The Week in Quotes: August 28, 2020
THIS WEEK IN JACOB BLAKE
"NBA showing us how it's done. Time to connect with local activists to help formulate demand."
"Those who have been doing the work understand that it's about the system in place. Yes, we want justice in these cases but we also need systemic change."
-- Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills signaled his solidarity for the movements born out of the NBA and WNBA following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The NBA and WNBA stopped their playoffs and season respectively to protest the injustices facing the Black community and to discuss how they can best use their platforms for action. One of Stills' tweets was a thread of links and ways to help. (Kenny Stills via Twitter) (Kenny Stills via Twitter)
"FED UP. Ain't enough money in world to keep overlooking true issues that effect the mind body & soul of what we do. We cannot be happy for self when our communities are suffering & innocent folk are dying. since George Floyd, there have been at least 20 other police shootings."
-- Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Tyrann Mathieu brings facts to contextualize his frustration. (Tyrann Mathieu via Twitter)
"I do not have the words to meet the depths of my frustration & sadness. But, I do know that the senseless killings & shootings of Black Americans by the police and vigilantes has to stop. These are human rights violations. My children deserve better. We all deserve better."
-- New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore expresses his belief in a need for change. (Stephon Gilmore via Twitter)
"How can you hear the pain Black people are going through and dismiss it as nothing. How can you hear the pain and respond with anything other than 'I stand with you.'"
-- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow looks much wiser than your average rookie quarterback, openly listening to the lived experiences of his teammates of color. (Joe Burrow via Twitter)
"I can't really just go and speak on behalf of the whole league, but for us, that's something that we're going to talk about within our groups, within our team. What's talked about in meetings, in players' meetings, stays in players' meetings."
"Going on with what the NBA did, I definitely commend them for doing that. The WNBA, the ladies did it, too. I want to commend them for standing up, using their platform and using their voice. But for us to say, the Giants and the NFL, that's the stuff that's part of our discussions going on. We've been given an opportunity for our leadership group and to be able to talk to the team and try to figure out things we can do to try to help."
-- New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley isn't able to speak for an entire team or organization, but had noted that sitting out of games is an option on the table.
"As far as what we're going to do and the steps we're going to take next, that's something that we're in discussion about. It's sad that we have to take the time away from football and prepare for a season that is coming up here pretty soon to talk about these things, another senseless shooting that's happened. It's sad that it has to be that way. But yeah, as far as what we're going to do next, I'm going to talk to my teammates and the leadership group and the coaches and we're going to come up with a plan."
-- Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard's quote mirrored that of Barkley's, highlighting the team dialogue aspect. (NFL.com)
THIS WEEK IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND COVID-19
"We followed all the protocols in here, and you just look at your numbers, and there's plenty of guys to practice. But when you practice the way we practice, which is extremely fast, and I believe very efficient ... when you start getting a few less numbers, then you change the way you practice a little bit. ... We're still going as fast as we normally do, but we've just altered the way we've practiced, but I think again, our guys have handled it really well."
-- Texas Tech coach Matt Wells announced on Tuesday that the team incurred 21 positive tests, 20 from players and one from a coach. The team continued practicing because they felt comfortable with how many players were available. (ESPN)
"I can't really say the name of the school, but I've gotten texts like: 'Look at this for the future. You have talent that can't be wasted. You can't take a year off.' Things like that."
-- Tegra Tshabola, a four-star offensive tackle and Class of 2022 Ohio State commit, has discussed schools from rival conferences reaching out with recruiting pitches that would've seemed ridiculous just a few weeks ago. (The Athletic)
"I think it's something every coach in the country is thinking about right now. What it essentially becomes is, you always have contingency plans. I'll compare like in the past, what happens if, you know, two safeties get hurt during a week, or two safeties get hurt during a game, or what? Now, it's what happens if I don't have a safety even available to play, period."
-- Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley fell victim to one of the more concerning scenarios theorized by those skeptical of a season happening this year. While the specific group was unnamed, all but one member of a position group tested positive for COVID-19. (The Athletic)
"Notre Dame really wanted to play and was willing to enter into an agreement that could lead to something down the road ... at the very least, more games every year against ACC teams. [Their] adamance about playing was the ace-in-the-hole a group, led by Clemson, needed to really push for a season and turn the tide in favor of ignoring the Big Ten.
"I mean, if Notre Dame, with their academic reputation and their national brand, was willing to go forward ... it sort of just sealed the ACC's fate."
-- An unnamed insider confirmed that the Big Ten was expecting the ACC to join them and the Pac-12 in sitting out of this season until Notre Dame's adamance to play led them to join the conference. (Sports Illustrated)
"Everybody acts like we want to play for the money. We want to play for the players. I want to play for the players. Now, is it more important than public safety? No, I don't think so. Is there a way that we can do that and keep people safe? I think a lot of people are trying to do that, and if we can do that, I think we can play. If we can't do that, then I think someone will make the decision that maybe we shouldn't play. But I don't think that we should not try."
-- Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban stands firmly in his belief that playing this season is going to be best for his players and players around college football. (Bleacher Report)
FROM THE COACHING MIND OF JOE JUDGE
"There are consequences for making mistakes."
-- New York Giants head coach Joe Judge is making immediate changes to how the Giants run their practices. The coach has made both players and coaches alike run laps for mistakes during practice. (ProFootballTalk)
"We're not going to accept penalties. So we'll find any little trick we can to teach them."
-- Judge's unorthodox training camp extended to position groups. Judge had the defensive backs tape tennis balls to their palms in order to mitigate holding penalties in pass coverage. (Dan Duggan, The Athletic via Twitter)
"I've got the strength staff downstairs right now putting bars of soap in socks and we're just going to take him out back and wail on him for a while."
-- Judge took heat from some after suggesting they may take the protection-designating red jersey off of Daniel Jones so he can introduced to contact during practices. When pressed on it, Judge upped the ante. (Art Stapleton, The Record Sports via Twitter)
THIS WEEK IN KANGOLS
"He gets cussed out like everybody else."
-- Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians isn't giving any special treatment to new quarterback Tom Brady. (SportsCenter via Twitter)
"[Gronk] is probably in New England shape right now. He's not in Florida shape. The heat's kicking his ass pretty good. It's different, man. … I don't think he's ever sweat that much in his life."
-- His new tight end acquisition isn't evading any heat either. Arians pointed out Rob Gronkowski's adaption from winter-weather football to Tampa Bay summers. (Greg Auman, The Athletic via Twitter)
"You'd have to talk to Jesus. I have no clue."
-When asked about if/when safety Justin Evans would return, Arians deferred the question to higher powers. (Greg Auman, The Athletic via Twitter)
THE PROBLEM WITH PRESEASON HIGHLIGHTS
"Diggs. Allen. Breakout duo this year? [eyeballs emoji]"
-- Bleacher Report's football-centric account, B/R Gridiron, posted this caption alongside highlights of a particularly good route from new Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs catching passes from quarterback Josh Allen.
"Thanks for showing me the routes teams work on lol"
-- Reigning Defensive Player of the Year and division rival Stephon Gilmore is thankful so many cameras are capturing other team's practices so he can sit back and study. (Stephon Gilmore via Twitter)
"It's nice because usually it's all D-line versus linebackers versus safeties and corners and everything like that, but we were able to intermingle teams. I'm with Tyson [Alualu], and we are just point-blank unstoppable."
-- Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt broke down the team's latest locker room obsession: spikeball.
"We have been playing pretty well. I think our record is like 11-1, so still the No. 1 seed. That has been fun being able to build that camaraderie with a lot of the other guys."
-- Steelers defensive end Tyson Alualu boasts about the tandem's spikeball success. The two also dominated during the team's bingo phase last year. (ESPN)
CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE MAN
'Is DeAndre Hopkins Holding Out?'
-- John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reposted an article questioning whether Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins' absence from practice suggested he was sitting out.
"No DeAndre Hopkins is not holding out. From the source."
-- No secondary source needed. This one came directly from Hopkins himself. (DeAndre Hopkins via Twitter)
THANK YOUR LOCAL COWS
"I think dairy farmers do excellent work around this country. We need to appreciate them and the beautiful cows that are also milked and produce this delicious milk."
-- New England Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich: huge fan of milk. (Ben Volin, Boston Globe via Twitter)
"I always nutted on my gloves before games. I didn't trust anyone except my own kids to catch that ball."
-- Retired wide receiver Chad Ochocinco revealed a secret that I don't think breaks any NFL rules, but definitely breaks some hygiene and moral ones. (Chad Ochocinco via Twitter)
"I took Viagra before every game & people thought they'd stop me, if my stat line was bad i wasn't covered, the pass was just incomplete."
"NFL tests for steroids, how you gone stop me running on 3 legs every Sunday, no hat."
-- Ochocinco utilized every advantage his body gave him. (Complex)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
A UNIFIED TEAM MESSAGE
This is why Lions practice was canceled today. Entire Lions team addressing media outside the building to discuss the shooting of Jacob Blake.
"Football is not important today." -Duron Harmon pic.twitter.com/eqDIrJp9Ex
— Tori Petry (@sportstori) August 25, 2020
-- The Detroit Lions were one of several teams to cancel practice in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting. Instead of practice, the team came together outside the building to make a unified statement to the media.
NEW CONTRACT, NEW CAR
Looks like #49ers @gkittle46 has a sweet new van pic.twitter.com/0wZpid2Zoe
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) August 20, 2020
-San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle signed a new contract and pulled up to work in his new vehicle: a Brinks truck.
