawn from the work of Libertarian theorist Hans-Hermann Hoppe:
ANDREW: So in your society, insurance companies will be sort of like governments. Can we call them security GLOs (Government-Like Organizations)?

CNC: Sure, as long as we stress that the insurance companies, as security GLOs, will be very different from the statist, coercive governments we have today.

ANDREW: Will security GLOs be different from governments because they will be small family firms?

CNC: No. One reason that insurance companies will be well-suited for the role of security GLOs is that they are “big” and in command of the resources… necessary to accomplish the task of dealing with the dangers… of the real world. Indeed, insurers operate on a national or even international scale, and they own substantial property holdings dispersed over wide territories… [281]

ANDREW: Will security GLOs be different from governments because they don’t use physical force against criminals?

CNC: You gotta be kidding, right? … in cooperation with one another, insurers [will] want to expel known criminals not just from their immediate neighborhoods, but from civilization altogether, into the wilderness or open frontier of the Amazon jungle, the Sahara, or the polar regions. [262]

ANDREW: So the security GLOs will be allowed to kill people, if they are known criminals?

CNC: The security GLOs will not kill people, they will just expel them to the Sahara or polar regions. What happens then is up to the criminals.

ANDREW: Can we say that the security GLOs will effectively kill them?

CNC: I really don’t like that choice of wording. You make it sound like the security GLOs will be committing aggression against the criminals. That’s backwards – the criminal commits aggression, and security GLOs will just defend people. They won’t violate anyone’s rights.

ANDREW: Maybe you would prefer that we say: the security GLOs will effectively kill people in a rights-respecting manner.
link
posted by wuwei at 12:04 PM on December 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


Libertarians would ally with liberals to say that communities should get to set their own levels of policing

Without knowing exactly what you mean about that (can you be more specific about what "setting their own levels of policing" would mean and how it might be implemented?), I'd add that this is not a solution that liberals are likely to accept at all. While it may square with the libertarian viewpoint, nothing about that solution seems like something that a liberal would advocate for. To ally with another group and meet them in the middle, you have to take their values into account too. Additionally, I don't think most liberals see this as a problem with the "level" of policing - it has more to do with the details of implementation, the racial disparity in enforcement and outcome, the laxity of the laws governing use of force, and the consequences to officers if those laws are broken. I don't think that just reducing the number of officers in a neighborhood is going to help anything; if anything it just consigns the entire neighborhood to lawlessness.

because libertarians, on the whole, don't deal with trying to change society, but rather, how the state relates to that society.

Right, and this is a case where race makes a fundamental difference in kind in how the state relates to this particular problem in the context of this particular subset of society, so it's a really good example of how trying to see this problem in "colorblind" terms is probably going to be fundamentally ineffective. This cartoon (can't find a good permalink but this is the image url, in case the top cartoon changes) neatly demonstrates the fundamental logic error of treating this in race-blind terms.
posted by dialetheia at 12:07 PM on December 8, 2014 [3 favorites]




can you be more specific about what "setting their own levels of policing" would mean and how it might be implemented?

Sure, though obviously I may not be accounting for every variable. The easiest way to do something like this would be to have policing changes decided at large town hall meetings, similar to zoning meetings. Regular town hall meetings, say, every three months, where residents of the community who don't like how the policing is going can show up and have that decided upon.

For simplicity's sake, there could be a 5-person "policing board" per precinct, similar to a school board- these would be elected positions, with a requirement that the individuals elected live within the boundaries of the precinct. If any of the board members move out of precinct, that necessitates a special election or appointment, same requirements apply. 2/5 of them could be police, but only police that lived within the precinct.

This means that the community itself would have a strong hand in setting use-of-force guidelines, policing boundaries and levels, police stops, quotas, etc. If the community says "We really don't care if our young men have an ounce of weed on them or are selling loosies, but please stop the muggings" then that would be a valid priority, for example.
posted by corb at 3:27 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Here's a question: why should anyone committed to leftists causes listen to anyone who clearly does not share their same goals and commitments? Esp when tried and true leftists tactics are disparaged and dismissed.

What's more effective: half-hearted pleas for being nice to others or civil disobedience?
"

There are a couple things that I think are worth unpacking here: First, an opposition to police brutality and institutional racism isn't a leftist cause, or shouldn't be. It's part of the very basic conception of the legitimacy of the state's monopoly on violence. This should be a concern for everyone who cares about what their government does in their name.

Secondly, that's a fair point about not sharing goals or commitments, but it's worth separating proximate goals from end-point goals. I wouldn't work with an anarchist on abolishing all prisons; I would work with an anarchist on shutting down a prison for human rights abuses. I wouldn't work with a theocrat on outlawing blasphemy; I would work with a theocrat in assuring more resources for the poor.