A HEARTWARMING FOOTBALL STORY
-- Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith was officially cleared to play after a two-year-long road to recovery.
ASLEEP ON THE JOB
Sleepy guy 😴😂@_LayZay_ x @TaylorLewan77 pic.twitter.com/EhRVRtVeSL
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) August 18, 2020
-- Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan caught one of the rookies asleep after a long day of training camp.
40 comments, Last at 02 Sep 2020, 11:43am
#1 by RevBackjoy // Aug 28, 2020 - 4:08pm
I know we covered this in the George Floyd thread, but what actual measures can be taken to prevent police shootings? The girlfriend called the cops on him for trespassing. The cops tried tasing him, warning him, and he even admitted to having a knife in his car. So clearly, the man was being completely uncooperative. The cops must have suspected he was reaching in his car for a firearm.
Still, shooting him (much less 7 times) seems terribly excessive. Maybe tackling and wrestling would have worked? Rubber bullets? Maybe our European readers have some perspective on alternative policing models.
It's really hard to be a cop in these situations, and when someone resolutely refuses to cooperate no matter what you do to try to subdue them, tragic incidents are liable to happen. People need to realize that there is nothing to be gained by fighting cops. Save your fight for your day in court.
#5 by raregokus // Aug 29, 2020 - 7:05am
See, the measures you bring up that the police used prior to shooting Blake are a big part of the systemic problem with policing in this country. The fact that violence is the first and often only method used by police, when combined with systemic racism, a complete lack of accountability, and militarization, leads directly to shootings like these.
Nothing in that scenario gave any realistic indication that Blake was going to attack the police. Having a knife in your car is not a crime or a threat. The cops shot him because they decided he was a threat despite having no evidence to support that claim. Their job is not "really hard" in that situation: they just did what they wanted to do because they had no desire to pursue non-violent policing methods, they have a monopoly on violence at the local level, and there is only a miniscule possibility that they will be held accountable for their actions. Also, racism.
#6 by Theo // Aug 29, 2020 - 10:35am
Where I am from people dont carry guns in their car. In America, as a cop, you have to assume people do. To protect themselves, the kinds in the car and the people standing around I dont know what the police could have done.
#8 by ChrisLong // Aug 29, 2020 - 1:54pm
Here's something I've been thinking about lately: is it truly the worst case scenario to just let him leave? Like the guy is reportedly not complying, may or may not have had a knife (accounts vary), but also wasn't posing any danger to anyone except the police (maybe). If the situation is escalating and it's coming to the point where deadly force may be used because of a dangerous situation, one way to de-escalate it is to just let him leave. The reason the cops were called was because of a restraining order. He still has a warrant out for his arrest, you can just follow him in the car. Add on the charge for violating the restraining order too. But it's not worth the guy's life just to what, bring him in on an outstanding warrant? That's vigilante action escalated in part by the police, not serving justice or protecting anyone.
#25 by fyo // Aug 31, 2020 - 10:14am
Somewhat similar to your "just let him leave"... Around here police will stop pursuing a fleeing vehicle if they decide it's too dangerous for innocent bystanders. It's always a judgement call, of course, but there are almost always other ways of catching someone. Not an easy one, but one that needs to be considered.
One huge problem is the militarization of the police, particularly in major cities, but it appears to have spread quite a bit. And I'm not really referring to weapons and equipment (although that can pose its own issues), but the training.
#17 by Theo // Aug 30, 2020 - 10:13am
I wasnt aware he died.
That is a very nobel idea of you. The reality though is that a cop has to protect himself and the bystanders and has to consider the possibility that the guy was grabbing a weapon.
He ignored police warnings, and now we are blaming the police. That doesnt make sense to me.
#18 by ChrisLong // Aug 30, 2020 - 11:46am
When you shoot someone seven times in the back, surely your intent is to kill them. That they were unsuccessful doesn’t negate their intent.
Ah yes the “I live in the real world” argument. I live in the real world too, and in this real world there exists training and methods and strategies to not kill people in situations like this. Yes, this situation was fraught with tension and the possibility of violence, and a person could, once they reach that situation, conclude that using deadly force was necessary. I do not conclude that, but here’s the rub: it need not have gotten that far. The police showed up to a situation where a man was attempting to break up a fight between two women and the man ended up dead. This wasn’t some inevitable conclusion.
My local bartender is better at defusing a conflict than a cop is. Police often incite fear, especially among Black Americans who have been killed, racial profiled, and harassed by police for literally the whole history of our country.