Third, to answer that as a broader question: The point is to win the changes that matter to you, and to people like the families of Eric Garner and Mike Brown. That's why you work with people you don't agree with 100-percent: To win policy changes you want. I happily worked with corporate stooges whose personal politics I detest when it meant Obama winning office.

Fourth, while it's a bit of a false dilemma, neither tend to accomplish very much at all. The point of a protest, at least as far as I see it, is to do two things: Draw attention to your cause and demonstrate a popular bloc that either wants a policy enacted or that is willing to raise hell against the current enforcement of an unjust policy. But even in drawing attention to a cause, the protest is not the end game. That's a beginning, where you see how strong you actually are and rally with solidarity, but you need to follow it up with something in order to see lasting changes.
posted by klangklangston at 4:26 PM on December 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


corb: Like the old Black Panthers', demand for community control of policing, right?

klangklangston: Funny, I thought LBJ pushed through the 1968 civil rights act because the streets were on fire:
At the White House, Johnson and the assembled black leaders gathered in the Cabinet Room, along with Democratic Congressional leaders, several cabinet members and Vice President Hubert Humphrey. "If I were a kid in Harlem," Johnson told them, "I know what I'd be thinking right now: I'd be thinking that the whites have declared open season on my people, and they're going to pick us off one by one unless I get a gun and pick them off first."

That can't be allowed to happen, he continued. That's why he had called the meeting. Resoundingly, his guests told him that words weren't enough; with King gone, black citizens needed to see action in order to believe that there was still hope for progress. Otherwise, the country could experience untold violence in the coming days.
Link
posted by wuwei at 4:32 PM on December 8, 2014


Exactly like. And from what I understand, crime went down under the Black Panthers' watch equally as much if not more than the police watch.
posted by corb at 4:59 PM on December 8, 2014




"Funny, I thought LBJ pushed through the 1968 civil rights act because the streets were on fire."



"The point of a protest, at least as far as I see it, is to do two things: Draw attention to your cause and demonstrate a popular bloc that either wants a policy enacted or that is willing to raise hell against the current enforcement of an unjust policy. But even in drawing attention to a cause, the protest is not the end game. That's a beginning, where you see how strong you actually are and rally with solidarity, but you need to follow it up with something in order to see lasting changes."

Or, to follow up on why exactly I think that was dumb snark:

1) The 1968 MLK riots were not an organized protest.
2) Riots have a pretty terrible record if you actually look at them. The 1919 Red Summer didn't lead to a Civil Rights Act. The 1964 summer riots didn't lead to a Civil Rights Act. The 1967 summer riots didn't lead to a Civil Rights Act. They had some local effects, but results were decidedly mixed.
3) This is a nihilistic politics. What, we have to kill an MLK jr. every time we want political change? How many more do we have?
4) The rioters didn't pass the Civil Rights Act. Congress did. No matter how long the rioters smashed windows, it still took someone else acting legislatively to get that law through. The end goal is not the protest, the end goal is the policy change.
posted by klangklangston at 5:31 PM on December 8, 2014 [7 favorites]




That response is why I respect Jon Stewart. And the disparity between how he handles it and how they handled it is exactly why he will never have the same influence they do. It's easier if you can just lie with no consequences and vilify the enemy and whip up a frenzy. And that is why I don't mind that he will never have the influence they do, as long as once a day I can get 20 minutes of sanity on my screen.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:18 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Like Charlie Chaplin.
posted by clavdivs at 10:28 PM on December 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Precisely.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:28 PM on December 8, 2014




"My Faith Can't Breathe" - clergy come together to protest Garner death.
posted by corb at 10:34 AM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why I Wore the Shirt: The NFL wants to make players’ public lives conform to its standards. But when exceptional issues call for us to speak our minds, the league and the fans need to see us as men, with our own opinions and the freedom to express them
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:13 PM on December 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


In its quest to deliver one uniform message of social consciousness, the league betrays its goal. True social consciousness and dialogue in America is never singular, never uniform. It is myriad and collaborative by definition.

It was with all of this in mind that I drove to First Energy Stadium on Sunday morning.


I can never decide if I am horrified or delighted by the blatantness of these stadium naming deals. But the inclusion of this line shortly after discussing the league's actions and motivations in directing speech is just perfect.
posted by phearlez at 1:27 PM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why I Wore the Shirt:

Wow. I hope that he keeps writing.
posted by octothorpe at 1:36 PM on December 10, 2014


New Scientist: Why are US police so prone to violence?
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think to the extent Libertarians and libertarian Republicans are making overtures about this issue, they're aimed at black Democrats, not the party's mostly white liberal wing. This is not going to result in a permanent alliance, but it gives a subset of Republicans a chance go "we care about some of the same civil rights issues you are when your party leadership is refusing to listen", thus widening the split between aggrieved, but usually loyal, black voters and the Democratic Party establishment. It gives libertarians an opportunity to promote some of their agenda to the extent that there's common ground. For black Democrats, these moves offer some chance of action on issues that are important to them. (Maybe.)

There has already been some movement along these lines in Missouri, with State Senators Chappell-Nadal and Nasheed making the opening moves.

I hope the threat of this kind of collaboration, even if limited, can scare the Democratic Party establishment into supporting some action on the issue. (But "I hope" doesn't mean "optimistic".) A problem here is that, even if the Democratic establishment can be coaxed or prodded into supporting some reforms about how police misconduct complaints are handled, neither liberals or libertarians are likely to support any action on racial profiling, and that's a core issue here.
posted by nangar at 6:05 PM on December 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think to the extent Libertarians and libertarian Republicans are making overtures about this issue, they're aimed at black Democrats, not the party's mostly white liberal wing.

I think this is a lot more credit for strategery than the various voices in the libertarian movement deserve.
posted by phearlez at 6:45 PM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Proof of police agent provocateurs in East Bay protests: Undercover Cop Draws Gun on Protesters in Oakland (more)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:56 AM on December 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Is that proof?
posted by clavdivs at 9:15 AM on December 11, 2014


Yes. They were encouraging people to loot when protesters confronted them about their behavior, at which time they exposed themselves by making the arrest and one of them drew his gun. Interestingly, OPD is claiming it wasn't a cop from their agency.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:58 AM on December 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


corb, I'm surprised by your enthusiasm for the Panthers, given that they were a Maoist/Marxist -Leninist organization that first raised money selling the Little Red Book.

I've met and talked with some cadres from offshoot organizations and they took their communism very seriously. . . .
posted by wuwei at 11:18 AM on December 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, officer Lucy has some explaining to do. Scouting around I see this has been done before in Oakland.

This is what I want to know is if these (ex) cops were wired. If they had cams and I'm betting no.
Confronting people who are unknown in peaceful protests seems logical.
I mean, if you have nothing to hide to turn that phrase right the fuck around.
Wuwie, I lived in that era and panthers lived in our area and on occasion we played together. There was a lot of tension. My exposure was one of pride and respect. I understand the ideology but children don't quite get that.
I even have pictures. It's about praxis.
posted by clavdivs at 12:25 PM on December 11, 2014


I wonder if this isn't an indication that people out on the street in protests need to be filming. It should be encrypted so it can't be taken without some real effort, but these sorts of shenanigans would be useful to have captured. If for no other reason that it subverts the lie they tell about the necessity of enforcement and violent tactics against protesters.

If you're the one trying to egg them on to do shitty things and destroy property belonging to local businesses, what are you really protecting? If that's my coffee shop I'm not happy you've just goaded some clown into breaking my window. Whether you arrest them or not, my window is now broken. I'm probably never going to recoup the hundred of dollars that a display window costs and you're creating a visual that potentially emboldens other jackasses to break other windows.

Nothing about this is for the community, it's all in service of cop goals which aren't in the interest of anyone except folks who want to make arrests and prosecute folks. The obvious best result is a peaceful protest that ends without arrests and damage. That the cops don't see it that way - or don't see that as a possibility - is very telling.
posted by phearlez at 1:39 PM on December 11, 2014








Excellent job by the police in that story Artw. There is no reason I can see that Tamir Rice could not have been handled in a similar matter.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:11 AM on December 12, 2014


(Manner, stupid 5 minute window)
posted by Drinky Die at 11:19 AM on December 12, 2014


The policy will be by shortly to educate you on your spelling problems.
posted by rhizome at 12:49 PM on December 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Fuck the policy.
posted by Artw at 12:57 PM on December 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Stupid manner 5 minute window would make a cool band name.
posted by clavdivs at 3:05 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


In Kansas City, the police are handing out money via secret Santa.
Aww.
posted by clavdivs at 4:01 PM on December 12, 2014


There's a good, fairly respectful (as of right now, anyway, and it's tapering off, so...) conversation over on reddit right now asking self-reported "good cops" about bad cops and the thin blue line.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:04 AM on December 13, 2014


From Vice: City of Silence
posted by rhizome at 10:00 AM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]








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