This is what advocates for police reform are saying: give police more training to de-escalate the situation and to not shoot first unless ABSOLUTELY warranted, stop militarize police forces, and invest more in first responders that aren’t police. In addition, begin to address systemic problems that put Black Americans in conflict with the law and police more often, most especially income inequality; lending, hiring, and housing discrimination; drug law and criminal justice reform; and how we treat felons post-release. All of these things are tied together, and lead to pervasive issues and yes, more dead Black Americans.
We know the problems and we know the solutions. We just need to act.
#19 by Theo // Aug 30, 2020 - 12:37pm
I agree that the US police force needs a whole lot of extra training on how to act in certain situations. I think some of them are wholly incompetent at being actual police officer on the street, which was shown in the George Floyd and Jacob Blake videos.
I agree. America has many many problems. Besides the undertrained police there is a big gun problem, which is mostly political. There are racial problems, and many more.
There is hoping the US does some serious soul searching and it has to go through a change.
What I am afraid of is that this change will be led and forced by people who are only in it for themselves and will end up with non-solutions or even make the situation worse like in New York is happening.
I agree that the US has problems, but I honestly dont think that Jacob Blake was a very good example of that. If people (black or white or in between) are non compliant with the police and put the police in difficult situations, add the weapons problem the US has, and you end up with situations like these.
I dont think he got shot for his skin color.
#20 by ChrisLong // Aug 30, 2020 - 12:53pm
I'll just say that it is a police officer's job to deal with difficult situations without killing people. That we don't train them well enough to achieve that goal is a massive problem. Nothing Jacob Blake did warranted being shot 7 times, and unilaterally saying that people must comply with officer demands no matter is a standard only used to justify killing Black people.
I don't think, and I don't think anyone thinks, that the officer involved thought to himself "I'm gonna kill this n****a" and shot him. Just because that didn't happen doesn't mean that his skin color wasn't a factor that weighed against him.
#22 by Theo // Aug 31, 2020 - 12:13am
Their job is also to protect others while not getting injured/killed themselves. If a person completely doesnt listen and gets into a car with three kids to grab something, in a country where half the population owns a gun, dont expect the police to wait to see what the person is going to get. Especially after numerous warnings not to do it.
Now you are saying that this is somehow my way of saying i justify killing black people. I never used a racial qualifier. I said I justify shooting people who ignore instructions and make a thread of themselves to the officers and bystanders.
I actually think that the police should learn to aim at the legs and learn to diffuse the situation before it comes to using fire arms. Training the population how to act in police interactions would help too.
#28 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Aug 31, 2020 - 12:44pm
"I dont think he got shot for his skin color."
Maybe not, but those middle-class white people who are upset about the incident don't generally seem to be upset because they worry the same thing could happen to their son/father/uncle. Whereas from what I'm hearing, middle-class black people are very concerned that the same thing could happen to them or a family member.
So whether it's reality or not, there's a strong perception in the black community that the police are not there to serve and protect them the way they do white people. Improving the confidence the black (and indigineous and hispanic) communities have in the police should, I think, be a serious concern for everyone. The preferred solution may vary according to your political beliefs, and a vigorous discussion about this is likely to be helpful. I don't think any one party or ideology is likely to have all the best answers.
#32 by Theo // Sep 01, 2020 - 10:52am
I would expect the same thing to happen to a white person as did to Jacob Blake. Did you see the video? If a white guy is going to wrestle police, ignores them and then gets into his car, after the police warns him numerous times not to do it... what would you expect to happen in a country where half the population owns guns.
There is a strong perception, yes, and there is a very big problem, yes. I all agree. US police should be trained better. The population should learn how to behave when confronted with the police. It's not a one-way street.
I don't agree that Jacob Blake is the right example.
#26 by fyo // Aug 31, 2020 - 10:21am
Ignoring a police warning in a non-threatening manner is not a capital offense, where the police have carte blanche to just execute you on the spot. That's what you are suggesting and it's disgusting.
And the whole "if he turned around with a gun it would be too late" is just wrong. You've watched way too much TV.
If he turns around and the officer believes he has a gun, THEN we can START talking about it being reasonable to shoot. And, no, despite being taught to shoot until the suspect goes down, that's NOT reasonable and not done in other countries. Emptying you clip in someone can be done faster than it takes someone to fall, so blame training on this one.
#9 by Joseph // Aug 29, 2020 - 3:05pm
1. Understandably so, with everything that has gone on in the last few months, police officers all over the US are on edge. How many officers have been attacked, ambushed, and killed in the line of duty because of the violence AGAINST police brutality? Didn't these violent "protestors" ever learn that two wrongs don't make a right?
2. I am sure that many of us can admit that we over-reacted emotionally to a situation (yelling, anger, possibly violence) when we were under extra stress, whether from work, family problems, or that particular situation. The differences are that 99% of the time, nobody is getting out their cell phone to film it; our job is not to protect everyone in the vicinity of the situation, regardless of which side they are on; we probably are not being threatened with a weapon (whether it is true or not, a police officer must believe that it is). I mean, my job can be stressful, but I don't deal with life-or-death situations on a daily basis.
3. I am not justifying any of the officers in these situations--but you have to wonder if, just like non-officers in an extreme stress situation, if they just "snapped." Again, not justifying the behavior.
4. Anybody who regularly visits here knows that "outliers" exist. Mathematically, these situations are just that--the outliers of the outliers. I would estimate that on a daily basis, their are 50,000 citizen-police officer interactions per day in the US. (That's 1 per 7,000 citizens, give or take--it may be more or less, but bear with my math.) These could range from traffic tickets to witness interviews to arrests. If there were 1 incident of police brutality in any former day--which is obviously way too many, but again, bear with me--we would be stating that nationwide, 99.998 police interactions did not involve unjustified brutality. One incident nationwide per week would be 99.9997% incidents handled without unjustified brutality. I don't know what the mathematical standard is, but one out of 350,000 (one interaction per week, by my numbers--which again, may not be right; if you can find the stats, please correct them) is by any reasonable definition an outlier. So, we are going to destroy businesses, statues, property, injure and kill people--because we are upset that an extreme outlier situation occurred??? (Again, not justifying the guilty officers.)
I'm sorry--anybody that has any sympathy for any person who has reacted in violence to these criminal acts by police is extremely wrong themselves. It's never right to do wrong--no matter how much we try to justify it to ourselves. The past is in the past--the fact that an injustice happened (to whomever, by whomever) gives no one any right to commit another injustice to correct it. That is a vicious cycle that eventually ends in death [honor or revenge killings are just as much murder as killing for another motive.]
#11 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Aug 29, 2020 - 8:42pm
Every one of your points is correct. I just question the passion and energy that goes into making them at this time.
Every time this issue arises, it seems like a large percentage of the population directs its energy into these "yeah, but" exercises. Which would be totally understandable if rioting and looting was a persistent problem in society. But it isn't.
How many times since 1960 has there been a riot in North America, or Europe, that wasn't a result of a race-related police incident? I can't think of any, though someone may be able to correct me on this.
It seems to me that, regardless of a person's political affiliation, the logical thing to do is to seek solutions to improve the quality of policing and improve police relationships with all segments of the community they are supposed to protect. Isn't that the best way to make sure we aren't stuck in this continuing loop?
My hypothesis is that many white people look at what happened to Blake and think "tragic, but that wouldn't happen to me / my family" and look at what's happening during the riots and think "that could happen to my store!" And then protecting their stores becomes their highest priority.
And the problem with that response is that more police to protect my stores isn't needed most of the time, because rioting and looting doesn't happen, except following these incidents. And, yes, I would love to be able to keep protests from turning violent, but I can't and neither can you and neither can anyone. But we can make the protests go away, because there's one and only one issue that continues to cause them.
I wish we had half as many impassioned arguments in the media over which solution would be best to improve policing as we have over whether the actions of protesters are or aren't justified.
#16 by Joey-Harringto… // Aug 30, 2020 - 9:39am
"How many times since 1960 has there been a riot in North America, or Europe, that wasn't a result of a race-related police incident?" I assume you're leaving out sports-related riots (celebrating a championship or getting upset about not winning one), but your overall point stands.
#24 by Aaron Brooks G… // Aug 31, 2020 - 8:25am
How many times since 1960 has there been a riot in North America, or Europe, that wasn't a result of a race-related police incident?
The local definition of race, or the American legal one?
The French clashes with their Muslim minorities and colonies are white-on-white clashes as far as American categorization is concerned. Under French ethnic categorization, these would be different ethnicities. Generalizing North America to Europe can get tricky -- Europe draws distinctions between different kinds of white people.
North America and Europe also have religion and language-based clashes. Race is just a convenient external identifier, but we clash over all sorts of clan-based reasons. It goes with the territory for herd species.
#27 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Aug 31, 2020 - 12:30pm
America used to draw pretty big distinctions between different kinds of "white" people, too. See historical references to people of Irish or Italian descent. You don't have to dig very far to find people who continue to distinguish between people of the jewish faith, and more than a few members of my family still see catholics as less "evolved" than protestants. Generally, however, that white-on-white bigotry has faded into the background as immigration patterns shifted.
I did have the French riots in mind when I made my comment.
#14 by ChrisLong // Aug 30, 2020 - 9:02am
I appreciate your post and the reply above me. We need more thinking and discussion like this. I just want to, from a statistical standpoint provide more info and context and counter your reasoning a bit.
1. I honestly can’t find a single example of an officer dying as a result of the protests. There was a retired officer, David Dorn, who was killed defending a pawn shop in the St. Louis area but he wasn’t in the line of duty. Undoubtedly, officers have been attacked. But killed? No, I don’t think so, at least as far as I can find. I welcome counter-examples though.
One could argue that while there have been no deaths directly resulting from protests, people have been emboldened and officers are more likely to be killed in the line of duty because of the unrest. This article would support that, stating that police officer killings had gone up 28% to that point in 2020 (July 22). However, one could also counter that the link is correlational, only compares to the year previously which may or may not be a good comparison, and that in the month or so since the article there hasn't been a single new death, pointing to sample sizes issues (if 32 officers feloniously killed is a 28% increase then that's 25 last year) and the potential for random chance to be the cause of increased killings.
2. Yes, being a police officer is stressful. No doubt about it. One could even look at many situations that end in shootings and reasonably conclude that a situation was incredibly stressful and that an otherwise irrational action was in some way understandable from the officer's point of view. But that doesn't mean that a) officers shouldn't be trained better to de-escalate situations and better identify the truly dangerous ones; b) that an officer shouldn't be punished for an irrational action; and c) that we can't rethink whether police officers, trained and empowered to kill, are the best people to send in to many situations that may instead be better served by sending in a trained conflict resolver, mental health specialist, etc.
Each of those things (a, b, and c above) is supported systemically; police unions often fight vehemently against increased or different training requirements, punishing officers, or decreasing funding to police. Obviously it's complex, but over time we chose to put resources into growing police forces (and arming them and poorly training them) to the exclusion of other, arguably better choices for many situations. For example, sending an armed official to handle a homeless man sleeping on a bench is irrational; it also can needlessly and inherently escalate the situation to the point where the homeless man dies.
This John Oliver video on policing is a good resource for helping to understand my perspective on this front. At 11:04 he begins the lead up to a truly abhorrent police trainer talking about how police need to be killers to hunt down killers. This is an example of the training that police get.
3. Now to the crux of why I originally chose to respond to this. Your math is flawed, on three levels.
First, about 1,000 people are killed by police each year, which is 20x higher than your estimated figure.
Second, your argument about 99.999% of police interactions not resulting in a police shooting ignores needed context. First, the vast majority of those interactions hold zero potential for a shooting, and calculating the statistic in a way that includes them is misleading. Directing traffic shouldn't count, for example. Since we're on a football site and that's the context you put the statistical discussion in, imagine if in calculating a QB's interception rate we counted QB kneeldowns or hand-offs. Obviously we shouldn't do that for QBs or for officers. I'm not aware of any resource that calculates the percentage of potentially violent situations that end in a police shooting vs those that end peacefully, but obviously the percentage would be higher.
Third, and most importantly for the discussion we're having about protests and rioting: those police killings disproportionately affect Black Americans and people of color in general. Black Americans are about 2.4 times more likely to be killed by police than White Americans (31 per million people vs 13 per million people). White Americans are killed more in absolute terms but represent a much larger share of the population; the rate here is what truly matters. People of color are also more likely to be pulled over, searched, and police seem to require less reason to search them; Black Americans are more likely to be arrested for a drug-related crime even though drug use doesn't differ among groups; and juries are more likely to see ambiguous evidence as evidence of guilt in POC and more likely to be sentenced to death.
This is the crux of the issue: that not only are there huge problems with the criminal justice and policing system, but those systems and problems are racially biased. This is what people are protesting and rioting against. I see and hear your argument that this isn't a just reason to loot, riot, and burn. But as Martin Luther King Jr. said, "riots are the language of the unheard". Black Americans tried working through legislation, they tried peaceful protests, they tried kneeling on the sidelines, they tried convincing people on social media. But no one listened. These are not new issues. In fact they are very old ones, rooted in white supremacy. Black Americans have tried over and over not to resort to rioting and violence (which let's be clear, protesting has been overwhelmingly peaceful).
And finally, you say there is no justification for doing wrong. I disagree with you, respectfully. I wish it hadn't come down to a choice of remaining unheard or burning down strip malls. But when that choice is put on an entire race of people simply because of the color of their skin, saying that they are wrong for choosing to burn down strip malls ignores decades and decades of context and injustice and inaction on the part of the people in power.
I wish it hadn't come down to burning and rioting; it's terrible that people are losing their livelihoods like this. But let's be clear about the root cause of them losing their livelihoods: racially injust laws and systems, not the protestors. And what's more, these methods are undeniably working. We are having a real conversation about these issues all across the country (and on FO comment threads) because of these protests; George Floyd would've been just another name on a list of dead Black Americans without the protests that followed. Protests are divisive, but they also call attention to the issue. If burning a few shops is all it takes to gain the attention of a nation and make progress where there was no listening or progress before, that's a good thing in my opinion.
If you made it this far, thanks for your time. Have a good day and I hope you continue to contribute to fruitful discussions in the future.
#21 by Joseph // Aug 30, 2020 - 5:11pm
Note that I was not counting JUSTIFIED shootings. If you are armed with a deadly weapon and threatening violence toward anyone, you have a good chance of being killed by an officer. If I am remembering a statistic read on another site, I believe the UNJUSTIFIED (or fairly questionable) number is around 50 per year. That's why I used the numbers that I did.
Also, I was not estimating/counting any interaction that didn't involve some type of stop/conversation/etc. So, if you get pulled over for speeding, that counts; if an officer waves you through an intersection while directing traffic, I agree that shouldn't be counted.
Third, statistically speaking, I have always wondered if the higher percentage of stops/crimes/sentences/etc. among African-Americans is correlation or causation. Since we know that there are factors like poverty, single-parent home, etc. that are highly correlated with criminals' upbringing; and since we know that those factors are higher than average in AA communities; are those factors leading those folks to commit crimes? Or are criminals more likely to come from those backgrounds? If the former, we ignore personal responsibility, giving those who grow up that way a pass for their wrong choices while downplaying the successes of those who chose to make non-criminal choices. If the latter, then we come to another pair of choices--whose responsibility is it to help those in those negative circumstances get to better ones?--Or, do we try to give them the tools for success, try to help them use those tools, and then let them make their own choices?
IMO, a decent parent tries to do the last thing--give their kids tools for success, try to help them use them, but at the end of the day, they have to take responsibility for their choices. (Obviously appropriate for their age.) I may be wrong, but I believe that we have more education and information today than we know what to do with. Our problem is making the right choices. How many of us have heard or said, "I know, BUT ..." The obvious answer is, "If you knew, why didn't you ...?" Too often, each one of us make choices we know are wrong.
Some criminals seem to be evil and show no remorse or change. Some show remorse or change, but then fall back into old, destructive habits/behaviors for numerous reasons. Others do change and become productive members of society. IMO, focusing on those people allow us to show others that it can be done, and also allows us to see what factors correlate best with those positive changes, and try to implement them on a wider scale--even if we don't agree with that method.
#15 by Joey-Harringto… // Aug 30, 2020 - 9:37am
"...my job can be stressful, but I don't deal with life-or-death situations on a daily basis."
Being the medical field (ICU/critical care), I have a stressful job, and like in law enforcement, mistakes can get people killed/maimed. Of course the only difference is I don't have to worry about my patients trying to kill me (aside from a brief stint in a trauma center.....I must say the nurses I worked with there were rock stars at de-escalating situations and talking down violent patients....they could probably teach some cops a thing or two).
We're all human, and we all make mistakes. I don't think an individual officer should be excoriated for making a mistake when he/she is trying to do the right thing (I feel the same way about medical professionals...we ideally try to use mistakes as a learning opportunity moving forward). The problem is that historically departments and police unions bend over backwards to protect the habitual excessive force offenders, when instead they should be aggressively weeding them out to protect both the public and themselves. Instead we're left with this unfortunate mistrust between a lot of urban communities towards law enforcement.
Going back once again the medical analogy, my opinion is that some state medical boards are not aggressive enough in weeding out bad doctors (my state is...some would argue too aggressive). This needs to be done to protect both the public and the profession. I know there are cops out there (I know some of them personally) that feel the same way about their profession....but there are too many institutional obstacles right now.
I do agree with you to a degree about the rioting, but just like poverty leads to crime, it's the root problem that needs to be addressed.
#3 by Dan // Aug 28, 2020 - 4:52pm
#30 by theslothook // Aug 31, 2020 - 7:25pm
I get the moral outrage at this, but how much of police brutality goes away if we reduce poverty and violence in poorer neighborhoods?
Everyone is suggesting its systemic racism, but that to me isn't whats at work here. You don't hear these stories about Asian Americans. That suggests this is much more about poverty and gun violence. How much of this goes away if we eliminate the drug war? I would normally push for eliminating gun ownership, but thats so woven into our culture that it would just lead to the same problems that the drug war has led to.
Call me a cynic, but I don't think the player protests or BLM movements or even the riots are going to solve these problems. Police training is to put it charitably, a hard problem.
#31 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Sep 01, 2020 - 9:31am
"Call me a cynic, but I don't think the player protests or BLM movements or even the riots are going to solve these problems."
At least you've identified factors that we can try to solve - the living conditions in poorer neighborhoods. If boycotts and protests lead us to spend time thinking about how we can improve things, at least there's a chance we get out of this cycle.
Doing nothing won't solve anything. People acting as if the protests themselves are the greatest threat to our society certainly won't solve anything. Except for those who are happy with things as they are.
#33 by theslothook // Sep 01, 2020 - 11:56am
The problem is, the protests and in particular BLM are vilifying the police rather than trying to open a dialog.
We should acknowledge that the police have a very hard job and decision making under extreme circumstances can lead to a ton of mistakes.
There needs to be a lot of two way acknowledgment that there is a problem and how we can fix it. But just castigating them all is not the way to do it.
#34 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Sep 01, 2020 - 12:38pm
Not everyone involved in the boycotts, the protests, or the BLM movement is vilifying the police or castigating them all. Not even most of them. Many have taken pains to make it clear that they recognize the challenges faced by police and that there are great cops out there trying to do their best for everyone. Sure, there are some extremists, but every movement has extremists. The vast majority of people understand that being a cop is difficult and dangerous work, and that's true of people who support Black Lives Matter, too.
It's incorrect to portray the boycotts, protests, and Black Lives Matter movement as being "anti cop". It's not.
This is like turning Kaepernick's kneeling into being about disrespecting the flag.
#37 by theslothook // Sep 01, 2020 - 1:53pm
BLM's solution to the killings is to defund the police. Whether you think this is a good or bad thing, its a blunt instrument, not exactly laced with nuance.
Here's the overall crux of my argument. The tall task has to be about identifying the causes behind the excessive force. That means listening to the sociologists and criminologists.
I just find most of the protests as a form of virtue signaling.
#40 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Sep 02, 2020 - 11:43am
"BLM's solution to the killings is to defund the police. Whether you think this is a good or bad thing, its a blunt instrument, not exactly laced with nuance."
Our local police oversight commission, after months of debate, has struck a subcommittee to go away and come back with an understanding of what "defund" means, in practice. I'd say its so laced with nuance no one knows what the heck it means.
I'd also say its an unhelpful phrase that doesn't help build consensus. I'd be happy never to hear it again. I'd rather hear suggestions on what concrete steps would be helpful to everyone.
"Here's the overall crux of my argument. The tall task has to be about identifying the causes behind the excessive force. That means listening to the sociologists and criminologists."
I agree with you 100%.
"I just find most of the protests as a form of virtue signaling."
Sometimes signaling has to come first. Will white voters who claim to support BLM follow through with pressure on their local politicians to put the time and effort into listening to the sociologists and criminologists and implementing changes? On this front, I'm now the cynic, but at least the signaling starts a dissonance in our brains between what we say we believe and what we actually do. And over time, that can lead to actual change that wouldn't have happened without the initial signaling.
#38 by RobotBoy // Sep 01, 2020 - 11:49pm
Poverty and the drug business are products of systemic racism; if one is confined by ethnicity and social class to an area with a complete lack of education and employment opportunities, the drug trade is one of the only available, upwardly mobile professions.
'You don't hear this sort of thing about Asian Americans' is a red herring. Asian Americans are not African American, and weren't enslaved and later confined by Jim Crow laws, bigotry and state-sanctioned violence to a perpetual underclass.
(To speak of 'Asian Americans, by the way, is a pointless generalization. 'Asian Americans' includes people whose families came from dozens of countries with very different languages, cultures and behaviors. Also, there are plenty of Asian-Americans involved in the drug trade. My neighborhood in Sacramento was controlled by Vietnamese crack dealers who often became in involved in shooting matches with area rivals).
#39 by theslothook // Sep 02, 2020 - 1:37am
"Poverty and the drug business are products of systemic racism; if one is confined by ethnicity and social class to an area with a complete lack of education and employment opportunities, the drug trade is one of the only available, upwardly mobile professions."
There's no proof of this statement. Oppressed minorities aren't necessarily relegated to a permanent underclass forced into crime. I can point to numerous counter examples across lots of countries across large periods of history. Strange how the Irish, Italians, Jews, Lower Caste Indians, Gujaratis, and others escaped this hellscape.
"(To speak of 'Asian Americans, by the way, is a pointless generalization. 'Asian Americans' includes people whose families came from dozens of countries with very different languages, cultures and behaviors. Also, there are plenty of Asian-Americans involved in the drug trade. My neighborhood in Sacramento was controlled by Vietnamese crack dealers who often became in involved in shooting matches with area rivals)."
Just as there are generalities across asians, there are generalities across blacks as well. Obama is half black. The bottom line is - asians on average do better in terms of life expectancy, education, credit ratings, home ownership, two parent households etc etc. If there is a country wide conspiracy against minorities, its strange and damn near unbelievable to suggest that there is a nationwide conspiracy to promote asian Americans.
Dig deeper and you find cultural norms play a great deal in explaining away poverty. Chinese immigrants during the railroad era, Vietnamese and Koreans during the respective wars, and then slew of Indians and Chinese who came later - their families stressed education and assimilation which is why they never were plagued with the issues African Americans are. I am not suggesting being African American by genetics forces you down a bad path. Its rather trying to be honest with the facts when assessing what cause and effect are. And here I echo the Sowell, Loury, Fryer and the McWhorter critique.